Profile: Elisabeth Root

Dr. Elisabeth Dowling Root, Assistant Professor of Geography and Faculty Research Associate of the Institute of Behavioral Science at the University of Colorado and Adjunct Assistant Professor of Epidemiology at the Colorado, School of Public Health, Boulder, CO, USA. Elisabeth’s expertise is in disease ecology, neighborhoods and health research, and applications of spatial statistics and geographic information science to public health.

Elisabeth Root earned her B.A. in Anthropology and Public Policy Analysis from Pomona College, her M.A. in Geography from University of Maryland at College Park and her Ph.D. in Geography from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Prior to returning for her Ph.D., Elisabeth worked for many years as a researcher at RTI, International where she developed geographical applications and conducted spatial analysis for a variety of health-related contracts, primarily focusing on government-funded health and social interventions.

Her research explores geographical patterns of health and disease using quantitative spatial methodologies to understand the socioeconomic and environmental determinants of human health. She is particularly interested in the complex interactions between demographic, socioeconomic and environmental factors that influence human health and how we can quantify these factors and interactions to better understand health outcomes and the impact of health interventions. Her research has been published in Social Science and Medicine, the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, and the International Journal of Health Geographics. Her current research projects include the impact of a variety of health and socioeconomic interventions on population health and well-being in Matlab, Bangladesh and the role of socioeconomic and environmental factors in the development of birth defects in North Carolina. She is also examining the role of both social networks and environmental conditions on the incidence of cholera in Bangladesh. Her main teaching interests include medical and health geography, global health and research methods, including spatial statistics.

Elisabeth may be contacted at: For more information, see her website at:

Updated: January 2010