Precision Public Health in the Era of the Mobile Phone: A Geography Perspective

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Join the Department of Social Sciences for this Great Problems, Great Minds seminar series event featuring guest speaker Liang Mao, an associate professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Florida.

Human mobility plays a critical role in disease dispersion, but the lack of such data in a massive population has long been a bottleneck for public health research and intervention. Recently, mobile phone tracking technology has been recognized as a promising solution given its wide usage, timeliness, and location awareness. The big tracking records make it possible to depict movements and contacts of millions of people in unprecedented details, based on which health interventions can be precisely tailored to single individuals. In this talk, Mao will elaborate three recent publications that utilized big mobile phone data in the city of Shenzhen, China, to estimate small-area risk of dengue fever, investigate personalized interventions with short message service, and simulate COVID-19 control policies after city reopening. This talk will show how mobile phone technology can be integrated with geographical approaches, such as Thiessen polygons and agent-based simulation, to advance studies in public health.

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