Trends and Issues in Higher Ed

October 12, 2016

Human Health

Over the last 25 years, we have seen some of the greatest advances in medicine in the history of humankind. In the next 25 years, the greatest transformations will come as a result of interdisciplinary collaborations in the areas of clinical care, public health interventions, public policy, technology and more.

Community engagement leads to new vision screening law | UW Bothell

The routine distance-vision eye test has long been a staple of public school education in the state of Washington. Yet near-vision problems have not traditionally received the same scrutiny. This will soon change thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Jay Inslee earlier this year. The law grew out of a vision and learning symposium organized in 2014 by Associate Professor Bill Erdly, who helped bring together the experts, advocates and legislators needed to collaboratively develop a solution to the shortcomings of the routine test.

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Reconnecting veterans to life through farming | Social Work

growing veterans market tileChristopher Brown, a three-time Marine combat veteran and master of social work graduate, created a sustainable local farming organization for veterans in the name of holistic mental health. Growing Veterans, a thriving nonprofit, seeks to transform the lives of veterans through satisfying work and an opportunity to reconnect with one another and their communities to help reduce feelings of isolation and prevent suicide.

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Developing a long-acting antiretroviral treatment for HIV | Pharmacy and Medicine

Current oral drug therapies for HIV can greatly reduce the presence of the virus in the blood stream. However, limitations prevent these therapies from reducing the presence of HIV in the tissues of a body, and to work in the blood stream, patients must strictly adhere to daily dosing regimens for the rest of their lives. To address these shortcomings, Professor Rodney J. Y. Ho, pharmacy, and Professor Ann Collier, medicine, have partnered to develop a new, seven-day long-lasting HIV therapy that seeks to overcome drug insufficiency in tissues while also improving patient adherence.

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Creating devices that reanimate paralyzed limbs | Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering

neural engineering for limbs tileResearchers at the UW’s Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering are developing groundbreaking new medical devices intended to help restore function and mobility in individuals stricken by spinal cord injury or stroke. Through interdisciplinary collaboration, these researchers have developed implantable devices that can detect brain signals and transmit that information to other parts of the body’s nervous system. The center’s goal is to develop a successful demonstration of this concept in humans in the next five years, which will then allow regulatory approval to occur for wider dissemination.

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Decoding dyslexia with non-invasive brain imaging | Speech and Hearing Sciences

The brain has evolved over thousands of years to allow humans to communicate through language. Reading is a relatively new skill for the brain, however, which leads Assistant Professor Jason Yeatman to wonder if dyslexia is a byproduct of visual systems being wired slightly differently in some humans. With the aid of non-invasive brain imaging technology, Yeatman and his team are studying developing brains to identify the changes that occur as reading skills are required. Through this research, they hope to expand treatment options for dyslexia.

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Creating a mobile app that tests lung capacity | CoMotion, Computer Science, Electrical Engineering

spirometer tilePeople suffering from lung diseases in developing worlds often do not have a good way to track lung functioning without visiting the doctor. Through the work of UW researchers, many may soon be able to measure their lung function simply by blowing into any type of phone due to SpiroCall, a new health sensing tool, which was found to meet the medical community’s standard for accuracy. With this proof of concept in hand, the research team can now plan for additional data collection and determine how to best communicate results to patients.

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“I hope that my work advances interdisciplinary connections in support of legal and policy reforms that improve community health as broadly conceived, enhance the patient experience of care, and provide better value for our health care dollars.”

Sallie Thieme Sanford, Associate Professor, UW School of Law

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“I am particularly enthusiastic about the opportunity to learn more about potential collaborations between the health sciences and the broader University community [through the Population Health Initiative].”

F. Bruder Stapleton, Professor and Chair of Pediatrics

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“I hope the initiative will increase awareness of disparities in health, healthcare, and health-care access among different populations, and causes underlying these disparities.”

Ceci Giachelli, W. Hunter and Dorothy Simpson Endowed Chair and Professor Bioengineering