UW News


April 13, 2021

Vaccines debate: ‘Escape variants’ of the coronavirus are a serious future threat

gloved hand holds vial of vaccine

With COVID-19 cases on the rise again in many parts of the country — including Washington state where three counties were pushed back to Phase 2 effective Friday — there’s a growing debate between continuing to give both doses of Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines close together, or giving them months apart in order to get…


April 7, 2021

Perinatal patients, nurses explain how hospital pandemic policies failed them

Pregnant person

With a lethal, airborne virus spreading fast, hospitals had to change how they treated patients and policies for how caregivers provided that treatment. But for maternity patients and nurses some of those changes had negative outcomes, according to a new University of Washington study. “We found that visitor restrictions and separation policies were harming families…


April 1, 2021

CDC, UW study finds significant vaccine distrust within incarcerated populations, increasing risks

Fewer than half of inmates in jails and prisons surveyed in a study by the CDC and University of Washington said they would accept a COVID-19 vaccine, while the majority either said they wanted to wait before getting the vaccine or would refuse one. “This is a population already at risk for COVID-19, and outbreaks…


March 24, 2021

‘Reservoir of disease’ within young population shows challenge for Washington’s reopening plans

An analysis of Washington state Department of Health data — published after peer review March 24 — has found that people under 40 years old have continued to become infected by the coronavirus at increasing rates even as the incidence of infection among older populations declines. The publication was available previously in preprint form on…


March 19, 2021

‘A turning point’: UW Population Health Initiative’s pandemic grants changed how the university works

Rainier horizon

A year ago, seemingly overnight, streets emptied, shops boarded up, grocery shelves were cleared, schools closed and the University of Washington led universities nationwide in moving all instruction online. Nearly all of us disappeared inside, stunned and staring out at a world suddenly paralyzed by something we’d only seen in movies or read about in books:…


February 25, 2021

Q&A: Race, medicine and the future power of genetic ancestry

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine that they “do not believe that ignoring race will reduce health disparities” but rather that “such an approach is a form of naive ‘color blindness’ that is more likely to perpetuate and potentially exacerbate disparities,” five Black geneticists set out to explain the pitfalls of leaving race…


February 22, 2021

Effective treatment for insomnia delivered in a few short phone calls

Person holding phone

Insomnia — trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up too early — is a common condition in older adults. Sleeplessness can be exacerbated by osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis causing joint pain. While there are effective therapies for treating insomnia in older adults, many people cannot get the treatment they need because…


February 5, 2021

To counter health impacts of racism, UW School of Nursing establishing Center for Antiracism in Nursing

Systemic racism has for generations undermined the health of individuals and communities across America, a public health crisis that has made the pandemic even more deadly and destructive for people of color. Recognizing that nurses play a central role in and hold major responsibility for the health of individuals and communities hit hard by historic…


January 31, 2021

Bleeding gums may be a sign you need more vitamin C in your diet

fruit orange

Current advice from the American Dental Association tells you that if your gums bleed, make sure you are brushing and flossing twice a day because it could be a sign of gingivitis, an early stage of periodontal disease. And that might be true. So if you are concerned, see your dentist. However, a new University…


January 28, 2021

UW installs strikingly unique public sculpture at new Hans Rosling Center for Population Health

Workers with sculpture

At nearly 7 feet tall, “The Seated IV” first graced the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s facade in September 2019 as part of a commission titled The NewOnes, will free Us. Four “Seated” sculptures by Wangechi Mutu were the first works to take up the positions on The Met’s facade since it was completed in 1902. On…


January 8, 2021

COVID-19 vaccines are ‘remarkable achievement,’ but soothing mistrust is necessary to end pandemic

Larry Corey

“Of course, we didn’t put Democrats in the vial; we didn’t put Republicans in the vial,” University of Washington’s Dr. Larry Corey writes in a recent COVID-19 Vaccine Matters blog jointly produced by Johns Hopkins University and the UW. While development of vaccines now being distributed to combat COVID-19, the deadly disease caused by the novel coronavirus, are…


December 28, 2020

In pandemic milestone, UW brings COVID-19 vaccines to frontline health care workers

The first scheduled to receive vaccinations were frontline personnel working with COVID-19 patients. In addition to patient-care staff in intensive care units, COVID acute care floors and emergency departments, the immediate list also included environmental services staff, as well as emergency medical responders in the community. Next in line are nursing home residents and their caregivers.


December 8, 2020

Round 2 of Washington study underway to determine food, economic insecurity during pandemic

Dinner setting on wood table

Understanding Washington residents’ access to food and their economic well-being – or lack of it – during the COVID-19 pandemic is vital for state and community partners to identify those needs and allocate resources effectively. To help accomplish this goal, the University of Washington, Washington State University and Tacoma Community College, along with input from…


Policies around pregnancy, birth during pandemic failing both patients and nurses

Molly Altman

As an experienced nurse midwife, whose scientific research focuses on respectful and equitable care during pregnancy and childbirth, the University of Washington’s Molly Altman has been studying pregnancy and childbirth during the pandemic alongside colleagues across the UW and in affected communities. While her work is being distilled into formal studies that will be submitted…


December 2, 2020

COVID-19 vaccines may not prevent spread of virus, so mask-wearing, other protections still critical

Larry Corey

Excitement and relief over news of vaccines that help prevent people from getting sick, winding up in the hospital or dying from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, are warranted, says University of Washington’s Dr. Larry Corey. But, these messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines may not prevent people from getting infected or spreading the virus….


November 24, 2020

UW public health expert calls on state officials, citizens to defend and rebuild public health agencies

Betty Bekemeier

Even before the pandemic and disagreements over social restrictions recommended by public health officials across the state, public health agencies in Washington were struggling due to a lack of resources. In recent weeks, firings, resignations and death threats targeting local health officials has led to a staffing crisis in the agencies most responsible for local…


October 22, 2020

COVID-19: CDC advisory committee hones in on vaccine rollout recommendations

Vaccine and syringe

When a vaccine to fight COVID-19 has been approved by the FDA for distribution, it’s unlikely that at first there will be enough doses for everyone. Consequently, the United States will need an equitable and effective plan for who gets those first doses, how they get them and who’s next. Just as important, that plan…


UW seeks Latinos caring for relatives, friends with dementia to develop better training program

With Latinos 1.5 times more likely to have dementia than non-Latino whites, among other health disparities, researchers at the University of Washington are hoping to better understand Latino family caregivers and adapt the training available to those caregivers. To do that, the UW Department of Health Services is seeking to interview Latino caregivers for a…


October 5, 2020

Women, workers of color filling most ‘high-hazard/low-reward’ jobs in Washington

When exploring data on Washington workers during the pandemic — demographics, working conditions, wages and benefits, and risks of exposure to disease — the authors of a new report found that women hold two-thirds of the jobs in the harshest category of work. “The big takeaway from our research,” said David West, a co-author of…


September 30, 2020

UW receives $1.5 million CDC grant to study handgun carrying among rural adolescents

With roughly 109 people dying every day and many others treated in emergency rooms from firearm-related injuries — which are the second leading cause of death among adolescents — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has, after decades, stepped in to fund critical firearm research. The CDC announced on Sept. 23 it would fund…


September 24, 2020

Colleges with primarily in-person instruction leading to thousands of COVID-19 cases per day in US

As universities and colleges struggle to find the right combination of in-person and online classes combined with protective measures to help prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, a new study by researchers from four institutions has reached a troubling conclusion. Reopening university and college campuses with primarily in-person instruction is associated with a significant…


Age restrictions for handguns make little difference in homicides as US deals with ‘de facto availability’ of firearms

In the United States, individual state laws barring 18- to 20-year-olds from buying or possessing a handgun make little difference in the rate of homicides involving a gun by people in that age group, a new University of Washington study has found. “The central issue is that there’s a very high degree of informal access…


September 15, 2020

Wildfire smoke disproportionally harms poorer communities, remedies necessary to address health inequity

downtown seattle in smoke

With most of the Northwest blanketed by wildfire smoke, public officials and health experts suggest staying inside as much as possible to reduce exposure to the significant health risks of wildfire smoke. However, inequity in our communities means not every home provides great protection and many workers in disadvantaged populations can’t afford to stay home,…


August 28, 2020

UW breaks ground on the future of health sciences education and improving our health

The future of our health and the health of the communities we live in relies, in many ways, on students in the health sciences. The education and experiences that future doctors, dentists, pharmacists, nurses, social workers and public health experts receive will to a large degree shape how those professionals work and work together when…


August 21, 2020

Failure to ‘flatten the curve’ may kill more people than we thought

New research by the University of Minnesota and the University of Washington finds that every six additional ICU beds or seven additional non-ICU beds filled by COVID-19 patients leads to one additional COVID-19 death over the following week. “A spike in hospitalization naturally leads to more deaths, but these deaths may not only come from…


August 18, 2020

Data omission in key EPA insecticide study shows need for review of industry analysis

For nearly 50 years, a statistical omission tantamount to data falsification sat undiscovered in a critical study at the heart of regulating one of the most controversial and widely used pesticides in America. Chlorpyrifos, an insecticide created in the late 1960s by the Dow Chemical Co., has been linked to serious health problems, especially in children….


June 24, 2020

Videos: If you fish the Duwamish in Seattle, better eat the salmon — Comer el salmón, Ăn cá hồi, បរិភោគត្រីសាម៉ុង — and here’s how

It could take another generation before resident fish in the heavily polluted Lower Duwamish Waterway in Seattle will be safe to eat. Yet many fishers from a wide range of cultural backgrounds continue to fish the 5-mile stretch of river for fun, cultural connections and food even as cleanup of this designated Superfund site continues….


June 23, 2020

75% of US workers can’t work exclusively from home, face greater risks during pandemic

Barista making latte

About three-quarters of U.S. workers, or 108 million people, are in jobs that cannot be done from home during a pandemic, putting these workers at increased risk of exposure to disease. This majority of workers are also at higher risk for other job disruptions such as layoffs, furloughs or hours reductions, a University of Washington…


May 29, 2020

UW launches online training for contact tracing to help fight COVID-19

Image of video screen

As businesses and public spaces reopen across the nation, the old-school public health detective work known as contact tracing is becoming a major component of the battle to contain the novel coronavirus that causes the deadly COVID-19 disease. It’s an investigative strategy long used for finding and informing people exposed to contagious diseases, such as…


May 27, 2020

UW experts on challenges to worker safety in meat processing industry

Meat processing plants face challenges in keeping workers safe during the pandemic. Carrie Freshour, a UW assistant professor of geography, and Marissa Baker, an assistant professor in the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences and an expert on worker safety related to infectious diseases, provides comments on what the industry can do to protect workers.


May 22, 2020

Q&A: UW’s Teresa Ward talks us through sleep troubles during the COVID-19 pandemic

Panda sleeping on stump

A UW sleep expert sat down with UW News to provide some perspective on sleep during the pandemic, and what we can do to help ourselves and our families get through this time a little more well-rested.


May 18, 2020

COVID-19: UW study reports ‘staggering’ death toll in US among those infected who show symptoms

COVID-19 is a lot more deadly than the flu, according to a new study by the University of Washington published May 7 in the journal Health Affairs. The study’s results also project a grim future if the U.S. doesn’t put up a strong fight against the spread of the virus.


May 11, 2020

UW dean’s Senate testimony included in ‘Call on White House’ for COVID-19 guidelines for aviation industry

Hilary Godwin

In a letter to the White House Coronavirus Task Force, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) drew upon the testimony by Hilary Godwin, dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health, in calling for federal guidelines be established for the aviation industry and the traveling public. 


May 6, 2020

UW experts on understanding ‘quarantine fatigue’ and protecting workers

painted close sign

As the push to relax social and economic restrictions for combating the pandemic gain traction, we need to understand personal motives behind what many experts consider a dangerous rush to “reopen” and how to protect workers most at risk when communities do “go back to work.” Three UW experts weigh in.


April 27, 2020

UW epidemiology graduate students participating in state’s surge response to COVID-19 pandemic

A little after 10 p.m. on March 19, University of Washington graduate students Anne Massey and David Coomes happened to be online when they received an email that would give them an unexpected role in Washington’s rapidly evolving response to the outbreak of a novel coronavirus. As context, the World Health Organization had just declared the…


April 16, 2020

UW nursing students join frontline efforts to battle COVID-19, meet public health needs

Students working on computers

With their education forced online and in-person clinical practice opportunities canceled by the novel coronavirus pandemic, University of Washington nursing students eager to use their skills and knowledge during this historic challenge to human health and well-being had few options. UW School of Nursing and Public Health-Seattle & King County announce partnership. Unwilling to accept…


April 10, 2020

Large majority of state’s heroin users want to reduce use; syringe programs helping during COVID-19 crisis

Man preparing for outreach

A new survey of people who inject illicit drugs in the state of Washington yields positive and important findings for policy makers as the world struggles to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, said authors of the survey by the University of Washington and Public Health-Seattle & King County. Most people – 82% ­– who inject…


March 26, 2020

UW researcher identifies workers most harmed by economic disruption due to COVID-19

A closed sign

Only about 25% of the U.S. workforce — some 35.6 million people — are in jobs that can easily be done at home, a University of Washington researcher has determined, as these are the positions in which using a computer is important but interacting with the public is not. These jobs are typically in highly-paid…


March 15, 2020

Why COVID-19 strategies built around the concept of ‘herd immunity’ are problematic

People walking in crowd

The idea of building herd immunity – increasing the number of infected to such a degree that naturally occurring immunity would outstrip the coronavirus, while isolating the elderly and others at greatest risk of the disease – has been tossed around in the United States, the United Kingdom and elsewhere.  This week, however, U.K. officials…


March 11, 2020

Soundbites: UW experts respond to Gov. Inslee’s limits on crowd sizes

A crowd in Seattle

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee issued on Wednesday, March 11, an emergency proclamation that limits large events to minimize risks to public health during the COVID-19 outbreak. Here are how two UW experts responded to questions about the order.



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