Population Health Resource Directory

Ruanne V. Barnabas


Dr. Barnabas is an Infectious Disease Physician-Scientist at the University of Washington and affiliate at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Her research focuses on HIV treatment and prevention, specifically on interventions that reduce HIV viral load and, consequently, disease progression and transmission. Her projects use empiric data and mathematical models to better understand HIV clinical progression and transmission, and estimate the potential impact of HIV interventions at population level. The ultimate aim of her work is to estimate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of HIV treatment and prevention interventions to inform public health policy.

Home Campus, School, or College
School of Medicine, School of Public Health
Population Health Focus Keywords
Technology and Health, Health, Epidemics, Non-Infectious Disease, Infectious Disease
Field of Study
Clinical Practice, Economics, Epidemiology, Human Behavior, Public Health
Key Populations
Adult, Underrepresented Populations
In what countries of the world does your research take place?

Seattle, WA, USA
South Africa

Home Campus, School, or College
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My research examines the effects of economic disadvantage and adversity on children’s neurobiologically based systems of self-regulation, including executive function, HPA-axis, and emotion regulation, and their consequences on children’s social, emotional and academic adjustment.

I focus on the protective effects of parents and families, and using a bioecological framework, study the interplay among individual, interpersonal, community and broader social factors in contributing to children’s vulnerable or resilient responses to adversity.

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Davis Patterson, PhD, is a sociologist and a research assistant professor in the University of Washington (UW) Department of Family Medicine in Seattle, Washington. He is Director of the Collaborative for Rural Primary care Research, Education, and Practice (Rural PREP), Deputy Director of the WWAMI Rural Health Research Center, and an investigator in the UW Center for Health Workforce Studies.

Dr. Patterson’s research and evaluation activities seek to inform policy and improve rural and underserved populations’ access to healthcare, with a particular focus on the health workforce. His current research includes studies examining which medical education programs produce rural physicians and how those programs can be supported, the potential for allied health providers to fill healthcare gaps, and factors affecting rural patient access to home health care.


Dr. Heaton’s research interests focus on access to dental care in adults with mental illness, incorporating non-dental healthcare professionals (such as pharmacists) in providing oral health recommendations to individuals lacking dental resources, and increasing dental treatment-seeking for individuals who avoid dental care due to fear and other barriers.

Since 2005, she has worked in the Dental Fears Research Clinic to help patients manage and overcome their dental fears and anxieties in order to receive regular dental care and maintain their dental health.

She also works in the Oral Medicine Clinic, helping patients develop means of coping with and reducing chronic facial pain.


Dr. Veenstra’s primary research interests are the clinical, economic, and policy implications of using genomic information in healthcare.

His major research projects include evaluation of pharmacogenomics in diverse populations, decision modeling to inform research prioritization and stakeholder decision-making in oncology, and evaluation of the clinical, economic, and personal utility of whole genome sequencing.

Dr. Veenstra’s other major research interest is the development of disease simulation, risk-benefit, and cost-effectiveness models.


Dr. Carlson’s current research interests and work to date has primarily focused on the intersection of three areas:

1) genomics and emerging technologies in the field of personalized medicine,

2) uncertainty both in our decision-making processes and as the concept applies to the application of medical technologies in “real world” settings (i.e. outside of clinical trials) including comparative effectiveness research, and

3) economic and policy options to address these uncertainties as we seek to improve our healthcare system and the health of our population.


Dr. Ho studies the relationships between drug target distribution and its relationship to disease development in cancer, AIDS, and neurological disorders. Building on this understanding, he has developed a systems Approach to Drug Delivery and Targeting.

He is known for his expertise in bio-therapeutics, lipid-drug and -protein interactions, liposomes, lipid nanoparticles, pharmacokinetics, and the interplay between tissue targets and drug penetration. His research has led to enhanced HIV, cancer, and pain medication potency and safety.

In addition, he is an editor of the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, and author of “Biotechnology and Biopharmaceuticals: Transforming Proteins and Gene into Drugs.”


Dr. Kost is interested in learning how to best educate medical students to meet the healthcare needs of urban underserved populations.

She teaches the second year introduction to clinical medicine course as part of her role as college mentor, advises students interested in pursuing a career in family medicine and is developing components of the new UWSOM curriculum.


Dr. Chi’s research involves understanding disparities in access to dental care for publicly-insured children, the sociobehavioral determinants of children’s dental care use, outcomes associated with dental utilization, and conceptual model building on health behavior.

Dr. Chi also has research interests in the determinants of dental care transitions for adolescents with chronic conditions, neighborhood-level health effects, and preventive health care decision making.


Dr. Mamani’s research interests include: healthcare operations; healthcare delivery; public health policy, Supply chain coordination; incentives mechanisms, product diversions in supply chains, inventory Management, and new product development projects.


Dr. Forehand’s research focuses on consumer identity and health marketing and has appeared in marketing, psychology and public health journals. Mark is an Associate Editor at Journal of Consumer Psychology and serves on the Editorial Review Board of Journal of Consumer Research.

Within public health, Professor Forehand is a science core investigator within the Health Marketing Research Center, a CDC-funded center of excellence at the University of Washington, has served as a Faculty Advisor for the START team in the Department of Global Health that works directly with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has received grant support from the National Institutes for Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

He has participated in research on optimal intervention design and dissemination for issues ranging from smoking cessation, HIV testing among minority populations, and the promotion of healthy eating habits for children.

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Rebecca O’Connor is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Child Nursing and an Innovative Educator Fellow in the School of Nursing. Her early research identified a novel disease trend previously hidden by widely-used, but limited classifications of race and ethnicity: specifically that the prevalence rate of type 1 diabetes is 4 times higher in East African immigrant youth than in non-immigrant Black youth in King County. To explore why this might be, further research is needed but it became clear that these populations were not participating in ongoing low-risk type 1 diabetes research being conducted at the same location they were receiving their diabetes care.
Due in part to this observation, Dr. O’Connor’s interest in issues of health equity have evolved and her teaching, research, and service efforts are now focused on 1) increasing the diversity of pediatric clinical research participants so that all populations may benefit from research advances, and 2) exploring how implicit bias among health care providers might play a role in persistent health disparities, especially among youth with diabetes. She has received funding from the ITHS Rising Stars program to explore the former, and her Innovative Educator Fellowship supports her work in addressing implicit bias among future health practitioners.


Dr. Pratt’s research focuses on understanding patients’ needs and designing new technologies to address those needs. She has worked with people coping with a variety of chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. Dr. Pratt has received best paper awards from the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA), the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, and the Journal of the American Society of Information Science & Technology (JASIS&T). Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Library of Medicine, the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality, the Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, Intel, and Microsoft. Dr. Pratt is a fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics.


Carina is the Benjamin Rabinowitz Assistant Professor in Medical Ethics at the Philosophy Department. She is also a member of the Program on Values in Society, and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Department of Bioethics and Humanities. She is particularly focused on research and teaching at the intersection of social justice and medical ethics, for example in public health ethics and policy, social-relational equality and its application to health, sufficientarianism, gender and racial inequalities, the social determinants of health, and health care policy and reform.


The overall goal of our research programs in cardiovascular disease are to enhance physical and psychosocial health and to reduce health care costs in patients and their family members. Within the program of research are 4 foci: intervention models to enhance adjustment, exercise interventions to improve function, cardiovascular disease management interventions, and interventions in end stage or advanced heart disease.


Dr. Unützer is Professor and Chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Washington and an internationally recognized psychiatrist and health services researcher. His work focuses on innovative models that integrate mental health and general medical services and on translating research on evidence-based behavioral health interventions into effective clinical and public health practice. He has over 250 scientific publications and is the recipient of numerous federal and foundation grants and awards for his research to improve the health and mental health of populations through patient-centered integrated mental health services.

Dr. Unützer directs the AIMS Center (Advancing Integrated Mental Health Solutions) which has worked with more than 1,000 primary care practices worldwide to test and implement evidence-based Collaborative Care for depression. He works with national and international organizations dedicated to improving behavioral health care for diverse populations, has served as Senior Scientific Advisor to the World Health Organization and as an advisor to the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, and holds adjunct appointments as Professor in the School of Public Health (Departments of Health Services and Global Health) and as Affiliate Investigator at the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle. Dr. Unützer has advanced training in geriatric psychiatry, public policy and public health.


Micro- and nano-technologies together with sensing and wireless innovations have been emerging recently as essential assets to enhance healthcare and life-science investigations. Cost and care efficiency, quality and efficacy in hospitals, as well as pharmacology and science discoveries have obtained great benefits from multidisciplinary researches.

While micro- and nano-fabrication provided miniaturized sensors and systems with better sensitivity, selectivity and longevity at minimal power consumption; wireless technology and innovations in electronics helped in cutting healthcare cost, bringing convenience to patients and establishing distanced care which was recently defined as personalized- and tele-medicine of the mobile-health (m-Health) network.

Towards this end, the objectives of HERO laboratory are to introduce a paradigm shift of applying innovative engineering tools for biological investigations and to bridge expertise in different fields providing novel healthcare devices.


The long-term goal of my research program is to understand how epigenetic mechanisms facilitate responses to abiotic stress in plants.

I use maize (Zea mays) as my predominant organism of study. Maize is an essential agronomical crop; important to global agriculture and the United States economy. Maize yield can be significantly affected by environmental, abiotic stress factors such as drought, salinity, cold, UV-B radiation and nutrient deficiency. The impact of environmental stress can significantly affect global food security and the U.S. economy.

I use molecular, genetics and genomics approaches to understand stress response mechanisms at the transcriptional level. I am specifically interested in how epigenetic mechanisms, associated with modifications to chromatin, regulate plant stress response. Understanding the fundamental mechanisms of epigenetic responses to environmental stress factors will be useful in improving agricultural productivity.


Dr. Baldwin is a family physician and a Professor in the UW Department of Family Medicine. Her research focuses on implementing evidence-based practices into clinical care and ensuring equitable access to high quality health services across rural and urban areas. Dr. Baldwin brings particular expertise in facilitating research collaborations with clinicians and clinical organizations and in using electronic health record and administrative data to examine the quality and outcomes of clinical care.

As Director of the Institute of Translational Health Services’ (ITHS’) Community Engagement Program, Dr. Baldwin has developed a 58-clinic primary care practice‐based research network, the Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho (WWAMI) region Practice and Research Network (WPRN), which supports collaborative research between academic investigators and clinical practices. The WPRN includes a data sharing network, Data QUEST, that draws from diverse electronic health records across a subset of the WPRN clinics. Dr. Baldwin also has developed a collaborative regional clinical research network, the ITHS’ Northwest PCI Network,involving 12 diverse clinical health systems and academic institutions in the five state WWAMI region. Dr. Baldwin works with these networks and with other academic researchers to disseminate effective health interventions into practice and to develop and test tools that promote clinical engagement and collaboration in translational research.


Dr. Cole is a family physician and researcher at the University of Washington in the School of Medicine. Her research program focuses on improving cancer screening through implementation of evidence-based programs in primary care practices and health systems. She is Associate Director for the WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho) region Practice and Research Network and collaborates with diverse academic investigators and community-based primary care practices to support the translation of scientific discovery into population health.


Design and analysis of observational and randomized trials.
Data coordinating center leadership for studies in neonatology, radiology, orthopedics, and psychiatry.


Sean Rundell is a physical therapist and an epidemiologist. He’s an Assistant Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Services.

Sean conducts epidemiologic and health services research of chronic musculoskeletal conditions, with a focus on low back pain and chronic musculoskeletal pain conditions in older adults. Within this research area, his interests include patient-centered outcomes research, improving care for chronic conditions, multiple chronic conditions, and social determinants of health.

Sean is a core member of the interdisciplinary Comparative Effectiveness, Cost, and Outcomes Research Center here at UW. Some of his collaborations within this group has involved using large electronic data sources and applying natural language processing to abstract information from free text data.

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Sharon S. Laing is an assistant professor at the University of Washington Tacoma, Nursing and Healthcare Leadership Programs and Adjunct Assistant Professor in Health Services Department, UW Seattle, School of Public Health.

Her research targets patient healthcare decision-making and self-care management; her current scholarship evaluates the effectiveness of health promotive mobile devices to advance patient-centered care and improve clinical outcomes for low-resource communities.


My research is based at the Health Promotion Research Center (HPRC) in the Department of Health Services, School of Public Health. HPRC is one of CDC’s 26 Prevention Research Centers.

My work focuses on dissemination and implementation of evidence-based interventions. I have two primary focus areas. The first is cancer prevention and control. I am the principal investigator of the Alliance for Reducing Cancer, Northwest, a network focused on reducing health disparities in cancer screening.

My team’s work in this area includes partnering with CDC, the Washington State Department of Health, and federally qualified health centers to implement and evaluate evidence-based colon cancer screening interventions. The second is workplace health promotion. HPRC has several projects focused on assisting small and low-wage worksites to implement evidence-based interventions to promote the health of their employees. Other projects are more focused on large employers, both private and public.

Our partners for these projects include the American Cancer Society, the Washington State Department of Health, the Washington State Health Care Authority, and several local health jurisdictions.


Basia Belza, PhD, RN, FAAN is The Aljoya Endowed Professor in Aging in the School of Nursing and an investigator with the Health Promotion Research Center at University of Washington. She is the lead of the CDC-funded Coordinating Center for the Healthy Brain Research Network. Her scholarship focuses on improving the health of older adults through dissemination initiatives with a focus on physical activity interventions.


I specialize in occupational health services research, and in program and policy evaluation. My research interests include access to and quality of health care and other services provided through the workers’ compensation system and the vocational rehabilitation system for injured workers, under-reporting and cost-shifting for work-related injuries and illnesses, the health care workforce, and improving and expanding data resources for occupational injury surveillance and outcomes research. I am also interested in the health and cost-related outcomes of interventions related to risky prescribing practices and substance use.

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