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.

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

The team’s current areas of focus for the Social Weather project are:

  • 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 has 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, Public Health, Social Work and the Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology. The Social Weather project team also includes researchers, community members, and other key stakeholders from across the United States.

Download a project factsheet to learn more about this work.