Doctoral Dissertations

Orcid ID

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Hyun Kim

Committee Members

Hyun Kim, Shih-Lung Shaw, Nicholas Nagle, Agricola Odoi


This dissertation contributes to the improvement of healthcare equity by addressing healthcare disparity using a novel method to measure the relationship between health outcomes and spatial contexts. Healthcare disparity is an important issue related to a wide range of our everyday lives, from the quality of life to life-or-death situations. Many researchers have studied healthcare disparity, and diverse measurements have been proposed. Some of the measurements are widely used without consideration of the unique traits of specific healthcare services. I select two types of healthcare disparities for this dissertation: the obesity rate related to chronic diseases and emergency medical service disparity with accessibility to the trauma centers from the scene of accidents.

Three research goals are in this dissertation. The first goal is to develop an assessment to detect the health outcome deprived regions while considering the spatial context. Two novel measures are proposed to examine the spatial disparity of healthcare outcomes considering the spatial context. The second goal is to reveal the spatial disparity of access to emergency medical services focusing on trauma centers. The percentage of demands covered by trauma centers is used to assess the accessibility to trauma centers. The third goal is to develop location problem models that meet the unique requirements of trauma centers to maximize the benefit by selecting facilities satisfying separation standards of service areas. The new variation of the anti-covering location problem for the trauma center’s location (TraCt) model is presented. It proves that the TraCt model works well in finding the optimal location of trauma centers.

The introduction (Chapter 1) provides a blueprint of this dissertation by explaining the research motivation, goals, and structure of the overall dissertation. The spatial contexts of the region are considered to explain the healthcare disparities in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 reveals the disparity in accessing trauma centers from locations of potential demand. The TraCt models are developed and tested in Chapter 3. The TraCt model is applied to find the best implications in the southeastern region in Chapter 4. The conclusion (Chapter 5) summarizes the dissertation and discusses the direction of future study.

Available for download on Tuesday, August 15, 2028

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