May 25, 2022

Two research teams with representation from the University of Washington School of Social Work received grants recently from the UW Population Health Initiative. Population health addresses public health as well as some of the major determinants of well-being, such as education and income, which fall outside the traditional public health scope.

The awardees for spring 2022 include:

Understanding the impacts of Washington paid family leave policy on American Indian and Alaska Native birthing parents and newborns. American Indian and Alaska Native families in Washington state face compounded health-related risks from poverty and systemic racism, which can lead to high rates of birth-related morbidity and mortality. Washington’s introduction in 2020 of Paid Family and Medical Leave, which provides paid leave for eligible workers with a qualifying family or medical event such as the birth of a child, may contribute to greater health equity among these communities. Partnering with the Urban Indian Health Institute, researchers will study paid leave’s association with birth outcomes among first-time American Indian and Alaska Native birthing parents. Their work will lay the foundation for future studies around birth equity and equitable access to PFML. School of Social Work team members: Doctoral student Tess Abrahamson-Richards, Spokane Tribe member and affiliate of the School’s Indigenous Wellness Research Institute; Jennifer Romich, professor and director of the School’s West Coast Poverty Center.

Residential segregation and pediatric injury and violence in Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma. Historic redlining was a discriminatory practice used to exclude marginalized groups, particularly Black people, from certain neighborhoods and opportunities for building wealth. Systematic residential segregation continued to shape built environments, such as providing less greenspace or poor-quality housing. The legacy of these practices has made lasting impacts on health outcomes for these communities. This project will study the connections among residential segregation, built environments, and pediatric injury and violence in Washington’s three largest cities—Seattle, Spokane and Tacoma–and identify possible interventions. School of Social Work team member: Abril Harris, assistant professor.

The projects are among 11 that received Tier 1 grants totaling $358,706. Of this amount, $266,843 came from the initiative; matching grants were made by the various schools and colleges and departmental matching funds. Tier 1 grants support foundational research for follow-on projects that will generate proof-of-concept.

Read more about this latest group of UW Population Health Initiative grantees.