PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2013, Vol. 32 ›› Issue (8): 1276-1285.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2013.08.011

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Trend and hot topics of medical geography

QI Lanlan1, ZHOU Suhong1,2, YAN Xiaopei1, GU Jie1   

  1. 1. Centre for Urban and Regional Studies, School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China;
    2. Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2012-10-01 Revised:2013-04-01 Online:2013-08-25 Published:2013-08-25
  • Contact: 周素红(1976-),女,广东饶平人,博士,教授,主要从事城市地理学、城市公共政策研究。E-mail:

Abstract: In this paper, based on the discussions on the two main branches, ecological medical geography and health care geography, we reviewed current content and development process of medical geography. Through literature study and use of a software platform, we established a database which helps identify and rank citation rates, vocabulary frequencies, authors' countries and affiliations. We argued that, in contrast to classic literature, medical geography studies in recent years expanded the focuses from "disease" to "health" related geographical issues; research horizons expanded from global to national, to local, to neighborhood, and even to the inner space of a building; more and more research tools became available, and more and more spatial analysis methods have been used. The focuses of the studies of medical geography include: the impact of human development and socio-economic activities on health, spatial relationships between healthcare services, effects of healthcare behavior on the health conditions, the impacts of neighborhood environment, especially socio-economic conditions, health and healthcare equity issues, especially medical services and healthcare for the groups with special needs. The majority of the researchers are mainly from medical and public health fields, followed by the ones from geographic research institutions. Studies of medical geography are mainly in developed American and European countries, as well as the fast developing countries such as China, Brazil, and so on. This paper argued that research in medical geography should expand to a broader scope that includes the study of well-being; the spatial scale of the study would be widened, deepened, and expanded to the topics in virtual space such as online- base medical services; multidisciplinary researches would also be more widely adopted in the future.

Key words: ecological medical geography, health care geography, hot research topics, medical geography, trend of development