The geography of emotions: Leveraging social media for mental health studies

Staff - Faculty of Biomedical Sciences

Date: / -

Auditorium, Lugano Campus

The USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, in the context of the SSPH+ Lugano Summer School, is pleased to welcome Dr. Oliver Gruebner, of the Department of Geography and at the Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Prevention Institute (EBPI) at the University of Zurich, who will give a public speech on "The geography of emotions". Dr. Gruebner will share his findings, based on the analysis of social-media, of the emotional reactions in the event of disasters, such as natural catastrophes or terrorist attacks. The conference is open to the public and will be held in English, and will be introduced by Professors Emiliano Albanese and L. Suzanne Suggs of USI. Refreshments will be served afterwards.

The talk aims to give a brief overview of geographic studies of post disaster mental health. We will provide examples of both natural- and human-made disasters, including Hurricane Sandy in New York City 2012 and the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015. We will focus in particular on social media data from Twitter used to detect basic emotions and emotional reactions before, during, and after the disaster. The talk further aims to give an outlook for future studies in the context of urban health by applying spatial and digital epidemiological methods based on geo-referenced social media data.

Brief Bio
Oliver Gruebner ( is a health geographer  who combines quantitative methodologies from geography and epidemiology to assess population health risk. He earned a PhD in geography from Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany. He works at the Department of Geography and at the Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Prevention Institute (EBPI) at University of Zurich, Switzerland. Oliver serves as the director of an international summer school program on spatial epidemiology and leads the newly created SSPH+ course on big data in Public Health. Furthermore, he is a research fellow with the Centre for Urban Design and Mental Health (UD/MH), and with the Competence Centre for Mental Health (CCMH) at the University of Zurich.