Melinda Meade Memorial Disease Ecology Sessions @ AAG at Chicago, Illinois (2015)

Melinda Meade Memorial Disease Ecology Sessions @ AAG at Chicago, Illinois (2015)

In memory of Dr. Melinda Meade, who passed away in November 2013, several sessions around the theme of disease ecology will be organized at the upcoming 2015 AAG Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois (April 21-25, 2015). These sessions will be part of the larger International Geospatial Health Research Symposium.  They will provide a forum for conceptual, theoretical, methodological, and empirical scholarship on disease ecology.  Both qualitative and quantitative research is welcome, as are papers focusing on health in both high and low resource contexts.

Disease ecology is concerned with “the ways human behavior, in its cultural and socioeconomic context, interacts with environmental conditions to produce or prevent disease” (Meade and Earickson 2000, 21). Population, society and the physical and biological environments exist in a dynamic equilibrium. The human-environment relationship, if disturbed enough by major changes in land use, migration, population density, or other stressors can lead to a state of instability, which manifests as an increase in disease rates or the appearance of new diseases. At the same time, fundamental to disease ecology is notion that people do not respond passively to disease, but rather act purposely to mitigate the impact of disease. In this way, social and cultural circumstances can actually create/prevent disease. Disease ecology is inherently concerned with integrating the social and physical aspects of human existence.

Dr. Meade was a Professor of Geography at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill until her passing.  She was a pioneer in the field of health and medical geography and taught courses from freshman to doctoral level on issues of changing population dynamics and structure, agricultural modernization, urbanization, and globalization in the developing world; on population geography, medical geography, and disease ecology.  Dr. Meade is best known, particularly to undergraduate students, as the author of the definitive textbook in the field of medical geography.

If you would like to contribute to these sessions, please submit your abstract online ( and then email Elisabeth Root ( and Margaret Carrel ( with your title, abstract, author information, and AAG PIN by the due date of November 5, 2014 to be included in one of the sessions. You may also wish to send this information to, the organizers of the International Geospatial Health Research Symposium.

Elisabeth Root (, University of Colorado Boulder

Margaret Carrel (, University of Iowa

Michael Emch (, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill