Technology & Innovation 15(2) Abstracts

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Technology and Innovation, Vol. 15, pp. 91–100, 2013
1929-8241/13 $90.00 + .00
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982413X13650843068799
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2013 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

The Role and Challenges of Utilizing GIS for Public Health Research and Practice

Tenaya M. Sunbury

Department of Health Sciences, University of Alaska-Anchorage, Anchorage, AK, USA

This article describes the role and challenges of utilizing geographical information system (GIS) as an innovative method for public health research and practice. Using case studies from Alaska, the author describes the common roles of GIS, such as (i) integrating and analyzing environmental exposure data with health outcomes data; (ii) assuring the quality and accessibility of health services by improving workflows, tracking, and communication; (iii) visualizing health data over time to assist health policy decisions; and (iv) linking health data with sociodemographic, environmental, administrative, and services data. Finally, common challenges to utilizing GIS for public health research and practice are considered, such as (i) documenting spatial error, such as the Modifiable Areal Unit Problem (MAUP) spatial studies, which rely on aggregated data sources; (ii) utilizing cartographic techniques (e.g., evaluating class intervals) that impact communicating spatial information to a variety of audiences (i.e., lay public or other health researchers); and (iii) considerations from geostatistical methods, such as choice of spatial units when analyzing data from rural populations.

Key words: Spatial analysis; Epidemiological methods; Public health; Geographical information system (GIS); Rural health

Accepted December 11, 2012.
Address correspondence to Tenaya M. Sunbury, Ph.D., Affiliate Professor, Department of Health Sciences, College of Health, University of Alaska-Anchorage, DPL 404, 3211 Providence Drive, Anchorage, AK 99517, USA. Tel: 512-424-6848; Fax: 512-424-6840; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 15, pp. 101–108, 2013
1929-8241/13 $90.00 + .00
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982413X13650843068834
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2013 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

GIS Mapping: A Useful Tool for Understanding Racial Disparities in Health

Naomi Meier* and Shamekka Kuykendall†

*School of Public Health at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, Fort Worth, TX, USA
†Heller School of Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, USA

Health disparities reflect social inequalities in America. The built environment has been found to play a key role in the health of a community. In this community assessment, geographical information system (GIS) mapping and structured observations were used to analyze differences between certain aspects of the built environment in ethnic minority neighborhoods and predominantly White neighborhoods in Fort Worth, Texas. Researchers looked at two aspects of health in the city’s built environment: types of food available and space accessible for recreation. A GIS map was created to highlight neighborhoods of different ethnic/racial makeup. Major grocery stores, fast food restaurants, city parks, and franchise gyms were overlaid on the map. Analysis of the map revealed neighborhoods with greater racial diversity had fewer grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and corporate gyms compared to less diverse neighborhoods. Observational data revealed further differences between these neighborhoods, including higher food prices and fewer amenities at the local parks in ethnic minority neighborhoods. If efforts are made to improve access, GIS mapping should be used in conjunction with on-the-ground research and connections with residents in the neighborhoods to enhance understanding.

Key words: Racial disparities; Health; Geographical information system (GIS) mapping; Built environment; Policy; Social justice

Accepted December 11, 2012.
Address correspondence to Naomi Meier, 624 W. University Drive Suite 180, Denton, TX 76201, USA. Tel: (940)-453-9257; Fax: (940)-387-7099; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 15, pp. 109–124, 2013
1929-8241/13 $90.00 + .00
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982413X13650843068799
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2013 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

The Search for “Strong Medicine”: Pathways to Healthcare Development in Remote Nepal Using GIS

Catherine L. Sanders*† and Kimber H. McKay*†

*Department of Anthropology, University of Montana, Missoula, MT, USA
†The ISIS Foundation, Edmonds, WA, USA

Nepalese agropastoralists’ confrontations with forces of change in the last generation have altered villagers’ abilities to gain access to health services, clean water, and nutrition in Humla District, Nepal. Development efforts and Nepal’s recent armed conflict, in particular, introduced novel technologies and ideologies that a subsection of villagers have responded to in a fashion that we did not expect. In this article, based on theories about the diffusion of innovation and risk, we argue that, together, villagers and other change agents have cocreated new contexts of vulnerability in the postconflict setting of rural Nepal, as observed in remote Humla District. Using ArcGIS to represent landscapes of health and health-seeking behavior, we explore the integration of neoliberal health development in this postconflict setting in which medical pluralism, caste, Hinduism, and cultural conservatism all shape decision making. Based on in-depth and long-term research conducted in the region over the past 15 years, we describe the strengths and weaknesses of GIS as a tool for enhancing our understanding of this “health landscape.” In Humla, topography is a major determinant of access to healthcare. Our analyses reveal interesting relationships among health, culture, and vulnerability and provide insight into directions for future health interventions in similar contexts elsewhere.

Key words: Health; Health seeking; Development; Geographical information system (GIS); Vulnerability

Accepted December 11, 2012.
Address correspondence to Catherine L. Sanders, Research Associate, The ISIS Foundation, 823 Wolf Ave #3, Missoula, MT 59802, USA. Tel: (406)-552-9483; Fax: (406)-728-3328; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 15, pp. 125–127, 2013
1929-8241/13 $90.00 + .00
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982413X1350843068915
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2013 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Commentary: Cooperative Patent Classification : A New Era for the World’s Intellectual Property Offices

Matthew Palumbo

Public Affairs Specialist and Consultant to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, VA, USA

Innovation requires an institutional infrastructure to promote technological advances and protect owners of intellectual property. The globalization of commerce and communication has outpaced the ability of the current worldwide intellectual property infrastructure to adapt. In response, the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office have collaborated to create the Cooperative Patent Classification system as a way to facilitate work sharing between the two offices and advance patent harmonization in general.

Key words: Patents; Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC); International patent classification (IPC); Innovation; United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); European Patent Office (EPO)

Accepted January 18, 2013.
Address correspondence to Matthew Palumbo, M.B.A., Public Affairs Specialist and Consultant to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, United States Patent and Trademark Office, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 15, pp. 129–147, 2013
1929-8241/13 $90.00 + .00
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982413X13650843068951
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2013 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Triple Helix, Government Institutional Settings and Policies to Foster Technology Development

Jarunee Wonglimpiyarat

College of Innovation, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand

The purpose of this study is to examine the governmental financing policies and management of innovation financing programs within system dynamics of an innovation system. Drawing on the Triple Helix model, the study analyzes effectiveness and challenges of the government financing system to support technology and innovation development using comparative country cases of Thailand and Malaysia. In particular, this study analyzes certain aspects of the government: the role of government in education, intellectual property protection, international trade and foreign direct investment policy, and cluster development. The results provide practical insights to revitalize the nation’s economy through innovation.

Key words: Governmental financing; National innovation system; Financial policies; Venture capital; Financing programs

Accepted August 24, 2012.
Address correspondence to Jarunee Wonglimpiyarat, Anekprasong 3 Bldg., Prachan Rd., Bangkok 10200, Thailand. Tel: 662-623-5055-8; Fax: 662-623-5060; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 15, pp. 149–156, 2013
1929-8241/13 $90.00 + .00
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982413X13650843068997
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2013 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Complicating Life: A Study of Encounters With Assisted Reproductive Technologies

Kate Maley

Iowa Consortium for Substance Abuse Research and Evaluation, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, USA

Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) are a broad range of methods and procedures to enable the processes of conception, gestation, and birth. Be it by monitoring one’s body through images and tests, undergoing invasive surgeries, engaging third parties in producing a pregnancy, or an array of other procedures, these technologies are increasingly tied up in ideas of “natural” reproduction. This study is an exploration of how individuals make sense of the often new and unsettling relationships they enact, embody, and imagine through the use of ARTs. Drawing upon interviews with 16 women, I trace how identity is mediated through encounters with infertility and its complicated dynamics of hope and loss. Rather than a discussion of the potentials and perils of the technologies, this article considers the experiential aspects of ARTs by foregrounding the voices of their users. As assisted reproductive technologies become more normalized, it is crucial to track how they complicate the lives of women and men living under the label “infertile,” the women who undergo ARTs, and the kin and social networks of all of these women and men who encounter them. As understanding is ultimately possible through their experiences of instability, negotiation, and disrupture, it is equally as essential to produce analyses that work to both complicate and benefit the contexts—and lives—from which they are derived.

Key words: Assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs); Infertility; Patient experience; Feminism

Accepted May 24, 2012.
Address correspondence to Kate Maley, University of Iowa, 100 MTP4, Suite 106, Iowa City, IA 52242-5000, USA. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 15, pp. 157–164, 2013
1929-8241/13 $90.00 + .00
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982413X13650843069031
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2013 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Using Mature Technologies to Innovate Medical Practices: A Reflection on Medical Innovation Taking Socio-Organizational Issues Into Account

Laura Lucia Parolin

University of Milano-Bicocca, Milan, Italy

This article presents a reflection on how mature technologies can be used to innovate when they become elements of a new network of interactions, knowledge, and actors. Starting from analysis of the role of a mature technology, the electrocardiogram (ECG), in ordinary practices in the healthcare system and in a case of teleconsultancy among practitioners, this article discusses innovation in medicine by moving away from the simplistic equation “innovation = new technology” and taking socio-organizational issues into account. In the case described, information and communications technologies (ICT) and electronic ECG provide the infrastructure with a new type of activity in which the practices of medical examination and specialist consultation are redefined by the new opportunities for interaction offered by remote consultation. Despite its low level of technological complexity, new medical practices can fill an important gap in the current configuration of healthcare systems. Connecting the General Practitioner’s (GP) practical experience and the cardiologist’s reading and interpretation of ECG creates a new medical practice with great potential for the risk prevention of acute cardiovascular events. The case presented provides useful insights to shift the attention from technological innovation itself to technology in use new socio-organizational configurations—insights that could also be generalized outside the medical field.

Key words: Medical practices; Mature technology; Technology in use; Socio-organizational network; Discursive practices

Accepted June 19, 2012.
Address correspondence to Laura Lucia Parolin, Ph.D., Department of Sociology and Social Research, Via Biocca degli Arcimboldi, 8, 20126, Milano, Italy. E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


Technology and Innovation, Vol. 15, pp. 165–179, 2013
1929-8241/13 $90.00 + .00
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3727/194982413X13650843069077
E-ISSN 1949-825X
Copyright © 2013 Cognizant Comm. Corp.
Printed in the USA. All rights reserved

Necessity Is the Mother of Invention: Access Inequalities to Medical Technologies Faced by Transgendered South Africans

Thamar Klein

Somatechnics Research Centre, Macquarie University, New South Wales, Australia

This article explores the inventiveness of transgendered South Africans in the face of a state-sanctioned gender binary. Not only are citizens legally required to identify as either male or female (there is no choice of a legal additional gender, as there is in some other countries), but society also coerces them to present visually as distinctly female or male. People with ambiguous looks and identities may find their lives at risk and are massively exposed to hate crimes, intimidation, and harassment, as well as discrimination. The necessity of being visibly positioned within the gender binary, in conjunction with inequalities in access to those medical technologies that may offer a route to unambiguous physical appearance, call forth a creative inventiveness. The article illustrates how, due to the complex intersectionality (the ways in which different social partitions of class, religion, ethnicity, skin color, and income are entangled) of experiences, identities, access to medical technologies, and inventive strategies of transgendered citizens may be widely divergent. Keeping the diversity of South African trans* citizens in mind, the following questions are addressed: What medical technologies are available, and how do those citizens who are excluded from accessing specific technologies invent strategies to deal with the necessity of fitting (at least visually) into the prescribed two-gender system?

Key words: Transgender; Transexuality; Medical technologies; Access inequalities; South Africa

Accepted June 19, 2012.
Address correspondence to Thamar Klein, Alteburgerstraße 3, 50678 Cologne, Germany. Tel: +49-15776306236; E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it