Advanced GIS Training for Health Professionals

image003 Acopian Center for the Environment – ACE
Center for Health Services Research and Development, Byron Crape – CHSR
Innovations in Support of Reproductive Health Project  NOVA

An advanced ArcGIS training for fifteen representatives from a total of eight health organizations in Armenia took place from May 11-14, 2009 at the computer lab of the American University of Armenia. The advanced GIS training was subcontracted to The Acopian Center for the Environment by USAID Project NOVA in the frame of “GIS in Health Training and Workshop for the Armenian Organizations for policy formulation, data-driven decision-making, planning, monitoring, and evaluation”.

Training was conducted by Mr. Thomas Lyman, M.Ed., Senior GIS/GPS Specialist at the Acopian Center for the Environment and by Mr. Byron L. Crape, MSPH, PhD from the School of Public Health at AUA.  They were assisted by Ms. Meike Schaefer, M.Sc., GIS Specialist at the Acopian Center for the Environment, AUA, Mr. Armen Asryan, MIS, from USAID project NOVA, and Ms. Anahit Bobikyan, translator.

Advanced GIS Training

The advanced GIS training was complemented by and built on the introductory training given by Mr. Armen Asryan the previous week. It was expected that all participants were familiar with the concept of Geographic Information Systems, the particular configuration of ArcGIS 9.2, and the basic tools and functions of this software. The Advanced GIS Training for Health Professionals  included practice in using many of the common tools and extensions for analyzing data, joining object features (OIDs) such as EXCEL Tables,  DBF, and CSV files to spatial features (FIDs), and editing files and tables to update and “populate” fields where data was missing.



Following the GIS training, participants were asked to prepare presentations to be given at a Roundtable Discussion held the following week, again at AUA.  These presentations were based on actual health data supplied by their own organizations or from the training material provided by NOVA, using the tools and techniques covered in the two GIS training workshops.


The projects (five in all) were presented at the Round Table / Workshop on May 20, 2009. During this workshop, the importance of GIS for decision making and health strategic planning was discussed in depth and recommendations for GIS applications in Armenia were presented by the participants. The need for further cooperation with and among the participants (especially RA MoH, NIH, and NSS) was recognized and the need for standardized and consistent health data acquisition was stressed.