University of Washington School of Public Health

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SPH Stories

Featured stories about SPH people, research and impact.

* Related links: SPH in the News | SPH Research News | SPH Close Up

Updates on Equity Diversity and Inclusion October 2018

Student travel awards, a summer program that serves as a pipeline for potential public health students, and faculty of color gatherings. Read more about updates on equity, diversity and inclusion. (October 15, 2018)

Ask Dean Hilary Godwin

We invited new and returning students to pose questions to Hilary Godwin, who joined the SPH as our new dean in July. Here is a sampling of their queries, and Dean Godwin’s answers. (October 10, 2018)

Hagopian to receive prestigious peace award from the APHA

Amy Hagopian of the University of Washington School of Public Health will receive the Victor Sidel and Barry Levy Award for Peace from the American Public Health Association (APHA) at the APHA Annual Meeting & Expo in San Diego on Nov. 13. (October 10, 2018)

Park facilities encourage longer bouts of physical activity, study finds

Researchers from the University of Washington School of Public Health watched 225 Seattle residents during their visits to public parks – through GPS devices, activity trackers and travel diaries – and found that they were active for longer at parks that had a greater variety of recreational facilities. (October 9, 2018)

Researchers win $680,000 NIH grant to develop mHealth tool to improve HIV care

Brandon Guthrie and Keshet Ronen from the University of Washington School of Public Health were awarded a three-year, nearly $680,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a mobile health tool to support youth transitioning from pediatric to adult HIV care in Kenya. (September 14, 2018)

Breakthrough study identifies 535 genes that influence blood pressure

Researchers have newly identified more than 500 genetic regions that influence people’s blood pressure in the largest global genetic study of blood pressure to date. (September 28, 2018)

UW SPH Dean Urges Emergency Shelter for Region's Homeless

Providing emergency shelter to the region’s homeless before bad weather hits could save lives and protect the health of the community, UW School of Public Health Dean Hilary Godwin told the King County Board of Health. (September 21, 2018)

Projecting heat-related deaths in a warming climate

Large parts of the world could experience dramatic increases in heat-related deaths under scenarios of greater climate change, according to a paper published September 13 in the journal Climate Change. Researchers argue that the world needs to keep global temperatures in check by meeting the goals set out in the Paris Agreement. (September 18, 2018)

Dengue vaccine development taps new approach

Vaccine strategy focuses on specific amino acid sequences in virus' outer shell protein and on improving effectiveness in young children. (September 14, 2018)

HIV care in the US sees big gains, but disparities remain

Improved treatment has nearly tripled viral suppression rates among people living with HIV in the United States over the past two decades, but disparities still exist for younger and African-American patients, according to a new study from the University of Washington. (September 5, 2018)

Testing strategies to combat the opioid epidemic

A research team at the University of Washington School of Public Health will receive a $5 million funding award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study strategies to prevent unsafe opioid prescribing in workers’ compensation programs in two states. (September 5, 2018)

Close Up: Irene Njuguna

Irene Njuguna was on a path to becoming a pediatrician when she realized there were gaps in the health care system that she could not heal. She eventually found her place in HIV research, where she tests inventive strategies to find some of the world's most vulnerable children, those with HIV. She's been published 13 times, all while raising two kids of her own. (August 27, 2018)

UW deans oppose EPA 'secret science' rule

Two University of Washington deans and a prominent UW researcher are urging the US Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw a proposed rule that would limit scientific research the agency could use when evaluating threats to public health and the environment. (August 22, 2018)

Center wins 2018 APEX award for action guide about dementia

The Healthy Brain Research Network (HBRN) within the Health Promotion Research Center in the University of Washington School of Public Health has won a 2018 APEX Grand Award for Publication Excellence. (August 17, 2018)

National panel of experts says limit low-calorie sodas, stick to water instead

A group of leading nutritionists, doctors and researchers caution against the regular and long-term consumption of diet beverages, especially for children. In a science advisory published July 30 in Circulation, the group recommends that people should drink more plain or carbonated water instead. (August 13, 2018)

Researchers Win $2.7 Million NIH Grant to Reduce Child Mortality in Mozambique

A project by the University of Washington, in partnership with the Ministry of Health in Mozambique, has received a five-year, $2.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to jump-start stalled declines in child mortality by improving interventions delivered at or near the time of birth. (August 7, 2018)

Biostatistics professor receives 2018 Simons Investigator Award

Daniela Witten, a professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health, has been named a 2018 Simons Investigator in Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems by the New York-based Simons Foundation. (August 1, 2018)

Biostatistics students win at 2018 WNAR student paper competition

Four students from the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health took home top honors last month at the 2018 student paper competition hosted by the Western North American Region (WNAR) of the International Biometric Society. (August 1, 2018)

Reducing obesity among public housing residents

A new study led by a University of Washington health promotion researcher shows that an intervention in public housing communities has the potential to reduce obesity among residents. (August 1, 2018)

UW SPH launches new major in food systems, nutrition and health

The University of Washington will offer a new major this year to undergraduate students interested in the connections between food systems, nutrition and health. A Bachelor of Arts in Food Systems, Nutrition and Health (FSNH) was approved in July by UW President Ana Mari Cauce and by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities. (July 30, 2018)

Public health major evolves into 'Public Health – Global Health' degree

The University of Washington School of Public Health’s popular public health major has been renamed the “Public Health—Global Health Major” to better reflect its domestic and global competencies. The change, approved recently by UW President Ana Mari Cauce, takes effect immediately. (July 23, 2018)

Students push public transit policy

Students from the University of Washington School of Public Health met with the Seattle City Council’s Sustainability & Transportation Committee last month to discuss ways to expand access to public transit benefits for low-income and small business workers. (July 20, 2018)

Shaping the future of research and action on war and health

Scholars from the UW School of Public Health were among 20 experts invited by The Lancet to Beirut, Lebanon, last month to discuss ways to advance the academic field of “war and health.” (July 18, 2018)

11 faculty promoted, 4 receive tenure

Eleven core faculty members in the UW School of Public Health were promoted and four were conferred tenure, effective July 1. (July 17, 2018)

Hilary Godwin begins as new dean of UW SPH

Hilary Godwin, PhD, a nationally recognized teacher, leader and researcher, took the reins July 15 as the newest dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health. (July 16, 2018)

Study finds genetic risk for placental abruption, could prevent maternal deaths

Scientists from the University of Washington School of Public Health have identified genetic factors that may increase a woman’s risk for placental abruption, a leading cause of maternal and neonatal death worldwide. (July 11, 2018)

Center awarded $3 million to support public health training and learning

The Health Resources and Services Administration recently awarded the University of Washington School of Public Health’s Northwest Center for Public Health Practice more than $3 million to support regional public health training and workforce development efforts over the next four years. (July 11, 2018)

SPH center awarded $3.1 million NIH grant to expand workplace wellness program

Peggy Hannon, director of the Health Promotion Research Center at the University of Washington School of Public Health, was recently awarded a five-year, $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to expand a workplace wellness program for smaller employers nationwide. (June 27, 2018)

Close Up: 2018 Omenn Award Winners

Each year, the School honors two outstanding graduate students – one doctoral and one master's – for their academic excellence and commitment to public health. This year's winners of the Gilbert S. Omenn Award for Academic Excellence are Miriam Calkins, who received a PhD in environmental and occupational hygiene, and Katrin Fabian, an MPH graduate in global health. (June 12, 2018)

'Difficult and dangerous' work raises health risks for Alaska salmon fishermen

Commercial salmon fishermen in Alaska suffer from hearing loss at more than five times the national rate, suggests a new study led by the University of Washington School of Public Health. (June 21, 2018)

Understanding the climate impacts of 1.5 and 2 degrees of global warming

A central goal of the United Nations’ Paris climate agreement is to keep global temperature rise this century to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to pursue efforts to limit the increase to only 1.5 degrees. A new research paper shows that each pathway to achieve a 1.5-degree-warmer world would likely result in vastly different regional temperatures. (June 14, 2018)

Public health as a superpower

Nearly 3,500 people gathered at the Alaska Airlines Arena on Sunday, June 10, to celebrate the graduating class of the University of Washington School of Public Health. Speaker Benjamin Danielson, a distinguished pediatrician and social justice activist, praised the public health perspective as a superpower and called graduates “equity’s greatest hope.” (June 14, 2018)

Higher carbon dioxide levels reduce rice’s nutritional value

Higher concentrations of carbon dioxide are associated with reductions in protein and multiple key nutrients in rice, according to a new field study by an international team that included scientists from the University of Washington School of Public Health. (June 13, 2018)

SPH biostatistician named a Fellow of the American Statistical Association

Kenneth Rice, an associate professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health, has been named a fellow of the American Statistical Association, the nation’s pre-eminent professional statistical society. (June 12, 2018)

Read Ben Danielson's 2018 UW School of Public Health Graduation Speech

Dr. Benjamin Danielson was chosen to speak at the UW School of Public Health's graduation celebration on June 10, 2018. Read his full speech. (June 11, 2018)

Gun storage study makes impact in policy sphere

An SPH study found that 63 percent of firearm-owning households in Washington state do not store their firearms locked and unloaded. The study, led by the Department of Epidemiology, received widespread local media coverage and was highlighted by Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan in a legislative proposal to the Seattle City Council to require safe storage of guns. (June 4, 2018)

School hires first Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Victoria Gardner, EdD, MEd, was hired as the School’s inaugural Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). Gardner, who will also use the title of Chief Diversity Officer, comes to SPH with nearly three decades of experience at the UW School of Medicine, where she served as director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. (May 31, 2018)

Janet Baseman named new associate dean

Interim Dean Joel Kaufman appointed Janet Baseman (PhD, Epidemiology ’05) as acting associate dean for public health practice. (May 31, 2018)

Pamela Collins, director of global mental health

After eight years at the National Institute of Mental Health, Pamela Collins joined the UW in January to lead its global mental health program, a joint effort of the Departments of Global Health and of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. (May 31, 2018)

Breaking ground on new population health building

The UW broke ground this spring on a new population health facility that will house much of the School of Public Health, including the Department of Global Health. (May 31, 2018)

Ali Rowhani-Rahbar named Bartley Dobb Professor

Associate Professor Ali Rowhani-Rahbar (PhD, Epidemiology ’09) was selected for the Bartley Dobb Professorship for the Study and Prevention of Violence, effective July 1. (May 31, 2018)

Grayston Society creates impact

In founding our School of Public Health in 1970, Emeritus Dean Dr. J. Thomas Grayston laid the foundation for more than 40 years of leadership, building a towering legacy in public health education and research.  To honor Tom’s impact, the Grayston Society was established in 2014. (May 31, 2018)

Alumni Q&A: Kung-Yee Liang makes it to the top in Taiwan

Kung-Yee Liang (PhD, Biostatistics ’82) is the new president of Taiwan’s National Health Research Institutes (a blend of the CDC and NIH). One of the world’s preeminent biostatisticians, he pioneered statistical methods that have yielded new insights into disease risk factors and genetic epidemiology. He also led the country’s first medical university. (May 31, 2018)

Hilary Godwin named next dean of SPH

Hilary Godwin, PhD, has been named the next dean of the University of Washington School of Public Health, effective July 15. (May 31, 2018)

Grayston-Day Fellows find ways to boost health equity

The Grayston-Day awards seek to increase the number of health professionals from diverse communities by funding the education of underrepresented students in the public health field. The 2017-18 fellows are Ali N'Simbo and Dajzsa McDaniel. (May 31, 2018)

How one SPH department recruits students who 'look like the people we serve'

Every year, the Department of Health Services selects a student from each of its eight graduate programs to receive a grant known as the Health Services equity, Excellence and Distinction Award, or HSEED. Created by Chair Jeffrey Harris, the award helps the department to recruit students who look like the people we serve. (May 31, 2018)

UW student tackles biggest barrier to tobacco control you've never heard of

Believe it or not, some local communities cannot pass local tobacco control laws that are stronger than state-level policies. This is due to a relatively unknown rule, called preemption, which keeps local governments in Washington state from effectively regulating menthol and flavored tobacco products or from raising the tobacco-buying age to 21. (May 30, 2018)

New grant to study alcohol use in transgender community

Emily Williams, associate professor of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health, has received a two-year, $456,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study alcohol use among transgender adults. (May 30, 2018)

Rising CO2 Levels Reduce Nutritional Value of Rice

Higher levels of carbon dioxide were shown to reduce the nutritional quality of rice, researchers from the UW School of Public Health and an international team of experts found. (May 25, 2018)

Passion for public health passed down within UW sorority

Sisters of the UW's Alpha Chapter of Chi Omega pass the baton in more ways than one. A dozen current sorority members were inspired by six recent graduates to pursue their undergraduate studies in public health. (May 14, 2018)

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