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School of Public Health

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

Close Up May 2016: Omenn Award Winners

Each year, the School honors two outstanding graduate students – one PhD 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 Farah Mohamed, the master's winner, and Jean Morrison, a PhD student in biostatistics. (May 23, 2016)

10-Year Study Finds Air Pollution Accelerates Plaque Build-Up in Arteries to Heart

People living in areas with more outdoor pollution accumulate deposits in their coronary arteries faster than people living in less polluted areas, a new study finds. (May 20, 2016)

Dean's Dispatch - September 2015

Welcome to the Dean’s Dispatch!  I’ll be using this new format to communicate with the SPH community, monthly or more often as inspiration and events dictate.  In the Dean’s Dispatch I’ll share SPH news, reflections about public health and events of the day, and updates on some of what I’ve been doing. (May 17, 2016)

Dean's Dispatch - February 2016

In this Dean’s Dispatch, I’d like to address three items: diversity; our MPH curriculum; and letting you know some of what I’m up to. (May 17, 2016)

Dean's Dispatch - November 2015

This past month, culminating with Election Day, provided much food for thought for those of us passionate about public health. (May 17, 2016)

Dean's Dispatches

School-wide dispatches from Dean Howard Frumkin. (May 16, 2016)

SPH Diversity Work Groups Set to Meet

Dean Howard Frumkin and the SPH Diversity Committee issued an update on committee work group meeting dates and times. (May 13, 2016)

Serosorting: Effective HIV Prevention Strategy for Some Men

Research findings highlighted how the practice of serosorting, while not ideal from a public health standpoint, represented a significant step toward safer sexual behaviors for some men. Also, it may have contributed to overall declines in HIV incidence in Seattle. (May 13, 2016)

Report: Bullying is a Serious Public Health Problem

Bullying is a "serious public health problem," and should no longer be dismissed as merely a matter of kids being kids, according to a new report chaired by adjunct professor of epidemiology Frederick Rivara. (May 13, 2016)

Race and Equity Updates

The School of Public Health is committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive school. Check here for udpates on actions, work groups and activities of the SPH Diversity Committee. (May 11, 2016)

Watch What Happens When You Track 493 People's Grocery Buying Habits

Anju Aggarwal discusses data and videos modeling how people move about in Seattle to get their food. The study used GPS devices to map the food environment of study participants. (June 12, 2013)

Distance to Supermarket Makes No Difference To Diet Quality

What counts most is exactly where a person chooses to shop, according to lead author Anju Aggarwal, and Adam Drewnowski, of CPHN. (March 14, 2014)

Labor unions offer opportunity for public health innovation

A new study led by MPH graduate Jenn Hagedorn finds there is untapped potential for collaboration between public health agencies and labor unions. (May 6, 2016)

Patrick Heagerty Approved for $1 Million Funding Award from PCORI

Patrick Heagerty, chair of the Department of Biostatistics, has been approved for a $1 million funding award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to study the evaluation methods needed to ensure that reproducible learning occurs within healthcare delivery systems. (May 4, 2016)

UW President: A shared vision for improving health around the world

University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce on Tuesday invited the UW community and its partners to develop a vision for improving health and well-being around the world. (May 3, 2016)

Rogelio Riojas: Social Justice, Public Health Intertwined

Rogelio Roijas (MHA '77), president and CEO of Sea Mar Community Health Centers, gave the School's 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award lecture. (May 2, 2016)

Dean's Statement April 29 2016

Dean Howard Frumkin issued a statement today after meeting with student activists. (April 29, 2016)

Dean's Dispatch on Race, Equity, and Diversity

This spring has been a time of intense and often impassioned debate at the School and across the University—indeed across the nation—on issues of race, equity, and diversity. In this Dean’s Dispatch, Dean Howard Frumkin covers three aspects of the School’s race and equity work: progress on the work groups formed following the April 15 forum; this year's timely Distinguished Alumni Award; and the issue of prison divestment. (April 29, 2016)

No Evidence of Price Increases after Seattle’s Initial Minimum Wage Increase

Before Seattle increased the minimum wage, many local businesses said they planned to raise prices in order to cover higher payroll costs. One year after the wage hike took effect, researchers have found scant evidence of any impact on prices – good news from a public health perspective. (April 18, 2016)

Boosting Global Health Partnerships for Chinese Universities

A landmark symposium hosted by University of Washington last week brought together leaders and faculty from five Chinese universities, and from across the UW campus and the Seattle community. (April 15, 2016)

Close Up April 2016: Vy Tran

As new immigrants to Seattle from Vietnam, Vy Tran and her mother worked long hours in a tofu factory. The exposure to giant machinery and hot cauldrons took its toll. "It was pretty overwhelming to see how much those years affected my mom's mental and physical health," Tran says. She decided to pursue a career in environmental health and to "making sure this never happens to anyone else ever again." (April 8, 2016)

Keeping hospital workers safe: A hands-on simulation on April 6

Doctors and nurses were among the first people infected during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.  A potentially life-saving rehearsal is coming up April 6, in a course titled “Treating Patients with Highly Contagious Infectious Diseases: Using Technology to Advance Safety." (March 28, 2016)

Study Sheds Light on Mechanism of Brain Toxicity for Flame Retardant

New findings, recently published in Toxicology Letters, help paint an increasingly detailed portrait of how a now-banned class of flame retardant causes toxicity in the brain. (March 16, 2016)

Close Up March 2016: Wendy Barrington

Wendy Barrington is passionate about promoting health equity and credits her social justice orientation to her African-American and white background. Her experience living in different places -- from suburban Oregon and California to rural New Mexico -- has also spurred her interest in neighborhoods and health. “In all these places, I’ve seen differences perpetuated by systematic injustices,” Barrington says. “That has shaped my desire for wanting to do something to rectify that.” (February 26, 2016)

Donald Patrick Part of Team to Research Diabetes Prevention in Latino Youth

Donald Patrick, professor of health services at the University of Washington School of Public Health, is a member of a team that received a five-year, $3.1 million grant to research diabetes-related disparities among Latino youth. (March 11, 2016)

UW SPH “SEAL” Team to Investigate Local Disease Outbreaks

A team of students from the University of Washington School of Public Health will be ready to leap into action when the next outbreak hits the Seattle area. (March 10, 2016)

Top EPA Administrator Offers Plain Speaking and Practical Advice

In a speech and very practical conversation with UW public health, policy, and environmental students and faculty, Gina McCarthy, top Administrator for the US Environmental Protection Agency, exhorted students to learn "how to communicate to people about why what we do matters," and to stop using terms such as "risk reduction." The science is key, but you have to talk about it in human terms, she said. (March 9, 2016)

Changing to Low-Fat Diet Improved Quality of Life in Older Women

Changing to a diet low in fat was linked to small but significant improvements in older women’s general health, vitality, and physical ability to perform everyday activities, according to new research. (March 8, 2016)

2015-2016 MHA Program Scholarships

The Master of Health Administration Program is pleased to announce the five recipients of the 2015-2016 MHA Program Scholarships. The three essay-based scholarship winners will receive $5,000, with each distinguished presentation awardee receiving $3,500. These scholarships honor and support students who embody the program’s values of diversity, service and leadership, and who demonstrate knowledge of and ability to apply such values within the program, and within the health care profession's scope of practice. (March 7, 2016)

Extreme Heat Increases Emergency Medical Service Calls for Workers

While temperatures in the Pacific Northwest are generally perceived as moderate, when heat events do occur, the area may be vulnerable. New findings from the University of Washington School of Public Health show increased risk for heat illness and dehydration on hotter days for the working-aged population between the ages of 15-64. (March 2, 2016)

Study Examines Outcomes, Costs after Return Visits to ER

Short-term return visits to the emergency department (ED) are increasingly used as a measure of hospital performance. The theory is that people who return for treatment and admission must have received poor quality care or were improperly discharged the first time. A new study by the University of Washington Schools of Medicine and Public Health and collaborating institutions found just the opposite. (February 25, 2016)

Vaginal Ring Lowered HIV Rates in African Women

A vaginal ring containing an antiretroviral drug reduced the risk of HIV infection among African women, according to a study co-led by a University of Washington School of Public Health professor. (February 25, 2016)

2016 Distinguished Alumnus – Rogelio Riojas

Rogelio Riojas (MHA 1977) - founder, president and CEO of Sea Mar Community Health Centers – is the SPH Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.  He will talk about his life “From Migrant Work to Community Activist”   on Wed, April 27, at 7:30 pm in Kane Hall, Rm 210. (February 22, 2016)

An Endowment Honoring A Distinguished Health Care Leader

Led by Jeff Lehman (MHA 1974), president of Dialysis Consulting Group in Seattle, a committee of alumni from the Master of Health Administration (MHA) program is raising endowment funds in honor of health care leader and UW Health Services Emeritus Professor William “Bill” Dowling. This endowment, with the initial leadership gift from Lehman, will provide support for faculty in the MHA program. (February 18, 2016)

Double Eagle Endowed II Scholarship

The SPH Double Eagle Endowed II Scholarships support undergraduate students in public health who are committed to ensuring healthier communities in our region and abroad. Each student receives funding that can be used for tuition, travel, books, fees, and other educational needs. (February 18, 2016)

Calculating Healthy Years Remaining If You Are Over 65

Want to know how many healthy years you have left if you are 65 or older? SPH researchers have created an online calculator to help you figure it out. (February 18, 2016)

Dr. William Foege Will Be 2016 SPH Graduation Speaker

SPH is honored to welcome physician, epidemiologist, mentor, teacher, and humanitarian William Foege as its graduation speaker on June 8, 2016. (February 18, 2016)

Filling Gaps in US Gun Violence Research

SPH researchers seek to reduce deaths and injuries. “Every day in this country, 90 people die due to firearm injuries and more than 200 people get shot,” said Rowhani-Rahbar (PhD Epidemiology 2009), now an assistant professor of Epidemiology at the School of Public Health. The more he looked at the numbers, the more incredulous he became. Total deaths by guns in the U.S. are about 33,000 a year—rivaling the number of Americans killed by automobiles. (February 18, 2016)

Multimedia HIV Testing Campaign Worked with Latino MSM

A multimedia HIV testing campaign targeting Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) had a “significant and immediate impact” on beliefs and behavior, with HIV testing rates increasing over time. (February 17, 2016)

Miss Washington USA, a PhD Student, Promotes Healthy Lifestyle, Body Image

The new Miss Washington USA is a PhD and RD student in Nutritional Sciences who is conducting predoctoral research at the Fred Hutch on whether full-fat or low-fat dairy products affect the way the body regulates glucose. (January 27, 2016)

Close Up February 2016: Peggy Hannon

Promoting health at the workplace makes sense – after all, more than half of the adults in the U.S. go to a job every day. Peggy Hannon, new director of the School’s Health Promotion Research Center, helps companies adopt wellness programs that improve employee health while also reaching out to those workers most likely to suffer from health inequities. Stress, she says, is another hot workplace topic. (February 8, 2016)

Study Finds Trauma Centers Improve Outcomes for Injured Pregnant Women

Pregnant women suffering traumatic injuries experience better maternal and neonatal outcomes if they are treated at a designated trauma center, according to new research from the University of Washington School of Public Health. (January 29, 2016)

Professor Highlights Dietary Gap between Rich and Poor at White House Event

About 46 million Americans receive supplemental food assistance, with the average subsidy amounting to $4 per person per day. But Professor Adam Drewnowski told a White House audience it's not enough to meet nutritional needs. (January 27, 2016)

Safe gun storage improves when free storage devices supplied

A new systemic review finds that when gun owners are given a safe storage device and some counseling, they will likely practice safe firearm storage. (January 21, 2016)

American Cancer Society Program Boosts Workplace Health Promotion Efforts

An American Cancer Society program called The CEOs Challenge increased health promotion efforts at large companies, according to a University of Washington School of Public Health study. (January 15, 2016)

Steven Gilbert Wins Society of Toxicology Public Communications Award

Steven G. Gilbert was recognized by the Society of Toxicology with its Public Communications Award for broadening the public’s understanding of toxicological issues. (January 15, 2016)

Diversity Committee Wins 2016 Martin Luther King Award

The SPH Diversity Committee has been awarded the 2016 Martin Luther King, Jr Community Service Award by UW Health Sciences. (January 11, 2016)

Close Up January 2016: Thomas Fleming

Thomas Fleming was bound for the priesthood, but changed his career pathway when he was inspired by a gifted math teacher and then by a fellow math student who later became his wife. Fleming went on to become a leading biostatistician and a prominent advocate for rigorous evaluation of the benefits and risks of new drugs, biological products and devices. He had a key leadership role in a landmark clinical trial on the prevention of HIV transmission – a study that garnered Science magazine’s “Breakthrough of the Year” in 2011. (January 5, 2016)

Hands-on Hazards Class a Blast for Students

UW School of Public Health grad students learn how to recognize potential health and safety hazards through visits to worksites and industries. (January 6, 2016)

Paris climate talks a big deal for health, says UW professor

Kristie Ebi, UW professor of global health and environmental & occupational health sciences, has attended United Nations climate-change conferences since 2000. The agreement reached at the Paris conference in December, she said, was nothing short of monumental. Ebi sat for a Q&A about her experience in Paris. (January 6, 2016)

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