UW News

Population Health


November 16, 2022

More US adults carrying loaded handguns daily, study finds

New research led by the University of Washington finds that the number of U.S. adult handgun owners carrying a loaded handgun on their person doubled from 2015 to 2019, and that a larger proportion of handgun owners carried handguns in states with less restrictive carrying regulations.


October 17, 2022

UW President Ana Mari Cauce elected to National Academy of Medicine for ‘exemplary, visionary leadership’ and research

Ana Mari Cauce

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce is among the new members elected to the National Academy of Medicine “for exemplary and visionary leadership in public higher education administration; innovations in health research, education, and service systems that enhance pathways for women and underrepresented groups; initiatives to address interconnections between health equity, population health, and climate change; and pioneering behavioral health intervention research on Latinos.”


September 28, 2022

UW-developed wave sensors deployed to improve hurricane forecasts

Person drops sensor from plane

Researchers dropped technology developed at the University of Washington off the coast of Florida this week to measure ocean waves in the path of Hurricane Ian. The test is one part of a broad effort to improve forecasts for these fast-moving and deadly systems.


September 26, 2022

Heat-related mortality risk is widespread across Washington state, study shows

W in sunshine

Heat-related deaths occur across Washington state, even in regions with typically milder climates. This is the most extensive study yet of heat-related mortality in Washington state, and the first to look beyond the major population to and include rural areas. Researchers used statistical methods to uncover “hidden” deaths that may have listed something else, like illness or a chronic disease, as the primary cause.


UW joins industry-academia alliance to accelerate research in neuroscience

An image of neurons under a microscope

The University of Washington has joined the Alliance for Therapies in Neuroscience (ATN), a long-term research partnership between academia and industry geared to transform the fight against brain diseases and disorders of the central nervous system. Launched in 2021 by the University of California, San Francisco, UC Berkeley, Genentech — a member of the Roche group — and Roche Holding AG, the ATN seeks to accelerate the development of new therapies for a broad range of brain and central nervous system conditions.


September 22, 2022

UW systems experts put health of kids at the center as King County seeks to reach ‘zero youth detention’

  As King County seeks to reach its goal of “zero youth detention” — ultimately eliminating the practice of juvenile detention in the county —University of Washington researchers are working to help address major systemic challenges in how young people engage with health care. With a strategic plan to close the juvenile detention center by…


September 9, 2022

Pandemic federal programs helped kids in need get access to 1.5 billion meals every month

National Guard distributing food

  When schools closed during the first year of the pandemic, an immediate and potentially devastating problem surfaced: How would millions of children in struggling families get the school meals many of them depended on? The U.S. Congress responded by authorizing the Department of Agriculture to roll out two major programs. It launched the “grab…


August 25, 2022

‘Dangerous’ and ‘extremely dangerous’ heat stress to become more common by 2100

maps of globe colored orange and red

A new study projects the number of days with “dangerous” and “extremely dangerous” mixtures of heat and humidity by the end of this century. Even if global warming is limited to 2 degrees Celsius, results show that deadly heat waves will become much more common in the mid-latitudes, and many tropical regions will experience “dangerous” heat for about half the year.


August 2, 2022

Popular map for exploring environmental health disparities, vulnerabilities in Washington gets an update

Since it first launched in 2019, Washington state’s Environmental Health Disparities Map has been used to help decisionmakers and government agencies engage with overburdened communities to clean up contamination, improve buildings and electric grids, plant trees and many other projects. Using a complex matrix of data, this open-access, interactive map ranks Washington’s nearly 1,500 U.S….


July 22, 2022

Novel HIV combination therapies could prevent viral escape and rebound

New research by scientists at the University of Washington, the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and the University of Cologne indicates that carefully designed cocktails of broadly neutralizing antibodies could help treat HIV while minimizing the risk of the virus evolving to “escape” treatment.


July 12, 2022

UW study strengthens evidence of link between air pollution and child brain development

Seattle traffic

Air pollution is not just a problem for lungs. Increasingly, research suggests air pollution can influence childhood behavioral problems and even IQ. A new study led by the University of Washington has added evidence showing that both prenatal and postnatal exposure to air pollution can harm kids. The study, published in Environmental Health Perspectives, found…


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…



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