UW News

Population Health


June 14, 2022

UW, Seattle Public Library, Seattle Public Utilities collaboration uses VR goggles to visualize sea level rise in Seattle

laser tool by riverside and aerial view of city

The Our Future Duwamish project, available to community groups through The Seattle Public Library, uses an Oculus Quest 2 virtual reality headset to help viewers imagine rising seas from a vantage point along the South Seattle waterway.


June 10, 2022

Q&A: Amy Snover, outgoing director of the UW Climate Impacts Group

Amy Snover

Amy Snover, the retiring director of the UW Climate Impacts Group, reflects on her past decade of leadership and on how the groundbreaking climate preparedness group has evolved over more than a quarter century of existence.


May 23, 2022

Social cohesion found to be key risk factor in early COVID infections

motorcyclist rides along San Francisco neighborhood street

A study by the University of California, Irvine, and the University of Washington shows how social connectedness in San Francisco neighborhoods was associated with COVID-19 infection rates.


May 12, 2022

Smokers who switch to e-cigarettes may adopt other healthy routines

bicyclists riding on a hillside at sunset

A University of Washington study of adult smokers finds that those who switch to vaping some or all of the time may adopt other healthy behaviors.


May 7, 2022

Consensus approach proposed to protect human health from intentional and wild forest fires

Prescribed forest fire

All forest fire smoke is bad for people, but not all fires in forests are bad. This is the conundrum faced by experts in forest management and public health: Climate change and decades of fire suppression that have increased fuels are contributing to larger and more intense wildfires and, in order to improve forest health…


May 3, 2022

Many pathologists agree overdiagnosis of skin cancer happens, but don’t change diagnosis behavior

Doctor Examining Patient

As the most serious type of skin cancer, a melanoma diagnosis carries emotional, financial and medical consequences. That’s why recent studies finding that there is an overdiagnosis of melanoma are a significant cause for concern. “Overdiagnosis is the diagnosis of disease that will not harm a person in their lifetime. If melanoma is being overdiagnosed,…


April 28, 2022

New meta-analysis examines link between self-harm and stress

A new, University of Washington-led meta-analysis finds that people engage in self-injury and/or think about suicide to alleviate some types of stress; and that there is potential for therapy and other interventions.


April 4, 2022

Researchers find patterns of handgun carrying among youth in rural areas, building foundation for injury prevention

The first results of research led by the University of Washington into handgun carrying by young people growing up in rural areas has found six distinct patterns for when and how often these individuals carry a handgun. The patterns, or “longitudinal trajectories,” suggest that youths in rural areas differ in some ways from their urban…


March 9, 2022

More air pollution present in areas with historical redlining

Cars on a road with houses and mountains in the background

A team of researchers at the UW and UC Berkeley has found that housing discrimination practices dating from the 1930s still drive air pollution disparities in hundreds of American cities today.


February 28, 2022

UW authors in IPCC report emphasize threats to human health and well-being

Two University of Washington experts in climate change and health are lead authors of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The new report titled Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptations and Vulnerability, published Monday morning, details in over three thousand pages a “dire warning” about the consequences of inaction on reducing…


February 4, 2022

Planting trees in pastureland provides significant cooling in the tropics

Farmer with bananas

Farmers struggling to adapt to rising temperatures in tropical regions can unleash the benefits of natural cooling, alongside a host of other wins, simply by dotting more trees across their pasturelands. For the first time, a study led by the University of Washington puts tangible numbers to the cooling effects of this practice.


February 3, 2022

For the uninsured, crowdfunding provides little help in paying for health care and deepens inequities

New research from the University of Washington shows that people in states with higher medical debt and lower rates of insurance coverage are more likely to try to raise money but less likely to succeed.


January 26, 2022

Air pollution from planes, roads infiltrates schools and can be dramatically reduced with portable air filters

Professor testing air quality

What started as a University of Washington-led project to measure air pollution near Sea-Tac International Airport has led to schools in the area installing portable air filters to improve indoor air quality. First, UW researchers found they were able to parse aircraft pollution from roadway pollution in the communities under Sea-Tac International Airport flight paths…


December 17, 2021

Deforestation-fueled heat already affecting millions of outdoor workers in the tropics

series of maps

New research from an interdisciplinary team at the University of Washington, Duke University and The Nature Conservancy shows how local temperature increases in the tropics – compounded by accelerating deforestation – may already be jeopardizing the well-being and productivity of outdoor workers.


December 14, 2021

Millions in savings from construction of UW’s Hans Rosling Center for Population Health to fund new research

Using project savings from the construction of the Hans Rosling Center for Population Health, the University of Washington will fund dozens of new research projects through the Population Health Initiative’s interdisciplinary grant program. The new grants will fall into three tiers, with funding from $20,000 to $200,000 per award. “We are delighted to have the…


December 3, 2021

Hans Rosling Center wins state, national architectural design and project awards

Has Rosling Center

The Hans Rosling Center for Population Health has won top awards in 2021 from state and national design and construction associations for both its architectural design and unique project delivery approach. The building was designed by The Miller Hull Partnership and the general contractor was Lease Crutcher Lewis. The Design Build Institute of America in…


November 17, 2021

A chatbot can help doctors better understand incoming emergency department patients’ social needs

A row of green chairs in a waiting room

A team led by the UW developed a chatbot that could ask emergency department visitors about social needs, including housing, food, access to medical care and physical safety.


November 11, 2021

Deforestation, climate change linked to more worker deaths and unsafe conditions

Outdoor workers in the world’s lower-latitude tropical forests may face a greater risk of heat-related deaths and unsafe working conditions because of deforestation and climate warming, according to a study led by The Nature Conservancy, the University of Washington and Indonesia’s Mulawarman University. In the study, researchers found that increased temperatures of 0.95 C (1.7…


October 28, 2021

Countermarketing based on anti-smoking campaigns reduces buying of sugary ‘fruit’ drinks for children

spoonful of sugar with raspberry on top

Public health messages such as in the image below — designed to reduce parents’ purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages marketed as fruit drinks for children — convinced a significant percentage of parents to avoid those drinks, according to a study by researchers at the University of Washington and the University of Pennsylvania. The UW-led study set…


October 25, 2021

‘Self-care and resilience’ — UW’s Elaine Walsh discusses burnout among nurses

The pandemic has left nurses around the country feeling burned out. Their top four feelings, according to a recent survey? Exhausted, overwhelmed, irritable and anxious or unable to relax. UW News spoke with Elaine Walsh, a UW School of Nursing associate professor and a Nurse Scientist in Resiliency at Seattle Children’s Hospital, to learn more about the…


October 5, 2021

UW joins USAID’s $125M project to detect emerging viruses with pandemic potential

Showing a bat

To better identify and prevent future pandemics, the University of Washington has become a partner in a five-year global, collaborative agreement with the U.S. Agency for International Development. The newly launched Discovery & Exploration of Emerging Pathogens – Viral Zoonoses, or DEEP VZN project, has approximately $125 million in anticipated funding and will be led…


October 1, 2021

UW study provides rare window into work life of app-based drivers during pandemic

When you get into the car of the app-based driver you just tapped up on your phone, you expect and hope the driver and the car are safe and capable of getting you where you need to go. Apps rate drivers, which you can see. But what if the driver is sick? What if the…


September 28, 2021

Alzheimer’s data center at UW awarded $35 million to continue mission of free, global access

Neurons

For researchers around the world working to understand and treat Alzheimer’s and eventually find a cure, data from clinical exams of patients suffering from this complex neurodegenerative disease needs to be standardized and accessible. Since 1999, that’s what the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center (NACC), housed in the UW School of Public Health’s Department of Epidemiology,…


September 14, 2021

Study examines teens’ thoughts, plans around suicide

girl sitting on a dock with her head in her hands

New research by the University of Washington and New York University explored gender, racial and ethnic differences among teens who think about and/or attempt suicide, as well as associated behavioral and environmental factors.


September 7, 2021

Research, education hub on ‘coastal resiliency’ will focus on earthquakes, coastal erosion and climate change

tsunami warning sign on the beach

The new Cascadia Coastlines and Peoples Hazards Research Hub, led by Oregon State University and the University of Washington, will study coastal hazards and community resilience. The National Science Foundation awarded $18.9 million for the hub over five years.


August 20, 2021

With extreme heat increasingly common, UW expert calls for urgent planning to protect health in new Lancet series

In a new series on increasingly common extreme heat waves and their impact on human health published Thursday in the British medical journal The Lancet, a University of Washington climate change and health expert joined more than a dozen international experts to warn that we better prepare. “The preventable heat stress and deaths during this summer’s…


August 19, 2021

Youth mental health during the pandemic better with more sleep, structure and time in nature

girl walking in the woods

A study led by Harvard and the University of Washington surveyed children, teens and their families about the stresses of the pandemic, and ways to cope.


August 16, 2021

New analysis of landmark scurvy study leads to update on vitamin C needs

It was wartime and food was scarce. Leaders of England’s effort to wage war and help the public survive during World War II needed to know: Were the rations in lifeboats adequate for survival at sea? And, among several experiments important for public as well as military heath, how much vitamin C did a person…


August 4, 2021

Fine particulate air pollution associated with higher risk of dementia

Pollution map Puget Sound region

Using data from two large, long-running study projects in the Puget Sound region — one that began in the late 1970s measuring air pollution and another on risk factors for dementia that began in 1994 — University of Washington researchers identified a link between air pollution and dementia. In the UW-led study, a small increase…


July 30, 2021

Food insecurity remains high and need for assistance dramatically up in Washington

Food bank scene

Washington residents continue to experience a dramatically higher level of food insecurity — from 10% before the COVID-19 pandemic to 27%, according to the latest University of Washington and Washington State University research on food insecurity and food assistance in the state. The study team also found that need for food assistance has continued to…


July 16, 2021

20 UW researchers elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences for 2021

Twenty scientists and engineers at the University of Washington are among the 38 new members elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences for 2021, according to a July 15 announcement. New members were chosen for “their outstanding record of scientific and technical achievement, and their willingness to work on behalf of the Academy to bring the best available science to bear on issues within the state of Washington.”


June 15, 2021

Video: Mobile health van student volunteers collaborate in service to the community

Student volunteers look at medical supplies inside a van.

This summer a UW mobile health outreach van will hit the road, bringing some basic health care services to people without housing who might have a hard time getting to a doctor’s office.


Drug rebates for insurers tied to higher costs for patients, especially the uninsured

Federal agencies that regulate drug pricing and healthcare insurance are concerned that an industry practice of using rebates to lower drug costs for insurers has led to increases in list prices and out-of-pockets costs for patients. To investigate whether patients with or without insurance were paying more because of rebates to insurers, researchers led by…


May 24, 2021

Fast food, supermarkets, other aspects of built environments don’t play expected role in weight gain

People don’t gain or lose weight because they live near a fast-food restaurant or supermarket, according to a new study led by the University of Washington. And, living in a more “walkable,” dense neighborhood likely only has a small impact on weight. These “built-environment” amenities have been seen in past research as essential contributors to…


May 17, 2021

UW’s Dr. Catherine Karr: ‘Major chronic health problems facing children today’ linked to air pollution

Catherine Karr

With evidence of the health hazards facing children from air pollution growing, The American Academy of Pediatrics on Monday published a policy statement meant to bring those hazards to light and to encourage and direct policy to improve children’s health. Policy co-author Dr. Catherine Karr, a professor in the University of Washington’s School of Public…


May 14, 2021

$38M set of gifts from Ballmer Group to address behavioral health crisis aims to bolster workforce, resources across Washington through UW-led programs

big green trees frame an empty bench

The University of Washington today announced that the School of Social Work and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and the Behavioral Health Institute at Harborview Medical Center are part of a transformational $38 million set of gifts from Ballmer Group to support a broad, collaborative response to the state’s behavioral health crisis. The gifts aim to address the state of Washington’s serious workforce shortage in the community behavioral health system, in large part by supporting statewide education and training innovations at partner institutions developed through the University of Washington.


May 3, 2021

Dean Azita Emami’s ‘insider–outsider’ perspective shapes her UW School of Nursing leadership

Dean Azita Emami on the UW campus with Gerberding and Mary Gates Halls in the background.

UW School of Nursing Dean Azita Emami’s commitment to fighting for those underserved by the health care system has deep roots in her identity. Born in Iran, she has been shaped by the experience of being an “insider–outsider.”


Earthquake early warnings launch in Washington, completing West Coast-wide ShakeAlert system

hand holding phone with alert

The U.S. Geological Survey, the University of Washington-based Pacific Northwest Seismic Network, and state emergency managers on Tuesday, May 4, will activate the system that sends earthquake early warnings throughout Washington state. This completes the rollout of ShakeAlert, an automated system that gives people living in Washington, Oregon and California advance warning of incoming earthquakes.


April 30, 2021

UW’s new Mobile Health & Outreach Van will serve community and student experience

People around medical van

Getting basic health care to medically underserved populations in Seattle, while providing real-world experience for students hoping to practice in a health care field, takes wheels. Now, through a student-led, interdisciplinary effort by health science departments at the University of Washington, those “wheels” — on the new UW Mobile Health & Outreach Van — are ready.


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…



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