UW Psychiatry Division of Population Health
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.
United States, Vietnam, Democratic Republic of Congo
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.
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 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 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.
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 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 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 Relational Poverty Network convenes a community of scholars, teachers, policy makers and activists, working within and beyond academia, to develop conceptual frameworks, research methodologies, and pedagogies for the study of relational poverty.
Launched at a historical moment of dramatic income inequality and enforced austerity in the global North, the RPN thinks across geographical boundaries to foster a transnational and comparative approach to poverty research.
Forefront is a place where expertise and partnership come together with a passion to save lives.
Forefront advances innovative approaches to suicide prevention through policy change, professional training, campus- and school-based interventions, media outreach, and support for persons affected by suicide.
Vegetation is an integral part of climate and so, changes in vegetation distributions around the globe, either through natural or anthropogenic land use and land cover change, have the potential to modify climate.
From the perspective of an Atmospheric Scientist, vegetation interacts with the atmosphere by modifying fluxes of energy, water, and momentum, processes whose importance varies across the globe. Yet from a Biological perspective, ecosystem structure, diversity, and community dynamics determine the response of an ecosystem to changes in climate.
The Ecoclimate Lab is working to understand when, where and how vegetation influences climate across a range of spatial and temporal scales.
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.
A multi-disciplinary center at the University of Washington School of Dentistry that has been built on strong community partnerships. A common goal of the research conducted by Center investigators is to develop and disseminate practical, evidence-based approaches to reduce oral health problems experienced by poor, minority or rural children and adults who suffer a disproportionate share of oral disease.
Judith N. Wasserheit, MD, MPH, has worked extensively at the interface of STI and HIV clinical-epidemiological research, programs and policy in the U.S. and globally. She is the Chair of the University of Washington’s Department of Global Health, and Professor of Global Health, Medicine, and Epidemiology. She was the founding chief of the NIH’s STD Research Branch; Director of the CDC’s STD Prevention Program, and Director of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network, the largest global clinical trials platform evaluating preventive HIV vaccines. Her research has included one of the first laparoscopic studies of pelvic inflammatory disease etiology conducted in the US, the first population-based study of the prevalence and etiologic spectrum of STDs among rural women in the Indian Subcontinent, and research on the interrelationships between STDs and contraceptive practices in other parts of the developing world, including Bangladesh, Egypt, and Indonesia. She has also worked in Colombia, Kenya, Thailand and Zambia. Her development of the concept of epidemiological synergy between HIV infection and other STDs has had a major influence on HIV prevention policy and programs around the world.
Dr. Wasserheit has broad experience working successfully with national and international agencies, governments, and colleagues on STD and HIV research, policy and programmatic issues. She has led or served on numerous World Health Organization and UNAIDS committees and advisory groups. Her honors include the U.S. DHHS Presidential Meritorious Rank Award, the Infectious Diseases Society of America’s Edward E. Kass Award, and the American Social Health Association’s Presidential Award. She is a member of the National Academy of Medicine, a Fellow in the American College of Physicians, a Paul Rogers Society Global Health Research Ambassador, a founding member and past chair of the Consortium of Universities for Global Health.
The UW Clean Energy Institute is accelerating the creating of a clean energy economy and will grow the state of Washington’s capacity to sustain our economy and the environment.
It is accomplishing this by recruiting top faculty and students, investing in state-of-the-art research equipment and partnering with other research institutions, educational program and industry partners.
To be a global leader in generating knowledge to improve individual and population health through transformative learning, research, and dissemination about the effectiveness, safety, and value of medical products, services, and policies.
For twenty years PORPP has been a leader in studying, disseminating and informing policy about the impact of pharmaceuticals and other medical care on individual and population health and training the next generation of outcomes researchers. We are primed to morph into an higher organizational unit (a center or institute) in the coming year. We look forward to sustaining the
The University of Washington Center for Human Rights is committed to interdisciplinary excellence in the education of undergraduate and graduate students in the field of human rights; promoting human rights as a core area of faculty and graduate research; and engaging productively with local, regional, national, and international organizations and policymakers to advance respect for human rights.
The Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program (RUOP) is a four-week, elective immersion experience in community medicine for students between their first and second years of medical school. During their four-week rotation, students live in rural or urban underserved communities throughout Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, and Idaho (WWAMI). They work side-by-side with local physicians providing health care to underserved populations.
Administered by the UW Department of Family Medicine, RUOP is a collaborative effort of the UW School of Medicine, WWAMI campuses and the Area Health Education Centers. It is also supported by the Washington and Idaho Academies of Family Physicians. For more information, contact the RUOP Administrative Offices.
The UW Center for One Health Research (COHR) investigates the health linkages between humans, animals, and their shared environments; including zoonoses, comparative clinical medicine, animals as sentinels, animal worker health, food safety, and the human-animal bond.
Through transdisciplinary partnerships, COHR develops innovative strategies for healthy coexistence between humans and animals in sustainable local and global ecosystems.
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.
The Technology & Social Change Group (TASCHA) at the University of Washington Information School explores the design, use, and effects of information and communication technologies in communities facing social and economic challenges.
With experience in over 50 countries, TASCHA brings together a multidisciplinary network of researchers, practitioners, and policy experts to advance knowledge, create public resources, and improve policy and program design.
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.
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.
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.
Rapid advances in technology are transforming nearly every field from “data-poor” to “data-rich.” The ability to extract knowledge from this abundance of data is the cornerstone of 21st century discovery.
The mission of the University of Washington eScience Institute is to engage researchers across disciplines in developing and applying advanced computational methods and tools to real world problems in data-intensive discovery.
The Evans School Policy Analysis and Research Group (EPAR) uses an innovative student-faculty team model to provide ongoing rigorous, applied research and analysis to international development stakeholders.
EPAR’s work is founded on a multi-disciplinary framework for student- and faculty-led research contributing to more informed decision-making and better use of critical philanthropic dollars.