University of Washington School of Public Health

UW SPH News: New project wins $25,000 stamp of approval from innovation fund

New project wins $25,000 stamp of approval from innovation fund


A new service-learning exchange program co-led by Joseph Zunt, professor of global health at the University of Washington Schools of Public Health and Medicine, has won a $25,000 grant from the 100,000 Strong in the Americas Innovation Fund.

The program, called InterACTION Labs, builds on an existing collaborative relationship with Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos. It will allow students and faculty to assess health disparities affecting the informal floating community of Claverito in Iquitos, Peru.

“This grant will provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students outside of traditional health fields to collaborate and participate in global health research and service learning,” Zunt said. “Students from underrepresented, yet critical, disciplines will be able to learn through action-oriented service learning activities in Peru and help nurture long-term relationships with the community of Claverito to improve human, ecological and environmental health.”

Zunt is also a professor of neurology at the UW School of Medicine and adjunct professor of epidemiology at the UW School of Public Health.

The program promotes an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas by engaging students from academic fields traditionally underrepresented in global health, such as landscape architecture, engineering, geography and dentistry. Peruvian students participating in the program will be encouraged to travel to Seattle for skills training, technology transfer and a cross-cultural exchange of ideas.

InterACTION Labs was among 13 winners of the latest innovation fund grant, announced Feb. 21 by the U.S. Department of State, Embassy of Peru, Partners of the Americas and Association of International Educators. The grant competition – sponsored by the Development Bank of Latin America, U.S. Department of State and SEMPRA Energy – is designed exclusively for universities and colleges in the U.S. and Peru.

“When governments, the private sector, and civil society collaborate on education, we address society’s most pressing concerns, we foster innovation, we create enduring relationships, we build 21st century workforce skills, and we expand knowledge networks,” said U.S. Ambassador to Peru Krishna R. Urs. “The Innovation Fund provides Peru and the United States with dynamic higher education partnerships as engines for economic prosperity.”

Learn more