Population Health

May 22, 2018

Initiative awards population health innovation grant with CoMotion

Population Health Innovation AwardThe Population Health Initiative and CoMotion have announced the joint award of a Population Health Innovation Fund grant of $50,000 to Katie Davis, assistant professor at the Information School and Joshua Lawler, professor of Environmental and Forest Sciences. This award is intended to fund a project that simultaneously supports the University of Washington’s vision for population health while also fulfilling the CoMotion Innovation Fund’s goal of enabling research that will achieve sustainable commercial or social impact.

Research is showing that children spending less time outdoors than generations before them, despite the health and education benefits of engaging with nature. Davis’ and Lawler’s project, “NatureCollections: A mobile app that connects kids with nature,” aims to reverse this trend by harnessing children’s enthusiasm for technology and their love of collecting things to encourage them to explore their natural environment. A multi-disciplinary team with expertise in child development, educational technology design and environmental science developed the app, which allows kids to take pictures of nature, identify what they find and share and curate their photos in categories.

The Population Health Innovation Fund grant will enable the team to explore how to build partnerships with organizations that also have an interest in engaging children with nature, such as zoos and aquariums. These types of partnerships will allow the app to become widely used, have a sustainable impact on kid’s well-being and encourage environmental stewardship.

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