Profile: James Wilson

Dr. James Wilson, Assistant Professor of Geography, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL, USA. Jim’s research and teaching center around the geography of health, maps and mapping, and environment and society.

Jim Wilson received a B.A. in anthropology from the University of Washington with an interest in primates. Upon graduation, he spent his lost years in the US Coast Guard, where he gained experience with nautical charts. He intended to pursue work in cartography at the University of Washington, but one fateful day in late in 1983 he attended a departmental colloquium on medical geography given by Jonathan Mayer and has not looked back since. He went on to pursue graduate studies in medical geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill receiving his Master s in 1986 and PhD in 1991, both under the direction of Wil Gesler.

After a four-year teaching stint at East Carolina University, Jim worked as a research associate at that university s Center for Health Services Research and Development. He was the primary author of a regional health atlas whose focus was geographic disparities in health outcomes and related social determinants between minorities and whites in eastern North Carolina. Jim then spent two years as the GIS unit manager at North Carolina s State Center for Health Statistics. He developed an online atlas of mortality and constructed a series of animated maps on the diffusion of rabies and time series maps tuberculosis, syphilis, and gonorrhea rates. He returned to the Center at ECU and continued working with health disparities, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data, and childhood overweight and obesity. Jim holds a third degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and has taught TKD to at-risk students in after-school programs. He has published in the Professional Geographer, Journal of the American Public Health Association, and Public Health Management and Practice.

Jim may be contacted at

His NIU staff page is

Updated: March 2010