Profile: Deborah Thomas

Dr. Deborah Thomas, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences, and Affiliated Faculty with the PhD Program in Health and Behavioral Sciences, University of Colorado at Denver. Her interests include hazards and health, as well as social science applications of GIS. uc

Deborah completed her B.A. (geography) at the University of Kansas in 1989 and then earned her M.A. (geography) in 1995 at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Then, in 1999, she completed her PhD at the University of South Carolina, specializing in hazards and health geography. Since 1990, Deborah has also worked with geographic information systems (GIS) in a variety of social science application areas, including hazard management and environmental health.

Collaborating with people in various department across campus and local/state agencies defines her work (for example, the Altitude Research Center at UCD, Denver Police Department, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Denver Health, Tri-County Health, Kaiser-Permanente, Denver Public Schools, the National Drought Mitigation Center, the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Natural Hazards Center, and FEMA). Starting in 2005, she had the opportunity to expand these collaborative networks internationally when she was on a Fulbright to Middle East Technical University in the Department of Geological Engineering in Ankara, Turkey. Current research projects include: 1) using GIS in the mitigation process and evaluating its potential in public health emergency response; 2) assessing and incorporating social vulnerability into hazard risk assessments; 3) utilizing GIS for the study of physical activity; 4) assessing the effects of altitude on health outcomes; and 5) malaria as an environmental health hazard in Tanzania.

Deborah may be contacted at

Updated: January 2011