Infectious Diseases Mapping Challenge: Advancing Global Health Security

Project Title Infectious Diseases Mapping Challenge: Advancing Global Health Security
Project Summary Organize an infectious disease mapping challenge for fellow students to use geospatial mapping to produce relevant and visually appealing maps that address one or more of the objectives of the Global Health Security Agenda, a global effort to prevent, detect, & respond to infectious diseases
Country United States
Agency Department of State
DoS Office OES/IHB
Post N/A
Section N/A
Number of Interns 6
Project Description

Many questions relevant to global health security can be addressed with geo-spatial mapping can address. For example, are there spatial or seasonal patterns in the epidemiology of disease outbreaks?

In 2015-2016, we worked through VSFS to launch the inaugural crowd-sourced “mapping challenge” on global health security for students. We would like to renew the challenge for a second year. As with year 1, the themes of this year’s mapping challenge align with the themes and objectives of the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), a multi-lateral effort to prevent, detect, and respond to infectious disease outbreaks.

Participants in the mapping challenge would use publicly available data sets to make creative and visually-appealing maps. The purpose of the activity is to highlight the role of spatial analysis for addressing health security, and to cultivate interest in health security among students. Students may be invited to share their work with relevant officials.

Desired Skills Interests
Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Communication Skills
Data vizualization
Science communication
data visualization
Interest in potential of science, technology, and innovation for global development
Public health
Foreign Policy
data mining
strong logistics management, promotional, and communication skills, and will ideally be media- and tech-savvy.
Public Policy
Additional Information

More information on the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA) can be found on

The Office of International Health and Biodefense is part of the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, which is the Department’s primary bureau for addressing environment, science, technology, and health (ESTH) issues. We work with other department offices and U.S. government agencies, with ESTH officers at embassies and consulates around the world, and with bilateral and multilateral partners to improve global health and address emerging health challenges.

A few more details on the role of the VSFS intern in the mapping challenge:
As with the first round of the campus mapping challenge, the VSFS interns would explain the basic goals of GHSA to fellow students and provide them with broad guidelines for the mapping challenge to enable the challenge participants to develop the most relevant and visually-appealing maps, rather than being overly prescriptive. Participants in the mapping challenge would use publicly available data sets. If international data sets are limited, national data sets could be used for demonstration purposes.