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Dasman Diabetes Institute Geohealth Lab and Enablement Project

Geospatial modelling and visualisation are being widely applied by health departments, health policy and research organisations, hospitals and medical centres. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is vital to understanding where and when to mount public health interventions, quality of care initiatives and improve urban environments; e.g., improved accessibility to patients and the public, improved design of public open space and greater cost-effectiveness.

The Dasman Diabetes Institute (DDI) together with the Australian Geospatial Health Lab, Health Research Institute, University of Canberra (UC) initiated a major international Geohealth collaboration. This initiative is building and implementing a comprehensive technical infrastructure integrating health and administrative data with social, built and physical environmental data to support spatial epidemiological research to understand and prevent chronic disease. This agenda will enable a better understanding of the built, social, natural and physical environmental factors to be targeted by policy and practice-level innovations to reduce risk factors and prevent disease and the social and economic costs related to obesity, metabolic syndrome and diabetes, and their macro- and micro-vascular complications.

Knowledge of the spatial drivers of chronic disease is key to diabetes prevention and control: one’s environmental context shapes lifestyle related to chronic disease. The most effective interventions globally are those that target behaviour and lifestyle together with changes to the environment. This is because environmental risk conditions shape individual risk factors, thus disease.

The Geohealth Hub is a spatial infrastructure that includes hardware, software, data, methodology, staff with geomatics expertise, training/educational initiatives and higher degree research students.

The goals of the project are to:

-   Build GIS infrastructure, and identify and integrate data on behaviour, lifestyle and the environment, and train DDI/Kuwait personnel in Health GIS and spatial epidemiology, to achieve a Kuwait resource with appropriate flexibility in support of public and private sector initiatives applying geospatial analysis of diabetes and treatment relevant data;

- Utilise the Geohealth Hub to investigate the spatial variations in the prevalence of diabetes in Kuwait, to characterise the magnitude and the extent of the problem;

- Utilise a spatially enabled, comprehensive relational typological indicator classification system developed by Professor Mark Daniel to rigorously elucidate how spatially variable environmental factors relate to spatial variations in diabetes prevalence; and

-   Plan, implement and evaluate diabetes prevention and control initiatives through evidence- based geospatial inference supporting tailored intervention and treatment programs.

For more information on the work of the Dasman Diabetes Institute please visit