Jobs in Health Geography

Right now, Geography is a discipline with ample opportunity; a recent letter from the President of the American Geographical Society stated that Geography related jobs are projected to increase by 29 % between 2012 and 2022 and commented that Geographers gain a wide range of skills that are attractive to employers. Geography students, knowledgeable of the social, spatial and scientific processes of the earth and its land as well as its inhabitants, are equipped with the skills for success. Studying health geography in particular has never been a more exciting venture than it is right now. Health geographers apply spatial and temporal analysis to understand disease and health patterns for populations and regions. Population dynamics and interactions have changed at unforeseen rates over the past 50 years and health geography is a discipline ready to respond to the population-health challenges of today.
Read the article by AGS President Jerome Dobson on Jobs in Geography


Some helpful resources

Check out these links for some informative resources on what jobs are available for geographers, employment statistics, and helpful tips along the way

The American Geographical Society Jobs page

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society
The GIS jobs Clearinghouse
Canadian Society for International Health
UN public health jobs


What are we up to now?

Check out what former lab members are doing and how they are putting their health geography training to work for them

Joe Lewnard (BA 2013)

I entered McGill’s music school in 2009 to study baroque performance practice with Matthias Maute. Instead I earned a BA (Hons) in Geography in 2013, and wrote my thesis in the area of emerging infections. After graduation, I returned home to the US to begin a PhD in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases at Yale University. Here I study stochastic mathematical modeling as an approach for characterizing the population biology and control of diverse infectious disease agents. I also seek to apply and contribute novel Bayesian and nonparametric methods for statistical inference from epidemiologic data. Among other applied areas, I am currently interested in risk-conscious sexual behavior among men who have sex with men in the era of highly-active antiretroviral therapy and pre-exposure prophylaxis. I am formulating game-theoretic models to assess implications of such behavior for transmission dynamics of HIV, HPV, and sexually-transmitted bacterial infections

Jamie Lundine (BA 2009)

After graduating McGill, I received an NSERC summer research scholarship and travelled to Nairobi, Kenya to investigate the use of innovative online mapping tools to track HIV/AIDS and TB organizations. In 2012, after working with two NGOs, Kenya AIDS NGOs Consortium (KANCO) and Map Kibera, I co-founded Spatial Collective Ltd, a technology and consulting company designing and delivering technology-enabled solutions for development issues. In 2013 we were awarded a grant through the Gates Grand Challenges in Global Health, to investigate the use of technology to improve waste management services in Nairobi’s informal settlements. We are also working with the Rockefeller Foundation to deliver Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) services for the $97 million Digital Jobs Africa Initiative. I lead a team to design technology-enabled monitoring across 6 African countries. I never imagined that my Honours degree in Geography and African Studies would set me up so perfectly for this career path. I thought that the combination would attract curious frowns; instead I picked the perfect degree. I often meet fellow geographers in the field of technology and international development in Nairobi. I couldn’t have designed a better degree to set me up for the work I’m doing.

Alicia Rolin (BASc 2012)

Since graduating with a BASc in Geography and Physics, I interned at IFP Energies Nouvelles in Paris, France, using GIS to help develop a model analyzing the economic viability of non-petroleum energy resources in France and to optimize the locations of new infrastructure. Since returning from France, I have spent the past two years as a Cancer Research Training Award Fellow at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, DC. Here I perform geospatial and statistical analysis of the determinants and patterns of cancer across the US at the county and health service area level. I am also involved with the SEER initiative (Surveillance, Epidemiology & End Results). This past summer, I took a mini sabbatical to work at the National Cancer Institute of Peru through The Dartmouth Institute of Health Care Delivery Sciences. In fall 2014, I will start medical school.

Rose Eckhardt (MA 2010)

While at McGill, I used spatial analysis to understand the spread of infectious diseases. My thesis analyzed the international importation of malaria and subsequent risk of localized transmission. After I finished my master’s in 2010, I joined the BioDiaspora team at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. BioDiaspora is an innovative project that is working to better understand and prevent the international spread of infectious diseases. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to directly apply the research skills that I had developed while at McGill, and my graduate studies were excellent preparation for my work there. Working with the BioDiaspora team was an incredible learning experience that helped me grow both as a health researcher and as a young professional, and to explore the world of careers in health and medicine. I left my position at BioDiaspora after three years to pursue premedical coursework and eventually a career in clinical medicine, but I can see my training and experience at McGill being an incredible asset, wherever my path may lead.

Jaclyn Paterson (M.Sc 2009)

Jaclyn holds a M.Sc. in Biology from McGill University (2009). From 2010 to 2011, she was Project Manager for the Climate Change and Health System Adaptations in Canada project, led by Dr. James Ford and Dr. Lea Berrang-Ford. Her team studied actions taken (“adaptations”) to prepare for the health impacts of climate change in developed nations. The project consisted of an (a) international level climate change policy comparison, an (b) investigation of Canadian governmental action (policy review and case studies at the municipal, provincial and national level), and an (c) assessment of non-governmental initiatives (examples include NGOs, civil societies and private groups). Since February 2012, Jaclyn has been working as an Environmental Health Scientist at Health Canada’s Climate Change and Health Office in Ottawa, where she continues to work in close collaboration on joint projects with the Climate Change Adaptation Research Group.

Some lab members who have gone on to Med or Law school:
Yang Guo (BSc 2014)
Heather Thompson (BA 2011)
Annelise Miller (2011)
Carolyn Poutiainen (BA&BSc 2010)
Aiden Findlater (MSc 2011)