Global WACh

June 3, 2024

Global WACh faculty, staff, students attend a team retreat to build community and advance strategic initiatives

On May 22nd, Global WACh hosted an all-day team retreat at the UW Waterfront Activities Center.  46 faculty, staff, and student trainees spent the day together with the goals of 1) team building across Global WACh’s scientific priorities, and 2) advancing strategic initiatives for scientific impact, deep work, and expanding diversity, equity, and inclusion in our community. The retreat was part of a larger “Think Week” aimed at protecting time and space for creative thinking to expand innovation to improve the health of women, adolescents, and children.

Across Global WACh’s research portfolio, a few topics emerged as potential cross cutting areas of scientific interest – neurodevelopment, microbiome, mental health, and strengthening leadership and expertise of our research partners at LMIC-based institutions through a NIH D43 International Research Training Grant. In small groups, team members brainstormed ideas and approaches of utilizing new and existing data, resources, and/or collaborations to address each topic.

In early April, Global WACh hosted Dr. Eleanor Namusoke Magongo (Team Lead, Paediatrics & Adolescent HIV Care and Treatment Program, Ministry of Health Uganda) for a keynote on bridging the gap between researchers and policy makers.  Dr. Magongo’s talk included personal examples and recommendations on how to translate research into policy and implementation.  The lessons and motivations from the talk set the tone for a group discussion at the retreat on practical steps for engaging policy makers in Global WACh research and for meaningful community engagement.

Team members also bonded through sharing what they focused on during “Think Week,” such as grant and manuscript writing, expanding collaborations into new topic areas, and exploring AI use for research activities. The weather was clear after a stretch of rainy days and attendees participated in friendly competitive activities outdoors – a water balloon on spatulas relay race, “blindfolded” bocce ball retrieval, and a human ring toss game using inflatable pool floats.

Thank you to the Global WACh Center Directors, organizers, and attendees! We look forward to sharing how outputs from the retreat impact our scientific initiatives.