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'Locating' clinicians: Geospatial methods for health workforce and service planning

Postgraduate students, Staff, Allied health professionals
Event type
Seminar, Online
School of Physiotherapy

Spatial analysis illuminates geographic differences, proximity issues and access to resources. It is a growing area of interest in health research for its ability to inform health policy and planning.

Disparities in outcomes and access for health conditions (such as cardiovascular illnesses, neurological disorders, and musculoskeletal diseases) are common to New Zealand, Canada, and other countries that have large, sparsely populated geographies alongside metropolitan areas, increasing socioeconomic inequality, and a disastrous history of colonisation of indigenous peoples. Identifying geographic accessibility to care is a key contributor to illuminating inequities in health. The geospatial 3-step floating catchment area (3SFCA) method is well suited to examining accessibility across both rural and metropolitan areas like those found in countries such as New Zealand and Canada. This method can integrate demographic variables to gain a more granular view of where mismatches lie between health care supply and health demand.

This short seminar aims to:

  • Create an opportunity for discussion of the use of Geospatial techniques and mapping; specifically, the 3SFCA method and similar approaches
  • Explore the need for these methods in health workforce and service planning
  • Share examples of how these methods can be used

Discussion (informal) welcomes researchers, policy makers and analysts, health service planners, clinicians, geographers, and all interested participants.


Dr Tayyab Shah

Tayyab is Geospatial Research Manager and Specialist with the Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research (CHASR) at the University of Saskatchewan.

He has extensive experience in using and developing geospatial methods within roles held with the United Nations, in the Pacific, alongside First Nations people of Canada, and many other settings, in the fields of housing, energy resilience, education, and transport, as well as health services and health workforce.

Dr Shah has expertise in applying not only geographic methods, but also understanding of the social context and dynamics of population and workforce data sets.

Dr Jesse Whitehead

Jesse is a Senior Research Fellow at Te Ngira Institute for Population Research at the University of Waikato. Dr Whitehead was part of the team that led the recent HRC-funded development of an appropriate rural-urban classification for New Zealand health research and policy purposes.

He has conducted spatial analysis of the equity and sustainability of primary health (general practitioner) services in the Waikato district using the enhanced 2-step FCA (E2SFCA) method as part of a mixed methods investigation, and of the unequal impacts of Covid-19 including vaccine access for Māori and Pacific people.

Dr Miranda Buhler

Miranda is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Otago School of Physiotherapy. She is investigating the spatial equity of the physiotherapy workforce in Aotearoa using the 3SFCA method.

Dr Lukas Marek

Lukas  is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Canterbury Geospatial Research Institute's GeoHealth Laboratory. His recent work explores indices of population wellbeing, transience, and other public health measures relative to health care accessibility and utilisation using spatial analyses methods.

Zoom details

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