University of Washington School of Public Health

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SPH Stories

Featured stories about SPH people, research and impact.

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Raising Seattle's minimum wage did not increase supermarket food prices

Raising the minimum wage in Seattle to $13 an hour did not affect the price of food at supermarkets, according to a new study led by the University of Washington School of Public Health. (September 25, 2017)

Center Wins $2 Million to Promote Health Equity in Rural Communities through Data

Elizabeth “Betty” Bekemeier, director of the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) at the University of Washington School of Public Health, has received a five-year, $2 million grant to help rural public health leaders better use data to promote health equity. (September 25, 2017)

Poor, Elderly & Urban Populations More at Risk from Extreme Heat

Calls to 9-1-1 for serious emergency medical assistance increase significantly on days of extreme heat, especially in poor, elderly and urban populations, according to a new study from the University of Washington School of Public Health. (September 20, 2017)

Hidden Hazards after the Hurricane

Death, dismemberment, damage, disruption and distress. These are dangers people face during and immediately after storms like Harvey and Irma. But what about the hidden hazards of hurricanes? Experts from the University of Washington School of Public Health weigh in. (September 13, 2017)

Road Map to Achieving a Sustainable, Equitable Food System in Washington

In Washington state, 300,000 children experience food insecurity and 61 percent of adults are obese or overweight. All the while, farmland is decreasing, farmers struggle to earn a living wage, and food system practices generate pollution. (September 11, 2017)

Preparedness Expert Receives $50,000 RWJF Grant to Study Disaster Recovery Strategies

Nicole Errett, from the University of Washington School of Public Health, received a 12-month, $50,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to study how state policies for disaster recovery planning promote health and well-being. (September 11, 2017)

Noel Weiss Wins APHA's Abraham Lilienfeld Award for Teaching Epidemiology

Noel Weiss, professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health, has won the American Public Health Association's (APHA) Abraham Lilienfeld Award for lifelong excellence in teaching epidemiology. He will accept the award on Nov. 6, during the APHA annual meeting in Atlanta. (September 6, 2017)

Researcher Finds Height Plays Role in Aggressive Prostate Cancer Risk

Men measuring 5 feet 9 inches and taller are more likely to be diagnosed with a more aggressive form of prostate cancer, according to researchers. (September 5, 2017)

To Text or Not to Text During Disasters

Researchers from the UW School of Public Health have been evaluating innovative emergency communications tools, such as text messaging, to find out what it takes to turn evidence into practice to improve preparedness and response. (August 29, 2017)

Close Up August 2017: Daniel Enquobahrie

Daniel Enquobahrie was named director of the School’s interdisciplinary Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Education, Science and Practice program in January. He investigates the role of environmental and genetic risk factors in early life, and the complex interaction between the genome and the environment through epigenetic mechanisms. (August 25, 2017)

Opioids: The Leading Cause of Drug Deaths in Seattle Area

Drug deaths hit a record high of 332 in King County, in Washington state, in 2016, according to an annual report published by the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute (ADAI). Two-thirds of those deaths were caused by heroin, fentanyl and other opioids. (August 25, 2017)

How you measure a "dose" of nature?

We know that connecting with nature is good for our health, thanks to a growing body of evidence. But how do we measure a “dose” of nature? Do we get the same benefits from having plants in our offices that we do from gardening in our yards? Is looking at a picture of the ocean the same as seeing it in person? (September 11, 2017)

Mixing Opioids and Sedatives Steeply Raises Overdose Risk

Patients who are prescribed both opioids and sedating drugs are six times more likely to die of an overdose than people on opioids alone, according to researchers from the University of Washington School of Public Health and the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. (August 17, 2017)

UW Superfund Program Receives $10 Million Award to Study Effects of Pollutants on Nervous System

The UW Superfund Research Program received a five-year, $10 million award from the NIH to continue studying the effects that environmental pollutants pose to the nervous systems of humans and fish. (August 15, 2017)

Addressing Depression during Teens Could Prevent Cannabis-Use Disorder

Young people with chronic or severe depression are at elevated risk for developing a problem with cannabis in later adolescence, according to a new study from the UW, authored by Isaac Rhew. (August 9, 2017)

SPH Dean, Professor Elected to the Washington Academy of Sciences

Joel Kaufman and Howard Frumkin from the University of Washington School of Public Health have been elected to the Washington State Academy of Sciences for their outstanding record of scientific achievement. They are among 13 new members, including six from the University of Washington, who will be inducted next month in Seattle. (September 11, 2017)

One in Four Americans Receive Formal Firearm Training; Fewer Learn about Suicide Prevention

The United States does not have a national standard or requirement for firearm safety training prior to purchasing a gun, putting the responsibility on gun owners and those who live with them to find ways to learn firearm safety. Only about three in five U.S. firearm owners have received any formal gun training, according to a new study from the UW School of Public Health. (July 28, 2017)

Center Helps Develop Guidelines for One Health Epidemiological Studies

The University of Washington Center for One Health Research has played a major role in the development of a new set of guidelines for research in One Health, a growing field that looks at linkages between the health of people, animals, and the changing ecosystems we share. (July 26, 2017)

Close Up July 2017: Heather Fowler

After four years studying dairy practices in Washington state, Heather Fowler is turning her attention to the pork industry. This year's PhD Omenn Award Winner (the School's highest academic honor) is excited to put her degrees to work to improve food safety, protect people who produce pork, and prevent the spread of diseases from hogs to humans. (July 18, 2017)

Communities Cash in on Better Health, Lower Obesity Rates

Obesity, like other chronic diseases, disproportionately affects lower income Americans. But demonstrating whether and how income levels might cause obesity remains a challenge for public health researchers. A new study of Native American casinos in California finds that adding casinos reduces the prevalence of Native babies born large for gestational age. (July 25, 2017)

UW School of Public Health No. 3 in World Ranking

The University of Washington School of Public Health ranked No. 3 in the world and No. 1 among public universities, according to the Global Ranking of Academic Subjects for 2017. This widely-used ranking, emphasizing scientific impact, was conducted by researchers at the Center for World-Class Universities of Shanghai Jiao Tong University. (July 14, 2017)

Mothers' Lifestyle During Pregnancy May Impact Risk of Diabetes, Obesity

A new study from the School found that pregnant women who maintain total healthy lifestyles – they eat well, stay physically active, have low stress and don’t smoke – are nearly four and a half times less likely to have gestational diabetes. (July 11, 2017)

Population Health Initiative Updates

The Population Health Initiative seeks to create a world where all people can live healthier and more fulfilling lives. Read about major updates here. (July 5, 2017)

Survey Shows Almost All SPH Graduates Land Jobs Soon After Graduation

Ninety-five percent of the UW School of Public Health’s job-seeking graduates are employed soon after graduation, according to a survey of 2014-15 alumni. (July 3, 2017)

Increased Gun Violence Risk among Bullied Students

School-age adolescents who experience bullying are three times more likely to report access to a loaded gun, according to a new study from the University of Washington School of Public Health. That could increase their chances of being involved in gun violence, already a leading cause of death and injury among teenagers in the United States, researchers say. (June 26, 2017)

Dean Kaufman's Landmark Air Pollution Study Selected Best in 2016

Joel Kaufman, interim dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health, is lead author of the best environmental epidemiology paper published in 2016, according to the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology (ISEE). (June 27, 2017)

SPH Center Builds Open Access Online Portal for Emergency Preparedness Training

Public health professionals can now access hundreds of online emergency preparedness training resources, thanks to a new portal developed by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP). (June 27, 2017)

Researchers doing 'remarkable work' on gun violence despite scarce resources

Leading gun violence researchers presented cutting-edge methods for illuminating firearm violence in the U.S. at the Society for Epidemiologic Research’s 50th annual meeting last week in downtown Seattle. (June 26, 2017)

Noel Weiss Gives Cassel Lecture at National Gathering of Epidemiologists

Noel Weiss, professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington School of Public Health, gave the prestigious Cassel Lecture this week at the 50th annual meeting of the Society for Epidemiologic Research in Seattle. Weiss explored the perils in the current public health trend of recommending interventions aimed at certain groups of people. (June 23, 2017)

US, PEPFAR can do more to influence policies that hinder fight against HIV/AIDS

A new study from the University of Washington School of Public Health suggests laws criminalizing homosexuality reinforce stigma in ways that harm efforts to stop the HIV epidemic. (June 22, 2017)

Close Up June 2017: Betty Bekemeier

As a young nursing student attending her required community health nursing class, Betty Bekemeier experienced firsthand the power of a positive role model. (June 5, 2017)

New Cost-Effective, Fast Method to Study Chemical Exposure in Zebrafish

Researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health are using a newly developed panel of zebrafish genes and a rapid testing platform to identify chemicals that trigger oxidative stress. The method is cost-effective and can be performed more quickly and with less tissue than other methods, according to a research brief released May 3. (June 19, 2017)

UN Leader Rallies Record Group of Graduates to Help Bolster Peace and Social Justice

About 3,000 people gathered in Seattle on Sunday, June 11, to celebrate the largest graduating class ever from the University of Washington School of Public Health. Speaker Dr. Natalia Kanem, assistant secretary general of the United Nations (UN) and acting executive director of the UN’s Population Fund, called on graduates to unite in promotion of peace and social justice. (June 13, 2017)

New Initiative Led by SPH Researchers Expands Food Environment Research in Developing Countries

Supermarkets are spreading across parts of Asia, global beverage companies are expanding into once isolated areas in Africa, and processed foods are arriving in towns where people live on $2 a day. These are just a few examples of how food environments are changing around the world. (June 9, 2017)

Dean Kaufman on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Interim Dean Joel Kaufman welcomed recommendations from a consultant on steps to improve equity, diversity and inclusion, and announced several key action steps. (June 2, 2017)

Marijuana May Complicate Tobacco Cessation

Adults who have used tobacco and currently use marijuana are twice as likely as those who have never used marijuana to be continued tobacco users, according to a new study from the UW School of Public Health. (May 31, 2017)

Close Up May 2017: Michael Yost

Getting people to work together can be a challenge, "but that is where all the interesting science happens," says Michael Yost, chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. He's working on building the department's interdisciplinary culture while partnering with businesses to improve sustainability. Next on his list? Focusing on the human microbiome as a theme for cross-cutting research. (May 18, 2017)

Survivor of Workplace Violence Calls for Empathy on Workers' Memorial Day

Rais Bhuiyan was shot in the face at point blank range by a self-described "Arab slayer" in the Dallas gas station where he worked. Six years later he tells his story during a Workers' Memorial Day event, hosted by the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences. (May 30, 2017)

UW Students Tackle Tobacco Epidemic, Vaping

This World No Tobacco Day, on May 31, the WHO and partner organizations call out tobacco as “a threat to development.” Through a unique program at the UW School of Public Health, Parveen and other students are bringing to light the impact the tobacco industry has on the health, economic and educational well-being of communities close to home. (May 26, 2017)

SPH Lifelong Learning Award Winner Has Wowed Students for 20 Years

Richard Gleason’s many accomplishments over 20 years with SPH were recently recognized by the University of Washington. He will be receiving the UW's Distinguished Contributions to Lifelong Learning Award in June. (May 24, 2017)

Low-Cost Antibiotic May Help Control Malaria Transmission, SPH Researchers Say

A low-cost antibiotic used to treat and prevent infections, including in people living with HIV, may decrease the burden of malaria in vulnerable communities, according to a new study co-authored by researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health. The study was a collaboration with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Kenya Medical Research Institute and Maseno University. (May 17, 2017)

Air Pollution May Lower Levels of ‘Good’ Cholesterol, Increase Risk of Heart Disease

People living near heavily trafficked roadways may be at higher risk of heart disease due to fine particles in the air that lower levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol, according to a new study from the University of Washington School of Public Health. (May 17, 2017)

No Adverse Risk to Using Common Antimalarial Medication in First Trimester

Artemisinin combination therapies (ACTs), medications widely used against malaria, are safe to administer to women in their first trimester of pregnancy, according to new research published in PLoS Medicine. ACTs had previously been recommended at that stage of pregnancy only in life-saving circumstances. (May 17, 2017)

SPH Meeting on Race, Equity and Inclusion to be held on May 25 - Message from the Office of the Dean

Joel Kaufman and India Ornelas invite students, faculty and staff to a School-wide discussion about race, equity and inclusion, to be held on May 25. (May 25, 2017)

Close Up April 2017: Jeffrey Sconyers

Jeff Sconyers has worked on countless legal issues related to the delivery of health care services for more than three decades – most recently as general counsel for Seattle Children’s. Now, he's passionate about sharing his experience in law, policy and ethics as a senior lecturer in one of the country’s top Master of Health Administration programs. (April 24, 2017)

Antibiotic Used in Antiretroviral Therapy Could Help Curb Malaria Transmission

A low-cost antibiotic used to treat and prevent infections, including in people living with HIV, may decrease the burden of malaria in vulnerable communities. (April 27, 2017)

'Learning by Doing' Key Tenet of SPH program

Learning by doing is a central tenant of the Community-Oriented Public Health Practice program. Rooted in adult learning theory, problem-based learning requires students to actively engage in solving real problems. Now COPHP faculty have published a book to help other schools of public health incorporate the problem-based learning model that COPHP has refined over 16 years. (April 21, 2017)

Climate Change Data Helps Forecasts Future Dengue Cases in U.S.

Researchers are using climate data to simulate mosquito populations and their interactions with humans in order to map current and future risk of dengue virus transmission in the United States, according to a new study published this month in Environmental Health Perspectives. The maps suggest that, as climate changes, several areas in the southeastern U.S. may see elevated risk of dengue virus transmission over time. (April 19, 2017)

Husky 100 Taps 10 Students from the School of Public Health

Public health students are making headlines in this year’s Husky 100. One student, from The Gambia, overcame discrimination, disability and homelessness to become an attorney and global health advocate. Another student, committed to social justice, wants to improve LGBT health care settings. Yet another captured true stories of resilience from the UW community that would have otherwise not been told. (April 13, 2017)

Public Health No. 5 among the World’s Top University Programs

The University of Washington School of Public Health has some of the best research programs in the world, according to a new global ranking of academic programs at top universities. (April 7, 2017)

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