Population Health

May 7, 2020

Initiative announces summer 2020 Social Entrepreneurship Fellows

Image of student engaged with a virtual reality headsetThe Population Health Initiative today announced the award of Population Health Social Entrepreneurship Fellowships to four graduate students who will explore how to best deploy social entrepreneurship models for population health innovations developed by University of Washington researchers.

All innovations are seeking novel ideas for how they can be financially sustainable while at the same time ensuring that the social impact of the work remains as important as revenue generation.

Students selected for this summer’s program are:

Name Degree Program School
Francis Abugbilla PhD Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
Preeyel Dalal Master of Business Administration Foster School of Business
Juan Osorio-Valencia Master of Public Health Department of Global Health
Samuel Pastor Master of Business Administration Foster School of Business

The Social Entrepreneurship Fellows Program was launched in 2019 by the Population Health Initiative, in partnership with the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance and CoMotion, to enable students to gain real-world experience in social entrepreneurship, while also providing UW investigators with a road-map for a sustainable route forward for their innovations.

Each fellow will have primary responsibility for one project, but fellows will also work as a team to contribute their disciplinary expertise to all four projects. The multidisciplinary nature of the program appealed to students across the university, with 40 applications received from disciplines including business, social work, engineering, public policy, global health, public health, law and information management.

This summer’s fellows will work on the following projects:

  • PestiSeguro/PestiSafe – Abugbilla will work with Kit Galvin of the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences on a mobile app that delivers pesticide safety information in Spanish. Errors in pesticide handling increase the risk for pesticide exposure and illness, and pesticide labels provide critical information for safe handling of these products. However, these labels are long, technical and only available in English, despite the fact that Spanish is the primary language of most agricultural workers. Abugbilla will work to develop a sustainable business model that will enable the app to be broadly disseminated to agricultural workers across the country.
  • Central District Loan Program – Dalal’s project will help structure a loan guarantee program for minority entrepreneurs in Seattle’s Central District. Businesses owned by minorities are denied loans at a higher rate than non-Hispanic whites, and even when they do succeed in raising money, it is usually at a higher interest rate. To address this disparity, the UW’s Consulting and Business Development Center is interested in developing a mechanism to encourage smaller banks and credit unions to offer loans to minority-owned businesses in Seattle’s Central District. Dalal will work with Michael Verchot and other Foster faculty to develop plans for how banks, UW students and other stakeholders can improve credit access for Central District minority entrepreneurs.
  • Global Water Labs – Osorio-Valencia’s project will focus on developing business models for the deployment of an affordable technology to remove heavy metal contamination from water. The technology has been developed by Katya Cherukumilli of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. In the U.S., lead contamination of water supplies due to decaying infrastructure (i.e., pipes, faucets, plumbing fixtures) has caused widespread concern about childhood lead poisoning. Osorio-Valencia will investigate how the technology can be most beneficial to U.S. populations at risk of detrimental health effects due to heavy metal contamination.
  • Financial Reporting Tool for Public Health Agencies – Pastor will be working with Betty Bekemeier of the School of Nursing, who has developed a financial reporting tool for public health agencies. At present, no national uniform financial reporting standards and systems exist for governmental public health agencies. This presents challenges to public health policymakers and practitioners in demonstrating the value of public health. Pastor will analyze how Bekemeier’s tool can be widely adopted by cash-strapped public health agencies to help maximize the impact of public health expenditures.

Learn more about this fellowship program by visiting its web page.