Healthy Regions + Policies Lab

Margot Bolanos-Gamez worked with the Healthy Regions + Policies Lab this summer as her summer RAship through the Social Institute in Social Research Methods (SSIRM). Organized by the Social Sciences Division (SSD) at UChicago, the Institute exposes students to the ins and outs of social science research through coursework, workshops and hands-on experience.

Last summer, Margot worked with fellow SISRM RA Alexa Jin and research supervisor Dr. Qinyun Lin on developing an interactive data dashboard for the Opioid Environment Policy Scan, an open source data warehouse for data characterizing the multi-dimensional risk environment of opioid use in communities across the United States. Margot’s work was foundational to the development of the OEPS Explorer, a dashboard tool that allows users to view and explore the data included in the warehouse before downloading. We developed the OEPS for our opioid risk environment research with the Methodological and Advanced Analytics Resource Center (MAARC) of the NIH-funded Justice Community Opioids Innovation Network (JCOIN).  SSD recently profiled Margot and her work with us this summer:

The work requires GIS, spatial analysis, cartography, a few programming languages, and much more that Margot has learned in the Summer Institute alongside her internship. Still, the difficulties of building the OEPS dashboard exceed its technical demands, and no decision on how the risk environment is depicted is trivial. “If you do a bright red color in one area, that could affect how the area is perceived by users. If you use a lighter color, you could blur something crucial,” she explains. It’s all added an interesting perspective to Margot’s already unusual double major, and she hopes to keep GIS a part of her studies in the future.

Read the full profile here.

We are proud and inspired by Margot’s transformation as a student researcher tackling the opioid epidemic, spatial data science, and design. If you are interested in learning more about student research opportunities, contact us.

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