Exploring the Social Determinants of Health and Disease Outbreak Patterns in Children in Early Twentieth Century Calumet, MI

Authors: Timothy Stone*, Michigan Technological University, Donald Lafreniere, Michigan Technological University
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Historical Geography, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Historical Health, GIS, Determinants of Health, Historical Spatial Data Infrastructure
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Madison B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The combination of historic health data coupled with individual level demographic data provides valuable insights into the social and built environment-determinants of health in ways that are not feasible to study with modern subjects. The ability to compile demographic data with health data and study that on a spatio-temporal scale, as we have done in the Copper Country Historical Spatial Data Infrastructure (CCHSDI) project, gives a unique perspective into these population health dynamics. Record types included in the CCHSDI include censuses, city directories, and hospital records, among others. This project focused on schoolchildren across industrial Calumet between the years of 1904 and 1926 with the purpose of gaining a greater understanding of what factors promoted or inhibited healthy living, as indicated by absence from school. Due to the wealth of data available, we were able to not only study a large portion of a single cohort in 1918, but we were also able to study longitudinally three local schools over a twenty year period. Early findings suggest that factors which affect a student’s health include: proximity to mining-related buildings, the residential crowding of their living space, recent immigration and low parental literacy in addition to other factors which we expect to find as analysis concludes. These findings will assist in strengthening our understanding of the social and built environment-determinants of health and the diffusion of secondary infections among populations in moderately dense industrial communities.

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