• 11th International Summer School

    August 5-9, 2019

    Spatial and digital epidemiology:

    Leveraging geo-referenced social media in the context of mental health

  • Venue

    University of Zurich


  • Course Instructors

    Dr. Oliver Gruebner

    Senior researcher, University of Zurich, Switzerland

    Oliver Gruebner is a senior researcher at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He holds two positions, one in the Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute (EBPI), and one in the Department of Geography (GIVA). His research focuses on spatial epidemiological approaches to chronic diseases including mental health based on social media data. He received his PhD in Geography from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany in 2011. He was a postdoctoral researcher at University of Bern Centre for Development and Environment (CDE), Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Robert Koch-Institute Berlin.

    Alexander Krämer, PhD, MD

    Professor, School of Public Health, University of Bielefeld, Germany

    Alexander Krämer is an expert in the field of Public Health and one of the founders of the first independent School of Public Health in Germany. Krämer is active in several research fields of global public health like urban health, refugee health, health and climate change and infectious disease epidemiology. As a senior professor he is the director of the Graduate Research Programme FlüGe together with 12 other PIs, the consortium coordinator and 13 doctoral students at the University of Bielefeld, Germany addressing refugee health from an inter- and transdisciplinary perspective. Krämer is author and editor of books on infectious disease epidemiology, urban health, climate change health effects, ehealth and health at the university setting. He is author and coauthor of more than 300 publications in international peer-reviewed scientific journals.

    MMH Khan, PhD

    Professor, Department of Social Relations, East West University, Dhaka, Bangladesh

    Md. Mobarak Hossain Khan is Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Social Relations at East West University (EWU), Bangladesh. Before joining at EWU on January 2018, he occupied several faculty and research positions in Bangladesh, Germany, Japan, and Saudi Arabia. His total number of publication is around 130 including an edited book on urban health. He finished his habilitation (Bielefeld University, Germany, 2017), PhD (Sapporo Medical University, Japan, 2007), MSc (Heidelberg University, Germany, 2000), MSc and BSc (Jahangirnagar University, Bangladesh, 1992, 1991) either in Statistics or Public Health and Epidemiology.

    Dr. Sven Lautenbach

    Senior researcher, Geoinformatics Department, University of Heidelberg, Germany

    Sven Lautenbach is currently a senior researcher at the Geoinformatics Department, University of Heidelberg, Germany. He got his PhD in applied system science from the University of Osnabrück. He worked as a postdoc researcher at the department for Computational Landscape Ecology at the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany, as an acting assistant professor for geomatics at the Department of Geography at the Humboldt University zu Berlin, Germany, adjunct faculty at the George Mason University, Fairfax, USA and as an assistant professor for land use modeling and ecosystem services at the University of Bonn, Germany. His research focuses on spatial data analysis in the domains of environmental management, land use science and public health.

    Dr. Florian Fischer

    Postdoc, School of Public Health, University of Bielefeld, Germany

    Florian Fischer is a postdoctoral researcher at Bielefeld University, School of Public Health. He is an expert in issues related to public health, health communication and digitalisation. For example, he is the editor of a book on eHealth. Originally he was trained as a paramedic. Afterwards, he studied consecutively in a bachelor, master and doctoral programme in public health at Bielefeld University.

  • Course Description


    Basic Knowledge in epidemiology

    Familiarity with R statistical software (for example, see http://www.r-tutorial.nl/)


    If you wish to work on your own laptop, please bring it with statistical software R installed. Please install the most recent version of R (https://cran.r-project.org/bin/windows/base/) and the most recent version of RStudio (https://www.rstudio.com/products/rstudio/download/, choose the free open source license). If you already have an older version installed please ensure to update it since there might be problems if an old version of R is used together with a new version of Rstudio and vice versa.


    Course language



    Course Fees

    Students and PhD candidates (proof required):



    3 ECTS



    The course is designed for researchers, public health professionals, epidemiologists, geographers, and clinicians familiar with solid knowledge of epidemiologic principles, and multivariable modeling.



    The course addresses spatial epidemiological approaches to social media data with a focus on urban health. We concentrate on state-of-the-art multivariable statistical and spatial statistical modeling to health outcomes as identified in geo-located Twitter data and associations with socio-ecological factors of urban contexts.


    We combine theoretical and lab work on statistical analysis and spatial-epidemiological modeling techniques in a vibrant international and interdisciplinary setting.


    The summer school Spatial epidemiology, social media, and urban health is attracting participants due to its interdisciplinary character. Combining the scientific approaches of the discipline of geography with its genuine focus on space with those of epidemiology, biostatistics, and the public health sciences makes it possible and fruitful for the participants to deal with the spatial dimensions of health. The summer school faculty has long-lasting cooperation demonstrated by joint publications in the field of urban and megacity health, geo-spatial, and social media analysis.


    Learning objectives

    After completing the course, participants will be able to:

    Review concepts of spatial epidemiology, urban health, and social media analytics

    Analyze health outcomes of urban populations:

    Geo-processing (e.g., integrating geo-spatial social media information)

    Spatial clustering and mapping (e.g., hotspot analysis)

    Spatial statistics (e.g., spatial regression)

    Work more effectively in collaboration with other disciplines for investigating multidisciplinary health problems.


  • Program

    Past course program September 17-21 2018

    Note that the program is from our last summer school