SPH Stories

Featured stories about SPH people, research and impact.

The annual Awards of Excellence recognize exemplary staff, faculty and students for their dedication, service and many contributions to our School. This year's event took place on May 15. (See the full list of winners.) The following awards are administered by the Student Public Health Association and voted on by students.

The Communicating Public Health to the Public Award is given annually to a member of the SPH faculty, staff or student body who effectively communicates public health issues to the general public, on a significant scale. The award recognizes an op-ed or op-ed equivalent (such as an article, blog post, TED talk, video, speech) as well as sustained efforts to inform the public through media interviews.

Thirty-three faculty across the University of Washington's three campuses were honored May 2 at the 3rd Annual Latinx Faculty Recognition Event, hosted by the Latino Center for Health.

Christopher Simpson, a professor of environmental and occupational health sciences at the University of Washington School of Public Health, was recently awarded $121,134 from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries' Safety and Health Investment Project Grants Program. The award will fund and support a project to examine respiratory hazards for workers who make a living roasting, grinding, packaging and serving coffee.

A research project led by James Hughes, professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington School of Public Health, has received a grant renewal from the National Institutes of Health to continue to address statistical issues in AIDS research. The project was awarded more than $770,000 for one year.

In the largest study to date of reproductive factors and breast cancer risk in Hispanic women, researchers have found important links between breastfeeding and a reduced risk of breast cancer.

The researchers – including an epidemiologist from the University of Washington School of Public Health – pooled data for nearly 6,000 Hispanic women from four previous studies conducted between 1995 and 2007 in the United States and Mexico. They found that women with a history of breastfeeding had a 17 percent lower risk of breast cancer.

Rivals in the sports arena, the state’s two largest public universities have teamed up off the field to improve the health of young adults experiencing homelessness – and their pets.

The University of Washington and Washington State University are working with New Horizons Ministries and Neighborcare Health to provide health care and veterinary care to this vulnerable population. Key educational partners include the UW School of Public Health, WSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and UW Medicine.

Jessica Jones-Smith and James Krieger from the University of Washington School of Public Health were recently awarded a $200,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to assess the impact of sugary drink taxes and tax revenues on low-income families and their communities.

Jones-Smith is an associate professor of health services and epidemiology, and Krieger is a clinical professor of health services.

Shifts in the social behavior of people with schizophrenia may provide early warning signs of relapse, but effective monitoring of patients is time intensive, expensive and logistically challenging.

After a clinical trial of 61 adults with schizophrenia, a team of researchers — led by Benjamin Buck from the University of Washington School of Public Health and the Puget Sound Veterans Affairs (VA) Healthcare System — may have found a pocket-sized way to pick up traces of social isolation.

African-American women living with HIV who express higher levels of religiosity may be better able to cope with the negative effects of HIV-related stigma than those who express lower levels of religiosity, according to a new study from the University of Washington School of Public Health. The study was published Feb. 21 in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

Undergraduate students at the University of Washington School of Public Health are educating vulnerable populations across Seattle and King County about life-saving actions such as hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Mothers who decide to induce their baby’s birth after 39 weeks of gestation, rather than wait for labor to begin, may reduce the risk of cesarean birth, according to a new study led by researchers from the University of Washington School of Public Health. The study was published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Emeritus Professor Irv Emanuel, an early leader of the School of Public Health and its interdisciplinary Maternal and Child Health program, passed away Friday, Feb. 15. He was 92.

It is not uncommon for faculty members to make lasting impressions on their students. In Dr. Susan Heckbert’s (PhD ’90) case, it is the students who have made lasting impressions on her. Inspired by their questions and sharp minds, Heckbert, a long-time faculty member at the UW School of Public Health, generously established a fellowship to reflect her gratitude for epidemiology graduate students.

The Public Health Undergraduate Student Assistance Fund supports the School’s commitment to developing a more diverse student body and workforce with the skills needed to equitably serve communities in our region and beyond. Students receive awards of up to $5,000.

Meet winners of the fund for the 2018-19 year:


The School is undertaking a major redesign of its Master of Public Health curriculum to better prepare graduates for an ever-changing public health landscape.

Re-envisioning the MPH will better meet the needs of public health practice partners while also addressing new and rigorous competencies set by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH). With input from students, staff, alumni and practice partners, faculty-led teams have been working for more than a year now to establish a new School-wide curriculum.

From changes in school start times to interventions limiting sugary drinks, a new center in the School of Public Health is examining how policies shape our health on a range of issues.

Students learn by doing at UW School of Public Health

Erica Grant climbed the steep lava slopes of Rwanda’s volcanic park and trekked through its dense rain forest to see some of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas. What surprised her most wasn’t so much the great apes themselves, but how difficult it was for tourists to keep a safe distance away.

Seattle neighborhoods that are lower income or that have more Black or Hispanic residents have fewer options for healthy foods, more fast food and longer travel times to stores that sell produce, according to a new study by the University of Washington School of Public Health and Public Health - Seattle & King County, in Washington.

The hallways and classrooms of Auburn Riverside High School may have been deserted on March 11, but the kitchen was abuzz as more than two dozen food service managers learned fresh approaches to creating healthy meals for students.