I work at the intersection of autism research, technology development, and big-data approaches.
Our laboratory, the Seattle Children’s Innovative Technologies Laboratory, focuses on a combination of biomarker development, assistive technologies, and novel technology-based therapeutics.
Methods of primary interest include eye tracking, functional near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS), mobile applications, and social robotics.
Projects of note include identification and refinement of prognostic markers associated with autism (eye tracking, NIRS, EEG), development of advanced multimedia screening technologies for developmental issues, and application of novel devices (augmented reality, virtual reality, social robotics) for understanding mechanism and behavioral change.
The IUCI is a design activism, research and education program based in Lomas de Zapallal (LdZ), an informal urban settlement (slum) in northern Lima, Peru.
It focuses on the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of community-driven interventions in the built environment and, in response to priorities articulated by community members, places particular emphasis on the integrated, interdisciplinary design of public green space.
The Center for Environmental Politics’ mission is to play a leadership role in producing and disseminating empirical social science research on new modes of environmental politics, policy and governance at local, regional, national, and global levels.
Within the UW, the Center facilitates faculty and graduate students to build connections, establish networks, and initiate multi‐disciplinary conversations about the political and institutional dimensions of environmental challenges.
Externally, the Center is at the forefront of creating and nurturing a community of social science scholars committed to theoretically informed and empirically rigorous research on environmental politics and governance.
Reducing climate risks requires robust and reliable information that people can use when making decisions.
The Climate Impacts Group supports the development of climate resilience by advancing understanding and awareness of climate risks, and working closely with public and private entities to apply this information as they act to shape society’s future.
Population health research projects in which I am involved follow. All of these are under the auspices of the UW Health Promotion Research Center (http://depts.washington.edu/hprc/), a 30-year, competitively funded member of the CDC Prevention Research Centers Program.
HealthLinks Dissemination in Rural WA, Co-PIs: Peggy Hannon and Jeff Harris
The UW Psychiatry Division of Population Health is dedicated to improving the health of the public by developing, testing, evaluating, and implementing effective behavioral health interventions across the entire spectrum of health care delivery.
We are committed to finding new and innovative approaches to providing effective behavioral health care to defined populations. Our strength lies in knowledge transfer and practice-based learning with implementation work driving new research questions and research results driving new implementation methodology. Our researchers conduct both qualitative and quantitative research and use large data sets to establish benchmarks for treatment outcomes and to study variation across patients, providers, practice and policy.
The Division of Population Health focuses on four primary challenges facing mental health care:
Although there are numerous effective treatments for psychiatric disorders, these treatments often do not reach the patients who need them. We develop and test innovations that increase the healthcare system’s capacity to deliver effective treatments and increase patient’s access to and engagement in effective treatments. Scientific Aims:
- Shift treatment tasks to lower levels of care and encourage patient
self-management to increase capacity.
- Use technology to substitute virtual care encounters for face-to-face visits to increase access.
- Use virtual care technologies to augment face-to-face visits by facilitating between-visit patient-provider communications and to better determine when face-to-face visits are needed in order to increase both access and capacity.
- “Flip the clinic” and deliver care in non-traditional settings, including the home, to increase access.
For individuals with psychiatric disorders who engage in treatment, it often takes too long to find the right treatment (or combination of treatments) that is most effective. We identify and test methods for predicting which treatment or treatments will be most effective for a particular patient, as well as methods for more quickly detecting when treatment is ineffective. Scientific Aims:
- Develop and test feasible methods for measurement-based care to facilitate identifying treatment non-response.
- Test approaches to promoting shared decision making to encourage the delivery of treatments that address patients’ treatment goals.
- Identify important treatment moderators to help patients and providers choose the right treatment.
- Determine how pharmacogenetics can inform treatment decision making to facilitate precision medicine.
Closing the Mortality Gap
Individuals living with psychiatric disorders endure a greater burden of illness over their lifetimes and experience higher mortality rates. For individuals living with a psychiatric disorder, we develop clinical and public health interventions that promote healthy lifestyles, higher quality of care for physical health disorders and better management of side effects of psychotropic medications. Scientific Aims:
- Develop and test smoking cessation, opioid tapering, and exercise programs for patients with psychiatric disorders.
- Develop and test models of integrating of physical health care into specialty mental health settings.
- Develop and test feasible methods to monitor metabolic side effects of psychotropic medications.
- Develop and test clinical and public health interventions to prevent suicide.
Bridging the Research-Practice Chasm
It takes too long for newly developed evidence-based treatments to be adopted by providers and incorporated into routine care. To bridge the chasm between research and practice, we identify and test implementation strategies that effectively promote the adoption of new evidence-based practices. Scientific Aims:
- Identify variations in the quality of care and deployment of evidence based practices in routine care.
- Identify valid quality metrics and pay-for-performance systems.
- Develop and test clinical decision support systems that encourage evidence based care.
- Test alternative training and facilitation strategies to promote implementation.
- Adapt existing evidence based practices for different populations and clinic settings.
The University of Washington’s DISCOVER (Disease Investigation through Specialized Clinically Oriented Ventures in Environmental Research) Center studies the mechanistic relationship between cardiovascular disease and traffic related air pollution.
The study is composed of five closely linked projects that explore this relationship through a diverse set of research approaches. Our ultimate mission is to transfer the findings of the center rapidly into the development of improved clinical and public health practice
The Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center conducts research and promotes best health and safety practices for Northwest producers and workers in farming, fishing and forestry.
Affiliated with the UW School of Public Health, PNASH integrates expertise from multiple disciplines, institutions and community partners. Areas of emphasis include new production technologies and the needs of under-served and vulnerable populations.
The Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety (NWCOHS) is a multi-component training program dedicated to prevention of work-related injury and illness in the four federal Region X states of Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington by providing academic training for professional workforce needs and professional education and research services to employers, workers, and health and safety professionals.
Since 1977, the NWCOHS has been funded as a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Education and Research Center (ERC), the only one in the region.
The UW School of Nursing Center for Global Health Nursing works to promote nursing research and training to build capacity for appropriate and sustainable improvements in health and healthcare. It aims to do this through innovative nursing science, across differing cultural contexts, both locally and abroad.
The center harnesses the existing expertise, experience, and enthusiasm of the UW School of Nursing faculty and students in partnership with local, national and global nursing organizations and academic institutions.
The Occupational Epidemiology and Health Outcomes Program uses workers’ compensation data and its own research to improve medical care, update treatment guidelines, and provide information on treatment outcomes to injured workers, employers, and physicians.
The Center for Innovation in Sleep Self-Management is aimed at developing, testing and implementing self-management interventions to help adults and children with chronic illnesses sleep better and improve their health.
The center will leverage self-monitoring technologies, such as smart home sensors that track noise, light and temperature; mobile applications that measure dietary, exercise and caffeine intake; and wrist monitors that measure sleep-wake activity and light levels. These tools will allow patients to monitor their sleep behavior, set goals and receive feedback on adopting healthy behaviors.
Created in 2013 by the state legislature, the Washington Ocean Acidification Center at UW connects researchers, policymakers, industry, and others across Washington.
Their goals aim to advance the science of ocean acidification and provide a foundation for proactive strategies and policies to protect marine ecosystems and the people connected to them.
The de Tornyay Center serves as a catalyst for promoting healthy aging through its support of research and education in the field of gerontology.
The Center is committed to advancing and sharing knowledge about successful aging and ways professionals and systems can promote optimal experiences for older adults. Developing competent and compassionate healthcare providers is critically important.
The Center is a resource for faculty involved in teaching gerontology, for students interested in older adults, and for practicing professionals seeking continuing education and collaborative initiatives. Specifically, the Center promotes the development of researchers from undergraduate nursing students through senior nursing faculty by creating opportunities for researchers to exchange ideas, funding projects, and sharing research findings through seminars and presentations.
Nursing faculty affiliated with the de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging come from several health sciences fields and conduct research ranging from basic research to clinical inquiry and systems research. Studies are conducted in a variety of settings, including both communities and organizations. Some examples of research topics include:
- Cognitive aging
- Dementia and dementia caregivers
- Palliative care
- Physical activity
- Technology and older adults
The Center is committed to improving the lives of older adults locally and globally. We partner with community organizations to host conferences, informational seminars, events, discussions, and more. Our faculty are members of local and national associations and research centers and often are featured speakers or guest lecturers.
We conduct research on interventions to promote nurturing early parent child relationships in families with infants birth to five that are living in adverse circumstances. Families may be experiencing adult mental health and substance use, poverty, immigration and refuge status, and/or child maltreatment and neglect.
The overarching mission of the School Mental Health Assessment, Research, and Training (SMART) Center is to promote quality improvement of school-based mental/behavioral health services, thereby preventing or ameliorating mental health problems more effectively and promoting the social-emotional and academic development and success of youth across school, home, and community contexts.
AIMS (Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions) Center faculty and staff at the University of Washington have worked for over 20 years to develop, test and implement an approach called Collaborative Care to treat the large numbers of people suffering unnecessarily from mental illness. Collaborative Care is an integrated care model that brings high quality mental health care to primary care clinics and other familiar settings. Its strength lies in treating persistent mental health conditions like depression and anxiety that require systematic follow-up for patients to get better.
Based at the University of Washington Bothell, the Center for Education Data and Research (CEDR) will focus on studying the complex relationships between K-12 education policies and practices, social services geared toward students, and student outcomes.
While it will not focus exclusively on Washington State, CEDR will concentrate its efforts on helping build the capacity across Washington State to ask the right questions, frame issues and policy options, and engage in research and data analyses that make good use of the state’s expanding databases.
The Social Development Research Group (SDRG) seeks to investigate and promote healthy behaviors and positive social development in youth and adults.
SDRG is a recognized leader in the field of prevention research. Its efforts to understand how risk and protective factors influence development have resulted in hundreds of articles in peer-reviewed journals and led to the development of tested and effective interventions.
Sarah Elwood and Victoria Lawson are collaborating on relational poverty research and teaching. Social science research on impoverishment, equity and well-being recognizes that questions of health can never be separated from questions about social, political and economic context. Our work understands poverty as more than just an economic marker and population as more than demographic categories. Instead, our work and members of the Relational Poverty Network analyze poverty as constituted by interlocking processes including socio-economic processes around the globe, cultural politics of representation, processes of racialization, gender, nationality and ability and processes of governing, norming – of making ‘common sense’.
Our own recent research focuses on poverty politics, as crucial to understanding population equity and questions of well-being/health. Poverty politics entail projects of government that identify problems, justify interventions, and inaugurate solutions that stabilize dominant forms of economic and political power AND politics that refuse existing orders of social (de)valuation (that rely on the categorization, exclusion, repression and criminalization of difference) through practices of illiberal embodiment and disidentification which rehumanize people outside of racial capitalist orders. We also study alliances across difference as potential sites for advancing unprecedented and creative challenges to impoverishment might emerge from solidarities across race, class, gender, ability, sexuality, and other axes of difference. A third strand of our work addresses epistemologies and methodologies of studying poverty. Our work begins from an epistemology of poverty that integrates multiple causal processes as they interrelate differentially across time and space. Our approach builds bridges between policymakers, researchers, and communities to build innovative concepts for poverty research.
The University and its affiliated institutions, the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and Seattle Children’s Hospital, are widely regarded as leaders among the premiere biomedical research institutions in the world, with great strengths in the constellation of areas crucial for success in stem cell research and regenerative medicine.
Their strategy is to bring these interdisciplinary strengths together, and to leverage their basic research to develop therapies. ISCRM integrates diverse scientific and clinical disciplines.
The Center for Cardiovascular Biology is dedicated to discovering the molecular basis of cardiovascular disease, harnessing this information to develop new therapies, and training the next generation of cardiovascular physicians and scientists.
Dr. Beverly Green is a family physician and associate investigator at Group Health and Group Health Research Institute. Her areas of interest include population based screening within organized health care and safety net settings, improving the care of chronic conditions such as hypertension, and leveraging technology to optimize the reach and effectiveness of evidence-based health care. She is also a Clinical Associate Professor in the University of Washington Medical School Department of Family Medicine.
Prof Cox is one of the lead investigators in an International Consortium put together with the aim of identifying the genetic basis of cleft lip/palate. Patients, and particularly families with multiple affected individuals, have been collected from the US, Australia, Netherlands, Colombia and the Philippines.
The project, currently supported by federal funding from Australia, has been conducting exome and whole-genome sequencing. New candidate genes are being assessed in Prof Cox’s laboratory through functional studies involving a combination of in vitro assays and mouse models.
Additional research in the Cox lab is focused on the molecular and developmental mechanisms causing facial clefts, the role of diet in mitigating the severity of presentation, and the role of ‘cleft’ genes in other dental phenotypes commonly seen in patients. We are interested in partnering with other clinicians and basic researchers with interests in clinical outcomes in the management of individuals with clefts or other craniofacial malformations, genetic testing, or basic epithelial biology.
Dr. McKinney received her doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Washington in 2006. Her research interests are focused on craniofacial, oral, and nutritional health in young children. She is based in the Division of Craniofacial Medicine in the Department of Pediatrics at the UW School of Medicine.
Dr. McKinney currently studies the unique intersection of oral clefts, maternal breast milk expression, infant feeding and global health. She spearheaded the development of the NIFTY cup – an infant feeding cup for infants with breastfeeding difficulties such as infants with oral clefts and preterm infants in low resource settings – with a team of multidisciplinary experts from Seattle Childrens, PATH, the University of Washington and Laerdal Global Health. Her global research collaborations involve partners in Thailand, India and Ghana.
The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) is an independent global health research center at the University of Washington that provides rigorous and comparable measurement of the world’s most important health problems and evaluates the strategies used to address them.
IHME makes this information freely available so that policymakers have the evidence they need to make informed decisions about how to allocate resources to best improve population health.