Trends and Issues in Higher Ed

Healthy People, Healthy Planet: Galvanizing our Commitment to Population Health

Population Health | October 2016

Every day, thousands of University of Washington students, faculty, and staff across our three campuses work to improve the lives of individuals locally and around the world. This work occurs in every single one of our schools and colleges, with each finding different and unique ways to improve human health and well-being.

While it would be easy to label every one of these efforts simply by the discipline in which it lives, at the UW we see this work as part of a larger, collaborative moral imperative: population health.

Through our collective efforts, we work not only toward elimination of diseases and afflictions, but also to address the intersecting and overlapping factors that influence health in a broader context. In the pages that follow, you will see a range of efforts currently under way to better address population health in three major themes: social and economic equity, environmental resiliency and human health.

To strengthen our combined efforts under these three themes, President Ana Mari Cauce has brought together the UW community and others to embark on a groundbreaking new Population Health Initiative. This initiative commits the UW to a 25-year vision of becoming the preeminent institution of higher learning for addressing population health, directed by our public mission of service to all.

The UW is one of the few institutions in the world positioned to tackle these issues so effectively, and the potential for us to work together to address the factors that contribute to human health and well-being is nearly limitless.

Over this next quarter century, we see five areas for focused interdisciplinary development, collaboration and achievement in population health. You will read about them in this report along with information about areas in which you can immediately participate in the work of this initiative.

Thank you for your collective dedication to improving the health of people and our planet. We look forward to working with you, and shaping together the work of this exciting and critically important initiative in the months and years ahead.



Social and Economic Equity

Social and Economic Equity

How factors of equity impact the health and well-being of diverse populations.

Environmental Resiliency

Environmental Resiliency

Understanding the impact of the environment on health and well-being.

future students

Human Health

How today’s research and inventions set the stage for future life-saving advances.

current students

Focus Areas

Learn about population health and the five areas of focus for the initiative.

Continuing the conversation

The goal of the Provost’s Leading Change in Public Higher Education report series is to broaden and connect conversations on the UW’s three campuses, share best practices, highlight areas of priority for the UW, and provide common reference points to inform our plans for the future. To join the conversation or learn more, visit the Population Health Initiative website at

Meet the Population Health Initiative Executive Council

Over the course of the UW’s 25-year vision for the Population Health Initiative, the president and provost recognize the need to stay nimble with respect to the leadership of, and the individuals involved with, this effort. The current Executive Council represents all three UW campuses as well as the undergraduate and graduate student populations. Its members are:

  • Ana Mari Cauce, president; chair
  • Gerald J. Baldasty, provost and executive vice president
  • Ali Mokdad, professor of Global Health, Epidemiology, and Health Services (IHME); vice chair
  • Thaisa Way, associate professor of landscape architecture; Faculty Senate liaison
  • David Anderson, executive director, Health Sciences administration
  • Kendra Canton, undergraduate student representative
  • Alison Cullen, professor, Evans School of Public Policy & Governance, and adjunct professor, School of Public Health and College of the Environment
  • Sara Curran, professor, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, and director, Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology
  • David L. Eaton, dean and vice provost, Graduate School
  • James Fogarty, associate professor, Computer Science and Engineering
  • Ceci Giachelli, professor and W. Hunter and Dorothy Simpson Endowed Chair, Department of Bioengineering
  • Eric King, graduate/professional student representative
  • Vicky Lawson, professor of geography; director of University Honors
  • Hedwig Lee, associate professor of sociology
  • Joe Lott, associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies
  • India Ornelas, assistant professor of health services, School of Public Health
  • David Reyes, assistant professor of nursing & healthcare leadership, UW Tacoma
  • Sallie Sanford, associate professor of law and adjunct associate professor of health services
  • Jane Simoni, professor of psychology and adjunct professor of global health
  • Clarence Spigner, professor of health services, School of Public Health
  • Bruder Stapleton, professor and chair, Department of Pediatrics, Seattle Children’s Hospital and UW Medicine
  • Emiko Tajima, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor, School of Social Work
  • LuAnne Thompson, professor of oceanography
  • Wadiya Udell, associate professor, Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences, UW Bothell
  • Jürgen Unützer, professor and chair, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
  • Judith Wasserheit, professor and William H. Foege Endowed Chair, Department of Global Health
  • Lee Heck, associate vice president of individual giving programs, University Advancement, ex officio
  • Mary Gresch, chief marketing and communications officer, University Marketing & Communications, ex officio
  • Derek Fulwiler, director of project strategy and communications, Office of the President and Provost; project director

Report Acknowledgements

Many thanks to the UW faculty, students, and staff who contributed their stories and photos for the features of this report, including:

  • Brian Anderson, UW Tacoma
  • Bruce Betz, School of Social Work
  • Jenelle Birnbaum, Undergraduate Academic Affairs
  • Staishy Bostick Siem, School of Nursing
  • William J. Calarese, UW Medicine
  • Jocelyn De Jong, Office of Admissions
  • Brian Donohue, UW Medicine
  • Candice Douglass, College of Arts & Sciences
  • Gail Dykstra, CoMotion
  • Leila Gray, UW Medicine
  • Sarah Guthrie, School of Pharmacy
  • Lisa Y. Hall, UW Bothell
  • Terri Hiroshima, UW Alumni Association
  • Jeff Hodson, School of Public Health
  • Heather L. Hoeksema, College of Engineering
  • Allison Krieger, Evans School
  • Laura Mansfield, UW Bothell
  • Jonathan P. Marmor, Alumni and Constituent Relations
  • Molly M. McCarthy, College of the Environment
  • Kimberly Mishra, UW Human Resources
  • Donna O’Neill, CoMotion
  • Elizabeth Sharpe, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences
  • Steve Steinberg, School of Dentistry
  • Conrado Tapado, CoMotion
  • Delia Ward, UW Medicine
  • Dustin Wunderlich, College of Education
  • Chelsea Yates, College of Engineering

Series Editors
Gerald J. Baldasty, Provost and Executive Vice President
Marisa Nickle, Sr. Director of Strategy and Academic Initiatives, Office of the Provost

Editorial Director and Writer: Derek Fulwiler, Director, Project Strategy and Communications, Population Health
Writer and Designer: Jill Reddish, Graduate Student Assistant, Office of the Provost
Elizabeth Lowry, Sr. Director of Communications and Marketing, Office of the Provost and The Graduate School

From the initiative’s leadership

Ana Mari Cauce
“By identifying and addressing the causes and impacts of a broad swath of health indicators for populations of people – from neighborhoods to countries – we have an opportunity to truly impact health and well-being in profound ways, here and worldwide.”

Ana Mari Cauce
Professor of Pyschology
Chair, Population Health Initiative

Ali Mokdad
“I am amazed at the energy and engagement I have seen so far from all over the University, and I look forward to a vigorous exchange of ideas and innovative approaches as we move together to tackle the population health challenges faced by the world today.”

Ali Mokdad
Vice Chair, Population Health Initiative

Thaisa Way
“No longer limited by disciplines, colleges, or professions, we are coming together to have collective impact here and around the world. This is the university of the future; one that tackles the biggest challenges by bringing together brilliant, creative, and caring people.”

Thaisa Way
Faculty Senate Liaison, Population Health Initiative