Population Health

Spurring interdisciplinary collaboration

An interdisciplinary project team has a group meetingThe initiative seeks to support faculty, students and staff to engage in interdisciplinary, collaborative work across the university and in partnership with external stakeholders.

To that end, the initiative has developed a number of funding, education, training, partnership building and other supportive mechanisms to make it easier to engage in interdisciplinary endeavors that seek to improve health and well-being. These mechanisms include the following:

For faculty

  • Pilot Research Grants: Offers pilot research grants that encourage new interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty investigators for projects that address key population health challenges.
  • Faculty Hires: Awarded approximately $1.8 million in bridge funding in 2018 for three new faculty positions focused on developing innovative solutions to major population health challenges.
  • Letters of Support: Offers letters of support – signed by President Ana Mari Cauce – for population health-oriented grant applications to demonstrate that the UW is broadly supportive of faculty proposals that seek to better the health and well-being of populations here and around the world.
  • Structured Networking Events: Organizes and hosts thematically-themed faculty networking sessions to help introduce faculty members to individuals in other disciplines at the university who are working on similar issues, with the goal of facilitating new, interdisciplinary collaborations.
  • Data Infrastructure: Supported the UW Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology to found and develop the UW Data Collaborative, which offers the infrastructure to harness innovative, but hard-to-access, data for the development of novel, high-quality research and evidence-driven policy making.

For students

For partners

The Population Health Initiative acts as a front porch for outside partners and collaborators who seek to engage the UW in improving population health.

Once contacted, the initiative supports potential partners in exploring and engaging the full breadth of population health-related expertise at the university.

Some examples of partnerships developed through the initiative include:

  • Public Health – Seattle & King County: The initiative has partnered with the county on two separate applied research projects to conduct analyses and develop recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders about potential revisions to local public health programs.
  • Aga Khan Development Network: The UW has multiple collaborations underway with the Aga Khan Development Network, and particularly Aga Khan University, related to the expansion of research, service and education in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Karolinska Institutet: The UW is in the process of deepening collaborations with the Karolinska Institute, one of the world’s foremost medical universities, in areas of teaching and research impacting population health.

Physical space

The University of Washington has finished construction of the Hans Rosling Center for Population Health, which serves as a gathering place where faculty, students, staff and collaborators can come together in their work.

The facility also acts as an idea laboratory and collaboration incubator for a range of stakeholders who come together for training, research work and informal discussions yielding new insights and innovation opportunities for improving health and well-being.

This building was made possible by a transformative $210 million gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and $15 million in earmarked funding from the Washington State Legislature.