Population Health

June 7, 2023

Winning papers announced for 2023 Population Health Library Research Awards

Student writes a paper in the Foster Business LibraryThe Population Health Initiative announced today that four University of Washington undergraduate students have been honored with 2023 Population Health Library Research Awards.

This award was created in 2017 in partnership with the UW Libraries and is open to undergraduates from all three University of Washington campuses. The projects submitted were completed for either UW course credit or for the Undergraduate Research Program.

The key factors for choosing awardees included the quality of their writing, the innovativeness of their research hypothesis and how well they connected their work to the theme of population health.

The following section describes the four awardees, their majors, the titles of their projects and summaries of their projects.

Carolina de Barros Antonucci (Business), "Motivation in Non-Profit Organization Worker"

Our topic of evaluating motivation and commitment in non-profit organizations relates to population health because we examine the mental health and general well-being of workers following the pandemic. Many non-profit workers do not receive attractive salaries or in some cases, any salary at all.

The lack of adequate financial compensation despite significant work demands can contribute to employee stress and burnout, which can have a negative impact on mental health. Therefore, it’s crucial for non-profit organizations to provide a supportive work environment and address the factors that adversely affect mental health.

Our study focuses on the effects of the pandemic-related pressures on employee behaviors and uncovers that while several forms of negative behaviors remain unchanged, positive behaviors increase. Data from surveys and interviews shed light on the contrasting effects of these negative behaviors such as ostracizing coworkers, and positive behaviors such as helping coworkers with the mental health outcomes of employees.

We discuss the broad impact of a supportive workplace culture on employee mental health, which can further foster employee motivation, commitment, and general well-being. These findings highlight the importance of understanding the impact of the work environment on employee well-being and the need for organizations to address these factors in order to promote a positive and supportive work environment for their workforce.

Rahoul Banerjee Ghosh (Chemistry), "Drowning Out the Rest: The West’s Dominance of the Climate Crisis"

My project was a literature review prepared for HONOR 231: “Western Civilization” and Global Public Policy about inequity in responsibility for, consequences from, and responses to climate change between the developed and developing world, described as the “West” and the “Rest.”

The three themes discussed are the sharp mismatch in greenhouse gas emissions and the burden of climate change effects observed between these worlds; the historical and current theme of exploitation of “the Rest” by “the West” in ways such as colonialism and resource extraction that has organized the world into regions prepared to deal with environmental disasters and those that are not; and climate imperialism, enabling Western countries to utilize wealth and power, acquired through economies built on fossil fuels and the exploitation of poorer regions, to shape climate policy in their favor, and escape responsibility for their actions.

Kaitlyn Laibe (Law, Societies, and Justice), "Hopeful: An Examination of Incarcerated People and Their Experience Learning of Unexpected Early Release"

In the wake of federal decisions challenging the constitutionality of life sentences, Washington State enacted a variety of legal pathways towards early release. This study explores how learning of the possibility of early release affected incarcerated individuals who previously did not expect to be released from prison.

Qualitative interview data from 12 individuals who secured early release from Washington State prisons resulted in three key findings. First, for every participant, learning of early release created hope. Second, the hope that early release generates is tempered by institutional factors outside of the individual’s control, such as correctional staff intentionally administering infractions to disqualify individuals from early release process(es). Thirdly, although tempered hope results in a “hope for the best, expect the worst” mentality, hope positively impacts an individual’s trajectory, engagement, and behavior in prison. This research illuminates the importance of creating realistic early release mechanisms and allowing hope to flourish.

Hayden Goldberg (Political Science and Economics), "The Rhetorical Implications of Metaphorical Entailments and Terministic Screens: An Analysis of the British Press’ Coverage of the COVID-19 Pandemic"

This paper analyzes the rhetoric of British press reports on the COVID-19 pandemic. I combine terministic screens, metaphors, and metaphorical entailments to explicate a new theory on the impacts of metaphor. I argue that the vehicle of metaphor functions as a terministic screen and the impacts can be understood using metaphorical entailments. Under my theory, these entailments can be plotted onto an XY plane and compared with each other.

Using this, I analyze the metaphors used by four British newspapers to assess the role of the press in shaping people’s perceptions of the pandemic and its consequences. I identify metaphors that (de)construct borders in order to denote an “other”; economic metaphors mixed with war and natural disaster metaphors to frame the pandemic as an economic, not health, problem; and war metaphors that rhetorically construct plastics and bodyweight as things that should be understood in terms of war.

Please visit our funding page to learn more about these awards.