UW News

population health


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…


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…


November 2, 2020

Video: Free coronavirus testing for UW community open for more enrollment

preparing a COVID-19 test

The Husky Coronavirus Testing program, powered by the Seattle Flu Study, launched on Sept. 24 and now has more than 12,500 members of the UW community enrolled and has conducted more than 10,000 tests.


October 29, 2020

Models show how COVID-19 cuts a neighborhood path

A research team led by UC Irvine and the University of Washington has created a new model of how the coronavirus can spread through a community. The model factors in network exposure — whom one interacts with — and demographics to simulate at a more detailed level both where and how quickly the coronavirus could spread through Seattle and 18 other major cities.


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…


Simple actions can help people survive landslides, UW analysis shows

aerial view of mud and trees with building remains

Simple actions can dramatically improve a person’s chances of surviving a landslide, show records from 38 landslides in the U.S. and around the world. People who survived landslides tended to have moved upstairs or to higher ground, among other key actions.


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 29, 2020

ArtSci Roundup: Velvet Sweatshops and Algorithmic Cruelty, Social Movements & Racial Justice, the Vice Presidential Debate Preview, and More

Margaret O'Mara's history of Silicon Valley was published in July by Penguin Press.

During this time of uncertainty and isolation, find solace in digital opportunities to connect, share, and engage. Each week, we will share upcoming events that bring the UW, and the greater community, together online.  Many of these online opportunities are streamed through Zoom. All UW faculty, staff, and students have access to Zoom Pro via UW-IT.  Velvet…


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,…


Video: How to make your own home air purifier

With wildfire smoke blanketing most of the western U.S. this week, public health experts suggest staying inside as much as possible to protect yourself from smoky air. If you don’t have air conditioning or an air purifier in your home, it’s possible to make your own inexpensive purifier. Here’s how.


September 8, 2020

How birth control, girls’ education can slow population growth

baby crib

Education and family planning have long been tied to lower fertility trends. But new research from the University of Washington analyzes those factors to determine, what accelerates a decline in otherwise high-fertility countries.


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….


July 31, 2020

Empathy and understanding: UW psychologists offer tips on relationships during the pandemic

University of Washington psychologists say there are ways to approach interactions with friends and loved ones that can provide a positive path forward and help maintain healthy relationships during the pandemic.


July 30, 2020

National Academies publishes guide to help public officials make sense of COVID-19 data

University of Washington professor Adrian Raftery is lead author on a National Academies guide to help officials interpret and understand different COVID-19 statistics and data sources as they make decisions about opening and closing schools, businesses and community facilities.


July 29, 2020

Expert FAQ: Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest during the COVID-19 pandemic

forest on fire

The University of Washington has a long history of leading research into the impacts of wildfires from an ecological and health perspective. We worked with two experts to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, including the ways that the pandemic is increasing our community’s vulnerability to extreme wildfire events in the region.


June 29, 2020

Trouble paying medical bills can lead to longer episodes of homelessness, new study shows

Empty hospital room

A new University of Washington study of people experiencing homelessness in King County finds that unpaid medical bills were their primary source of debt, and that debt extended their period of homelessness by an average of two years.


June 25, 2020

Sleep improving for university students under stay-at-home orders

an alarm clock at night

In a study published June 10 in Current Biology, a team from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Washington reports that a group of students at CU Boulder generally got more sleep after widespread stay-at-home orders and social distancing guidelines were put into place in mid-March.


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.


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…


June 22, 2020

Amid pandemic, UW School of Social Work’s Project Connect provides opportunities for students to learn, serve community

Two boys lying on floor, looking at tablet screen

The UW School of Social Work’s Project Connect supports 15 different research and outreach endeavors, all oriented specifically around community needs during COVID-19.


June 17, 2020

Is the air getting cleaner during the COVID-19 pandemic?

San Francisco at sunset

Using air quality data from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency monitors across the U.S., a UW-led team looked for changes in two common pollutants over the course of 2020.


June 8, 2020

Early childhood intervention programs may reap benefits across generations

Young boy coloring at a classroom table

New research from a decades-long study by the University of Washington and the University of Colorado shows long-term benefits from a program to prevent problem behaviors in children.


June 4, 2020

UW guidelines helping to ramp up research safely during COVID-19

A person speaking at a lecturn

Mary Lidstrom, vice provost for research at the University of Washington, talks about the evolving picture of research at the UW in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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.


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 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 22, 2020

A contact-tracing app that helps public health agencies and doesn’t compromise your privacy

A person on a train looking at their phone. Other people are on their phones behind that person.

Researchers from the University of Washington and UW Medicine, along with volunteers from Microsoft, have developed a new contact-tracing app called CovidSafe.


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.


Local response to UW social isolation study leads to national effort

person walking alone

With most states now under stay-at-home orders, UW researchers have launched a national study to test whether a motivational, mental health tip each day changes participants’ behavior during social distancing, and improves their mental and relational health.


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…



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