The Health and Medical Geography Specialty Group (HMGSG) of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) has awarded Dr. Amanda Hoffman-Hall the 2022 Jacques May Thesis Prize. The HMGSG has awarded this annual prize since 1985 to masters or doctoral students whose thesis addresses themes in health and medical geography. A panel of reviewers judges the thesis based on the work's contribution to the health and medical geography field, methodological approach, organization, and written composition. Dr. Hoffman-Hall successfully defended her doctoral dissertation in May 2020, titled "Interdisciplinary Geospatial Assessment of Malaria Exposure in Ann Township, Myanmar". Her research combined satellite earth observations and human activity surveys to assess patterns of exposure to malaria at multiple scales.
Her work established strong associations between malaria and individual land-use activities that bring the people of Ann Township into direct contact with forested areas. The results highlighted that the current malaria elimination strategies, which focus on prevention from within the home (i.e., bednets and indoor spraying) and have contributed to a dramatic decrease in malaria cases, are not fully sufficient to remove all remaining malaria reservoirs in Myanmar. Her work suggests a shift in malaria elimination strategies towards targeted interventions that can disrupt malaria transmission in the settings where exposure occurs, which will be critical to achieving country-wide malaria elimination.
Portions of Hoffman-Hall's dissertation work have been published in the journals GeoHealth (Contextualizing Malaria Exposure in Myanmar by Combining Satellite-Derived Land Cover and Use Observations with Field Surveys), Data (A disease control-oriented land cover land use map for Myanmar), and Remote Sensing of Environment (Mapping remote rural settlements at 30 m spatial resolution using geospatial data-fusion).
Hoffman-Hall is a member of the Health and Medical Specialty group of the AAG and the GeoHealth Section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), where she also serves as the Diversity Committee Co-Chair. She recently chaired a Town Hall at the 2021 AGU Annual Meeting, "Surviving Global Change: GeoHealth, Marginalized Communities, and Environmental Justice in the Anthropocene" and will be serving as a Career Mentor at this year's AAG Annual Meeting. Her research focuses on spatial epidemiology and prediction of infectious disease risk, environmental health, algorithm development for satellite mapping of land cover and land-use change, and population and human settlement mapping. She is passionate about environmental justice, undergraduate education, and ensuring that every Geographical Sciences major achieves a fulfilling post-graduate career. Since earning her PhD in 2020 she has served as a Lecturer and the Undergraduate Director for the Department of Geographical Sciences, and will be joining the faculty of Eckerd College as an Assistant Professor in the Fall.