Population Health

Addressing climate change and its human impacts

UW climate team spends time in the North Cascades wildernessThe climate crisis poses a threat not only to the world’s natural environment, but also to the health and well-being of populations here and around the world.

The initiative has begun working with UW stakeholders to better understand the university’s collective expertise, and existing climate change mitigation and adaptation activities, as a means of identifying opportunities to expand the university’s collective impact.

Some initial activities include the following:

Nurturing the UW ecosystem

The Population Health Initiative has started work to support development of a stronger internal ecosystem, or community of practice, for faculty, students and staff who are engaged in work in this space.

As a first step, the initiative has completed an initial landscape map of UW faculty, institute and center expertise related to climate change. We are in the process of developing a user-friendly web visualization to make it easier to understand the university’s overall clusters of expertise and possible gaps.

Integrating campus operations and academic research

The initiative is facilitating exploratory conversations to assess whether the opportunity exists for greater integration between UW Facilities and academic researchers.

These discussions include brainstorming of potential mechanisms by which faculty might partner with UW Facilities to conduct climate- and sustainability-related research projects in topics ranging from deferred maintenance to new construction to ongoing operations.

Bolstering education and training offerings

The initiative is collaboratively exploring potential approaches to bolstering the university’s current education and training offerings related to climate change.

Current ideas include the infusion of climate change adaptation into existing course curriculums, creation of new interdisciplinary courses, expanding existing student competitions, tying capstones to on-campus research activities and more.

Funding pilot research grants

The initiative has begun funding pilot research grants that support climate change-related research projects. These include: