UW News

Population Health


May 29, 2020

Researchers use brain imaging to demonstrate weaker neural suppression in individuals with autism

an image of a person's eye

In a paper published May 29 in Nature Communications, a team of scientists at the University of Washington, the University of Minnesota and the Johns Hopkins University reports that differences in visual motion perception in autism spectrum disorder are accompanied by weaker neural “suppression” in the visual cortex of the brain, which may help scientists understand sensory hypersensitivity in people with ASD.


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.


April 28, 2020

Agricultural pickers in US to see unsafely hot workdays double by 2050

pickers in field

A new study looks at temperature increases in counties across the United States where crops are grown. It also looks at different strategies the industry could adopt to protect workers’ health.


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 13, 2020

UW team illustrates the adverse impact of visiting ‘just one friend’ during COVID-19 lockdown

After weeks of social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic, people of all ages may be asking: What could be the harm of visiting just one friend? Unfortunately, it could potentially undo the goal of social distancing, which is to give the COVID-19 virus fewer opportunities to spread. According to a website set up by researchers…


April 10, 2020

US approaching peak of ‘active’ COVID-19 cases, strain on medical resources, new modeling shows

A new data-driven mathematical model of the coronavirus pandemic predicts that the United States will peak in the number of “active” COVID-19 cases on or around April 20, marking a critical milestone on the demand for medical resources.


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…


April 3, 2020

Huskies rally to support COVID-19 need for masks, child care

donations

On a typical day, Julianne Dalcanton is an astrophysicist, studying the far reaches of the universe.

These aren’t typical days. Across the University of Washington, faculty, staff, clinicians and students are stepping forward in a variety of ways to support the COVID-19 response, particularly efforts to help front-line medical personnel.


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 24, 2020

UW researchers to study resilience, well-being among King County residents during pandemic

An artistic rendering of a coronavirus

University of Washington researchers have launched the King County COVID-19 Community Study — or KC3S — to gather data through April 19 on how individuals and communities throughout King County are coping with the measures put in place to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus.


March 6, 2020

Millions of US workers at risk of infections on the job, UW researchers calculate, emphasizing need to protect against COVID-19

Artwork of security agent and passenger

A University of Washington researcher calculates that 14.4 million workers face exposure to infection once a week and 26.7 million at least once a month in the workplace, pointing to an important population needing protection as the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, continues to break out across the U.S. Marissa Baker, an assistant professor in the…


February 26, 2020

Wildness in urban parks important for human well-being

beach in seattle

A new University of Washington study has found that not all forms of nature are created equal when considering benefits to people’s well-being. Experiencing wildness, specifically, is particularly important for physical and mental health.


February 13, 2020

Effectiveness of travel bans – readily used during infectious disease outbreaks – mostly unknown, study finds

While travel bans are frequently used to stop the spread of an emerging infectious disease, a new University of Washington and Johns Hopkins University study of published research found that the effectiveness of travel bans is mostly unknown.


February 7, 2020

Interactive map shows worldwide spread of coronavirus

heatmap of China showing worldwide spread of coronavirus

University of Washington geographer Bo Zhao has created an interactive map, updated every few hours, of coronavirus cases around the world.


February 4, 2020

First-of-its-kind hydrogel platform enables on-demand production of medicines and chemicals

a water-based gel that is used in molecular biology research

A team of chemical engineers has developed a new way to produce medicines and chemicals and preserve them using portable “biofactories” embedded in water-based gels known as hydrogels. The approach could help people in remote villages or on military missions, where the absence of pharmacies, doctor’s offices or even basic refrigeration makes it hard to…


January 30, 2020

UW’s new WE-REACH center to accelerate development of the ‘most exciting’ biomedical discoveries

Logo for new UW center

With $4 million in matching funds from the National Institutes of Health, the University of Washington has created a new integrated center to match biomedical discoveries with the resources needed to bring innovative products to the public and improve health. “The University of Washington and regional partner institutions produce some of the most exciting biomedical…


January 24, 2020

Rural kids carrying handguns is ‘not uncommon’ and starts as early as sixth grade

Rural setting

Roughly one-third of young males and 1 in 10 females in rural communities have carried a handgun, reports a new University of Washington study. And, the study found, many of those rural kids started carrying as early as the sixth grade. “This is one of the first longitudinal studies of rural adolescent handgun carrying across…


January 22, 2020

Community-based counselors help mitigate grief, stress among children orphaned in East Africa

Group of people pose outside a building.

The University of Washington led a clinical trial involving more than 600 children in Kenya and Tanzania, in which community members were trained to deliver mental health treatment, showed improvement in participants’ trauma-related symptoms up to a year after receiving therapy.


January 21, 2020

A foundation for ‘safe motherhood’ created with and for the Somali community

On a recent Saturday evening, a dozen women gathered around a table at a community room in the White Center neighborhood of Seattle, settling in with snacks and conversation. The evening’s program would be more education than entertainment, an opportunity to discuss topics so sensitive that, without the group of women assembled that night, might…


Mosquitoes are drawn to flowers as much as people — and now scientists know why

Despite their reputation as blood-suckers, mosquitoes actually spend most of their time drinking nectar from flowers. Scientists have identified the chemical cues in flowers that stimulate mosquitoes’ sense of smell and draw them in. Their findings show how cues from flowers can stimulate the mosquito brain as much as a warm-blooded host — information that could help develop less toxic repellents and better traps.


January 9, 2020

At gun safety events, 40% of gun owners reported not locking all household guns — even around kids

Gun with locked storage devices

While waiting for free firearm storage devices at gun safety events held in sporting goods stores across Washington, nearly 3,000 people filled out a one-page survey asking how they stored guns at home and other household information. What the participants reported emphasizes the need for these public events, Seattle Children’s and University of Washington researchers…


December 4, 2019

Warmer temperatures will increase arsenic levels in rice, study shows

closeup of rice grains on rice plants

UW researchers have found that warmer temperatures, at levels expected under most climate change projections, can lead to higher concentrations of arsenic in rice grains.


December 3, 2019

Communities around Sea-Tac Airport exposed to a unique mix of air pollution associated with aircraft

Communities underneath and downwind of jets landing at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are exposed to a type of ultrafine particle pollution that is distinctly associated with aircraft, according to a new University of Washington study, the first to identify the unique signature of aircraft emissions in the state of Washington. The finding comes from the two-year…


November 20, 2019

Emissions from electricity generation lead to disproportionate number of premature deaths for some racial groups

A coal power plant in West Virginia.

UW researchers have found that air pollution from electricity generation emissions in 2014 led to about 16,000 premature deaths in the continental U.S. In many states, the majority of the health impacts came from emissions originating in other states.


November 13, 2019

Founder of World Justice Project, former top Microsoft lawyer Bill Neukom to chair advisory board for UW Population Health Initiative

Neukom standing at podium

Known for his decades-long leadership of Microsoft’s law and corporate affairs team and then at the American Bar Association, his success as CEO of the San Francisco Giants and founder/CEO of the World Justice Project, Bill Neukom will now chair the external advisory board for the University of Washington Population Health Initiative. The university initiative is a…


November 12, 2019

New Weill Neurohub will unite UCSF, UC Berkeley, UW in race to find new treatments for brain diseases

An image of neurons under a microscope

With a $106 million gift from the Weill Family Foundation, UC Berkeley, UC San Francisco and the University of Washington have launched the Weill Neurohub, an innovative research network that will forge and nurture new collaborations between neuroscientists and researchers working in an array of other disciplines — including engineering, computer science, physics, chemistry and mathematics — to speed the development of new therapies for diseases and disorders that affect the brain and nervous system.


October 28, 2019

Precision mapping with satellite, drone photos could help predict infections of a widespread tropical disease

overview of river in senegal

A team led by the University of Washington and Stanford University has discovered clues in the environment that help identify transmission hotspots for schistosomiasis, a parasitic disease that is second only to malaria in its global health impact.


October 10, 2019

UW names population health building after Swedish physician and ‘very serious possibilist’ Hans Rosling

Artist rendering of building

Hans Rosling is known internationally for his captivating analysis of global health data, for discovering a paralyzing disease in Africa and explaining its socio-economic causes, and for his intense curiosity and life-long passion for educating students, world leaders and the public. Now, Hans Rosling — a Swedish doctor, statistician, author and professor — will be…


Personal comments from Hans Rosling’s family about UW’s new Hans Rosling Center for Population Health

Hans Rosling with props

The new building on the University of Washington’s Seattle campus that will be home to some of the key departments at the center of the university’s Population Health Initiative was named in honor of Dr. Hans Rosling on Oct. 10, 2019, by the UW Board of Regents. The $230 million building under construction on the…


October 7, 2019

Pop-up galleries and data: Visualizing the lives of homeless people and their animals

Thumbnail

Sparked by a grant from the UW Population Health Initiative, the UW’s Center for One Health Research has created a series of pop-up galleries featuring autobiographical photographs made by people experiencing homelessness with their animal companions. The first gallery was Oct. 4 in UW’s Red Square. Other pop-up gallery events are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday,…


July 18, 2019

Scientists discover how the mosquito brain integrates diverse sensory cues to locate a host to bite

A close-up image of a mosquito

A team, led by researchers at the University of Washington, has discovered how the female mosquito brain integrates visual and olfactory signals to identify, track and hone in on a potential host for her next blood meal: After the mosquito’s olfactory system detects certain chemical cues, the mosquito uses her visual system to scan her surroundings for certain shapes and fly toward them, presumably associating those shapes with potential hosts.


January 25, 2018

If you swat mosquitoes, they may learn to avoid your scent

A tethered, flying Aedes aegypti mosquito.

In a published Jan. 25 in Current Biology, University of Washington researchers report that mosquitoes can learn to associate a particular odor with an unpleasant mechanical shock akin to being swatted. As a result, they’ll avoid that scent the next time.