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2021 Pilot Research Grants Awarded to Arts & Sciences Faculty Teams

June 2021
Aerial view of Drumheller fountain

The University of Washington's Population Health Initiative has awarded four Arts & Sciences faculty-led teams pilot research grants. The Population Health Initiative pilot research grants encourage new interdisciplinary collaborations among investigators for projects that address different challenges in population health.

“It’s exciting to see the breadth of innovative ideas and interdisciplinary collaborations proposed in these projects,” says Ali H. Mokdad, the university’s chief strategy officer for population health and professor of health metrics sciences. “We are particularly pleased at the number of community partners who are part of these project teams.”

 The following are the Arts & Sciences teams that received grants; faculty and contributors from the College are highlighted in each project:


Addressing Inequities in Speech-Language Pathology Services for Children with Communication Disorders

  • Sara Kover, Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences
  • Carly Roberts, College of Education
  • Natasha Arora, UW alum and speech-language pathologist
Project abstract

Disparities in access to services and quality of services for children with communication disorders from diverse racial, cultural and linguistic backgrounds have yet to be rectified in the field of speech-language pathology. As in other allied health fields, these inequities are the result of longstanding and deeply entrenched systems. 

This study seeks to identify specific sources of those disparities by probing the perspectives of Washington speech-language pathologists (SLPs) and administrators. The aims are to identify their understanding of equitable service delivery, as well as barriers they experience, at both individual and systems levels, to implementing equitable SLP service delivery for children with communication disorders of diverse backgrounds.

This qualitative research will increase understanding of the multi-faceted sources of service delivery disparities through semi-structured interviews with SLPs and administrators in King County and Pierce County, in both early intervention and school settings. This work will allow dissemination of findings to clinicians, SLP graduate programs, decision-makers and other stakeholders across the State of Washington, with the ultimate goal of perturbing the systems that have created disparities in SLP services and outcomes.

This new, interdisciplinary collaboration between the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences and the College of Education will provide the data and foundation necessary to secure external funding to launch a line of community-based participatory research to fully address the needs of children with communication disorders from diverse backgrounds, within and in spite of, the social, economic and systems that have led to disparities in speech language pathology services and outcomes.


A Collaboratory to Support Equitable and Just Climate Action

  • Jeremy Hess, Departments of Emergency Medicine, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, and Global Health
  • Jason Vogel, Climate Impacts Group
  • Julian Marshall, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Sara Curran, Jackson School of International Studies and Department of Sociology
  • Kris Ebi, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Global Health
  • Nicole Errett, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences
  • Andrew Dannenberg, Departments of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences and Urban Design & Planning
  • Tania Busch Isaksen, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences
  • Esther Min, Front and Centered
  • Deric Gruen, Front and Centered
  • Tim Sheehan, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences
Project abstract

We propose to form a Collaboratory between the University of Washington (UW) and Front and Centered (F&C), a coalition of environmental justice organizations in Washington, to pursue just and equitable climate action in Washington State. 

The Collaboratory will be built around three linked platforms: community engagement, led by F&C, that will solicit community priorities for climate action, including efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate change adaptation; policy analysis, co-led by F&C and UW, that will translate engagement inputs into policy scenarios to use in health impact analyses (HIA); and web-based visualization, with baseline information on demographics, social determinants of health, environmental hazards, and climate, that will be coupled with scenarios to generate estimates of future health impacts along different action pathways. 

The engagement platform will build on F&C’s experience with key informant interviews and focus groups. The policy analysis platform will build on F&C’s policy and advocacy activities and scenario-based HIA activities at UW’s Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE). The visualization platform will incorporate prior work on environmental health disparities by F&C and the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences, climate projections done by the Climate Impacts Group, demographic projections done by the Center for Studies in Demography & Ecology, Julian Marshall’s work linking air pollution sources and receptors, and web visualization development led by CHanGE. 

The Collaboratory will be an important tool for visualizing just climate action that, once developed, can be scaled to other geographies to facilitate risk management in other settings.


Addressing the Need for Culturally Responsive and Bidirectional Research Communication with the Latinx Community — The BRIDGE Project


  • Nathalia Jimenez, Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine
  • Carmen Gonzalez, Department of Communication
  • Daniel Cabrera, Department of Medicine
  • Diana Maria Oliveros, Mexican Consulate in Seattle
  • Meg Gomez, School of Social Work
  • Aida Hidalgo, School of Public Health
  • Mikaela Freundlich Zubiaga, UW Latino Center for Health


Project abstract

Responding to the need for sustainable academic-community partnerships to address the burden of COVID-19 in Washington State Latinx communities, we propose developing an innovative bi-cultural, Bi-directional Research Digital Engagement (BRIDGE) Program. 

BRIDGE is a new partnership between the Latino Center for Health, the UW Department of
Communications’ Center for Communication Difference and Equity (CCDE), UW School of Medicine’s Latinx Health Pathway (LHP) and the Mexican Consulate. BRIDGE aims to highlight community voices to address current COVID-19 needs and create a sustainable platform for future communication around Latinx health. 

BRIDGE’s innovative approach leverages infrastructure from the Mexican consulate (Spanish radio programing and Facebook reach 20,000+ followers) and an interdisciplinary network of faculty in LHP, combined with CCDE’s storytelling experience, to create an interactive platform for in-time communication with Latinx communities. 

Based on findings from LCH’s collaborative work around COVID-19 with the Washington Immigrant Solidarity Network and SeaMar Community Health Centers, and input from our community partner, the Mexican Consulate, BRIDGE proposes a stepwise pilot program that captures community needs through personal stories to understand gaps in care, education and outreach related to COVID-19 (e.g., mental health, school needs for Latinx children). It responds to outlined needs with in-time, culturally appropriate educational content (e.g., vaccinations) from bicultural/bilingual faculty and students to be disseminated through the Mexican Consulate’s outreach network. 

Pilot data will inform future COVID-19 research efforts and a grant submission on the evaluation of social media as a tool for disseminating culturally appropriate health information to Latinx immigrant communities.


Community-Based Formative Research to Advance Reproductive Health Equity in Iñupiaq Alaska

Half of the funding for this award came via a partnership with the UW Office of Global Affairs, which seeks to enhance the UW’s global engagement and reach, including with sovereign tribal nations.

  • Elizabeth Harrington, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
  • P. Joshua Griffin,  Department of American Indian Studies and School of Marine and Environmental Affairs
  • Dian Million, Department of American Indian Studies
  • Corina Kramer, Maniilaq Association
  • Lucas Trout, Maniilaq Association


Project abstract

Alaska Native women experience stark disparities in sexual and reproductive health (SRH) outcomes, including maternal morbidity/mortality, uptake of preconception and prenatal care and incidence of sexually transmitted infections. Many historical, socio-economic and geographic factors contribute to these disparities, from the ongoing structural violence of colonialism to the logistical challenges of providing health care to geographically-remote communities. 

Maniilaq Association is a tribal health organization serving approximately 8,400 residents in 12 Iñupiaq villages across Northwest Alaska, ranging from 150 to 3,200 residents. This project will create a collaboration between the Maniilaq Social Medicine Program (SMP) and a team of UW faculty from the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynecology and American Indian Studies to advance SRH outcomes and equity in the Maniilaq service area. 

Through community-based participatory research, we seek to understand the social, medical and place-based factors affecting women’s SRH in Northwest Alaska. Using interviews, process mapping and small group workshops, our team of UW and SMP co-investigators will highlight community-identified priorities for optimizing SRH care. We aim to gain insight into women’s, health providers’ and other stakeholders’ perspectives about culturally congruent approaches and interventions that will amplify community values, strengths and existing or emerging Maniilaq SRH programs. 

By identifying innovative ways to mobilize clinical resources, training, technology and/or communication, this project will lay the groundwork for a long-term research and clinical partnership between the SMP and UW to benefit women’s health across Northwest Alaska.


See the full list of grant recipients on the Population Health website. The next funding call for population health pilot research grant applications will occur during winter quarter 2022.