Our faculty frequently collaborate with external public health organizations, from applying epidemiological methods to settings and situations in public health practice, to assisting organizations in developing, implementing and evaluating evidence-based strategies. Together, we influence and advocate for policies protecting and improving the health of populations–from neighborhoods, to cities, to countries, to world regions–at all levels of government.
Collaborating organizations include, but are not limited to, local, state, and federal public health agencies, non-governmental organizations, community-based organizations, private foundations, ministries of health, and private companies.
Examples of Faculty Partnerships
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Marissa Baker worked with the King County Auditor’s Office to deliver a survey to King County employees assessing their health and safety needs. She was able to look at needs specifics to workers who were working at home, and those that remained working in the office or a field-based setting. Results from this survey allowed the county to prioritize interventions and ensure that employees had their needs met, in addition to identifying gaps in delivery of services. During the COVID-19 pandemic she also worked with Teamsters 117 (Driver’s Union) who represent app-based drivers in the Puget Sound region. Together they deployed a survey looking at the concerns and needs of app-based drivers during the pandemic, and how the pandemic was impacting driver’s job satisfaction, stress, and well-being. Results from this survey informed both city and state legislation that improved pay, benefits, and protections for app-based drivers.
Dr. Barbara Baquero’s team works closely with Northwest Communities Education Center/Radio KDNA, in Granger, WA across multiple projects. Currently they are partnering to create a Latino Food Research Equity Collaborative, made of representatives across different government and community organizations focused on Latino food equity. Latino food equity means having access to food that is affordable, healthy, and culturally related, for all Latinos including those who work in the food system. Latinos must have access to knowledge and skills to choose and prepare foods and freedom to express their cultural values and norms through their foods. Latinos must be protected and respected under the same rules and guidelines and be offered the same economic prosperity as everyone else. Dr. Barbara Baquero (UW) and Elizabeth Torres (Radio KDNA) are co-Principal investigators for this project.
Established in 2019, the Washington Integrated Food Safety Center of Excellence (CoE), is a partnership between the UW School of Public Health and the Washington State Department of Health. The Washington Food Safety CoE, co-directed by Dr. Janet Baseman, serves as an enteric disease epidemiology and food safety resource for state and local public health partners in the Western U.S. The Food Safety CoE program was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act to help strengthen and improve foodborne illness surveillance and response and to increase the capacity of the public health workforce by applying best practices in foodborne outbreak response through training, evaluation, analysis, and communication.
Dr. Martin Cohen, teaching professor in the UW Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, leads the department’s long-time partnership with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cohen helped L&I evaluate face mask materials to measure the filtration efficiency and breathability of different masks and materials at a time when N95 respirators and surgical masks were in short supply and people were starting to use handmade masks.
Dr. Pamela Collins works on this HRSA-funded program, Capacity Building for Sustainable HIV Services (CBP). This project is a 5-country program led by faculty and staff at the International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) that collaborates with partners in Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Mozambique, and India. CBP seeks to improve health outcomes for people living with HIV (PLHIV) along the HIV care continuum by building sustainable health systems, including a global workforce with the right skills, mix, and distribution to respond to HIV and other population health priorities. Programmatic activities include support for Ministries of Health to conduct HIV prevention activities, HIV care and treatment, integration of care for non-communicable diseases and mental health.
Dr. Nicole Errett co-directs the Collaborative on Extreme Event Resilience (CEER) and directs the Community Engagement Core of the UW Interdisciplinary Center for Exposures Diseases Genomics and Environment (EDGE Center). Marrying these roles, she and her research teams are partnering with the City of Seattle and the Duwamish River Community Coalition (DRCC) to study ways to build resilience to climate change impacts in the diverse Duwamish Valley communities of South Park and Georgetown. This fall (2022), her team is leading a survey of Duwamish Valley households to determine their needs, assets and vulnerabilities in order to inform a community-centered "resilience district" being developed by Seattle planners. Neighborhood youth with DRCC's Duwamish Valley Youth Corps will conduct interviews door-to-door following training by the CDC in a survey methodology called CASPER (Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency). With a focus on equity and environmental justice, the survey will be conducted in nine languages representing the most populous ethnic and language groups living in the Duwamish Valley. Following analysis of the survey results this winter, UW will partner with DRCC to hold a series of focus groups with a diversity of neighborhood residents to help interpret the results. Data collected and lessons learned from the project will drive future equity-centered approaches to disaster needs assessment, resilience planning, and climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies.
Dr. Peggy Hannon partners with the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) to support implementation and evaluation of CDC’s Colorectal Cancer Control Program (CRCCP). This work includes developing implementation support tools, collecting and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data, and occasionally speaking at online webinars held for CRCCP Awardees (35 states, universities, tribal organizations, and health systems). In a separate project, she collaborates with a NACDD consultant to help us disseminate an evidence-based workplace wellness program for small businesses, Connect to Wellness. Her goal in that project is to disseminate Connect to Wellness through training staff at state and local health departments to deliver the program to small businesses in their communities. NACDD provides advice and technical support to help us outreach to and partner effectively with health departments.
The Ending the HIV Epidemic (EHE) initiative is a large federal initiative that provides resources to local and state health departments in geographic areas disproportionately impacted by HIV, with a goal of catalyzing progress toward eliminating HIV in the US. Mississippi is one of seven states in the EHE initiative. Dr. Christine Khosropourcollaborates with the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) epidemiology team to develop their Ending the HIV Epidemiologic Profile. Dr. Khosropour and the epidemiology team developed metrics to monitor progress toward achieving EHE goals, and generate data annually to measure progress and to monitor the HIV epidemic in Mississippi.
Dr. Carol Levin works with the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), Helen Keller International (HKI) and Results for Development (R4D) on a project titled, “Strengthening Economic Evaluation for Multisectoral Strategies for Nutrition (SEEMS-Nutrition),” with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The five-year project, directed by Dr. Carol Levin, fills an information gap on costs, cost-effectiveness, and benefits of scaling up food system strategies in resource-constrained areas combating malnutrition. The SEEMS-Nutrition project has developed a set of standardized approaches, tools and training materials to support economic evaluation of multisectoral and food systems strategies to improve health and nutrition, allowing for a more comprehensive comparison of individual interventions or packages and policy levers to address healthy food systems, dietary intake, and improved nutritional status.
In 2021, Dr. Arianna Means worked within the University of Washington Department of Global Health and the University of Global Health Equity in Rwanda to co-launch the Kikundi project, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on Kikundi. Kikundi is a Community of Practice for Neglected Tropical Disease (NTD) Program Managers in African Ministries of Health. It provides a platform for Program Managers to learn from one another in-person and online, in order to achieve global NTD elimination benchmarks. Kikundi provides access to up-to-date NTD professional development and training resources, group problem-solving forums, direct messaging, and other tools to advance the technical and professional goals of NTD program leaders throughout Africa. Through these resources, Kikundi fosters collaborative decision-making and network-building to solve common NTD implementation and management challenges.
Quality health care relies on safe and effective health services that are available to those who need them, both where and when needed. To support quality HIV/AIDS health service delivery in Malawi, Dr. Gabrielle O’Malley works as the Director of Implementation Science for I-TECH, which works with the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the Public Health Institute of Malawi (PHIM) in areas such as HIV testing, provision of PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis), and ART (Antiretroviral therapy) treatment. PHIM, MOH, and I-TECH staff in Malawi and Seattle work together to train health care providers, develop evidence-based clinical guidelines, build the capacity of the MOH in supply chain management, conduct critical public health surveillance, and disseminate findings. HIV prevalence and incidence in Malawi has decreased steadily over the last 2 decades, a result of the rapid scale-up of ART that is now provided to almost 900,000 people at over 725 clinical sites across the country.
Dr. India Ornelas and her research team collaborated with Casa Latina and El Centro to conduct an evaluation of an intervention to improve the mental health of Latina immigrant women. The intervention was offered on site at Casa Latina and El Centro and included participants that were also Casa and El Centro Latina clients. Casa Latina and El Centro staff worked closely with our research team to conduct the study and also served on a Community Advisory Board. The women that participated reported that the intervention helped them and that they would recommend it to others. They also found that the intervention was effective in reducing symptoms in depression.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need for health systems to detect new and emerging disease threats as soon as possible to allow time for an effective response to prevent a localized outbreak from turning into a major epidemic. Dr. Peter Rabinowitz works as the PI for Project INSIGHT (Integrated Next-generation Surveillance in Global Health), a new collaborative agreement between UW and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control to bring the strengths of a major University to this public health challenge. The UW effort is a partnership between the UW Center for One Health Research and the UW International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) as well as international partners including the Universidad Cayetano Heredia in Lima Peru.
The goals of the INSIGHT project are to: strengthen public health surveillance systems in target countries, improve the public health surveillance workforce, improve the interface between public health disease surveillance and laboratory systems, enhance electronic disease surveillance platforms and systems, and enhance the use of surveillance data for public health action. In the first year of the project, Dr. Peter Rabinowitz and the UW team have performed an assessment of the national disease surveillance system in Peru and drafted a plan for surveillance strengthening in the country using a “One Health” approach that considers the health of humans, animals, and the environments they share. The team has now launched the IDASH training program in public health informatics and data science that will involve trainees in Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Paraguay, Peru, Thailand, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. The project is also providing technical support for public health recovery efforts in Ukraine.
The Optimizing Implementation in Cancer Control (OPTICC) Center is one of seven National Cancer Institute Implementation Science Centers in Cancer Control (ISC3). Dr. Bryan Weiner is one of three multiple principal investigators (MPIs) of the NCI- funded OPTICC Center, along with Dr. Peggy Hannon and Dr. Cara Lewis. The OPTICC Center was created to support optimized implementation of evidence-based cancer prevention and control practices in clinical and community settings for a wide range of cancers across the cancer care continuum, and is a strategic partnership between the University of Washington (UW), Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI), and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (FHCC). The OPTICC Center’s multi-institutional model capitalizes on a long history of institutional collaboration in cancer research and training. The UW, KPWHRI, and the FHCC have developed a deep understanding of each other’s scientific capabilities, and investigators across the three institutions collaborate routinely in scientific, academic, and service activities. The OPTICC Center is advancing the science of optimizing evidence-based intervention implementation more rapidly, efficiently, and economically than a collection of independent studies conducted in isolation would be able to do.
Learn more about our faculty and the projects they’re involved in here with our new faculty features.