Population Health

May 5, 2022

Initiative announces selection of summer 2022 Social Entrepreneurship Fellows

Image of student engaged with a virtual reality headsetThe Population Health Initiative announced the selection of four graduate fellows for the summer 2022 cohort of the Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship Program, which runs in partnership with the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, CoMotion and the Evans School of Public Policy & Governance.

The fellows will spend 10 weeks over the summer producing innovative solutions and contributions to support the work of preexisting, multidisciplinary projects developed by University of Washington researchers.

The students selected for this summer’s program are:

Name Project School
Aradhana Gupta STRIVE Foster School of Business
Yingbo Shi Detect IV Foster School of Business
Samriddhi Simlai ConnectMyVariant Foster School of Business and College of Arts & Sciences
Gina Werdel DPEN Evans School of Public Policy & Governance

Program faculty and staff developed a structured workplan to support the fellows through their projects in addition to access to mentors and subject matter experts.

The fellows will work collaboratively as a team, contributing their expertise to all four projects while focusing primarily on one of the projects. The fellows will support the generation of new ideas to support financial sustainability of projects while preserving the societal impact of their work.

Each of the summer 2022 projects has been developed by UW researchers with the purpose of benefiting disadvantaged populations and improving population health.

The fellows will work on the following projects this summer:

  • STRIVE – Developing a parent support and education program (Laura Orlando and Susan Barkan, Social Work) – STRIVE is a parent support and education program delivered in the context of parent-child visits to enhance parent engagement and the quality of parent-child visits. By reaching out to parents early in their visiting experience, ideally before the first visit, the program aims to provide a supportive environment where goals and expectations are clear, a trusted connection with parents is built and positive parenting practices and skills are developed and/or reinforced. Currently, training for visitation supervisors is piecemeal and limited in access. Concurrently, a new law has come out, HB 1194, that mandates the Child Welfare System initiate parental visits within 72 hours of child being removed but offers no way to train those who are providing visits this early after the children have been placed, which is a highly stressed moment for families. Additionally, data currently is limited related to the quality of parent-child interactions during visits. STRIVE can increase its reach in training visit supervisors and supporting parents, while capturing needed visit level data that would support the new law. Aradhana Gupta will support the team with customer discovery interviews with parents to identify the effective strategies to deliver e-learning training that addresses access and equity issues. In addition, Gupta will also support the team to identify a feasible business model that integrates the training into the system to build capacity amongst supervisors/providers to ensure a healthy visit, while supporting sustainability for the work.
  • DetectIV – Scaling an artificial skin patch for neonatal IVs (Greg Valentine and Krystle Perez, Pediatrics) – A total of 87% of neonatal IVs fail leading to life-threatening complications that can ultimately lead to limb loss, infection and death. DetectIV is an innovative skin patch, a device that is low cost and improves the safety of providing IV fluids and medications to newborns. Simply put, this dual-purposed skin patch (1) secures the IV in place and (2) visually alerts when it detects an IV failure event by swelling or leakage. The skin patch simply changes color to blue when IV failure is detected, and this color change empowers even parents the ability to understand when an IV has failed and reach out to the healthcare staff to let them know that the IV needs to be removed to prevent harm. Yingbo Shi will support DetectIV by doing a deep dive into customer discovery, market strategy and explore how to build a pathway to sustainability in low- and middle-income countries.
  • ConnectMyVariant – Support for those with hereditary cancer (Brian Shirts, Laboratory Medicine & Pathology) – ConnectMyVariant is a public health initiative of the University of Washington Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology initially sponsored by the Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine. ConnectMyVariant helps patients with hereditary cancer connect with at-risk relatives and those relatives connect with hereditary cancer prevention health care providers. The project team combines family outreach strategies that have been proven to be successful with new strategies from genealogy, social networking and direct-to-consumer ancestry DNA testing. Connecting patients with close and distant relatives is a collaborative effort between patients, their families and organization staff. Their goal is to prevent all hereditary cancer in the United States by 2030. Samriddhi Simlai will support the team to do customer discovery interviews, explore various market segments locally and globally to effectively deliver ConnectMyVariant, analyze the current market and explore sustainability business models.
  • DPEN, Developing a new role of a Registered Nurse Dementia Care Specialist (Tatiana Sadak, Nursing) – The purpose of this project is to establish a workforce of nurses who are prepared to provide high quality dementia care and to expand access to dementia-capable healthcare services. This team is defining a brand-new role, Registered Nurses (RN) as Dementia Care Specialists. They already developed a training program for UW nursing students and continuing education for practicing RNs. They are currently developing technology, a Dementia Digital Module (DDM), an application that will contain dementia care decision support tools, and evidence-based assessments and measures. DDM will help guide student’s and nurses’ training and practice, and will be used to assess the effective the training is as well as the quality of the delivery of dementia care. This technology integration will ensure the dementia care training program is effectively producing a pipeline of trained registered nurses providing quality dementia care and will support their day-to-day work. Gina Werdel will be identifying and meeting with decision makers to discover the process for integrating the new RN role and the new technologies into local healthcare systems. UW SoN team already built relationships and collaborations with the UWMC, Swedish/Providence, Keizer, VA and several LTC partners. Werdel will work with current partners and will expand the network of future collaborators.

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