UW News

Department of Epidemiology


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…


July 23, 2021

Older workers needed for UW study on worker safety during COVID-19 pandemic

Restaurant server at table

Public health researchers have learned a lot about how the pandemic affected workers and exacerbated existing health disparities that exist in many communities. However, there’s still a lot we don’t know about the experience of workers deemed essential in the food industry and who were at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, such those working in…


July 9, 2021

Study model explores impact of police action on population health

A specific police action, an arrest or a shooting, has an immediate and direct effect on the individuals involved, but how far and wide do the reverberations of that action spread through the community? What are the health consequences for a specific, though not necessarily geographically defined, population? The authors of a new UW-led study…


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…


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…


January 26, 2021

Anti-poverty policies can reduce reports of child neglect

parents with young child walking in a park

A University of Washington study analyzes how a state’s refundable Earned Income Tax Credit can lead to fewer reports of child neglect, by reducing the financial stress on families.


October 19, 2020

Conversation about suicide prevention leads to safe gun storage, study finds

visitors approach a booth with volunteers at a park

Research by Forefront Suicide Prevention at the University of Washington, from visits to 18 gun shows and other community events around Washington state last year, found that engaging people in a community-based setting, in an empathetic conversation focused on safety, resulted in more people locking up their firearms.


October 1, 2020

Faculty/staff honors: Teaching and mentoring award; three Aeronautics & Astronautics professors recognized — and state dance educator of the year

Etienne Cakpo

Recent honors to UW faculty have come from the American Institute for Aeronautics & Astronautics, the American Society of Composites, the Coalition for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology and the Dance Educators Association of Washington.


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

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,…


July 31, 2020

Soundbites: UW epidemiologist says face masks can be a tool for community health

Face coverings will continue to be an important and effective tool in combating the spread of COVID-19, public health experts say. 


July 30, 2020

Video: Face coverings an important tool to fight COVID-19

Face coverings will continue to be an important and effective tool in combating the spread of COVID-19.


July 16, 2020

7 University of Washington researchers elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences in 2020

Seven scientists and engineers at the University of Washington have been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences, according to an announcement July 15 by the academy.


June 24, 2020

Study asks Washington state residents to describe food security and access during pandemic, economic downturn

a plate, knife and fork

A new online survey for Washington state residents has launched to gather data on how the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent economic downturn have affected food access and economic security. The Washington State Food Security Survey, which went live June 18 and runs through July 31, is open to all Washington state residents aged 18 or over.


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…


February 11, 2020

Soundbites & B-roll: Minimum wage and health

A UW study found that increases in minimum wages primarily had no effect on health overall. However, they did find a mix of negative and positive effects associated with the health of certain groups of working-age people.


February 10, 2020

Increases in minimum wage may not have anticipated positive health effects, study shows

Coins spilled from jar

  In the decade-long absence of federal action, many states, counties and cities have increased minimum wages to help improve the lives of workers. While political debate over these efforts has long been contentious, scientific research on the health effects of raising the minimum wage is relatively new. Some studies have found higher minimum wages…


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 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…


November 6, 2019

Mailed self-sampling kits helped more women get screened for cervical cancer

Woman's hand pulling envelop from mailbox

Signaling a potential major change in cervical cancer screening options for American women, a new study found that mailed self-sampling kits that test for HPV — the virus that can cause cervical cancer — helped significantly more women get screened for the cancer. The study involving nearly 20,000 women was conducted by researchers from the…


October 14, 2019

To reduce gun violence, lift roadblocks to firearm data

Gun in field grass

While gun violence in America kills more than 35,000 people a year and as calls for policies to stem the crisis grow, University of Washington researchers point out in a new analysis that barriers to data stand in the way of advancing solutions. “Firearm data availability, accessibility and infrastructure need to be substantially improved to…


July 30, 2019

UW study: House move during early pregnancy linked to heightened premature birth risk

Moving to a new residence during the first three months of pregnancy is linked to a heightened risk of premature birth and low birthweight, as well as a slightly higher risk of a smaller-than-expected-size baby, according to new research from the University of Washington published online today in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.


July 29, 2019

Medicaid expansion may prevent child neglect, UW study shows

More than 4 million reports of child maltreatment involving about 7.5 million children were made in 2017 to Child Protective Services. While much work has been done to reduce these high rates of child abuse and neglect in the United States, few programs have been consistently effective.


July 9, 2019

UW professors to receive 2019 Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers

Six University of Washington professors are to receive a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, according to an announcement July 2 from the White House. The award, also known as the PECASE, is the highest honor given by the U.S. government to early-career scientists and engineers “who show exceptional promise for leadership in science and technology.”


October 30, 2018

Suicide more prevalent than homicide in US, but most Americans don’t know it

A study led by the University of Washington shows that public perception of gun violence and homicide risk is far from the reality of the data. Photo of firearm lying on the ground.

First-of-its kind research, led by the University of Washington, Northeastern University and Harvard University, delves into public perceptions of gun violence and the leading causes of death in the U.S.


November 2, 2017

How air pollution clouds mental health

A University of Washington study finds that people who live in areas with high levels of air pollution also report higher levels of psychological distress.

  There is little debate over the link between air pollution and the human respiratory system: Research shows that dirty air can impair breathing and aggravate various lung diseases. Other potential effects are being investigated, too, as scientists examine connections between toxic air and obesity, diabetes and dementia. Now add to that list psychological distress,…


July 9, 2013

Link between low vitamin D blood levels and heart disease varies by race

Hand with pills

Low vitamin D levels are linked to higher risk of heart disease in whites and Chinese, but not in blacks or Hispanics. The findings underscore the importance of designing medical research that includes a diverse ethnic and racial makeup of participants.