Population Health

Our approach

An interdisciplinary project team has a group meetingThe initiative seeks to support faculty, students and staff to engage in interdisciplinary, collaborative work across the university and in partnership with external stakeholders.

To that end, the initiative has developed a number of funding, education, training, partnership building and other supportive mechanisms that accelerate interdisciplinary endeavors that seek to improve health and well-being. These activities collectively include the following:

Catalyzing innovative, interdisciplinary research

A major focus of the initiative is supporting the launch of innovative and inherently interdisciplinary research projects. We offer this support through a range of mechanisms, including the following:

  • Convenings, networking and matchmaking: The initiative acts as a convener and matchmaker, facilitating connections, networking and program design discussions between researchers in different disciplines who are working on similar grand challenges in population health.
  • Internal grant programs: The initiative offers pilot research grants that encourage new interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty investigators for projects that address key population health challenges.
  • Proposal development: The initiative offers support – including funder prospecting, strategy and team development, project management, letters of support, writing and editing, budgeting and other administrative processes – to UW researchers who are submitting interdisciplinary, population-health related grant applications.
  • Project leadership: The initiative leads several grant-funded projects that bring together an interdisciplinary range of university faculty, students and staff to take on endeavors such as improving global vaccination coverage, improving community well-being and reducing racial gaps in vaccination levels.
  • Population health faculty hires: The initiative awarded approximately $1.8 million in bridge funding in 2018 for three new faculty positions focused on developing innovative solutions to major population health challenges.

Advancing population health education and training

The initiative works to support UW graduates in leaving the University with an understanding of the range of factors that impact health and well-being, including the potential role their discipline can play in improving population health.

  • Undergraduate courses: The initiative raises student awareness of the range of intersecting and overlapping factors that influence health through a number of undergraduate courses that engage more than 3,000 students a year.
  • Fellowships: The initiative offers targeted interdisciplinary training through two fellowship programs focused on applied research and social entrepreneurship.
  • Let’s Talk Pop Health: The initiative amplifies virtual, in-person and hybrid population health education and training taking place across the University’s three campuses.
  • Graduate certificate: The initiative offers specialized population health training through a Graduate Certificate in International Humanitarian Response.
  • Award programs: The initiative offers several award programs for undergraduate and graduate students to support conference travel and to recognize outstanding population health scholarship.

Spurring new partnerships

The Population Health Initiative acts as a starting point for outside partners and collaborators who seek to engage the UW in improving population health.

Once contacted, the initiative supports potential partners in exploring and engaging the full breadth of population health-related expertise at the University.

Some examples of partnerships developed through the initiative include:

  • King County: The initiative partners with the county each summer on applied research projects to conduct analyses and develop recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders about programs and policies impacting local populations.
  • Aga Khan Development Network: The UW has multiple collaborations underway with the Aga Khan Development Network, and particularly Aga Khan University, related to the expansion of research, service and education in low- and middle-income countries.

Sparking collaboration through the university hub for population health

The University of Washington has finished construction of the Hans Rosling Center for Population Health, which serves as a gathering place where faculty, students, staff and collaborators can come together in their work.

The facility also acts as an idea laboratory and collaboration incubator for a range of stakeholders who come together for training, research work and informal discussions yielding new insights and innovation opportunities for improving health and well-being.

This building was made possible by a transformative $210 million gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and $15 million in earmarked funding from the Washington State Legislature.

To learn more, please explore this website, or read our 2020-22 Report to the Community.