Exploring the power of place in population health

Published on February 21, 2014 by Dana March

Places, whether communitiescitiescounties, countries, or virtual spaces in which people interact, are both complex and intertwined. The ways in which places impact population health are equally complex, reaching far beyond the ZIP code as a determinant of health. We live in a world in which technology, from communication to travel, has given rise to an interconnectedness that effectively compresses both space and time. As a reservoir of health and disease, place has become at once more granular and expansive—incorporating the minute differences of where you call home to the broad global networks facilitated by modern communication.

In the upcoming months, the2x2project will explore these issues in a new series, PopPlaces. We will address population health issues in distinct places—India, Haiti, West Virginia, Loma Linda, Boston—highlighting public health successes and failures, unique research, and the contours of policy. We will also delve into the population health implications of time and space compression in the information age through a multifaceted view of population flows via travel, migration, and social media.

We invite you to elevate the conversation.

Edited by Josh Brooks

Dana March
Dana March, Editor-in-Chief of the2x2project, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health. Her research addresses the ways in which our social lives and where we live shape population health and how we respond to interventions. She has particular interests in urbanization and the social fault lines of health, like race and class. March has written for Newsweek, USA Todayand her work has been featured in Scientific American. She was a 2014-15 Public Voices Fellow at Columbia University Medical Center, and has served as an expert commentator for CBS Morning News, Al Jazeera America, and WNYC. Follow her on Twitter @Dana_March. Email her at dm2025@columbia.edu.

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