Marynia Kolak is the assistant director of health informatics and assistant instructional professor of geographic information science at the Center for Spatial Data Science at the University of Chicago. In her role as a health geographer she uses open science tools and an exploratory data analytic approach to investigate issues of equity across space and time. Her research centers on how “place” impacts health outcomes in different ways, for different people, from opioid risk environments to chronic disease clusters. She focuses on quantifying and distilling the structural determinants of health across different environments, tying political ecology models of public health with geocomputational methods and quasi-experimental policy evaluation techniques.
She received the 2017 Concordium Innovation Award at AcademyHealth for her open-source visualization of Chicago determinants of health, and “Highest Impact” award in the Prevention Category at the American College of Cardiology 2019 conference for her work in connecting chronic disease rates with social determinants of health. She serves as the Co-I and spatial analytic lead in the ETHIC project investigating the opioid epidemic in Illinois. In addition, she serves as an Health and Medical Specialty Group (AAG) board member, and chair of the Chicago Public Health GIS Network.