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Dr. Korine Kolivras

FACULTY AFFILIATE   |   Global Change Center


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Dr. Korine Kolivras, a Professor in the Department of Geography at Virginia Tech, is an environmental geographer with expertise in health and medical geography. Specifically, her work addresses human health impacts of environmental and social change at local to global scales with two core foci: (1) the role of environmental variability and change in the emergence of vector-borne diseases, and (2) the human health impacts of land use/land cover change, such as surface mining.

Her work related to vector-borne infections has examined a variety of diseases such as malaria and dengue, but she has particularly focused on links between Lyme disease emergence and land cover change for the past 15 years.  The evaluation of surface mining impacts on health has found comparable impacts of mining on individuals and communities in Central Appalachia and eastern Guatemala, through the formation of a syndemic, or synergistic epidemic, in which feedback cycles associated with integrated environmental and social change worsen health to a greater level than the sum of each individual factor.

Dr. Kolivras’ work is highly interdisciplinary, and she collaborates widely with researchers across disciplines. She has broad methodological training in applications of geospatial tools, along with quantitative and qualitative techniques, in order to examine spatial patterns of health and disease while identifying underlying explanatory processes.  Cross-campus collaboration extends to courses, which are taken by majors ranging from the sciences and social sciences through the humanities; Dr. Kolivras teaches Health & Place (undergrads), Medical Geography of Infectious Diseases (undergrads & grads), and Health & the Global Environment (grads).