Elisabeth Root

Elisabeth Root

Elisabeth Root




1160 Derby Hall

Areas of Expertise

  • Health and Medical Geography
  • Population Geography
  • Disease Ecology
  • Spatial Statistics
  • Spatial Epidemology


  • 2009 PhD, Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • 2003 MA, Geography, University of Maryland at College Park
  • 1999 BA, Anthropology and Public Policy Analysis, Pomona College

Current CV: 


Interests: Human health and disease, disease ecology, global public health, program evaluation, spatial statistics, GIS

Current Research: My research is situated at the intersection of geography and public health. Using spatial statistical methods and Geographic Information Systems (GIS), I integrate socioeconomic and environmental context into studies of disease processes and health behaviors. The goals of my research are to: 1) better understand geographical patterns of human health across diverse settings, 2) examine how local and regional context drives these patterns of disease, and 3) model the effect of major health and development interventions across these diverse settings. My main approach involves collecting extensive survey and health data and combining these data with areal demographic/economic indicators and environmental data. I then use spatial statistical methods and GIS to quantify and assess the spatial/contextual factors which alter disease processes and programmatic effects. I currently have active research projects in Honduras, Bangladesh, and the Philippines as well as the U.S. 

Courses Taught:

GEOG 3704: Life and Death Geographies: Global Population Dynamics
GEOG 5103: Intermediate Spatial Data Analysis
GEOG 8104: Spatial Methods for Health & Population Research
PUBHEPI8899.01, PUBHEPI8899.02, PUBHEPI8899.03: Doctoral Seminar in Epidemiology

Select publications:

Root, E.D., A. Zarychta, B. Burmudez Tapia, T. Grillos, K. Andersson, J. Menken. 2020. Organizations Matter in Local Governance: Evidence from Health Sector Decentralization in Honduras. Health Policy and Planning. (doi: 10.1093/heapol/czaa084).

Chisolm, D.J., C. Jones, E.D. Root, M. Dolce, K.J. Kelleher. 2020. A Community Development Program and Reduction in High-Cost Healthcare Use. Pediatrics. (doi: 10.1542/2020-000123).

Root, E.D., E. Bailey, T. Gorham, C. Song, C. Browning, P. Salsberry. 2020. Geovisualization and Spatial Analysis of Infant Mortality and Preterm Birth in Ohio, 2008-2015: Opportunities to Enhance Spatial Thinking. Public Health Reports 135(4): 472-482. (doi: 10.1177/0033354920927854).

Hiance-Steelesmith, D.L., C.A. Fontanella, J.V. Campo, J.A. Bridge, K. Warren and E.D. Root. 2019. Contextual Factors Associated with County-Level Suicide Rates in the United States, 2000 to 2014. JAMA Network Open 2(9): e1910936. (doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2019.10936)

Humphrey, J.L., M. McHaney, K. Barton, S. Miller, E.D. Root. 2019. Social and Environmental Neighborhood Typologies and Lung Function in a Low-Income Population. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 6(17): 1133. (doi: 10.3390/ijerph16071133).

Fontanelle, C.A., D.M. Saman, J.V. Campo, D. Hiance-Steelesmith, J. Bridge, H.A. Sweeney,  E.D. Root.  2018. Mapping suicide mortality in Ohio: A spatial epidemiological analysis of suicide clusters and area-level correlates. Preventive Medicine 106: 177-184. (doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.10.033).

Root, E.D., K. Silbernagel and J. Litt. 2017. Unpacking healthy landscapes: An empirical assessment of neighborhood aesthetic ratings in an urban setting. Landscape and Urban Planning 168:38-47. (doi: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2017.09.028).

Root, E.D., D. Augustine, C. Kartasasmita, T.M. Uyeki, E.A.S. Simoes. 2017. Demographic and Ecological Risk Factors for Human Influenza A Infections in Rural Indonesia.  Influenza and Other Respiratory Viruses Journal 11(5): 425-433. (doi: 10.1111/irv.12468).

Root, E.D., M. Lucero, H. Nohynek, R. Stubbs, V. Tallo, S.P. Lupisan, D.M. Sanvictores, L.T. Nillos, G. Williams, E.A.S. Simoes, ARIVAC Consortium. 2017. Distance to health services modifies the effect of an 11-valent pneumococcal vaccine (PCV) on pneumonia risk among children less than 2 years of age in Bohol, Philippines. International Journal of Epidemiology 46(2): 706-716. (doi: 10.1093/ije/dyw217)

Root, E.D., M. Lucero, H. Nohynek, P. Anthamatten, D.S.K. Thomas, V. Tallo, A. Tansskanen, B. Quiambao, T. Puumalainen, S. Lupisan, P. Ruutu, E. Ladesma, G. Williams, I. Riley, E.A.S. Simoes, ARIVAC Consortium. 2014.  Distance to health services affects local-level vaccine efficacy for pneumococcal conjugate vaccine (PVC) among rural Filipino children. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111(9): 3520-5. (doi:10.1073/pnas.1313748111)