Quantifying the spatio-temporal variation in disease risk


Population-level disease risk varies between different communities as well as over time, and quantifying this spatio-temporal variation informs public health policy. One example of this involves identifying the locations of high-risk sub-regions, which allows health resources to be targeted at communities with the greatest needs. A second example involves quantifying the changing nature of health inequalities, which measure the differences in disease risk between rich and poor communities. The reduction of health inequalities is a priority for the Scottish Government, as well as being a barometer of the fairness of society. A third example is quantifying the effects of a range of “exposures” on the health of society, which could be environmental exposures such as air pollution or social exposures such as poverty. A final example is the surveillance of how disease prevalence changes over space and time, so that outbreaks can be quickly identified. This research group has worked on these topics in collaboration with Public Health Scotland, focusing on issues such as Covid-19 surveillance and the health impacts of air pollution.