UNIGIS was invited to contribute to a GIScience capacity building workshop at the 5th International Conference on HealthGIS held in Bangkok, Thailand from 21st to 23rd August, 2013. Dr Shahnawaz (Director UNIGIS S/E Asia) conducted the workshop entitled 'GIScience Education and Training - the Need for Health Professionals' which was attended by more than 30 participants having their disciplinary background in a range of subjects, however a large majority came from various areas of health related fields either by education or by professional engagements.
An extended discussion focussed on the issue that conventionally health professionals are not taught / trained to use geospatial data, technologies and tools. These are becoming increasingly important for understanding the dynamics of several illnesses and diseases. They also expressed that they have rarely come across a GIScience education / training programme designed to fulfíll the needs of the health professionals.
The overall conclusion of the workshop was that there is a pressing need of developing and introducing short duration GIScience education / training programmes specifically designed for health professionals. A nearly unanimous proposal from the audience suggested that an international organisation like UNIGIS should take initiative in this direction, because it has well established experience of designing, developing and offering innovative online distance learning programmes in GIScience and -Systems.