Sara L McLafferty

Section 1


Sara L McLafferty

Department Head, Professor of Geography and Geographic Information Science,School of Earth, Society, and Environment,LAS Global Studies,Center for Global Studies, and Title VI Centers Faculty Survey

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Contact Information

Specializations / Research Interest(s)

  • Geography of Health
  • Urban Geography
  • GIS and Spatial Analysis

Research Description

  • How do the places where we live, work and interact affect our well-being?  This question underpins my work on topics ranging from spatial mismatch to access to health care to contextual influences on health.  My current research investigates place-based inequalities in health and well-being and access to health services  for women, immigrants and racial/ethnic minorities in the United States.   An ongoing multidisciplinary project, funded by the American Cancer Society, examines the impact of inequalities in spatial and social accessibility to health services on racial disparities in prostate and colorectal cancer outcomes in Chicago.  I have also written about the use of GIS and spatial analysis methods in examining and addressing health and social issues in cities. My books include GIS and Public Health (with Ellen Cromley), A Companion to Health and Medical Geography (with Tim Brown and Graham Moon), Geospatial Analysis of Environmental Health (with Juliana Maantay), Geographies of Women’s Health (with Isabel Dyck and Nancy Lewis), and Location Strategies for Retail and Service Firms (with Avijit Ghosh). I am currently an Associate Editor of Health and Place and serve on the editorial boards of the Annals of the Association of American Geographers, Geographical Analysis, and Spatial and Spatiotemporal Epidemiology.


  • B.A., Geography, Barnard College, Columbia University, 1973
  • M.A., Geography, University of Iowa, 1977
  • Ph.D., Geography, University of Iowa, 1979


  • GEOG 104, Introduction to Social and Cultural Geography
  • GEOG 371, Spatial Analysis
  • GEOG 438/SOC 478, Geography of Health Care
  • GEOG 570, Advanced Spatial Analysis
  • GEOG 412, Geospatial Technologies and Society (with Tom Bassett)



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Book Contributions

  • "Placing Substance Use: Geographical Perspectives on Substance Use and Addiction." Geography and Drug Addiction. . Springer, 2009.

Edited Books

Journal Articles

  • McLafferty, Sara, Michael Widener, Ranjana Chakrabarti, and Sue Grady. "Ethnic density and maternal and infant health inequalities: Bangladeshi immigrant women in New York City in the 1990s." Annals of the Association of American Geographrs 102.5 (2012): 893-903.
  • McLafferty, S., V. Freeman, R. Barrett, and L. Luo. "Spatial error in geocoding physician location data from the AMA Physician Masterfile: Implications for spatial accessibility analysis." Spatial and Spatiotemporal Epidemiology 3 (2012): 31-38.
  • "Analyzing spatial aggregation error in statistical models of late-stage cancer risk: A Monte Carlo simulation approach." International Journal of Health Geographics 9.51 (2010):
  • "Healthcare Access, Socioeconomic Factors and Late-stage Cancer Diagnosis: An Exploratory Spatial Analysis and Public Policy Implication." International Journal of Public Policy 5.2 (2010):
  • McLafferty, S.. "Placing pandemics: Geographic dimensions of vulnerability and spread." Eurasian Geography and Economics 51.2 (2010): 1-19.
  • "Quotidian geographies: Placing feminism." Gender, Place and Culture 17.1 (2010):
  • "Locating diversity: Race, ethnicity and place in health disparities research." GeoJournal (2009):
  • McLafferty, S., and F. Wang. "Rural reversal? Rural-urban disparities in late-stage cancer risk in Illinois." Cancer 115.12 (2009): 2755-2764.
  • McLafferty, S.. "Women and GIS: Geospatial technologies and feminist geographies." Cartographica 40.4 (2006): 37-45.
  • McLafferty, S.. "Mapping women's worlds: Knowledge, power and the bounds of GIS." Gender, Place and Culture 9.3 (2002): 263-269.

Encyclopedia Entries

  • "Geography of Health and Health Care." Encyclopedia of Geography. SAGE Publications, 2010.
  • "Geography of Health and Health Care." Encyclopedia of Geography. SAGE Publications, 2010.