Ph.D. candidate, Changzhen Wang, wins the 2022 Peter Gould Student Paper Award in Health Geography at AAG

Congratulations to Changzhen Wang, a Ph.D. candidate in Geography, for winning the first-place award in the Peter Gould Student Paper Competition organized by the Health and Medical Specialty Group at the 2022 American Association of Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting.  The competitive award is meant to promote written scholarship by students across the health and medical geography field. Changzhen’s awarded paper is entitled “Delineation of Cancer Service Areas Anchored by Major Cancer Centers in the USA”.

This research is advised by Professor Fahui Wang, her graduate advisor at LSU, and Professor Tracy Onega, her dissertation committee from the Huntsman Cancer Institute, University of Utah. By identifying the Medicare enrollment and claims of cancer care, she creates a large spatial network of cancer care utilization from cancer patients to cancer care providers across the USA. She refines an innovative network community detection method to delineate coherent cancer service areas (CSAs) by explicitly incorporating existing specialized cancer referral centers in the USA. The derived 110 CSAs have a high degree of local utilization, and thus are effective in capturing the local cancer care markets. Those CSAs with the presence of major cancer centers have patients traveling less and more likely to receive cancer care within their CSAs than those CSAs without cancer centers. The reliable CSAs can be used by many stakeholders including federal agencies, health systems, cancer centers, health care professionals, and researchers in evaluating cancer-specific care nationally and locally to inform more evidenced-based policy in cancer control and prevention.