DENTON (UNT), Texas — University of North Texas Academic Associate Vice Provost and Academic Associate Dean of the Toulouse Graduate School and professor in the Department of Geography and the Environment Joseph Oppong was recently awarded the 2021 American Association of Geographers Ronald F. Abler Distinguished Service Honors. The award recognizes Oppong’s service and commitment to the discipline of geography and geographers in the United States and abroad.
Oppong’s service, research, teaching and graduate advising have focused energy and attention on the geography of Africa and on the work of African scholars from around the world. He is further credited, through his own research and support of numerous organizations and individuals, with having played a key role in helping to bring medical geography to the forefront of the geography discipline in recent years.
Oppong’s current research interests include social vulnerability, environmental pollution and COVID-19, neighborhood characteristics and HIV/AIDS in Texas, geographic distribution of tuberculosis genotypes and applications of Geographic Information Systems (computerized systems that analyze and display geographically referenced information) to understanding patterns and the spread of disease. His most recent publication, the African COVID-19 Anomaly, explains why contrary to expectation, African countries have much lower rates of sickness and death.
In addition to serving as Chair to the Africa Specialty Group and also the Health and Medical Geography Specialty Group, Oppong has served on the editorial board of the Professional Geographer, served on multiple NSF panels and been a steering committee member and U.S. representative for the International Geographers Union’s Commission on Health and Environment.