Grant: $301,183 - National Science Foundation - Aug. 16, 2009
25% voted satisfied - 75% voted not satisfied - 4 vote(s) cast
Award Description: Integration of Spatial and Social Network Analysis in Vaccine Trials This project will develop and test spatial analytical and social network analysis methods for vaccine trials and disease transmission modeling. Existing methods limit the extrapolation of results and are sometimes of questionable validity. This project builds on earlier work by the investigators that developed theory and methods for incorporating neighborhood-level variables into 'ecological vaccine trials (Ali et al., 2005, 2008; Emch et al., 2006, 2007). In 1985, a community-based individually randomized oral cholera vaccine trial was conducted in Matlab, Bangladesh. The current study will reanalyze the cholera vaccine trial data using new measures of social and environmental connectivity developed with social network analysis software, a geographic information system (GIS), and satellite remote sensing technologies. These new measures will help determine: (1) how placebo incidence and protective efficacy (PE) vary within social networks; (2) how placebo incidence and PE vary spatially by different environmental contexts; and (3) how spatial, environmental, and social network information can be used simultaneously to assess the effectiveness of vaccines and disease risk. We will use four data sets, already collected by the investigators, including: (1) a large cholera vaccine trial database, (2) a comprehensive longitudinal demographic database from which the vaccine trial participants were selected, (3) an accurate household-level GIS database, and (4) high resolution Quickbird satellite imagery. We will measure kinship ties between all households using a complete network design as well as environmental connectivity using satellite imagery and GIS techniques. These GIS and satellite databases, in conjunction with the demographic, social network, and vaccine datasets, will facilitate adding integrated spatial, environmental, and social components to this vaccine evaluation study. Reanalyzing the Matlab oral cholera vaccine trial using a spatial analytical framework and social and environmental connectivity measures can give new insight into vaccine effectiveness evaluation and disease transmission modeling. As a result, the theoretical and methodological issues addressed in this project will have important implications for future vaccine trials. Intellectual Merit and Broader Impact The intellectual merit of this study is both methodological and theoretical. It is an interdisciplinary effort that involves the theory and methods from the fields of medical geography, epidemiology, and sociology. The study explores how social network and spatial analytic methods can be used simultaneously. Both have separately been extensively used to incorporate context into health studies but using them together is something that has only just begun to be explored. Thus, this study is potentially transformative and could change the way interdisciplinary health studies are conducted. The broader impacts of the study include: (1) developing a framework and theory for studying how spatial, social, and environmental processes can be investigated in other areas beyond health; (2) educating students in the theory and methods through serving as graduate research assistants (and possibly conducting their PhD dissertation research) on this project and by each investigator incorporating what is learned from the project into graduate and undergraduate courses; and (3) incorporating underrepresented groups into the research process (i.e., Dr. Emch has several students from underrepresented groups who work in his research group including graduate students and three students during the past two years from a historically black college in North Carolina).
Project Description: This project has just begun on 9/1/09. The project is building and testing theory and methods for integrating social network and spatial analysis into health research. We have begun to design the social network database and we have had our first meeting at UNC. Because the project just began we have no major deliverables at this point.
Jobs Summary: Graduate Research Assistant (6.0 calendar months effort in years 1-2). The graduate student will help the investigators with all aspects of the project including building the project database, calculating the spatial and social variables, and conducting the statistical analysis. (Total jobs reported: 0)
Project Status: Less Than 50% Completed
This award's data was last updated on Aug. 16, 2009. Help expand these official descriptions using the wiki below.