Arthi Rao, PhD, MS-GIST

Senior Research Scientist, Geospatial Research

Arthi Rao, PhD, is a Senior Research scientist for Geospatial Research within the Statistics and Evaluation Center. She conducts research, publishing and production of spatial products that further the ACS mission towards cancer prevention and support. She currently leads research projects that include mapping and analyzing communities served by various components of the healthcare system (Federally Qualified Health Centers, CoC hospitals).  Particular research topics include understanding community-level determinants of access to cancer treatment, cancer screening and identifying vulnerable communities for public health interventions. She performs all aspects of geospatial analytics including statistical analysis, modeling, Python scripting, mapping and tool development for initiatives across ACS.

Arthi’s research interests focus on social determinants of health, healthcare access, healthy communities and spatial methods pertaining to these topics, bringing a Health Geography lens to cancer research. In addition to leading projects at ACS, she regularly collaborates with researchers at The Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech and the American Planning association as a subject matter expert on healthy communities’ research, area-level health determinants and geospatial methods. She has published in journals on the topics of Health Impact Assessment (HIA), sustainability, walkability analysis, regional planning, therapeutic landscapes and multiculturalism. Prior to ACS, Arthi worked at the Center for Quality Growth and Regional Development (CQGRD) at Georgia Tech. She was the primary resource for projects on healthy communities and led the grant writing process for several HIA proposals.

Arthi has had a consistent focus on Health, Place and Space research throughout career. She has an interdisciplinary doctorate in Urban Planning, Spatial/Social Epidemiology and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) from Georgia Tech. Her doctoral research investigated novel spatial metrics that measure urban development/social patterns and their association with chronic disease patterns including cancer. The dissertation is based on a cross-disciplinary framework developed from Social Epidemiology, Landscape/Spatial Epidemiology and Landscape Ecology. She utilized several methods including spatial clustering, data mining/classification techniques and hierarchical modeling to identify landscape signatures of healthy/unhealthy communities.