Project: Industrial Hog Farm Title 6 Complaint

North Carolina is the Industrial Hog Operation (IHO) capital of the world – unlike traditional farming methods, these super-high density IHOs create much higher levels of waste.  This waste (~ 1 billion gallons of pig feces a year) exposes an estimated 1 million nearby North Carolinians to a host of negative outcomes including potent smells that impact daily activies and ability to be outdoors; airborne particulates as feces are sprayed on nearby fields and fans blow toxic fumes from enclosures; and potential polluting of drinking water when feces lagoons leak or are flooded.  My advisor, Professor Steve Wing has been working on this issue for over a decade, and in the past few years with the help of post-doc Jill Johnston.  Most recently a preliminary analysis of disparate exposure to these IHOs by race was used as support for a Title 6 claim against NC DENR to the US EPA.

Over 2,000 Industrial Hog Operations expose an estimated 1 million North Carolinians to over 1 billion gallons of hog feces annually.

The original data analysis was done in multiple tools – excel for dataset prep, ArcGIS for mapping and spatial joins, and STATA for regressions.  I updated the excel-based dataset prep using more robust, automated methods and was able to isolate a set of strangely coded records to follow-up on.  I’m moving the three-part analysis to a push-button process in R, handling dataset prep, spatial overlays and mapping, and regressions in one fell swoop.

See Steve Wing’s TED talk on NC Industrial Hog Farming,

Recent headlines on the topic:

If you’re interested in this kind of analysis in R, you might also check StackExchange GIS for the question I posed related to the poly-poly analysis.  I’ll be posting the code itself soon, for reference.

Project: Community Health Assessment 2011

2011CHAMy first connection with the Orange County Health Department was as the data analyst for the 2011 Community Health Assessment, where I ran analyses on the primary collection survey data, produced report pages, reported out to the community and facilitated conversations with residents about those findings.  Through those conversations and a democratic prioritization process, Orange County decided on three priorities for 2011-2015: (1) Child and Family Obesity, (2) Substance Abuse & Mental Health, and (3) Access to Care.

You can read the final report, the executive summary, and Nidhi Sachedeva’s fantastic presentation of our findings at the Healthy Carolinians Annual Meeting on the Orange County Health Department’s statistics and publications page.