The HDMA center is a research institute under the College of Arts and Letters, at San Diego State University.

Director and Founder

Dr. Ming-Hsiang Tsou

Ming-Hsiang Tsou (Director of HDMA Center, Professor of Geography) 2012 SDSU President's Leadership Fund (PLF) Awards for Excellence, expert in Web GIS, Mobile GIS, Cartography, Social Media, and Big Data.

Advisory Board Members and Co-Founders

Dr. John Elder John Elder (Distinguished Professor of Public Health; former director and Senior Core Investigator, Institute for Behavioral and Community Health [IBACH]) 2012 SDSU President's Leadership Fund (PLF) Awards for Excellence, expert in randomized trials for chronic disease prevention in Latino communities.

Dr. Piotr JankowskiPiotr Jankowski (Chair of Geography), expert in Spatial Decision Support Systems. Public Participation GIS, Visual Analytics, Geocomputation Methods, Volunteered Geographic Information, and Water Resource Modeling and Management.

Dr. Brian SpitzbergBrian Spitzberg (Senate Distinguished Professor, School of Communication), expert in communication theories, communicative (in)competence, obsessive relational intrusion.

Dr. Jean Mark GawronJean Mark Gawron (Professor of Linguistics). Areas of research include Computational Linguistics (parsing and semantic interpretation, vectorbased semantics, combining semantic and social network information) and Theoretical Semantics (logic-based approaches to semantic interpretation).

Associate Directors

Dr. Bruce AppleyardBruce Appleyard (Public Affairs) focuses on identifying how these policies and practices can be used in concert with one another to improve sustainability, livability, social equity, and public health outcomes.

Dr. Eric BuhiEric Buhi (Graduate School of Public Health) focuses on understanding and promoting sexual health among young people.Studying the impact of and employing innovative technologies for health promotion/behavior change.

Dr. Atsushi NaraAtsushi Nara (Geography) has developed advanced spatio-temporal analytic algorithms, data mining and geovisualization frameworks and toolkits, monitoring methodologies, agent-based models, and web-GIS applications to facilitate understanding and decision making of moving object dynamics.

Dr. Joseph GibbonsJoseph Gibbons (Sociology) focuses on the implications of class and racial segregation within and between neighborhoods across three areas: the service provision of nonprofit community-based organizations, neighborhood conditions, and health disparities.

Dr. Lourdes MartinezLourdes Martinez (Communication) focuses on social influence, social network analysis, and health communication campaigns. Currently researching how people gather and share information from their social environment and how this affects their behavior.

Core Research Faculty

Dr. Michael PeddecordMichael Peddecord, Dr.P.H. is Emeritus Professor of Public Health at San Diego State University (SDSU) and a research associate at SDSU’s Center for Human Dynamics in the Mobile Age. He previously taught a variety of graduate courses including: Public Health Surveillance and Health Program Planning and Evaluation. His current public health practice activities at the Epidemiology and Immunization Branch, San Diego County health department focus on influenza surveillance, vaccination coverage assessments and evaluation immunization improvement initiatives.

Dr. Caroline ThompsonCaroline Thompson is Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, specializing in cancer epidemiology and epidemiologic methodology. Her substantive topic areas include ethnic and other disparities in cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment, and cancer-related mortality understood through geographic and social contexts. Her methods research is concerned with the use of existing sources of health-related “real world” data (e.g., electronic health records, pharmacy claims, cancer registries, etc.) for cancer population health research and the treatment of systematic error via quantitative bias analysis in observational epidemiology.

Visiting Scholars

Professor Chen, Feixiang (Beijing Forestry University). Expertise: Mobile GIS, GIS databases, Android Platform Application Development.

Professor Yi-Chen Wang, Department of Geography, National University of Singapore. Expertise: Health GIS, Physical Geography.

Graduate Students:

     Doctoral Students:

         Chris Allen (Geography, SDSU)

         Chanwoo Jin (Geography, SDSU)

         Jaehee Park (Geography, SDSU)

         Nana Luo (Geography, SDSU)

     Master Students:

         Chi-Feng (Jeff) Yen (Geography, SDSU)

         Hai-Hung Huang(Geography, SDSU)

         Deborah Milam (Geography, SDSU)

Former Advisory Board Members

Dr. Sheldon ZhangSheldon Zhang ( Past Chair of Sociology, Professor ), expert in Human Trafficking, Transnational Organized Crime, Juvenile Delinquency, Probation and Parole, etc.

Former Members

Dr. Calvin (Chin-Te) JungCalvin (Chin-Te) Jung (Former Chief Data Scientist) focused on using state of art technologies to design and implement Web-GIS applications to consolidate research results of HDMA center.

Former Doctoral Students

Jiue-An (Jay) Yang (Geography, SDSU, 2017).

Su Yeon Han (Geography, SDSU, 2016).

Former Master Students

Jessica Dozier (MS in Geography, SDSU, 2016)

Elias Issa (Geography, SDSU, 2016)

Jared Jashinsky (MPH in Public Health, SDSU, 2016)

Stephanie Nowinski (Graphic Design, SDSU, 2016)

Cody Rosentrater (Public Health, SDSU, 2016)

Vaishali Doshi (Publich Health, SDSU, 2016)

Dhiraj Patil (MS in Computer Science, SDSU, 2016)

Alejandra Coronado (Geography, SDSU, 2017)

Hao Zhang (Geography, SDSU, 2017)

Affiliated Faculty


Norma Ojeda (Chair)

Enrico Marcelli

Joseph Gibbons


Mark Thayer (Chair)

Edmund M. Balsdon

College of Business

Bongsik Shin (MIS)

Janie Chang (Accounting)

Xialu (Charlotte) Liu (MIS)


Seth W. Mallios (Chair)

Political Science

Madhavi McCall (Chair)

Kristen Hill Maher

Dipak K. Gupta (CDI project, Co-PI)


Piotr Jankowski (Chair)

Stuart Aitken (Past Chair)

Ming-Hsiang Tsou (Director of HDMA Center)

Atsushi Nara (GIS Faculty)

An Li (GIS and Landscape Echology)

André Skupin (GIS Faculty)

Trent Biggs (Climate Change)

Fernado Bosco (Human and Urban)

Pascale Joassart (Food and Community)

Doug Stow (Remote Sensing)

John Weeks (Demography)


Jean Mark Gawron (CDI project, Co-PI)


Peter A. Andersen

Brian H. Spitzberg

Lourdes Martinez

Public Affairs

Stuart Henry (Director)

Shawn Flanigan

Bruce Appleyard

Sherry Ryan

Learning Design and Technology, JMS CSU, Chancellor's Office

Minjuan Wang

Graduate School of Public Health

John W. Ayers

Guadalupe X. Ayala

Gregory Anthony Talavera

Heather L. Corliss

Caroline A. Thompson

John Elder (Distinguished Professor)

Social Work

Yawen Li

Mark B. Reed

Susan I. Woodruff


Philip A. Greiner (Director)


Chun-Ta Lai (Ecology)

Rebecca Lewison

Psychology(and IBACH)

Linda C. Gallo

Kristen Wells

Computer Science

Mary Thomas

Roger Whitney

Liu Xiaobai

Wei Wang

Computational Science Research Center

Mary Thomas

Jose E. Castillo

Chicana/o Studies & English and Comparative Literature

Emily Hicks

Digital Humanities

Joanna Brooks

Jessica Pressman

Civil & Environmental Engineering

Sahar Ghanipoor Machiani

Xianfeng (Terry) Yang

SDSU Research Foundation

John Crockett

Center for Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience

Ksenija Marinkovic