UW News

School of Public Health


May 27, 2022

Critical race theory at center of UW study of unequal access to treatment for opioid addiction

Opioid use disorder is an addiction crisis in the United States that has become increasingly lethal during the COVID-19 pandemic. To preserve access to life-saving treatment during the pandemic, federal drug agencies loosened requirements on physicians for treating these patients, including moving patient evaluations away from in-person exams to telemedicine. This federal policy change focused…


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,…


March 28, 2022

UW graduate and professional disciplines again place high in US News’ best graduate school rankings

campus shot

The University of Washington’s graduate and professional degree programs were widely recognized as among the best in the nation, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2023 Best Graduate School rankings released Tuesday.


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 9, 2022

New Center for Environmental Forensic Science aims to disrupt and dismantle international illegal wildlife trade

seized ivory

Across the globe, endangered species are at risk for illegal poaching. African elephants are sought out for their ivory, rhinoceros for their singular horns, and armadillo-like pangolins for their protective, brittle scales. Add to that list valuable and environmentally sensitive trees illegally harvested throughout the world where entire ecosystems are being deforested and illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing that is devastating oceans. These illicit markets, estimated at $1 trillion annually, cause enormous environmental impacts and have the potential to unleash new, deadly pathogens.


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.


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 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…


Politics, health data held almost equal sway in states’ COVID-19 restrictions

Closed sign in a shop window

New research by the University of Washington shows that states eased pandemic restrictions, such as gathering limits and business closures, based on politics as much as COVID-19 death rates or case counts. 


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 27, 2021

New Student Convocation on Tuesday afternoon opens UW’s 2021-22 academic year

aerial view of large circular fountain on college campus

University of Washington Associate Professor Wendy Barrington will be the featured speaker at the university’s 38th annual New Student Convocation. Barrington has joint appointments in the Department of Child, Family, and Population Health Nursing in the School of Nursing and the departments of Epidemiology and of Health Systems and Population Health in the School of Public Health.


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 6, 2021

UW expert discusses protecting workers from wildfire smoke

  With wildfire smoke forecast for next week in Seattle and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Oregon posting rules for keeping workers safe during increasingly smoky conditions and heat in that state, we caught up with a University of Washington expert on worker safety for advice. Check out Professor Baker’s advice on worker safety…


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 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 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.”


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…


April 29, 2021

Faculty/staff honors: Golden Apple, Leading the Narrative awards

Patricia Shehan Campbell, professor and chair of music education in the UW School of Music, has been given a 2021 Golden Apple Award by Seattle public television station KCTS for her work on the musical education of children. The annual awards honor successful teaching models and programs in Washington state.

Recent honors to UW faculty include a Golden Apple Award for teaching innovation from Seattle television station KCTS and a Leading the Narrative award for community engagement from the Society of Behavioral Medicine.


April 20, 2021

Oral history project captures Washingtonians’ pandemic experiences

Masked people walking on a city street.

Manuel S. Martinez, a lifelong campesino, trabajador and community organizer, recalls the beginning of the pandemic. Interviewed by UW student Adriana Martinez.  Zoom, masks, family and politics — these are some of the lasting memories shared by participants in a University of Washington student oral history project. Undergraduate seniors in the Public Health Global Health major at…


April 1, 2021

CDC, UW study finds significant vaccine distrust within incarcerated populations, increasing risks

Fewer than half of inmates in jails and prisons surveyed in a study by the CDC and University of Washington said they would accept a COVID-19 vaccine, while the majority either said they wanted to wait before getting the vaccine or would refuse one. “This is a population already at risk for COVID-19, and outbreaks…


March 9, 2021

Dr. Anne McTiernan releases memoir, ‘Cured: A Doctor’s Journey from Panic to Peace’

Balancing motherhood and medical school is a challenge, but panic attacks and memories of childhood trauma make the path all the more difficult. With therapy, Dr. Anne McTiernan found her way through. Now she discusses her experiences in an intimate memoir, “Cured: A Doctor’s Journey from Panic to Peace.”


March 4, 2021

Video: UW students join the front lines of the vaccination effort

Woman in scrubs pats woman rolling up shirt sleeve

By the end of February, around 350 UW students had signed up to be volunteer vaccinators in clinics from Tacoma to Marysville.


February 25, 2021

Q&A: Race, medicine and the future power of genetic ancestry

Writing in the New England Journal of Medicine that they “do not believe that ignoring race will reduce health disparities” but rather that “such an approach is a form of naive ‘color blindness’ that is more likely to perpetuate and potentially exacerbate disparities,” five Black geneticists set out to explain the pitfalls of leaving race…


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.


January 19, 2021

UW health law expert: COVID-19 vaccine rollout presents ethical, logistical questions

gloved hand holding up a vial of a vaccine

University of Washington law professor Pat Kuszler provides perspectives on the ethical issues of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.


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…


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…


October 21, 2020

Pandemic further isolating older adults, as senior services struggle to adapt

older man sitting on park bench with laptop

A new UW study of senior services in Washington during the COVID-19 pandemic reveals providers’ concerns about isolation, and worsening mental and physical health among older adults.


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.


Three UW faculty members elected to National Academy of Medicine; emeritus professor earns service award

Patrick Heagerty, Dr. Joel Kaufman and Sean Sullivan.

The National Academy of Medicine on Monday announced the election of 100 new members, including three from the : Patrick Heagerty, Dr. Joel Kaufman and Sean Sullivan. In addition, David Eaton, dean and vice provost emeritus of the UW’s Graduate School, was recognized for outstanding service.


October 12, 2020

UW awarded NIH grant for training in advanced data analytics for behavioral and social sciences

With a grant from the National Institutes of Health, a five-year, $1.8 million training program at the University of Washington will fund 25 academic-year graduate fellowships, develop a new training curriculum and contribute to methodological advances in health research at the intersection of demography and data science.


October 5, 2020

Video: Using ‘Street View’ to track pandemic in Seattle over time

A 360 camera is mounted on top of a sedan

As the city of Seattle shut down in March 2020 to try to slow the spread of COVID-19, a group of University of Washington researchers decided to track how the city would react.


Women, workers of color filling most ‘high-hazard/low-reward’ jobs in Washington

When exploring data on Washington workers during the pandemic — demographics, working conditions, wages and benefits, and risks of exposure to disease — the authors of a new report found that women hold two-thirds of the jobs in the harshest category of work. “The big takeaway from our research,” said David West, a co-author of…



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