March 13, 2018

Five innovative and interdisciplinary research projects that include researchers from the School of Social Work were awarded grants from the UW Population Health Initiative. The selected projects will examine health disparities in Washington state, suicide prevention, homeless youth, and culturally anchored antenatal care. A total of eight projects were funded overall from a pool of 33 applications submitted.

The eight Population Health Initiative awards are each $50,000. This $400,000 in funding was more than doubled by matches from additional school, college and departmental funds, bringing the total value to nearly $890,000. The five grants that include School of Social Work representation are:

Addressing health disparities faced by rural underserved agricultural communities. This collaborative community-academic project incorporates interdisciplinary approaches to assess, and ultimately address, health disparities related to occupational, environmental, socioeconomic and biological stressors faced by underserved rural communities. In addition to collecting data, the team will employ community-based participatory research, citizen science and civic engagement to achieve health equity.

School of Social Work team member:Associate Professor Gino Aisenberg

Health for homeless youth and companion animals in Seattle. This project focuses on the remarkable bond that exists between homeless youth and their companion animals. Researchers will look at the interdependent health and social needs facing homeless teens/young adults and their pets, focusing on such concerns as mental health, food security, substance dependence, risk of infection and injury, as well as the legal and ethical issues related to housing, education and access to medical care. An innovative “One Health” clinic, located in the University District, will be set up to provide interprofessional team care for this vulnerable human-animal population.

School of Social Work team member: Teaching Associate Charlotte Sanders

Lethal-means assessment in psychiatric emergency services for suicide prevention. Counseling on access to lethal means, such as medications and firearms, is an emerging approach to suicide prevention; however, little is known about its uptake and effectiveness in clinical settings. With this grant, the research team will investigate patients who sought psychiatric emergency services at Harborview Medical Center during the last decade. The information will be a first step toward promoting lethal-means counseling that may reduce the rate of suicide attempts and deaths in Washington state.

School of Social Work team member: Associate Professor Jennifer Stuber

Mama Ammaan (Safe Mother) Project. Southeast Seattle has the highest rate of preterm/low birthweight babies, caesarean births, women receiving inadequate perinatal care, and unmet mental health needs in Washington state. There are many reasons for this: service gaps for immigrants and refugees; social isolation; discrimination; language barriers; and a social-cultural distrust of authority. This pilot project brings together the Somali Health Board, Health Alliance International, Parent Trust, and the UW to test the feasibility of community-based doulas and nurses trained to lead culturally adapted group prenatal care and home visitation services.

School of Social Work team member: Professor Bonnie Duran

Addressing health disparities in Washington state. The Institute of Medicine and Healthy People 2020 have identified racial/ethnic minorities and sexual/gender minorities as health disparate populations. This pilot project will be the first to comprehensively investigate population health in Washington state across two intersecting vulnerable populations. The researchers will examine disability, multiple chronic health conditions and mental health by race/ethnicity and sexual orientation/gender identity to identify high-risk disparate groups. Based on this foundation, a full-scale research program will be developed and interventions tested to help reduce health disparities at the state level, ensure sustainability, and provide student education to better serve underrepresented communities.

School of Social Work principal investigator and team member, respectively: Professor Karen I. Fredriksen Goldsen and Research Scientist Hyun-Jun Kim

More about UW Population Health Initiative grants: Pilot research grants from the UW Population Health Initiative encourage new interdisciplinary collaborations among investigators for projects that address critical components of the grand challenges in population health. This year’s eight awardees involve 11 schools and colleges of the UW Seattle, Bothell and Tacoma campuses. Read more here.