Methods in Neighborhood Research


Several methodological challenges exist within neighborhood health effects research. These include questions around appropriate temporal or spatial scale (uncertain geographic context problem), dissipation of associations over space or time, modifiable areal unit problem, and synergies between different neighborhood factors. To facilitate rigorous research using state-of-the-art methods, the MESA Neighborhoods methods grant explores these questions to develop new tools with research-relevant application.

Recent Publications

  • Li, J., Auchincloss, A. H., Hirsch, J. A., Melly, S. J., Moore, K. A., Peterson, A., & Sánchez, B. N. (2022). Exploring the spatial scale effects of built environments on transport walking: Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. Health & place73, 102722.
  • Peterson, A., Hirsch, J., & Sanchez, B. (2021). Spatial Temporal Aggregated Predictors to Examine Built Environment Health Effects. arXiv preprint arXiv:2105.10565.
  • Yang, Y. (2016). A dynamic framework on travel mode choice focusing on utilitarian walking based on the integration of current knowledge. Journal of transport & health3(3), 336-345.
  • Baek, J., Hirsch, J. A., Moore, K., Tabb, L. P., Barrientos-Gutierrez, T., Lisabeth, L. D., … & Sánchez, B. N. (2017). Methods to study variation in the associations between food store availability and body mass in the multi-ethnic study of atherosclerosis. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.)28(3), 403.
  • Yang, Y., Roux, A. V. D., Auchincloss, A. H., Rodriguez, D. A., & Brown, D. G. (2011). A spatial agent-based model for the simulation of adults’ daily walking within a city. American journal of preventive medicine40(3), 353-361.
  • Baek, J., Sánchez, B. N., Berrocal, V. J., & Sanchez-Vaznaugh, E. V. (2016). Distributed lag models: examining associations between the built environment and health. Epidemiology (Cambridge, Mass.)27(1), 116.


Brisa Sánchez, MS MSc PhD

PI, Methods in Neighborhood Research Grant