Population Health

May 6, 2021

Initiative announces summer 2021 Social Entrepreneurship Fellows

Image of student engaged with a virtual reality headsetThe Population Health Initiative, in partnership with the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, CoMotion and the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, announced the selection of five graduate student fellows for the summer 2021 Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program cohort.

The fellows will devote 10 weeks over the summer to generate impactful solutions and contributions to sustain the work of preexisting, multidisciplinary innovations developed by University of Washington researchers.

Students selected for this summer’s program are:

Name Degree Program School
Daaniya Iyaz Master of Environmental Health School of Public Health
Shawn Swanson Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering College of Engineering
Fred Yeboah Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology School of Medicine
Nick Mager Master of Public Administration and Master of Business Administration Foster School of Business, Evans School of Public Policy & Governance
Burren Peil Ph.D. in Human Centered Design & Engineering College of Engineering

Fellows will be supported through a structured workplan developed by program faculty and staff, as well as through access to mentors and subject matter experts.

Each fellow will have primary responsibility for one of the projects, but the fellows will work collaboratively as a team, lending their disciplinary expertise to all five projects. The fellows will support the generation of novel ideas to support the sustainable development of projects while maintaining the societal impact of their work.

UW researchers are developing the summer 2021 projects that the fellows will be working on, devoted to supporting historically underserved populations and improve population health.

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

  • Caring for Caregivers Online (COCO) – Iyaz will work with a team of interdisciplinary researchers to develop a sustainable business model for Caring for Caregivers Online (COCO). COCO combines artificial intelligence technology and healthcare to provide on-demand, personalized, and emotionally intelligent support and health solutions to caregivers to reduce caregiver burnout and support the health and well-being of families with chronically ill members. The transdisciplinary team has developed a prototype of the platform, which has exhibited promising results through initial testing. Iyaz’s work will support the COCO team in its efforts to bring COCO to a larger audience of caregivers, particularly those of low-income and from marginalized communities. Iyaz will conduct extensive customer discovery to determine how COCO may be adopted by various stakeholders, identify possible payers, conduct a market analysis to compare and learn from comparable technologies and develop a sustainable business model that ensures COCO provides social benefit.
  • Entrepreneurial Law Clinic – Swanson will partner with the School of Law’s Entrepreneurial Law Clinic (ELC), an innovative legal clinic that supports entrepreneurs throughout the Pacific Northwest. The ELC pairs law and business students with pro bono attorneys and business consultants to offer legal and business counseling to technology entrepreneurs, small businesses, social enterprises and non-profits. Among the entrepreneurs the ELC assists, the clinic strives to assist minority, low-income and diverse entrepreneurs to overcome barriers to starting or growing a business. This summer, Swanson will support the ELC’s efforts to expand to best serve the needs of its clients. Swanson’s responsibilities will include creating a stakeholder map, conducting interviews with stakeholders, understanding services offered by other transactional clinics at peer institutions and developing a sustainable business model to meet the clinic’s goal of serving clients from historically underrepresented backgrounds in their entrepreneurial efforts.
  • Positive Social Change Challenge – Yeboah will support the expansion of an ongoing collaboration between the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and the Brotherhood Initiative into an impactful pilot program. The Buerk Center and the Brotherhood Initiative have collaborated to develop an experiential learning model that will support social change and impact. The team intends to create an experiential learning model, similar to that of the Health and Environmental Innovation Challenges, to develop leaders in their work, creating innovative solutions to critical societal challenges on a local, national and global scale. Yeboah will be responsible for researching existing local, national and global endeavors of this nature, interviewing potential stakeholders, and developing a feasibility study to inform the pilot program in 2021-2022. Yeboah’s work will support the collaboration as it seeks to build the foundation for what will grow into a larger, University-wide competition.
  • Open Sidewalks – Mager’s work will support the development of a pedestrian-centric data application. With the rise of navigation apps, travelers have had an unprecedented ability to search and discover various travel paths and transit options. However, pedestrian data mapping sidewalks is nearly always missing in most mapping applications, meaning there is no scalable method for personalized routing that considers an individual’s accessibility needs. The UW Taskar Center for Accessible Technology (TCAT) has developed OpenSidewalks. This accessibility-focused tool enables cities to create digital tools to map pedestrian accessibility and support personalized pedestrian routing at a whole city scale, to fill this gap in mapping. TCAT is currently working with Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) to empower accessibility-focused smart-city collaborations in cities in Latin America. Mager will join the Open Sidewalks project, working to conduct stakeholder interviews to inform the team of how Latin American cities might adopt OpenSidewalks and to create a business plan for scaling OpenSidewalks beyond a few model cities.
  • CROP – Peil’s work will help expand Creating Restorative Opportunities and Programs (CROP) into a social enterprise. CROP is a non-profit established by formerly incarcerated prisoners in California to help other paroled and released individuals find meaningful work. CROP combines innovative programs that focus on four pillars for successful reentry: Leadership for Life; Skilled for Life; Equipped for Life; and Home for Life. These programs have helped transform the culture inside a prison, which is antisocial and self-destructive, into a culture of purpose where incarcerated men begin to support each other to bring out the best in one another and embark on a path of restorative healing. CROP aspires to develop a social enterprise to hire trained, formerly incarcerated individuals to work on tech projects procured from the tech industry. Peil will complete planning work to lay the groundwork for creating this social enterprise.

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