Skip to content

Health Equity Scientific Working Group


Structural and institutional discrimination create inequities in opportunities and resources needed for HIV prevention and treatment, contributing to pervasive HIV disparities in key populations, which have persisted since the early years of the HIV epidemic. As individuals with marginalized identities encounter significant barriers to accessing HIV-related services due to the intersectional nature of systemic discrimination, bias, and racism in the US and globally, there is an evident need for increased research and attention on addressing HIV related disparities in historically disadvantaged groups. The Health Equity Scientific Working Group (SWG) aims to catalyze efforts to investigate and understand the complex social and structural determinants of health disparities and to promote innovative research to attain health equity and remove sources of unfair health differences among historically marginalized populations.


  • Create a hub for community-engaged, interdisciplinary collaborations that will generate key data and conduct analyses that elucidate characteristics of HIV-related health disparities.
  • Monthly works-in-progress meetings that will convene a multidisciplinary group of researchers, including early career and underrepresented individuals, to facilitate collaborations that will contribute to data generation and analyses that elucidate characteristics of HIV-related health disparities.
  • Promote and support interdisciplinary teams that include community partners and academic researchers to develop research agendas that advance community-engaged, health equity-focused HIV research at our CFAR.
  • Convene community meet and greets developed in partnership with the UW/FH CFAR Office of Community Engagement (OCE) to foster collaborations for researchers and community members to develop health-equity related research projects.
  • Develop research proposals that advance the achievement of health equity in HIV prevention and treatment among health-disparities populations with attention to the Pacific Northwest region.
  • Guest speakers will provide expert perspectives on select health equity-related research topics to support development of successful research proposals that will advance the achievement of health equity in HIV prevention and treatment.

Join the Health Equity Listserv


UW School of Social Work.

Dr. Jane Lee and Dr. Roberto Orellana (Health Equity SWG Co-Directors) have appointments in the School of Social Work at the UW as Assistant Professor and Professor, respectively. The UW School of Social Work (SSW) is among the top schools of social work with scholars who have varied areas of expertise including community-based participatory research, behavioral health, mental health, health disparities, racial inequities, and social justice. In 2017, the SSW was ranked No. 1 in the world for faculty scholarship and published research by the Center for World University Rankings. The school houses several research and innovation centers, including the Social Development Research Group, the Behavioral Medicine Research Group, the Latino Center for Health, and the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute. Throughout the course of the SWG activities, Dr. Lee will have access to expertise, administration support, and consultation as needed from the Associate Dean for Research (ADR). Support for Assistant Professors is the ADR’s highest priority. In addition, Dr. Lee has access to research assistant support and to a formal team of senior scholars who are dedicated to supporting early career scholars’ research needs.

UW Department of Global Health.

Dr. David Katz (Health Equity SWG Associate Director) has an appointment in the Department of Global Health (DGH) at the UW. The DGH was established in 2007 through a generous gift and endowment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and complementary Washington State resources. The DGH bridges the Schools of Medicine and Public Health in an interdisciplinary manner, with a mandate to harness the expertise and interdisciplinary power of all 16 UW schools and colleges. All major health disciplines are represented in the department (Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry, and Social Work), and each school is ranked among the top 10 in the nation. The department has grown quickly, with more than 250 graduate students, 200 undergraduates, and 1,000 other students who take DGH courses each year. The DGH is the 2nd largest department at the UW in terms of funding for research, and includes more than 28 centers, programs, and initiatives. The DGH has more than 350 faculty representing 15 of 16 UW schools and colleges and 41 departments. Current and emerging focus areas include: health metrics and evaluation, infectious diseases, workforce development, health system strengthening and implementation science, climate change, global trauma and violence, global medicines safety, women, children and adolescent health, and a strong cross-cutting focus on social justice and equity. The Department offers a wide selection of programs, including MPH and PhD degrees, Health Metrics & Evaluation Fellowships, and Graduate Certificate Programs in Global Health, Global Health of Women, Adolescents, and Children, Global Injury and Violence Prevention, and HIV and STIs.


Roberto Orelllana, PhD, MPH, MSW – Co-Director

Jane Lee, PhD, MSW – Co-Director

David Katz, PhD, MPH – Associate Director


Robert Orellana, Co-Director

Jane Lee, Co-Director