Utilizing spatial statistics to identify cancer hot spots: A surveillance strategy to inform community-engaged outreach efforts

Corrine W. Ruktanonchai, Deepa K. Pindolia, Catherine W. Striley, Folakemi T. Odedina, Linda B. Cottler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Utilization of spatial statistics and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies remain underrepresented in the community-engagement literature, despite its potential role in informing community outreach efforts and in identifying populations enthusiastic to participate in biomedical and health research. Such techniques are capable not only of examining the epidemiological relationship between the environment and a disease, but can also focus limited resources and strategically inform where on the landscape outreach efforts may be optimized. Methods: These analyses present several spatial statistical techniques among the HealthStreet population, a community-engaged organization with aims to link underrepresented populations to medical and social care as well as opportunities to participate in University-sponsored research. Local Indicators of Spatial Association (LISA) and Getis-Ord Gi*(d) statistics are utilized to examine where cancer-related "hot spots" exist among minority and non-minority HealthStreet respondents within Alachua County, Florida, United States (US). Interest in research is also reported, by minority status and lifetime history of cancer. Results: Overall, spatial clustering of cancer was observed to vary by minority status, suggesting disparities may exist among minorities and non-minorities in regards to where cancer is occurring. Specifically, significant hot spots of cancer were observed among non-minorities in more urban areas throughout Alachua County, Florida, US while more rural clusters were observed among minority members, specifically west and southwest of urban city limits. Conclusions: These results may help focus future outreach efforts to include underrepresented populations in health research, as well as focus preventative and palliative oncological care. Further, global community engaged studies and community outreach efforts outside of the United States may use similar methods to focus limited resources and recruit underrepresented populations into health research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number39
JournalInternational Journal of Health Geographics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Community outreach
  • Community-engagement research
  • Geographic information systems
  • Health research recruitment
  • Spatial epidemiology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • General Business, Management and Accounting
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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