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Geographic Information Systems (GIS): Connecting Health and Place

Geographic information system (GIS) tools and methods can contribute valuable information to population health and health care decision-making processes at national, state, and local levels. GIS plays a key role in MPR's interdisciplinary, multi-methodological approach to health services planning, evaluation, and problem solving. Geospatial analyses and information visualization products strengthen the Division's applied research activities, policy development undertakings, and program initiatives aimed at improved health for vulnerable populations, greater access to health care, and reductions in health disparities.

Research consistently associates socioeconomic disadvantage with poor health. Visualizing geographic variation in socioeconomic status can increase understanding of population health patterns. This map shows a spatial association between South Carolina persistent poverty counties and high diabetes prevalence rates among adult Medicaid enrollees. Both persistent poverty counties and high diabetes prevalence ZIP Code Tabulation Areas (ZCTAs) are especially evident along South Carolina's I-95 corridor, a predominantly rural region extending from Jasper County in the south to Marlboro County in the northeast. The map also depicts the locations of Federally Qualified Health Centers and Rural Health Clinics. These safety net facilities play a critical role in the delivery of health care to low-income, high-risk populations in the state.