The AAG welcomes Zan Dodson as Director, Program Management & Research. Prior to the AAG, he was a postdoctoral associate for three years in the Public Health Dynamics Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh and Adjunct Faculty at Carnegie Mellon University. He has taught numerous courses in geography ranging from cultural and regional geography, to qualitative methods, to GIS and remote sensing, and has served as both an undergraduate and graduate advisor.

Zan completed his undergraduate and graduate work at the University of Maryland, College Park, receiving a B.S. in Agricultural & Resource Economics, with minors in GIS and Mandarin, and a Ph.D. in Geographical Sciences. For his dissertation research, Zan used mixed methods to better understand the complex relationship between chronically-ill subsistence farmers in Mozambique, food insecurity, and how access to health care could be improved. More recently, he has focused his efforts on using open data to examine spatiotemporal patterns in opioid use disorder and optimizing health care accessibility, as well as developing new approaches for measuring social determinants of health. Zan also has significant work experience outside of academia, working thirteen years for Merriweather Post Pavilion where he served as an Operations Manager.

Zan will be working on the AAG research program and with the AAG management team to support the Association. He is currently working with the AAG team and researchers around the world to expand the International Geospatial Health Research Network (IGHRN), which explores new research frontiers in geospatial health and to generate research synergies through international networks to share data and information. He will also help support the AAG research team on a newly-funded NSF award that will develop a geospatial virtual data enclave where researchers can work securely with confidential geospatial data.

When not working, Zan enjoys hiking, cooking—especially, working on his sourdough—and spending time with his kids. He also dabbles in photography, painting, and playing guitar.