Karen Frederickson Comer is Director of Collaborative Research and Health Geoinformatics. She joined The Polis Center in 1996 after working as a principal investigator and GIS analyst for the US Army Corps of Engineers research laboratories in Champaign-Urbana, IL and Hanover, NH, where her focus was the exploratory integration of geographic information technologies with environmental models. At Polis, Comer established the center’s community analysis and information systems technology teams and led the creation and development of geographically-enabled community information services, at the local and national levels. Her project and consulting work includes the formation of multidisciplinary collaborations with local, national, and international partners.

In her role, Comer applies her experience in collaboration building, community analysis, and spatial information technologies. Her focus is the identification and development of research opportunities that explore the relationships between the human condition and geographic environment through the application of community information and spatial technologies.

Comer is involved in multiple public health research initiatives and is interested in the application of community information technologies to support community-based participatory research. She serves on the Executive Committee of the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute (CTSI) Community Health Engagement Program (CHEP) and is coordinating the development of the new IUPUI Signature Center for Health Geographics, an initiative of The Polis Center in association with the Institute for Research on Social Issues, IUPUI Department of Geography, Regenstrief Institute, and Children’s Health Services Research. She also serves as collaboration coordinator for the IU Center for Environmental Health.

Project Experience:

Project Lead, National Outreach Mapping Center (NOMC) Development (2000-present). Project Coordinator, Indianapolis Quality of Life Information System (2006-2008). Project Manager, Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI) North American Religion Atlas. (2000-2001). Project Manager, Social Assets and Vulnerabilities Indicators (SAVI) Project. (1998-2001). Project Manager, SAVI Community Connections Project (SCCP), U.S. Department of Commerce Technology Opportunities Program (TOP) (1999-2001). Project Manager, Electronic Atlas of Central Indiana, Next Generation Project. (1999-2000). Board Member, Indianapolis Mapping and Geographic Infrastructure (IMAGIS) Consortium (2001-present). Board Member, Indiana Geographic Information Council (2001-2004). Chairperson, Interoperability Working Group, Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (2000-2003). Co-Chair, Indiana GIS Initiative, Standards and Recommendations Committee (2002-2004).