Dr. Amber L. Pearson

Department of Geography, Environment, and Spatial Sciences, Michigan State University
Adjunct Research Fellow - University of Otago

About Me

Amber L. Pearson I am a health geographer with a focus on social justice and understanding the unexpected tenacity, adaptability and resilience of the underprivileged, while paying careful attention to the structural and social factors that led to disadvantage in the first place. I have diverse regional interests from poor to wealthy countries. My work features geospatial and epidemiologic methods and critical development thinking.

My water research is at the intersection of spatial and social dimensions of health with a focus on water security. My overall research goal is to understand the interactions between human-induced ecological change, political and social dimensions of access to water, and human agency/coping strategies to improve health and wellbeing.


Kids' Cam Video Abstract Released

On January 22, 2018, a video abstract for “Children’s everyday exposure to food marketing: an objective analysis using wearable cameras,” research co-authored by Dr. Pearson, describes children’s exposure to food advertising as seen through the “Kids’ Cam”. The video highlights the methodology of the research and indicates that their findings show that children face increased exposure to advertising for junk food than exposure to advertising for health foods.

Dr. Pearson gives talk at MSU - Flint

Click to enlarge image.
Click here for a video of the talk!


Curriculum vitae

Water Science Network

University of Otago

Google Scholar


Current Research

Children's visual exposure to 'blue' spaces in a capital city

Wellington, New Zealand

Visibility of green (e.g. parks) and blue (e.g. lakes) spaces is thought to benefit mental health. However, until recently, quantification of visual exposure to these natural environments has been limited. We developed a novel method for quantifying visibility of green and blue spaces (called VVI) and found that higher levels of blue space visibility were associated with lower psychological distress among adults in the capital city of New Zealand, Wellington.

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The dynamics of access to water and health in East Africa

Rainwater collection Rainwater collection
Bore hole well Borehole well

While substantive research on access to water has been conducted, the definition of access to water varies between studies and has evolved within monitoring institutions (e.g. JMP). Typically, measures of access to water include locational access (distance), time (to fetch water, waiting times), financial access (cost of water), microbiological and chemical quality or whether a source is improved/unimproved, and reliability (particularly for surface water sources).

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Exposure to chemical and microbiological agents in cenote water on karst


The karst environment is challenging due to: i) complicated hydrology, contamination through cracks in surface; ii) the ability for a few contaminant sites to cause widespread contamination; and iii) storm events may cause bacteria & chemicals (e.g., NO3) to surge in system. In the Yucatan karst environment, health outcomes are very poor. Read More 

Get in touch

Geography Building
Lab - Room 233A
673 Auditorium Rd., Room 231
East Lansing, MI 48824
(517) 432-7163