Population Health

Social Entrepreneurship Fellowship

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, offers a Social Entrepreneurship Fellows Program in which students explore how best to deploy social enterprise models for innovations that are developed by University of Washington researchers.

The program supports graduate fellows from different disciplines to work on a range of different projects. Students from a range of disciplines are encouraged to apply, including business, engineering, social work, law, public policy and public health.

Each fellow will have primary responsibility for one of the projects, but fellows will work as a team, with each fellow contributing their disciplinary expertise to all four projects. Fellows will be guided through a structured workplan by program faculty and staff, and will also have access to mentors and subject matter experts.

Summer 2022 projects

The projects for the summer 2022 cohort are being developed by UW researchers to benefit disadvantaged populations and improve population health. All innovations are seeking novel ideas for how they can be financially sustainable while ensuring that the societal impact of their work remains as important as any potential revenue generation.

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.

This fellow will have the opportunity to do a deep dive into customer discovery, market strategy, and explore how to build a pathway to sustainability in low- and middle-income countries.

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.

This fellow 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. The fellow will work with current partners and will expand the network of future collaborators.

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.

This student fellow 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.

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.

This team is adding to their in-person approach the ability to deliver the content via an e-learning platform. 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 has the opportunity to increase its reach in training visit supervisors and supporting parents, while capturing needed visit level data that would support the new law.

This student fellow will support the team to do customer discovery interviews with parents to identify the effective strategies to deliver e-learning training that addresses access and equity issues. In addition, the fellow 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.

Student eligibility

We will be offering fellowships to four graduate students. Students at the master’s and doctoral levels and professional students from all UW schools and colleges are eligible to apply.

Applicants must be enrolled in a degree-granting program at a UW campus (Seattle, Tacoma or Bothell). Students who are expecting to graduate in Spring 2022 are not eligible to apply.


Fellows will be compensated up to $10,000 over a 10-week period, working approximately 30 hours per week. These roles are not benefits eligible.


  • Application period opens on February 14, 2022.
  • Applications will be due by 11:59 p.m. (Pacific) on April 1, 2022.
  • Applicants will be notified whether they are invited to interview for the fellowship positions the week of April 4, 2022.
  • Interviews will be scheduled for the week of April 11, 2022.
  • Candidates will be notified by late April as to whether they were selected.
  • Fellowships are for a 10-week period over the summer, starting on June 21, 2022 and ending August 26, 2022.

Application instructions

All applicants must submit the following documents:

  • Recent CV or resume.
  • Unofficial transcript.
  • One- to two-page cover letter outlining why you are interested in the fellowship program and how your skills will enable you to contribute to the success of the project. The application should indicate if there is a specific project that you are particularly interested in.

Please combine the CV/resume, transcript and cover letter into a single .pdf file and upload your application to https://redcap.link/soc_ent_fellows_2022.

Select candidates will be required to participate in a 30-minute interview for the fellowship positions.

Review criteria

Applications will initially be reviewed by representatives of the Population Health Initiative, the Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship and the Evans School. Select candidates will then be invited to interview for the fellowship positions. Candidates will be notified whether they have been selected for interviews according to the published timeline.

Interviews will last for 30-minutes and will be with a panel consisting of the faculty and staff who reviewed the applications.

Applicants will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Demonstrated the analytical skills necessary to complete the project
  • Demonstrated interest in social entrepreneurship
  • Academic performance to date
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills (interviewing, writing and presentation skills)
  • Demonstrated experience working within in a team environment


Please contact pophlth@uw.edu with questions regarding this fellowship program.