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Epidemiology

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Adam Drewnowski

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Ali Rowhawni-Rahbar

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News | April 21, 2020

Amid a pandemic, geography returns with a vengeance

The pandemic is redefining our relationship with space. Not outer space, but physical space. Hot spots, distance, spread, scale, proximity. In a word: geography. Suddenly, we can’t stop thinking about where. Over the past few centuries, new technologies in transportation and communication made geography feel less critical. The advent of railway and refrigerated train cars in the…


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Anjum Hajat

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Anne Vernez-Moudon

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News | December 11, 2020

Are cities a safe place to live during a pandemic?

In the spring, as thousands of people were sickened by the coronavirus, the bodies began to pile up in one of the country’s densest urban centers: New York City. News headlines rolled like a steady drumbeat of doom. The region became known as the epicenter of the pandemic. Economists predicted that the city’s recovery would take…


News | August 19, 2019

Breathing dirty city air is as bad for your lungs as smoking

Even if you’ve never smoked, just living in a city with polluted air could lead to emphysema. A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that air pollution—and in particular ozone, which is increasing with climate change—makes the lung disease progress faster. If you live in a city with high ozone levels for a…


News | September 24, 2020

COVID-19 testing in King County homeless shelters shows need to create safer conditions in crowded settings

Border detention facilities, prisons and refugee camps have something in common with communal homeless shelters, University of Washington School of Medicine researchers say. They’re home to “closed, crowded conditions where people have to live in small spaces and share a lot of common facilities,” said Dr. Helen Y. Chu, associate professor at the UW School…


News | September 3, 2020

Data Science for Social Good fellows present their project results

This year, two interdisciplinary teams at the eScience Institute’s Data Science for Social Good (DSSG) program tackled timely issues, conducting projects to identify disinformation articles about the coronavirus and detect minority vote dilution resulting from geographic boundary setting in state, city, county and school board districts. On August 19th, the DSSG student fellows presented the results of their projects, conducted with…


News | April 7, 2020

Data suggests coronavirus is disproportionately affecting Black communities in the US

Preliminary demographic data – where available — and early anecdotal evidence suggest that poor African-Americans are contracting and dying from the coronavirus in disproportionate rates. In the state of Michigan, while blacks represent only 12% of the total population, they account for at least 40% of its coronavirus-related deaths, said the Michigan Department of Health and…


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Elizabeth Kirk

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News | June 4, 2021

Fast food, supermarkets, other aspects of built environments don’t play expected role in weight gain

People don’t gain or lose weight because they live near a fast-food restaurant or supermarket, according to a new study led by the University of Washington. And, living in a more “walkable”, dense neighborhood likely only has a small impact on weight. These “built-environment” amenities have been seen in past research as essential contributors to losing weight or tending…


News | July 31, 2018

FEMA-style tents as homeless shelters? Maybe, say some King County officials

Three health officials on the King County Board of Health are urging the panel to declare homelessness a “public health disaster” and advise local jurisdictions to respond accordingly — including potentially deploying large scale FEMA-style tents as emergency shelter before winter. Two and a half years after both Seattle and King County declared a state of…


News | September 18, 2020

Food insecurity rates have more than doubled since start of COVID-19 pandemic

Since the onset of the pandemic, food insecurity rates have more than doubled in our state. That’s according to researchers at the University of Washington who have just compiled the results from their first round of a statewide survey. It was done this summer in cooperation with Washington State University and Tacoma Community College, as well…


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Frederick Rivara

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Glen Duncan

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News | November 10, 2020

In King County, pollution makes ZIP codes predictors of your health

In Seattle, a ZIP code can predict everything from income to social class to life expectancy. White, wealthy residents of northern neighborhoods such as Laurelhurst live 13 years longer than their poorer neighbors of color in the southern neighborhoods of South Park and Georgetown. Air and soil pollution has disproportionately affected Seattle’s communities of color for…


News | May 21, 2020

In Seattle’s polluted valley, pandemic and particulates are twin threats

From a boat on the Duwamish River, it’s easy to see giant yellow excavators plucking crushed cars off the ground and swinging them toward an open-air shredder. At Seattle Iron and Metal, mounds of shredded steel as big as apartment buildings loom above the river. “It looks like something out of Mad Max,” James Rasmussen…


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Janet Baseman

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Jared Baeten

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John Kobayashi

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Jonathan Mayer

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News | May 28, 2020

Less traffic means 40% drop in car pollution in Seattle but will it last?

Experts say our good air quality this spring is partially due to people driving less. However, they warn that unless big, long-term changes are made, these cleaner skies are not here to stay. From late March through the end of April, car pollution in Seattle dropped by roughly 40 percent compared to the same time…


News | May 5, 2020

Population Health Initiative announces award of 21 COVID-19 rapid response grants

The University of Washington Population Health Initiative announced the award of approximately $350,000 in COVID-19 rapid response grants to 21 different faculty-led teams. These teams are composed of individuals representing 10 different schools and colleges. Funding was partially matched by additional school, college and departmental funds, bringing the total value of these awards to roughly $820,000. “A…


News | December 20, 2016

Reflections on Urban Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Change

On November 7th and 8th Urban@UW, in collaboration with the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group (CIG), hosted a symposium to begin transdisciplinary conversation on the multifaceted dynamics and consequences of Urban Environmental Justice in a Time of Climate Change (UEJ). Below are some reflections from this event, and a sample of the resources we’ll…


News | February 6, 2019

Salad, soda and socioeconomic status: Mapping a social determinant of health in Seattle

Seattle residents who live in waterfront neighborhoods tend to have healthier diets compared to those who live along Interstate-5 and Aurora Avenue, according to new research on social disparities from the University of Washington School of Public Health. The study used local data to model food consumption patterns by city block. Weekly servings of salad and soda…


News | July 30, 2020

Searching for climate and inequity hot spots, by car

Fifteen cars with blue snorkels jutting up from their passenger windows drove around King County on Monday, the hottest day the Seattle area has seen in 2020. Volunteer drivers crisscrossed roads from Shoreline to Enumclaw. Their odd window attachments were used to record temperature and humidity measurements every second. Shortly after sunrise, when the city’s…


News | December 9, 2015

SPH Faculty Tap into New UW Effort to Create More Livable Cities

A new University of Washington initiative is thinking “upstream” when it comes to creating safer, healthier and more livable cities. Urban@UW aims to bring together UW faculty, staff and students from different disciplines with city decision-makers and citizens to wrestle with urban issues such as housing and poverty, growth and transportation, and food and economic…


News | June 30, 2020

Study asks Washington state residents to describe food security and access during pandemic, economic downturn

The Washington State Food Security Survey, which went live June 18 and runs through July 31, is open to all Washington state residents aged 18 or over. It was created by researchers at the University of Washington, Washington State University and Tacoma Community College, along with input from partners in local, county and state governments —…


News | March 21, 2019

Study points to grocery store gap, inequity in access to healthy foods in the Seattle area

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…


News | October 12, 2020

This South King County church created a drive-thru food bank in response to the pandemic

The Tukwila Food Pantry has been a lifeline for many South King County residents who have lost their jobs during the pandemic. Like many local food banks, it saw a surge in demand. It went from serving 50 households a day, pre-Covid, to 500. The pantry is at Riverton Park Methodist Church. It started out…


News | May 12, 2021

Tiny air pollutants may come from different sources, but they all show a similar biased trend

Air pollution from fine particulate matter—extremely small bits of material like soot that can enter the nose and throat while breathing—can have deadly health consequences. One 2019 study of 4.5 million U.S. veterans estimated that nearly 200,000 people, of whom a disproportionate number were Black, died of causes associated with fine particulate matter (also known as…


News | May 18, 2020

Traffic in Seattle area slowly returning

If you’ve left home, you’ve probably noticed. A few more people are on the roads. “We are seeing traffic slowly start to come back,” said Bob Pishue, transportation analyst for the traffic data company INRIX. Pishue said as the COVID-19 shutdown began, traffic in the Seattle area dropped 54%. It’s now rebounded a bit to…


News | July 11, 2016

UW researchers discuss data, trends of gun violence in U.S.

Before the horrific mass shooting in Orlando, Florida, before the U.S. Senate filibuster and House sit-in, and before the American Medical Association’s call for more federal funding into gun-violence research, two UW Medicine doctors were quietly conducting a rare study – without federal dollars – into what happens to gunshot victims after they are treated…


News | May 26, 2016

UW-led study pinpoints how air pollution harms your heart

Dr. Joel Kaufman of the University of Washington led a 10-year study of 6,000 people in six cities that found air pollution accelerates deposits of calcium in heart arteries, a known cause of heart attack and stroke. Scientists have known for years that long-term exposure to air pollution raises the risk of heart disease, but…


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Wendy Barrington

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News | August 19, 2017

Why Architects should care about public health

Andrew Dannenberg, an Affiliate Professor at the School of Public Health and the College of Built Environments, writes about the importance of architects recognizing human health: while architects have long recognized the importance of human health —including physical, mental, and social well-being — as part of their mission, implementation sometimes reflects a spirit of compliance…


News | September 22, 2020

Wildfire smoke disproportionally harms poorer communities, remedies necessary to address health inequity

With most of the Northwest blanketed by wildfire smoke, public officials and health experts suggest staying inside as much as possible to reduce exposure to the significant health risks of wildfire smoke. However, inequity in our communities means not every home provides great protection and many workers in disadvantaged populations can’t afford to stay home, says Anjum Hajat,…


News | August 27, 2020

Will King County public transit survive COVID-19?

Despite coronavirus, hundreds of thousands of people living in King County continue to rely on buses, light rail, ferries and other modes of public transportation to get around. “There’s still a whole lot of people who are counting on transit as a lifeline,” said Alex Hudson, executive director of the Transportation Choices Coalition. “People know transit…