UNC Gillings School of Public Health

Spatial Health Assessment Research Program (SHARP)


SHARP handheld and map

The UNC CPHP Spatial Health Assessment and Research Program (SHARP) is dedicated to assisting state and local public health agencies, hospitals, and other agencies with data collection and spatial analysis projects related to emergency preparedness or other community-wide or regional public health concerns. Download a one-page overview of SHARP.

We provide geographic information systems (GIS) technical assistance in the following areas:

  • Topical surveys and assessments including the CDC's Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response (CASPER)
  • Community health needs assessments to address Affordable Care Act requirements for hospitals or meet local health department accreditation requirements
  • Training in community survey techniques
  • GIS and GPS equipment and technical support for public health projects

Learn more about the Survey Site Selection Toolkit.

Examples of past projects include:

  • Community health assessments in multiple North Carolina counties (2006-2012)
  • A household survey exploring the relationship between hazard mitigation plans and household behavior in Bertie County, North Carolina (2012)
  • An assessment of Hurricane Irene evacuation behavior in Beaufort County, North Carolina (2011)
  • A survey for Gaston Youth Connected and Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program of North Carolina in Gaston County, North Carolina (2011)
  • An assessment of public health and wildfire safety messaging concerning the Holly Shelter Gamelands fire in Pender County, North Carolina (2011)
  • Social vulnerability mapping for the Vulnerable and At-Risk Populations Resources Guide (2011)
  • A household survey of potassium iodide (KI) distribution and resident education in the 10-mile emergency planning zone (EPZ) of the Shearron Harris Nuclear Power Plant (2010)
  • A community survey in 2 North Carolina counties on intention to receive H1N1 vaccination (2009)
  • Development and implementation of a survey instrument for assessing reproductive health post-disaster, pilot-tested in 2 Georgia counties affected by severe flooding (2009)
  • A research study of evacuation behavior in northeastern North Carolina (2008)
  • A pre-hurricane assessment of community preparedness in Carteret County, North Carolina (2007)
  • Training local health departments in use of GIS as part of a statewide preparedness effort in North Carolina (2004-2008)
  • Rapid needs assessments following hurricanes Isabel (2003), Charley (2004), Rita (2005), Wilma (2005), and Katrina (2006)

Read more about recent SHARP projects.

To learn more about SHARP or request assistance, please contact sharpgis@unc.edu.


SHARP/UNC CPHP staff and TEA volunteers in Beaufort County
Team Epi-Aid volunteers and UNC CPHP staff assisted SHARP director and epidemiology faculty member Jennifer Horney (front center) in conducting a household survey to assess evacuation behavior in Beaufort County, North Carolina.
SHARP volunteers and Matt Simon in Durham County
UNC CPHP research associate Matt Simon demonstrated using a handheld GPS unit for data collection and navigation during the Durham County Community Health Assessment.
  SHARP staff and TEA volunteers near Shearon Harris
SHARP and Team Epi-Aid volunteers provided assistance during the household KI survey in the 10-mile EPZ of Shearon Harris.