SPH in the News

Headlines featuring UW SPH people and research.

August 11, 2022
The Seattle Times
While the unusual quiet of the pandemic’s first months was hard on many people, it allowed birds in the Pacific Northwest to use a wider range of habitats, according to a newly published University of Washington study.

The study, published Thursday in Scientific Reports, found that in Pacific Northwest cities under lockdown, birds were just as likely to be found in highly developed urban areas as in less-developed green spaces.

The study was co-authored by Joel Kaufman, a professor in the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and Beth Gardner, an associate professor in the UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences.
August 11, 2022
Scientific American
The ill effects of heat kill more people in the U.S. than those of any other weather phenomenon, according to the National Weather Service. And globally the growing number of longer-lasting and hotter heat waves because of climate change has left people more vulnerable to record-shattering highs. Kristie Ebi, professor of global health and of environmental and occupational health sciences at the UW, is quoted.
August 11, 2022
The United States seems to have hit a Covid-19 plateau, with more than 40,000 people hospitalized and more than 400 deaths a day consistently over the past month or so. It's a dramatic improvement from this winter – there were four times as many hospitalizations and nearly six times as many deaths at the peak of the first Omicron wave – but still stubbornly high numbers. 

"I would expect things to decline at least for the next month or so," said Trevor Bedford, an epidemiologist and genomic scientist at the University of Washington's School of Public Health.
August 10, 2022
Natural disasters like hurricanes and wildfires are (rightly) accompanied by warnings of their danger. They bring a visible, elemental fury that’s hard to ignore. Heat, on the other hand, is invisible and insidious. We feel it on our skin, radiating from the sun or bouncing off asphalt and concrete, but we don’t see it the way we see, say, floodwaters carrying cars down the street. That makes heat waves easy to dismiss as quirky summer weather. Kristie Ebi, professor of global health and of environmental and occupational health sciences at the UW, is quoted.
August 10, 2022
The News Tribune
The state uses the Environmental Health Disparities Map, which helps state departments evaluate health risks in Washington’s 1,458 census tracts. Updated health disparity map shows WA areas most in need. 

“The original request for this map tool came from community members who felt that researchers and government programs were looking at either air or water quality, treating them as separate,” Esther Min, environmental and occupational health sciences
August 9, 2022
Associated Press
Climate hazards such as flooding, heat waves and drought have worsened more than half of the hundreds of known infectious diseases in people, including malaria, hantavirus, cholera and anthrax, a study says.

Researchers looked through the medical literature of established cases of illnesses and found that 218 out of the known 375 human infectious diseases, or 58%, seemed to be made worse by one of 10 types of extreme weather connected to climate change, according to a study in Monday’s journal Nature Climate Change. Kristie Ebi, global health and environmental and occupational health sciences, is quoted.
August 8, 2022
Kristie Ebi, professor of global health and of environmental and occupational health sciences at the UW, outlines the dangers that heat waves pose to the human population.
August 4, 2022
UW Medicine News
COVID-19 hasn’t gone away. Here’s what to know about traveling abroad (safely) while we’re in the pandemic. Get travel tips from Dr. Cristopher Sanford, associate professor of family medicine and global health, and Dr. Paul Pottinger, an infectious diseases expert.
August 3, 2022
"Beer belly" refers to that protruding stomach some men carry around. But you don't have to be male or drink beer in order to gain weight from alcohol. To be upfront, study results are mixed on the matter: Researchers are still pinpointing exactly how alcohol can make people gain weight and who might be most at risk, says Judy Simon, clinical instructor of health systems and population health
August 1, 2022
Associated Press
Experts are ignoring the worst possible climate change catastrophic scenarios, including collapse of society or the potential extinction of humans, however unlikely, a group of top scientists claim. Eleven scientists from around the world are calling on the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s authoritative climate science organization, to do a special science report on “catastrophic climate change” to “bring into focus how much is at stake in a worst-case scenario.” Kristie Ebi, professor of global health and of environmental and occupational health sciences at the UW, is quoted.
August 1, 2022
DGH News
The University of Washington Department of Global Health is excited to announce the newest additions to our full-time faculty. Their expertise and commitment to the DGH mission will be an asset to our department and our students.  

Welcome Sarah Masyuko, Yanfang Su, Adrienne Shapiro, Julianne Meisner, Keshet Ronen, Ferdinand Mukumbang and our joint faculty member with Health Services Population, Rabi Yunusa.
July 28, 2022
Bloomberg News
Dangerously high temperatures have returned to the northwestern US, 13 months after unprecedented heat shattered records there. While the heat is not expected to reach last year’s highest peaks — Portland, Oregon, hit 116° Fahrenheit (46.4° Celsius) in June 2021 — this heat wave may last five or six days, uncommon longevity for a cool part of the country. Kristie Ebi, professor of global health and of environmental and occupational health sciences at the UW, is quoted.
July 26, 2022
USA Today
It's nearly impossible to change a lifetime of eating and exercise habits and stick with them, studies show.  Many people live in areas where it's tough to access healthy foods or exercise safely and affordably. The economics of eating in America make high-calorie foods an easy go-to. Adam Drewnowski, professor of epidemiology at the UW, is quoted.
July 26, 2022
DEOHS blog
Tiny pollution particles can cause major health problems. Our research shows how to minimize your risk. Learn about how air quality impacts our health from infancy through old age—and how researchers in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences (DEOHS) and our partners are testing new solutions, with a focus on the most vulnerable: children, essential workers, low-income communities and the elderly.  
July 25, 2022
People around the world are dying from heat exposure. A few cities and towns — from Phoenix and Miami here in the U.S. to Athens, Greece — are responding by hiring “chief heat officers.” It’s a step to the future of local heat resilience as the climate continues to change. Kristie Ebi, professor of global health and of environmental and occupational health sciences at the UW, is quoted.
July 21, 2022
A new study concludes that Seattle's soda tax isn't disproportionately harming lower-income families — and is actually benefiting lower-income households as a group.

“The bottom line is that most of the revenues were raised from higher-income households, and most of the revenues were invested in programs that benefited lower-income households,” James Krieger, an author of the study, told Axios. 
July 20, 2022
Residents of the Methow Valley experience the same four seasons most of us do — spring, summer, fall and winter. But in the last ten years, a fifth season has crept into Methow Valley life: Smoke season. Joel Kaufman, professor of environmental and occupational health sciences, of epidemiology and of medicine, is quoted.
July 20, 2022
UW News
Eight University of Washington subjects ranked in the top 10 and atmospheric sciences moved to its position as No. 1 in the world on the Global Ranking of Academic Subjects list for 2022. The ranking, released Tuesday, was conducted by researchers at the ShanghaiRanking Consultancy, a fully independent organization dedicating to research on higher education intelligence and consultation.

Other UW subjects in the top 10 include oceanography at No. 2; public health at No. 4; biological sciences, dentistry and oral sciences, education, and library and information sciences at No. 7; and clinical medicine at No. 10.
July 21, 2022
The Seattle Times
As if we didn’t have enough contagious viruses to worry about, monkeypox is now the latest unwelcome term to enter our daily lexicon.

“What we understand from the epidemiology and the biology of viruses in general is that they’re not unique to any particular social group. But that isn’t the way that messaging is coming out to the general community,” he said. For many people, Wallace said, it’s coming across that “only gay men can get monkeypox.” Stephaun Wallace, global health, is quoted.
July 15, 2022
Last summer, two heat waves blanketed the usually temperate Pacific Northwest. The first one, which saw at least 30 heat-related deaths and many more injuries, would become the deadliest climate-related event in King County’s recorded history. In the wake of the heat waves, residents and government officials are acknowledging how unprepared we are for extreme heat. Tania Busch-Isaksen, environmental and occupational health sciences, is quoted.
July 15, 2022
UW News
Air pollution is not just a problem for lungs. Increasingly, research suggests air pollution can influence childhood behavioral problems and even IQ. A new study led by the University of Washington has added evidence showing that both prenatal and postnatal exposure to air pollution can harm kids. 

Co-authors include Christine Loftus, Michael Young and Marnie Hazlehurst, UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences; Sheela Sathyanarayana, UW School of Public Health and School of Medicine; Adam Szpiro, UW Department of Biostatistics.
July 11, 2022
UW News
Sugar-sweetened beverages are a known contributor to several health issues, including poor diet quality, weight gain and diabetes. While several studies have shown that taxing sweetened beverages significantly reduces purchasing, questions have been raised about whether the taxes place a greater economic burden on lower-income households. “Sugar-sweetened beverages are the new tobacco,” said James Krieger, senior author and clinical professor of health systems and population health in the UW School of Public Health. 
July 8, 2022
President Joe Biden's first sweeping executive orders on climate included launching an entirely new office within the Department of Health and Human Services with an important mandate: dealing with the public health impacts of climate change. A UW study is referenced.
July 8, 2022
The Guardian
More than 80% of urine samples drawn from children and adults in a US health study contained a weedkilling chemical linked to cancer, a finding scientists have called “disturbing” and “concerning”. Lianne Sheppard, professor of environmental and occupational health sciences and of biostatistics at the UW, is quoted.
July 8, 2022
Real Change
Local shelters say they are struggling to find space for surrendered pets as households face displacement due to economic hardship. According to service providers, the dislocation is due to a constellation of factors that have built up over the past two years including the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recession, end of the eviction moratorium and rising inflation. All these factors have led, they say, to an increase in people being unable to continue to care for their pets as they struggle to meet their basic needs. Vickie Ramirez, senior research and program coordinator at the Center for One Health Research in the UW School of Public Health, is quoted.
July 7, 2022
Inside Higher Ed
Firearm-related deaths in the U.S. reached a new peak across age groups and surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents in 2020, according to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Ali Rowhani-Rahbar, professor of epidemiology at the UW, is quoted.
July 6, 2022
King County Council addressed the need to make guns less accessible while also stressing the importance of providing essential resources — housing, career opportunities, health care, education — to those in more impoverished areas of the county during its meeting on July 6. Dr. Frederick Rivara, Adjunct Professor of Epidemiology and professor of pediatrics, is quoted.
July 2, 2022
The Washington Post
Scientists say the recent spate of severe summers is a clear change from previous generations. The average summer temperature in the past five years has been 1.7 degrees (0.94 Celsius) warmer than it was from 1971 through 2000, according to a Washington Post analysis of data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. But some parts of the country have been much harder hit, with the West showing an increase of 2.7 degrees (1.5 Celsius). Kristie Ebi, professor of global health and of environmental and occupational health sciences at the UW, is quoted.
July 1, 2022
The Supreme Court has voted to curb the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions. This comes amid a period of increasingly extreme weather around the world. Kristie Ebi, professor of global health and of environmental and occupational health sciences at the UW, is interviewed.
July 1, 2022
SPH News
The University of Washington School of Public Health is pleased to announce Deepa Rao, Ph.D., M.A., as Vice Dean for Faculty, a newly expanded role from her previous position as interim Senior Associate Dean. Rao will work with members of the Office of the Dean and departments across the School to develop a holistic faculty mentoring and professional development program for the School of Public Health, centering the School’s commitment to becoming a more anti-racist organization.
June 24, 2022
Jennifer Balkus, assistant professor of epidemiology at the UW, says that individuals who are marginalized will have less access to health care resources and will be most impacted.
June 21, 2022
Associated Press
Hundreds of homeless die as temperatures rise across the country. Kristie Ebi, professor of global health and of environmental and occupational health sciences at the UW, is quoted.
June 21, 2022
As COVID-19 numbers continue to fluctuate, some federal relief programs supporting families and children have started to disappear. A report from the UW Center for Public Health Nutrition is referenced.
June 21, 2022
New York Daily News
Brutal heat waves hitting the U.S. and other spots across the globe threaten the homeless more than most, experts say, as the number of homeless people are swelling amid pandemic evictions and societal and economic pressure. Kristie Ebi, professor of global health and of environmental and occupational health sciences at the UW, is quoted.
June 15, 2022
Biostatistics News
Mary Lou Thompson, an emeritus research professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health, has received the 2022 Rob Kempton Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Development of Biometry in the Developing World from the International Biometrics Society (IBS).

Another IBS honor went to Elizabeth Thompson, a UW emeritus professor of biostatistics and statistics, who was named an Honorary Life Member.
June 14, 2022
Biostatistics News
An estimated 60% of known infectious diseases and up to 75% of emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic in origin, meaning the disease is transmitted from animals to humans. Biostatistics faculty Amy Willis is featured.
June 13, 2022
The New York Times
On Friday, Justin Bieber announced that he has Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a rare condition that has paralyzed half his face. Dr. Anna Wald, professor of medicine, epidemiology and laboratory medicine and pathology at the UW, is quoted.
June 12, 2022
Yakima Herald-Republic
New faculty and colleagues from Bothell, Tacoma and Seattle campuses at the University of Washington will be taking their bus tour of the state after a two-year hiatus. The linguist may sit next to a geographer. The historian might take a seat next the aeronautic/astronomic specialist and the computer scientist might sit next to the social work faculty member.
June 7, 2022
E&E News
An EPA advisory panel reviewing ground-level ozone standards will hold a pivotal meeting tomorrow, where agency air office staffers are certain to hear a familiar range of views from the roughly two dozen speakers who’ve registered to offer input. Featured: Lianne Sheppard
June 6, 2022
The Seattle Times
New research has found an antibiotic that’s been around for decades could help prevent sexually transmitted bacterial diseases, according to a recent clinical trial that proved so effective in certain populations it ended early. Dr. Connie Celum, professor of global health and of medicine at the UW, is quoted.
June 3, 2022
Sometimes, the air quality is so unhealthy that even sheltering indoors doesn’t prevent smoke exposure. And even after fires stop burning, many residents in recent years have experienced more upper respiratory illnesses than usual, says Andrew Joseph Jr., chairman of the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation. Even a decade ago, the area was blanketed by more small particulate matter from wildfire smoke than most other parts of the state.
June 1, 2022
Environmental Factor
Baker characterizes workplace exposures experienced by vulnerable or underrepresented populations. She explores workplace determinants of understudied occupational health outcomes, such as mental health, stress, and fatigue.
June 1, 2022
Associated Press
Brenda Hampton first came across the toxic industrial compound PFAS after finding it was part of the cocktail of contaminants that tainted the drinking water in her North Alabama community.

Hampton, who believes the contaminated water contributed to kidney problems she and other residents suffer, soon learned the chemicals were found in another source that hit close to home — fast food wrappers, boxes and plates.
June 1, 2022
Researchers with the World Health Organization explain mistakes in high-profile mortality estimates for Germany and Sweden. The UW's Jon Wakefield, professor of statistics and of biostatistics, and Victoria Knutson, a doctoral student in biostatistics, are quoted.
May 31, 2022
The first patient has been dosed with a vaccine for the tropical disease schistosomiasis, developed by Seattle biotech company PAI Life Sciences. Darrick Carter, professor of global health, was mentioned.
May 31, 2022
Business Wire
PAI Life Sciences, a biotechnology company specializing in translational research for neglected tropical diseases, today announced the dosing of the first healthy volunteer in a clinical trial of SchistoShield®, the company’s preventive vaccine against schistosomiasis, a major tropical disease threatening nearly 1 billion people in 79 countries with more than 260 million people currently infected. Darrick Carter, professor of global health, was mentioned.
May 31, 2022
MedPage Today
HHS launched an Office of Environmental Justice aimed at improving the health of those in underserved areas by focusing on environmental issues.
May 30, 2022
The UW's Evan Eichler, professor of genome sciences, and Tulio de Oliveira, affiliate professor of global health, said they didn't believe it when they found out about their selection on Time Magazine's list of the most influential people of 2022
May 29, 2022
Dermatology Times
Being aware of melanoma overdiagnosis does not appear to curtail the rate at which dermatopathologists diagnose melanomas, according to a survey published in JAMA Dermatology. Corresponding author Kathleen Kerr, professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health, is quoted.
May 27, 2022
UW School of Public Health
In March of 2021, Horacio Chacon Torrico arrived in Seattle to begin his second year of graduate studies at the University of Washington School of Public Health, after having completed the first two quarters remotely from his home in Lima, Peru. Within no more than a week of arriving, he received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. But as he scrolled through his Facebook feed, he saw posts from friends in Peru who grieved their lost loved ones from the pandemic. Chacon Torrico felt guilt at having so easily received his vaccine, when so many from his home country were suffering.
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