Date of Award

4-2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Kathleen M. Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Benjamin Ofori-Amoah

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy B. Curtis

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

The annual incident rates of chlamydia continue to rise within Kalamazoo County despite an increase in public health campaign, particularly for persons between the ages of 15-24. This trend in incidence rates of chlamydia by age also shows strong disparities in race/ethnicity and gender at state and county levels. With the increasing burden on the cost of treatment of chlamydia, which is one of the many sexually transmitted infections, targeting high risk populations offers a means of reducing the cost and the spread of the infection. This has shaped attention of researchers and policy makers to the complexity of the processes in social, economic and environmental factors as key determinants in health outcomes such as chlamydia.

With increasing use of Geographic Information System (GIS) and statistical methods in these studies, key geographical patterns have been found to help in planning intervention programs to remedy the situations. This study therefore investigates the geographic patterns of chlamydia cases and to quantify the factors related to chlamydia-disparities within the neighborhoods for planning location-based interventions in Kalamazoo County. The study found that populations at high risk of acquiring chlamydia live within areas with a high density of cases in the cities relative to other areas. The study found three main core areas of high density of cases of chlamydia to immediately target for intervention programs among high risk populations. The findings in this study are consistent with previous studies that, socioeconomic status remains the highest predictive factor in health disparities.

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