Population Health

Bolstering community well-being

Man leads a conversation with community membersA number of factors influence community well-being. Physical and mental health, access to basic needs, security, opportunity and social connection are just a few important factors that people need to thrive. To improve the health and well-being of populations thus requires the ability to more accurately assess and measure such factors.

In 2020, the Barnes Family Foundation partnered with the University of Washington Population Health Initiative to develop the Social Weather initiative. The vision of this project was to create a novel approach to measuring and assessing community well-being to support informed decision-making by communities as they assessed where to invest in interventions intended to improve well-being outcomes.

The team’s key areas of focus for Social Weather were:

  • Data Quality Improvement – Improving the quality and availability of well-being data for communities by identifying sources of untapped data and improving the granularity and timeliness of data to better measure well-being. Community feedback regarding what data is most important to them drives this work.
  • Community Well-Being Data Dashboard – Creating an interactive platform that makes well-being data more accessible through interactive data visualizations and additional tools and resources to support communities in making data-driven decisions. The project team is working closely with communities to better understand the needs and challenges they face when using data to improve well-being.

The UW project team included faculty, students and staff from the College of Arts & Sciences, UW Bothell, Engineering, the eScience Institute, Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, Information School, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health, Social Work and the Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology. The Social Weather team also included researchers, community members and other key stakeholders from across the United States.

Visit the Project Website Download a Factsheet