Returning to our roots: The use of geospatial data for nurse-led community research

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1 Scopus citations


In the early 20th century, public health nurse, Lillian Wald, addressed the social determinants of health (SDOH) through her work in New York City and her advocacy to improve policy in workplace conditions, education, recreation, and housing. In the early 21st century, addressing the SDOH is a renewed priority and provides nurse researchers with an opportunity to return to our roots. The purpose of this methods paper is to examine how the incorporation of geospatial data and spatial methodologies in community research can enhance the analyses of the complex relationships between social determinants and health. Geospatial technologies, software for mapping and working with geospatial data, statistical methods, and unique considerations are discussed. An exemplar for using geospatial data is presented regarding associations between neighborhood greenspace, neighborhood violence, and children's asthma control. This innovative use of geospatial data illustrates a new frontier in investigating nontraditional connections between the environment and SDOH outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)467-475
Number of pages9
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019


  • community
  • design development
  • environment
  • geographic information system
  • public health
  • social and economic aspects of illness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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