Profile: Stephen Matthews

Stephen has been at Penn State since 1994. Following various administrative posts, he was appointed in 2005 to a tenure track position in the departments of Sociology and Anthropology with a courtesy appointment in Geography. He received tenure in Sociology in 2010. Stephen has been a key figure in promoting GIS research and applications at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) – funded population centers in the US. He is PI of an NICHD R25 training grant on Advanced Spatial Analysis methods for Population Scientists (see ). Stephen serves on the advisory board for Penn State’s online Masters in GIS (see ) and was the inaugural chair of Penn State’s GIS Council. He currently serves on the editorial boards of two journals:

American Journal of Preventive Medicine ( ) and

Demography ( ),

and is an active reviewer for many journals and funding agency panels.

Stephen’s current research focuses on food environments, race and ethnic segregation, health service utilization, and low-income populations in diverse contexts. Much of this research is funded by NIH or NSF. For example, he works with Stephen Cummins (Queen Mary, London) on an R21 exploratory grand from the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) on a study titled Neighborhood, Food Environment, Diet and Health: Quasi-experimental Study. Stephen is a co-PI on two recently awarded health-related grants: an NICHD study on maternal intelligence, social information processing, and neglect led by Dr. Sandy Azar (Psychology, Penn State) and an NCI study on Patterns of Patient Care in Appalachia led by Roger Anderson (Public Health Sciences, Hershey Medical School, Penn State). Stephen is also a member of the research team working on the National Schilren’s Study for the Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania, site. At the time of writing, Stephen is PI or co-PI on several grants under review at NIH on topics as varied as the changing American neighborhoods and communities; cancer screening, treatment and survivorship in Appalachia; orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi; health and geospatial data infrastructure for sub-Saharan Africa; and a methodology grant on geographically weighted quantile regression (GWQR). Stephen also works with many colleagues at Penn State, especially in the departments of Anthropology, Landscape Architecture, Health Policy Administration, Kinesiology, Human Development and Family Studies, Biobehavioral Health, and Computer Science.

Stephen’s most recent work includes two books scheduled to appear in early 2011. The first book, titled Communities, Neighborhoods, and Health: Expanding the Boundaries of Place (ISBN: 978-1-441-97481-5 –

see ) will be available from Springer in January 2011. The book is part of the series Social Disparities in Health and Health Care, Vol. 1, and is edited by Linda Burton, Susan Kemp, ManChui Leung, Stephen Matthews, and David Takeuchi. The second book, co-authored with Wilbur Zelinsky (Emeritus Professor of Geography at Penn State), is titled The Place of Religion in Chicago (ISBN: 978-1-935-19515-3 – see bookkey=10395285 ) and will be published by the University of Chicago Press in March 2011. Manuscripts are in development and/or under review based on collaborations with several other research teams. These collaborations include the use of spatial analysis techniques and quantile regression techniques in health research with TC Yang (Penn State) and two statisticians at Tamkang University in Taiwan (Vivien Yi-Ju Chen and Wen Shuenn Deng) and papers based on GPS, activity spaces, physical activity and food environments with health scientists led by Shannon Zenk at University of Illinois Chicago. Stephen has collaborations with TC Yang and Marianne Hillemeier (Health Policy Administration) on a study of distrust in health services (forthcoming in American Journal of Public Health ), and with Carla Shoff (Rural Sociology) and TC Yang on prenatal care (forthcoming in GeoJournal ). Stephen is currently collaborating with several demography graduate students at Penn State, including Claudia Nau, Patrick Rafail and Nyesha Black (Sociology), Carla Shoff (Rural Sociology), and Aaron Yao (Health Policy Administration).

The most important collaborators in Stephen’s life are Valarie King (Professor, Sociology, at Penn State) and their two beautiful daughters, Kayleigh (age 10) and Celine (age 5). Stephen may be contacted via e-mail at or His departmental webpage is