Population Health

Funded pilot projects

Image of a UW student working with childrenThe Population Health Initiative has supported the launch of approximately 130 innovative, interdisciplinary research projects since 2017 through different pilot grant-funding mechanisms. The cumulative value of these awards is $8.1 million, which includes matching funds from UW schools, colleges and departments.

Findings from these projects have been published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals and have informed the public through media coverage. Projects have also advanced the educational and training experiences of a number of UW graduate students.

Many of the supported projects have leveraged their pilot findings to successfully secure additional funding from federal grantors like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, as well as a mix of foundation and international sponsors.

The following tabs present projects awarded through the initiative’s pilot grant program.

2022 Pilot Awards

The Population Health Initiative relaunched its interdisciplinary pilot grant program in November 2021, leveraging project savings from the construction of the Hans Rosling Center for Population Health to dramatically expand the initiative’s internal granting capacity in 2022 and 2023. The relaunched program now features three different tiers of grants with varying foci and awards ranging in size from $25,000 to $200,000. The awards made in 2022 are described in the following sub-sections.

Tier 1 Grants – Winter Quarter 2022

The Population Health Initiative awarded 11 Tier 1 pilot research grants in winter quarter 2022 to faculty-led teams representing nine different UW schools and colleges as well as several community-based partners. The awarded projects were:

  • The Intersection of Food Security and Planetary Health in Senegal, West Africa: A Mixed-Methods Pilot Study: There is a high burden of food insecurity in Senegal, and particularly the Casamance, which has the country’s highest prevalence of food insecurity. This project will conduct a mixed-methods study to explore and define the intersection of food security and planetary health in Casamance.
  • Addressing Burnout Among QTBIPOC (Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Therapists Working in Community-Based Organizations through Cultivating Wellness and Sustainability: This project aims to study the experience of burnout among QTBIPOC clinicians at two Seattle community-based agencies.
  • Turning to Sunshine: Developing a CBT-based Depression and Adherence mHealth intervention for HIV-positive Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) in China Using a Community-Based Participatory Approach: The researcher team is working to address the urgent mental health needs of men who have sex with men who are newly diagnosed with HIV. In addition, they aim to gain a deeper understanding of the community’s needs, priorities and assets through in-depth interviews.
  • Building Community Capacity Among MultiCare, Tacoma Public Schools, and University of Washington to Support Underserved Youth Well-being: This project aims to strengthen partnerships between UW Tacoma, Tacoma Public Schools, and a Multicare behavioral health unit to provide an evidence-based training program to improve youth mental health.
  • Risk-taking Behaviors and Cryptocurrency Trading (REACT) in Young Adults: This project is studying the gap between the increased prevalence of cryptocurrency trading and the effect of trading on the health and well-being of young adults.
  • Exploring COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Pregnant Rural Washingtonians: The project team is exploring vaccine hesitancy in pregnant rural Washingtonians through mixed-method studies to explore reasons for vaccine hesitancy and reaction towards digital content.
  • Using Learning Labs to Address Racial and Ethnic Disparities in School Discipline and Policing in King County, Washington: This project aims to address the disparities in school discipline among students with culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds through design of a school-based learning lab that unites diverse perspectives and changes system processes.
  • Amazonian Green Cities: A Gardens Program for Health, Ecology, and Climate Change Resilience: Amazonian Green Cities is a One Health program to develop an environmental intervention to improve human and ecological health.
  • Sleep Health in People Experiencing Homelessness: This project seeks to develop preliminary data to measure sleep and assess its timing and quality in unhoused people sleeping in nighttime shelters.
  • Misinformation Escape Room: Building a Research Agenda for a Gamified Approach to Combating Health Misinformation: This project aims to develop a research agenda for a gamified approach to building resilience to public health misinformation.
  • My Toddler’s Social Communication: Examining the Cultural Sensitivity of a New Pictorial Screening Tool for Identifying Toddlers at Risk for Autism in Diverse Cultural, Ethnic, Racial, and Linguistic Settings: This project aims to examine the cultural sensitivity of novel autism screening tools currently in development to better understand disparities in diagnoses.

Learn more about the scope of each project by visiting their project award page.

Tier 2 Grants – Winter Quarter 2022

The Population Health Initiative awarded eight Tier 2 pilot research grants in winter quarter 2022 to faculty-led teams representing seven different UW schools and colleges and several community-based partners. The awarded projects were:

  • Development of a Vaccine for Valley Fever: This project team will employ its DNA and RNA vaccine technologies to investigate the feasibility of using these platforms as a strategy to develop an effective Valley Fever vaccine.
  • Assessing National Public Housing Authority Disaster Preparedness, Response and Recovery of Place-based Subsidized Housing Units: This project will assess Public Housing Authorities (PHAs)engagement in disaster preparedness to improve understanding of PHA disaster strategies to foster future research on equitable disaster housing strategies for low-income renters.
  • Parent Behavior Management Training for Foster Caregivers: This project works to adapt and pilot First Approach Skills Training for Disruptive Behavior (FAST-B) for caregivers of foster children. FAST-B is an evidence-based behavioral parent training program to address behavior problems in children ages 4 to 11.
  • Innovating Better Methods to Enumerate Individuals Experiencing Homelessness: This project seeks to develop more effective approach to the current “Point in Time” count of individuals experiencing homelessness via methods such as respondent-driven sampling, multiple list (aka capture/recapture) and anonymous cell phone signal counts.
  • Human Health and Well-being Implications of Pervasive Navy Aircraft Noise Pollution: The research team is working to better understand the risks from aircraft noise generated by Naval Air Station Whidbey Island on local communities.
  • Population-Based Administrative Data to Understand Child Maltreatment and the Pandemic – The Risk of Death and Serious Injury Study (RODIS): This project seeks to generate data-informed knowledge on how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the incidence of child maltreatment and if these impacts differ by poverty status, race/ethnicity and the response by medical professionals.
  • Addressing COVID-19 Vaccine Hesitancy in Pregnancy Within U.S. Black Communities: The research team has partnered with the National Black Leadership Commission on Health to investigate vaccine hesitancy in Black and Afro-Latinx pregnant individuals.
  • STIM A SPU’US (“What’s in Your Heart”): A Culturally Adapted, Trauma Informed Parenting Intervention for the Colville Tribes: This project works to implement a pilot test of a culturally congruent trauma-informed parenting skills curriculum that provides critical parenting support to families of American Indian communities.

Learn more about the scope of each project by visiting their project award page.

Tier 1 Grants – Spring Quarter 2022

The Population Health Initiative awarded 11 Tier 1 pilot research grants in spring quarter 2022 to faculty-led teams representing seven different UW schools and colleges as well as several community-based partners. The awarded projects were:

  • Patient acceptability of clinical suggestion of social needs automatically identified from clinical notes in the electronic health record: This project aims to understand whether a novel social determinants of health screening strategy is acceptable to patients.
  • Understanding the Impacts of Washington Paid Family Leave Policy on American Indian and Alaska Native Birthing Parents and Newborns: The project team is undertaking a community-engaged study design process, conduct preliminary analyses, and enable the researchers to acquire the necessary quantitative data to conduct a future study examining birth outcomes among first time AIAN birthing parents.
  • Examining share pantry/refrigerator safety and potential as a hyper-local alternate means of food assistance in the Puget Sound: This project will explore the potential for share pantries or community refrigerators to serve as safe and hyperlocal means of food assistance for communities.
  • Development and Evaluation of a Culturally-informed Food Insecurity Screening Protocol with American Indian Adults: Evidence from Northern Navajo Medical Center: This project team is working to develop and test new food insecurity screening protocols that are culturally relevant to American Indian patients.
  • A Framework for Prioritizing Urban Green Space Protection and Restoration to Improve Health: This project aims to identify locations across the Puget Sound region where protection and restoration of urban green space have the most significant potential to enhance human health, abate health disparities and further environmental resistance.
  • Establishing a rural Food Equity Collaborative to increase healthy food retail options for Latinos in WA: This project seeks to establish an academic community collaborative to advance Latino food equity and examine the contextual factors that would influence retail food settings
  • Understanding mechanisms of social determinants of health and symptoms in adults with subarachnoid hemorrhage:The research team is working to understand how social determinants of health impact the development of symptoms in subarachnoid hemorrhage survivors over time.
  • PrEParing for the future: preferences for HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis products and delivery models among cisgender men, transgender, and non-binary persons in Seattle, Washington: This project aims to design, pilot and implement an experiment to examine the trade-offs in decision-making options to identify sub-population differences in PrEP product and delivery preferences.
  • Residential Segregation and Pediatric Injury and Violence in Seattle, Spokane, and Tacoma: This project will analyze and evaluate the association between residential segregation and the prevalence and severity of pediatric injury in violence in three Washington cities.
  • Piloting a Strategy to Improve Pediatric Inpatient Guideline Adherence in Migori, Kenya: This project proposes a pragmatic and exploratory mixed-method study that will produce formative research for the scale of an implementation strategy to improve guideline adherence among healthcare workers in pediatric hospitals.
  • Exploring Multicultural and Multilingual Methods in Developing Dialog-Based Health Technologies: This project proposes conducting a literature review of multicultural and multilingual model development methods in developing health dialogs and pilot training using existing caregiver domain-specific datasets.

Learn more about the scope of each project by visiting their project award page.

Tier 3 Grants – Spring Quarter 2022

The Population Health Initiative awarded five Tier 3 pilot research grants in spring quarter 2022 to faculty-led teams representing seven different UW schools and colleges as well as several community-based partners. The awarded projects were:

  • Community Pharmacist Epilepsy Services Program: This project is working to position the community pharmacist as an accessible, trusted health partner with epilepsy expertise who can help close information and treatment gaps and disparities through frequent touch points, particularly for those patients who do not have easy access to a specialized epilepsy center.
  • Amigas Latinas Motivando el Alma (ALMA): Addressing Mental Health Needs among Latina Immigrant Women in Yakima Valley: This project proposes to leverage existing expertise and community partnerships to test the dissemination of the Amigas Latinas Motivando el Alma intervention to reduce depression and anxiety among Latina immigrant women living in the Yakima Valley.
  • Healing Heart and Soul: Decreasing Maternal Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities through Home-Based Monitoring of Blood Pressure, Stress/Depression, and Safety: This project’s goal is to decrease perinatal health disparities through home-based self-monitoring and self-reporting of blood pressure.
  • Equity Among American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander communities under COVID-19 Telehealth Policy: This project is using comprehensive Medicaid data to analyze telehealth use and disparities among AIAN and NHPI individuals to reduce health inequities.
  • Linking practice to policy change in urban community gardens: The research team is seeking understand what would make gardeners feel safe in their urban community gardens, and identify interventions on local and regulatory levels that centers community feedback and could mitigate exposure to contaminants.

Learn more about the scope of each project by visiting their project award page.

2021 Pilot Awards

The Population Health Initiative awarded eight pilot research grants in 2021 to faculty-led teams representing seven different UW schools and colleges. The awarded projects were:

  • Addressing Inequities in Speech-Language Pathology Services for Children with Communication Disorders: This project’s goal is to deepen the understanding of contributors to disparities in speech-language pathology service delivery to children with communication disorders from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.
  • Characterizing Risk Communication around Smoke Exposure in Rural and Tribal Communities in the Okanogan River Airshed Emphasis Area: This project seeks to describe how tribal and non-tribal communities in the Okanogan River Airshed Emphasis Area (ORAEA) receive and communicate information about smoke exposure.
  • Supporting Equitable Land Management Decisions Through the Characterization of Wildfire and Prescribe Smoke Exposure for At Risk Communities: This project aims to differentiate delicate particle matter (PM2.5) exposure from wildfire smoke and prescribed burn events. In addition, they also seek to quantify any disparities in the distribution of these exposures.
  • A Collaboratory to Support Equitable and Just Climate Action: This project seeks to pursue climate action in Washington state through a community-informed and multidisciplinary approach focused on equitable mitigation and adaptation solutions.
  • Addressing the Need for Culturally Responsive and Bidirectional Research Communication with the Latinx Community – The BRIDGE Project: The BRIDGE project is a program that identifies community needs through personal stories to understand the gaps in care, education, and outreach related to COVID-19. They plan to focus on five Latinx groups: immigrants living in detention centers, AfroLatinx, indigenous populations, women during the perinatal period, and Latinx living with disabilities.
  • Rapid Community Partnered Mixed-Methods to Promote Vaccine Uptake in Diverse Communities: This project is working in collaboration with the Vietnamese Health Board and advisory board to develop a toolkit for rapid mixed methods research.
  • Co-Designing a Culturally-Responsive, Advanced Technology Intervention to Support the Health and Development of Young Children in King County: The purpose of this project is to develop an advanced smartphone-based intervention to provide culturally relevant activities and health recommendations.
  • Community-Based Formative Research to Advance Reproductive Health Equity in Iñupiaq Alaska: This project seeks to understand the social, medical and place-based factors affecting women’s sexual and reproductive health in Northwest Alaska through community-based participatory research.

Learn more about the scope of each project by visiting their project award page.

2020 Pilot Awards

The Population Health Initiative awarded six pilot research grants in 2020 to faculty-led teams representing 10 different UW schools and colleges. The awarded projects were:

  • PATHSS Study: Participatory Active Transportation for Health in South Seattle: This project conducted a participatory study with the goal of identifying mobility challenges and opportunities in south Beacon Hill. The overall purpose is to identify themes present to community members in order to prepare for the city’s Beacon Avenue Trail improvement project.
  • Environmental and human health impacts of a new invasive species in Madagascar: This project tested whether there is an association between the presence of marbled crawfish and schistosome competent snails in Maglasy water access sites. They sampled sites in several locations in the Schistosoma haematobium-endemic region of the country to measure the crayfish density.
  • Analysis to Translation: Accelerating and Tailoring Responses to Student Mental Health: Many students experience high levels of stress during their undergraduate career, leading to an increase in risk for a wide range of mental health issues. This project aimed to study student mental health at UW with the goal of using the findings to work with UW mental health services to inform better practices.
  • ActoKids Mobile Application: Information access to physical activity opportunities for diverse King County children and families: The goal of this project was to develop and test the feasibility of an efficient web and mobile application that would allow families from King County to identify local physical activities for their children with the aim of increasing physical activity rates in youth.
  • Ensuring equal access to trauma care in Washington State through system modeling: This project worked to develop a mathematical model of trauma in Washington state to optimize patient access and outcomes.
  • Formative Research with the Female Community Health Workers (Marwo Caafimaad) Program to Reduce Maternal Mortality in Puntland, Somalia: This project is working to research, develop and design an intervention plan to reduce maternal mortality in Putland, Somalia.

Learn more about the scope of each project by visiting their project award page.

2019 Pilot Awards

The Population Health Initiative awarded six pilot research grants in 2019 to faculty-led teams representing seven different UW schools and colleges. The awarded projects were:

  • CocoBot – Tailored Self-Management Program for Caregivers of Children with Chronic Conditions: This project created Caring for Caregivers Online (COCO), a platform that delivers empathetic and tailored caregiving support, to help address the burden of chronic disease management that largely falls upon patients and families. This includes skills building and live access to text chat with nurses on their phones.
  • Community Pharmacist Integrated Population Health Management of People Living with Epilepsy: This project aimed to develop a community pharmacist-integrated population health intervention for people with epilepsy. The team accomplished this work by identifying the best practices to address the needs of people living with epilepsy, developing an intervention model using the stakeholder and consensus-building approach and evaluating the feasibility of the intervention.
  • Creating Climate Resilient Agricultural Communities in the Tropics through Natural Climate Solutions: This project examined how potential future climate and land scenarios affect heat exposure mortality and unsafe working conditions in agricultural communities in industrializing tropical countries. They found that warming from deforestation and climate change in Berau Regency, Indonesia, was already affecting the health of people living in low attitudes.
  • Does access to federally qualified health centers with high levels of behavioral health integration impact ED and hospital use among Medicaid beneficiaries?: This project examined the effects of behavioral health integration on outcomes for Medicaid beneficiaries to determine whether integrated care results in reduced emergency department and hospital use.
  • Ethnoforestry: Applying Traditional Ecological Knowledge for Ecosystem Sustainability on the Olympic Peninsula: The project team developed a new model for ecosystem well-being that gave equal weight to both environmental and community well-being.
  • Supporting Latinx Parents of Young Children with Tools for Parenting, Stress-Management and Legal Education: This pilot project studied and implemented a parenting program – enhanced with stress management and legal education components – for parents of Latinx children who had vulnerable immigration status.

Learn more about the outcomes of each project by visiting their project summary page.

2018 Pilot Awards

The Population Health Initiative awarded eight pilot research grants in 2018 to faculty-led teams representing 11 different UW schools and colleges. The awarded projects were:

  • Addressing Health Disparities Faced by Rural Underserved Agricultural Communities: This project partnered with the Community to Community Development (C2C) to conduct a community-wide survey of farm workers living in Skagit and Whatcom communities to better address the barriers farmworkers face to health equity.
  • Health for Homeless Youth and Companion Animals in Seattle: Pilot Research into Healthcare, Social Services, and Rights for the Human-Animal Unit: This project established a community-based research pilot study focusing on the human-animal bond between homeless youth and their animals, which led to the creation of a “One Health” clinic that could treat both humans and animals.
  • Lethal Means Assessment in Psychiatric Emergency Services for Suicide Prevention: This project conducted a large-scale record review of patients who had presented to Psychiatric Emergency Services at Harborview Medical Center before the enactment of the country’s first suicide prevention training for all healthcare workers. This project generated new partnerships in statewide suicide prevention outreach efforts to advance the science and practice of suicide prevention.
  • Mama Ammaan (Safe Mother) Project: African Mother-to-Mother Antenatal Assistance Network (AMMAAN): This pilot project assisted East African immigrant and refugee communities in better access, navigating and identifying perinatal health service gaps. Through community-based participatory research, this team was able to develop a perinatal model in addition to establishing four pop-up community meeting sites.
  • Building Back Better: Innovative Methods to Measure Resilience: This project focused on understanding how publicly available data could be used to better understand community resilience in the aftermath of natural disasters, including how to inform recovery activities.
  • The UW MetaCenter for Global Disease Preparedness: Proof of Concept Research in Peru: This project tested the concept of University-wide “MetaCenter” for Prevention of Pandemic Diseases. The activities of this project included developing information visualizations to characterize the outbreak potential of different areas of Peru related to infections caused by viruses transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
  • Using Digital Learning Tools to Enhance Emotional Regulation for Youth Hospitalized for Aggressive Crises: The project utilized digital tools such as emWave and Ripple Effects to help disruptive, hospitalized youth better manage their aggression.
  • Addressing Health Disparities in Washington State: The Role of Social and Economic Inequities in Intersectional Marginalized Populations: This project worked to identify the barriers to health and social well-being among racial, gender, and sexual minorities living in Washington state.

Learn more about the outcomes of each project by visiting their project summary page.

2017 Pilot Awards

The Population Health Initiative awarded five pilot research grants in 2017 to faculty-led teams representing 10 different UW schools and colleges. The awarded projects were:

  • Connecting fishery and health policies for diet-specific solutions for vulnerable populations: This pilot project aimed to understand healthier food systems for low-income consumers on the West Coast by better connecting fishery production with U.S food systems. This included identifying nutritionally-vulnerable communities that would benefit from improved fishing access.
  • InterACTION Labs: The InterACTION Labs is a transdisciplinary action research and service-learning program that responds to locally driven priorities to develop, implement and assess built environment projects and their capacity to improve human and ecological health in impoverished communities. This project took place in Claverito, an informal floating community, and involved 90 students, faculty, and professionals from UW and Peru.
  • Prepare for the IT workplace program (PREP for IT): This project worked to empower young adults with autism pursuing information technology careers. To develop the skills needed to secure, persist, and advance employment in IT workplaces, student participants engaged in workshops, mentoring engagements, shadowing experiences, company visits and coaching.
  • Islamic trauma healing: Somalia feasibility study: This project aimed to address the mental health needs of Somalis and the broader Muslim community through the Islamic Trauma Healing program. Through collected quantitate and qualitative data, this program showed the potential of delivering a low-cost, self sustaining model of faith-based intervention that can be used through mosques, community centers and refugee programs.
  • Behavioral health workforce development: This project worked to address the lack of mental health workforce trainees in evidence-based psychosocial interventions (EBPIs) by developing a training model for non-experts.

Learn more about the outcomes of each project by visiting their project summary page.

Other Grant Programs

In addition, the Population Health Initiative offered COVID-19 grant funding in 2020, and also partners annually with CoMotion to offer Innovation Awards.

COVID-19 Grant Funding

The Population Health Initiative awarded 53 COVID-19 pilot grants – totaling roughly $1.7 million in collective funds – across three different funding calls in 2020. The common theme for these projects was better understanding and mitigating the health, economic and equity impact of COVID-19 on communities, particularly the communities of color that the pandemic has hit especially hard.

  • Rapid-response grants: An initial round of 21 rapid-response grant awards supported the UW research community in quickly responding to the vast array of population health–related challenges created by the pandemic. Funded projects ranged in focus from disease surveillance via wastewater testing, to preparing for vaccination campaigns, assessing risks to pregnancy and addressing mental health consequences of the pandemic. Learn More >
  • Economic-recovery grants: A subsequent round of 18 economic-recovery grant awards supported researchers in responding to the breadth of pandemic-related economic challenges. The focus of funded projects included addressing economic vulnerability, offering pro bono business and legal consulting, enhancing mass-transit safety and studying the impact on the office workplace. Learn More >
  • Population health equity grants: A final round of 14 population health equity awards were made to support researchers in partnering with communities of color to develop research projects that addressed community-identified needs. Funded projects range in scope from assessing mental health impacts, understanding food insecurity, addressing barriers to COVID-19 testing and measuring housing insecurity. Learn More >

Innovation Awards

The initiative has partnered with CoMotion every year since 2018 to offer a Population Health Innovation Award through its Innovation Fund.

The Population Health Innovation Award funds projects that both support the vision of the Population Health Initiative and fulfill CoMotion’s criteria of eventually becoming sustainable commercial or social ventures. Projects funded to date are:

  • pHastCam: pHast Cam utilizes a patch containing a pH sensitive dye and ubiquitous smartphone camera technology to determine blood pH of infants at risk of perinatal brain injury within seconds. Learn More >
  • Low Volume Intradermal Delivery Adaptor for Vaccination: An ultra-low volume microarray syringe adaptor for malaria vaccination allowing the highly effective whole organism malaria vaccines to be easily administered to the ideal place in the skin in a single dose. Learn More >
  • SeaO2_Farms: This project seeks to grow gigatonnes of microalgae offshore, at a fraction of the cost of land crops and without using arable land or fresh water, while capturing massive amounts of atmospheric C02. Learn More >
  • Tuberculosis Treatment Support Tools (TB-TSTs): This project aimed to combine home-based tests for TB medication ingestion with an innovative mobile application that supports individual patients and their care team. Learn More >
  • Development of a Social Robot to Measure and Improve Adolescent Mental Health: EMAR is a school-based social robot that captures anonymous mental health data while delivering evidence-based micro interventions to teens. Learn More >
  • PestiSafe-PestiSeguro: This project is a bilingual, anywhere-anytime, mobile app that bridges the significant language disparity on farms, giving growers and farmworkers a unique risk management tool that directly improves the health, safety, environmental and financial risks of applying pesticides. Learn More >
  • Non-Invasive Ultrasonic Clearing of Implanted Catheters: This project seeks to better treat hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the cavities deep within the brain of infants and children, by using focused ultrasound to generate a force within implanted catheters to “push” out the debris causing the obstruction. Learn More >
  • NatureCollections: A mobile app that connects kids with nature: An app that seeks to harness children’s enthusiasm for technology and their love of collecting things to encourage them to explore their natural environment. Learn More >