Population Health

An overview of the Population Health Initiative

Vision: The Population Health Initiative creates a world where all people can live healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Mission: The Population Health Initiative addresses the most persistent and emerging challenges in human health, environmental resilience and social and economic equity. Through partnerships with local, national and global communities, we develop, implement and disseminate transformative knowledge through our research, service and teaching.

On May 3, 2016, President Ana Mari Cauce launched the groundbreaking Population Health Initiative by inviting the University community and partners to come together in a more interdisciplinary and collaborative manner to improve the health of people here and around the world.

She noted that the health of an individual or a community involves more than just the absence of disease. Issues from poverty and equity, to health care access, to climate change and governance all combine to affect the health and well-being of populations around the world. To truly and productively address today’s population health challenges requires collaboration with diverse fields and practices in groundbreaking ways.

The UW’s vision for improving population health is broad, involving contributions from all of the university’s schools and colleges in partnership with external collaborators. The role of the Population Health Initiative is to incubate and advance the key programs, projects and partnerships needed to accelerate the speed at which impact and progress can be realized.

The Population Health Initiative’s focus is currently on four major bodies of work:

  1. Grand challenges – The initiative put forth three grand challenges in 2017 to help channel its incubation efforts. The initiative then directed resources towards addressing these grand challenges through the funding of pilot research grants and faculty hires.
  2. Internally-focused projects – The initiative identified and began work on four initial projects that will help improve the ability of the university’s faculty, students and staff to address population health challenges.
  3. Partnership development – The initiative acts as a front porch for outside partners and collaborators who seek to engage the UW in working to improve population health.
  4. Population health building – The UW is in the process of constructing a new building dedicated to population health that will serve as a gathering place where faculty, students, staff and collaborators can come together in their work.

To learn more, please explore this website or read our Report to the Community, which summarizes the initiative’s first two years of work.