“All innovation lies at the edges of two different disciplines”.


DSCF0121 (2)I am a health scientist working at the intersection of public health, urban planning and geography. My research seeks to disentangle the role of policy and environmental influences which give rise to place-based variation in health behavior and outcomes. To address place-based disparities in health, my research seeks to understand spatial variation in neighborhood environment and how can policy be developed effectively to bridge the gap in environmental and social justice.  I have used this lens to examine spatial variation in tobacco use and smoking behavior, to understand the optimal allocation of tobacco and cannabis retailers and developing effective approaches to cancer control. On the domestic front, I have led studies that examine spatial variation in neighborhood environment and its association with smoking behavior. To understand the key drivers why a policy is successful in one context and fails in another, I use theories of urban planning and geography, including land use pattern and zoning laws. My work in the policy arena has led into examining the effectiveness of local tobacco control laws and identifying geographic pockets where the most reduction happened and where the least change occurred. On the international front, my research as examined spatial and contextual factors that affect child immunization coverage, rural-urban disparities in access to public health facilities for maternal and child health and its implications on service utilization.

Research and Teaching Interest

Health disparities, urban health, health equity, spatial approaches to public health and policy, spatial and environmental influences on noncommunicable diseases, public health approaches to tobacco control and cannabis policy, GIS and urban health

 Selected Publications:

Priyanka Vyas, Janice Tsoh, Ginny Gildengorin, Susan Stewart, Edgar Yu, Alice Guan, Amber Pham, Nancy Burke, Steven Mcphee, “Disentangling individual and neighborhood differences in the intent to quit among Asian American male smokers”, Preventive Medicine Reports, March 2020

Priyanka Vyas, Pamela Ling, Bob Gordon, Jennifer Callewaert, Alvin Dang, Derek Smith, Brittany Chan, Stanton A. Glantz, “Compliance with San Francisco’s Flavored Tobacco Sales Prohibition”, Tobacco Control, April 2020

Priyanka Vyas, Hugh Sturrock, Pamela Ling, “Examining the role of a retail density ordinance in reducing concentration of tobacco retailers”, Spatial and Spatio-temporal Epidemiology, October, 2019

Priyanka Vyas, Dohyeong Kim, Alayne Adams, “Understanding spatial and contextual factors influencing child immunization coverage in Bangladesh”. Asia Pacific Journal of Public Health, Nov, 2018

Dohyeong Kim, Malabika Sarkar, Priyanka Vyas, “Role of spatial tools for public health decision-making in Bangladesh”, Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition, February 2016. Funded by EPPS Advisory Council, Amount $5000