Business Meeting Minutes: AAG Health and Medical Geography Special Group – 2015 Chicago

Dear AAG HMGSG members,

At the AAG Chicago Meeting, about 50 members came to the HMGSG business meeting. Here is a review about the businesses we went through in the meeting:

1. The Health Symposium in AAG 2015
Mei-Po reported about this HMGSG-sponsored 55-session “Symposium on International Geospatial Health Research” at the AAG 2015 Meeting. The symposium sought to explore new research frontiers in geospatial health research and foster international networks to share this information across borders and generate research synergies. It built on multiple AAG Geography and Health Initiatives of the past decade, such as the AAG Initiative for an NIH-wide Geospatial Infrastructure for Health Research. The symposium also built on several recent AAG health initiatives and grants with the National Institutes of Health and National Science Foundation, as well as an international forum organized to launch an International Geospatial Health Research Network.

The symposium was sponsored by the AAG, the International Geospatial Health Research Network, the AAG Health and Medical Geography Specialty Group (HMGSG), and the International Association of Chinese Professionals in Geographic Information Sciences (CPGIS). More information about the Symposium is available at:

2. The 16th International Medical Geography Symposium (IMGS) 2015

The Conference will be held July 5-10th, 2015 in Vancouver, Canada. See more details in

In 2012, the HMGSG board approved the offering of two travel awards ($200 each) to HMGSG participants. The HMGSG will issue a call for this travel awards shortly after the AAG 2015.

3. HMGSG Awards 

This year HMGSG established two new awards:

(1) The Melinda S. Meade Distinguished Scholarship Award in Health and Medical Geography

Sara McLafferty (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) received this award in 2015. This very prestigious award is annually given to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the advancements of health and/or medical geography research. The HMGSG board was pleased to recognize McLafferty for her “tremendous contributions to research, teaching, and service in the field for decades.”

(2) The Emerging Scholar Award in Health and Medical Geography

Debarchana Ghosh (University of Connecticut) and Elisabeth Root (University of Colorado at Boulder) received this award for their outstanding accomplishments and their potential to become distinguished scholars in health and medical geography.


The recipients of the traditional HMGSG student awards include:

(3) Jacques May Thesis Prize (Certificate and $250 each)
Xiang Chen (Arkansas Tech University) received this Prize with his Ph.D. dissertation entitled “Bringing Time into Measure of Food Access: Place vs. People.”

Carly E. Nichols (University of Arizona) received this Prize with her Master’s thesis entitled “Hidden Hunger: Political Ecology of Food and Nutrition in Kumaon Hills.”


(4) Peter Gould Student Paper Competition (Certificate and $100 each)
Caitlin Henry (University of Toronto) won this competition as a graduate student with a paper entitled “Hospital Closures: The Sociospatial Restructuring of Labor and Health Care.”

Madeline Hinchliffe (University of Oklahoma) won this competition as an undergraduate student with a paper entitled “Measuring Perceptions of Collegiate Students to Assess Shampoo Purchasing Decisions.”

(5) Melinda S. Meade Graduate Student Travel Award
($200 award each)
Mark Janko (University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill) and Yolanda McDonald (Texas A&M University, College Station) received this award.


  1. Increase HMGSG Fees

The members in the meeting voted and approved Mei-Po Kwan’s motion to increase HMGSG fees:

Increase regular member’s fee from $8 to $10.

Increase student member’s fee from $1 to $2.


The increase is mainly for covering the cost for the awardees to attend the AAG Award Luncheon.

  1. Launch an HMGSG Newsletter

Eric Delmelle proposed to start an HMGSG Newsletter and is willing to lead the effort. His plan is to have two issues each year, one in the Fall and one in the Spring. Ideally, the Spring one would be sent a couple of weeks before the AAG annual meeting, with information about all HMGSG-sponsored sessions.

  1. Special AAG Session for Student Paper Competition

David Lamb proposed to organize one (or more) special session(s) at the AAG annual meeting for future student paper competitions. The Board will discuss this proposal and welcome inputs from members.

  1. New Board Member Elections

The members in the business meeting voted and elected a new Vice Chair, two At-Large Members, and one Student Members. This year for each position there were multiple candidates. Each candidate on site gave a short speech to introduce her/himself to the voters. The final result is as follows:

Vice Chair: Eric Delmelle (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

At-Large Board Members: Kirsten Beyer (University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee) and Yan Lin (South Dakota State University).

Student Member: Jessica Finlay (University of Minnesota)


  1. HMGSG Officers for 2015-2016

Chair: Xun Shi (moves from Vice-Chair)

Vice Chair: Eric Delmelle (newly elected)

At-Large Members: Michael Widener (2014-2016), Kirsten Beyer (2015-2017), and Yan Lin (2015-2017).

Student Members: David Lamb (2014-2016), Jessica Finlay (2015-2017)

Webmaster: Kevin Matthew (University of Iowa, continued).


We are greatly thankful for Mei-Po’s great leadership during and beyond her term as the Chair of HMGSG.


This update was prepared based on the document and notes provided by Mei-Po Kwan and Eric Delmelle, to whom I owe many thanks. I will be responsible for any inaccuracy, though.


Thank you for your attention.

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