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Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Wolfson Fellow

Dr Christine E. Dunn

Contact Dr Christine E. Dunn (email at


I have a long-standing interest in interdisciplinary, collaborative research at the science-social science interface. As a health geographer my research interests centre on the relationships between human disease and the physical and human-made environments. My recent work focuses on water-borne diseases in the Global South and the links between rural livelihoods, social norms and health-related behaviour. I have explored these relationships both from a spatial perspective and in the context of scientific and lay understandings of risks to health. Much of this work has adopted mixed methods (qualitative and quantitative) with a focus on community-based Participatory Geographical Information Systems (PGIS). This approach serves to challenge conventional, technologically driven approaches to GIS by integrating socio-cultural qualitative information with spatial environmental data. This research is both conceptual and empirical and draws on my field experience of GIS implementation in several countries: Tanzania, Nigeria, Ghana, Brazil, Mexico, Bangladesh, South Korea, Jordan and Oman.

Recent Grants

  • ESRC: £773,234: ‘Physical Activity and Wellbeing in Schools’ (2012-2014) with Professor Peter Tymms, Education, Durham University, Sarah Curtis, Geography, Durham University, Carolyn Summerbell, School for Health, Durham University, Ashley Cooper, University of Bristol, and others.
  • EPSRC/ESRC: £713,942: ‘Built Infrastructure for Older People in Conditions of Climate Change’ (2009-2012) with Prof Sarah Curtis, Mylene Riva, Sim Reaney, Department of Geography; Prof Lena Dominelli, School of Applied Social Sciences; Ralf Ohlemuller, School of Biological & Biomedical Sciences; Jonathan Erskine, Centre for Integrated Health Care Research; Roland Burkhard, School of the Built Environment, Heriot Watt University; Prof Mark Stewart, University of Newcastle, Australia. 
  • National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIH/NIEHS), USA: $317,176: ‘Participatory natural resource management to mitigate health inequities in Africa’ (2007-2010) with a focus on the impacts of human conflicts over natural resources on health-related behaviour with specific reference to malaria.
  • ESRC Research Seminars Competition: £14,972: Co-applicant on ‘Time-Space and Life-Course’ (October 2007- September 2009) with Dr Helen Jarvis and Dr Seraphim Alvanides, School of Geography, Politics and Sociology, Newcastle University; Prof Colin Pooley, Department of Geography and Prof Elizabeth Shove, Department of Sociology, Lancaster University; and Dr Rachel Pain, Department of Geography, Durham University.
  • Wolfson Development Fellowship: £6,800: Exploring potential interfaces between scientific and social scientific approaches to understanding aspects of health and environment, with special reference to malaria in Africa (2004).
  • Department of Health / Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions / Environment Agency: £123,890: Joint Research Programme on the Possible Health Effects of Landfill Sites for a study of 'The geographical variation in overall rates of congenital abnormalities and the rates of specific abnormalities' awarded for two years (June 2000 - May 2002) with Dr Judith Rankin; Department of Epidemiology and Public Health; Medical School; University of Newcastle upon Tyne; Martine Vrijheid; Environmental Epidemiology Unit; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine; Helen Dolk; University of Ulster and others.

Indicators of Esteem

  • 2009: Royal Geographical Society Award: Cuthbert Peek Award for development and application of participatory GIS
  • Royal Geographical Society: Chair of the Geography of Health Research Group, Royal Geographical Society (with the IBG), 2007-2010

Research Groups

Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Department of Geography

Research Projects

Department of Geography

  • Built Infrastructure for Older People’s Care in Conditions of Climate Change (BIOPICCC)
  • Health Inequalities in an Age of Austerity, Leverhulme Trust Research Leadership Grant, £1 million (2013-2018)

School of Applied Social Sciences

  • Built Infrastructure for Older People’s Care in Conditions of Climate Change (BIOPICCC)

Research Interests

  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Geography of Health

Selected Publications

Chapter in book

  • Dunn C.E. (2010). Geographical information systems as a means for communicating about public health. In Risk Communication and Public Health. Bennett, P. Calman, K., Curtis, S. & Smith, D. Oxford University Press.
  • Dunn, C.E. (2005). Illustrating the report. In Methods in Human Geography. Flowerdew, R. & Martin, D. Harlow, Essex: Pearson.
  • Dunn, C. E. & Williams, C. (2001). Integrating local knowledge and GIS: Landmine threat assessment in Bosnia and north-west Cambodia. In GIS Research in the UK. Kinder, D. B. & Higgs, G. 44-47.
  • Dunn, C.E. & Kingham, S.P. (1996). Modelling air quality and the effects on health in a GIS framework. In Innovations in GIS 3. Parker, D. Taylor & Francis. 205-213.

Journal Article

Show all publications

Selected Grants

  • 2007: PARTICIPATORY NATURAL RESOURCE (£157839.00 from National Institutes of Health)
  • 2001: ENVIRONMENTAL HAZARDS AND HEALTH (£18386.00 from NHS Northern & Yorkshire Region)
  • 2000: GEOGRAPHICAL VARIATION IN CONGENITAL ABNORMALITIES (£12340.00 from Department of Public Health & Policy)