Chuck Croner, a native of Baltimore MD, was a tireless advocate for over three decades to advance the role of medical geography in the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and GIScience. Chuck received both his MA and PhD from Michigan State University, and studied biostatistics at Harvard University as a post graduate. Prior to graduate school, Chuck served as an Infantry Officer and Forward Air Observer in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Chuck s long-term vision contributed to the emergent leadership role of HHS as one of the key constituents of GIS and public health. Chuck was responsible for having: (1) successfully partnered HHS as an equal institutional member of the Office of Management and Budget s (OMB) Federal Geographic Data Committee (FGDC); (2) created and managed since 1994 CDC s Public Health GIS Users Group, the only one of its kind serving all HHS programs and all sectors of society; (3) founded and served since 1994 as the Editor of the bimonthly CDC report Public Health GIS News and Information. This timely and web accessible report was unique to the nation and promoted the collaborative use of GIS for disease surveillance and prevention; and (4) created and managed the CDC and NCHS Cartography and GIS Guest Lecture Series for two decades.
Chuck s efforts in bringing greater public awareness to minority public health inequalities was reflected in his regular reporting in Public Health GIS News and Information on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other related minority public health issues; his provision of long-term support for Howard University’s HBCU Summer Faculty GIS Workshop; and his collaborative and revealing work on African American health inequalities in Cleveland neighborhoods. Chuck authored many publications related to GIS and public health and managed to maintain a prolific public speaking agenda. His career goal was to critically raise HHS and CDC awareness of geography s indispensable role in disease surveillance and prevention, and public health. In 2005, Chuck was nominated for the 2005 Secretary s Award for Distinguished Service. Chuck retired from CDC early in 2008.