Dr. Maggie Sugg


Ph.D., Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2015

M.A., Geography, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2011

B.S., Biology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2008


My current research focuses on the spatiotemporal patterns of environmental health illnesses and how these patterns relate to environmental, socioeconomic, and climatic determinants. This research is guided by the social-ecological approach of vulnerability theory, which investigates the complex interplay between the environmental and social/economic aspects of a community. Using this theory, my research provides insights into the etiology of environmental-health diseases, highlighting both at risk populations and the environmental conditions that lead to adverse health outcomes. Presently, I have three main topical research interests: 1.) Environmental Exposure and Wearable Sensor Technology 2.) Mental Distress among Adolescents 3.) Indicators of Vulnerability and Resilience in the southeastern US.

  • Receipt of the NSF CAREER Award, the highest honor given to early-career faculty from the National Science Foundation
  • Receipt of the Emerging Scholar Award from the Health and Medical Specialty Group, American Association of Geographers
  • Distinguished Graduate Faculty Award, Cratis D. Williams School of Graduate Studies, Appalachian State University  
  • Provost Award, Provost’s Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity, Appalachian State University 
  • Receipt of the Environmental Protection Agency's STAR Fellowship in Public Health
  • Recipient of external funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institute of Environmental Health Science, National Institute of General Medical Sciences, Public Health AmeriCorps, Environmental Protection Agency, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
  • Dr. Sugg has authored over 80 publications in disciplines ranging from public health, geography, and climate science.

Click here to view my CV.

Click here to view my personal webpage.


  • GHY 3812: Geographic Information Systems
  • GHY 4005: Geography of Health and Disease
  • GHY 5025: Climate and Society
  • GHY 5150: Seminar in GIScience
  • GHY 5800: Advanced Quantitative Methods for Graduate Students

Selected Publications

Runkle, J.D., K. Risley., Roy, M., and Sugg, M.M., (2023) “Association between perinatal mental health and reproductive and neonatal complications: a retrospective birth cohort study” Women’s Health Issues. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.whi.2022.12.001

Sugg, M.M., Runkle J.D., Ryan, S., Singh, D., Green, S., and Thompson, M., (2023) “A follow-up retrospective analysis of essential workers and their children throughout the COVID-19 pandemic: 2020 - 2021” Public Health Reports https://doi.org/10.1177/00333549221148177

Sugg, M.M., Runkle J.D., Dow, K., Barnes, J., Stevens, S., Pearce, J., Bossak., B., and Curtis, S., (2022) “Individual Experienced Heat Index in a Coastal Southeastern US City among an Occupationally Exposed Population,” International Journal of Biometeorology.https://doi.org/10.1007/s00484-022-02309-y

Sugg, M.M., J.D. Runkle, Hajnos, S*, Green, S. and Michael, K., (2022) “Understanding the Concurrent Risk of Mental Health and Dangerous Wildfire Events in the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Science of the Total Environment 806, 150391. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.150391

Sugg, M.M., Spaulding, T., Lane, S., Runkle, J., Harden, S.*, Hege, A., and Iyer, L. (2021). Mapping Community-Level Determinants of COVID-19 Transmission in Nursing Homes: A Multi-Scale Approach. Science of the Total Environmenthttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141946

Sugg, M.M., Runkle, J., Andersen, L, Weiser, J and Michael, K. (2021). “Crisis Response Among Essential Workers and their Children during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Preventive Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106852

Andersen, L., Harden, S.*, Sugg, M.M., Runkle, J., and Lundquist, T.* (2021). Analyzing The Spatial Determinants Of Local Covid-19 Transmission In The United States. Science of the Total Environmenthttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.142396

Sugg, M. M., Fuhrmann, C. M., & Runkle, J. D. (2020). Geospatial Approaches to Measuring Personal Heat Exposure and Related Health Effects in Urban Settings. In Geospatial Technologies for Urban Health (pp. 13-30). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-19573-1_2

Runkle, J.D., Sugg, M.M., Leeper, R.D., Rao, Y., Matthews, J.L., and Rennie, J.J. (2020). Short-term Effects of Specific Humidity and Temperature on COVID19 Morbidity in Select US cities. Science of the Total Environmenthttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140093

Runkle, J.D., Michael, K., Stevens, S., and Sugg, M.M. (2020). Quasi-Experimental Evaluation of Text-based Crisis Patterns in Youth following Hurricane Florence in the Carolinas, 2018. Science of the Total Environmenthttps://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141702

Sugg, M.M., Michael, K., Stevens, S., Filbin, B., Weiser, J., and Runkle, J. (2019). Crisis Events in Youth following Celebrity Suicides and the Release of 13 Reasons Why Season 2: A Case Study of Summer 2018. Preventative Medicine Reports. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2019.100999

Sugg, M.M., P. Grady Dixon, and J. Runkle (2019). Crisis Support-Seeking Behavior and Temperature in the United States: Is there an Association in Young Adults and Adolescents? Science of the Total Environment. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.434

Click here to view more publications on my Google Scholar profile.

Public Media Outreach

Dr. Maggie Sugg Receives NSF’s Most Prestigious Award in Support of Early-Career Faculty

Dr. Maggie Sugg Discusses Adaptability to Extreme Heat (The Atlantic)

Dr. Maggie Sugg Interviewed About Local Perceptions of Heat (FiveThirtyEight)

Dr. Maggie Sugg Interviewed About COVID-19 Seasonality (The Scientist)

Recent Master Theses Supervised

Sophie Ryan, Master's Thesis, Department of Geography and Planning, Greenspace and Adolescent Mental Health: Understanding Greenspace Metrics and Socio-Demographic Effect Modifiers (2023)

Taylin Spurlock, Master's Thesis, Department of Geography and Planning, Examining Hurricane Exposure on Neonatal Outcomes in North Carolina: A Prospective Birth Cohort Study (2023)

Luke Wertis, Master's Thesis, Department of Geography and Planning, Socio-Environmental Determinants of Mental and Behavioral Disorders in Youth: A Machine Learning Approach (2023)

Tyler Minor, Master’s Thesis, Department of Geography and Planning, Examining the Mental health and temperature connection in North Carolina (2022)

Leah Hart Handwerger - An Assessment of Social and Physical Vulnerability to Hydroclimate Extremes in Appalachia (2021)

Camila Moreno - Examining Spatiotemporal Trends of Drought in the United States Using Self-Organizing Maps (2021)

Stella Harden - The Impact Of Environmental And Social Characteristics On Severe Maternal Morbidity: A Spatiotemporal Analysis In South Carolina (2020)

Elizabeth Bailey - Wearable Sensors For Personal Temperature Exposure Assessments: A Comparative Study (2019)

Matthew Wilson - External Validation Of Vulnerability Indices: A Case Study Of The Multivariate Nursing Home Vulnerability Index (2019)

Lauren Andersen - An Assessment Of Wildfire Vulnerability In Western North Carolina, USA Following The 2016 Wildfires (2018)

Laura Thompson - Adolescents In Crisis: A Geographic Exploration Of Help-Seeking Behavior Using Data From Crisis Text Line (2018)

Garry Raynor - Geographic Variations Of Clandestine Methamphetamine Laboratories In North Carolina (2017)

Anna Ross - Recreational Heat-Related Illness: Heat Exposure Outside The Work Week (2016)

Title: Associate Professor & Department Honors Director, Climate & Human Health; Human Vulnerability to Environmental Hazards; Public Health; GIS; Spatial Statistics
Department: Geography and Planning

Email address: Email me

Office address
Rankin Science West 359


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