New Grants and Centers

South Campus drone aerial shot

Integrated food safety

The UW School of Public Health (SPH) and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) will lead a regional effort to improve the prevention of and response to foodborne outbreaks, thanks to a five-year grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The School and the DOH will run a new Center of Excellence in Integrated Food Safety, one of five national centers working to improve foodborne illness surveillance and investigation. Led by Associate Dean Janet Baseman and DOH’s Beth Melius, the center will function as a resource hub for local, state and regional public health agencies in Alaska, California, Guam, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Expanding injury prevention research

The CDC awarded a five-year, $4.2 million grant in July to expand research at the Harborview Injury Prevention & Research Center at UW Medicine. Projects include prescription opioid abuse, older adult falls and pediatric concussions. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, SPH associate professor of epidemiology, will lead work on the characterization and evaluation of health care professional training in suicide prevention. The UW joins the University of Iowa as the only universities with all six CDC/HRSA-designated centers: a CDC Prevention Research Center; a CDC Center for Public Health Preparedness; a CDC Injury Control Center; a CDC NIOSH Education and Research Center; a CDC NIOSH Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Center; and an HRSA Public Health Training Center.

Monitoring drug safety

Several faculty and alumni from SPH biostatistics and epidemiology will help lead a new Sentinel Innovation Center that aims to assist the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in monitoring drugs and medical products to keep patients safe. The researchers – including Jennifer Nelson, Patrick Heagerty, Andrea Cook, Xu Shi, Bruce Psaty, Susan Heckbert and James Floyd – will develop new methods to conduct more comprehensive and rapid safety surveillance through electronic health records. The center is part of the Sentinel Initiative used to monitor FDA-regulated drugs, medical devices and other products, and will involve 60 organizations across the country. It will be led by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston under the auspices of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. Co-leaders include investigators from SPH, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, Duke University and Vanderbilt University.

Implementation and cancer control

To bridge the gap between cancer interventions and their implementation, the NIH's National Cancer Institute is funding the creation of six new research centers. One – the Optimizing Implementation in Cancer Control Center – will be based at SPH and led by Professors Bryan Weiner (global health and health services) and Peggy Hannon (health services). Funded by a five-year, $4.78 million grant, the new center is a strategic collaboration with Kaiser Permanente and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. The centers are part of NIH’s Cancer Moonshot initiative to make more therapies available and improve prevention and detection.