Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Population Health Initiative, CSDE, and King County Team up to Study First Steps Program

Posted: 6/30/2019 (CSDE in the News)

This summer’s 2019 Population Health Applied Research Fellows will develop and apply their data analysis, critical thinking, and team science skills to better understand the impact of the First Steps Program on birth outcomes in King County. The interdisciplinary team of faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students bring with them skills in demography, economics, nursing, public health, public policy, and sociology with the recognition that, to tackle complex population health challenges and become future leaders in the field, the knowledge and insight must come from a collaborative effort across expert domains. Working with CSDE affiliates Sara Curran, Brandon Guthrie, and Matt Hall, seven students are part of the inaugural cohort:

  • Claire Branley, undergraduate Public Health major
  • Matt Driver, MPH student, Department of Epidemiology
  • Jane Kim, Doctorate of Nursing Practice student, School of Nursing
  • Christine Leibbrand, CSDE Fellow and PhD Student, Department of Sociology
  • Kiana Rahni, undergraduate Economics and Political Science major
  • Michelle Shin, PhD student, School of Nursing
  • Hilary Wething, CSDE Fellow and PhD student, Evans School of Public Policy & Governance

The Population Health Applied Research Fellowships will support these students to work as a team with the Community Health Services Division (CHSD) of Public Health – Seattle & King County for 10 weeks over the summer to analyze disparities in birth outcomes by race, over time, in King County. This analysis will account for socio-economic and population trends and investigating possible causes.

CHSD is the largest provider of wraparound maternity and infant services for low-income pregnant women in King County, and despite successes in improving care for this population, the County has not been able to comprehensively achieve race equitable birth outcomes. The student’s work will help inform CHSD’s plans for redesigning and refining its delivery of prevention-based services for pregnant and parenting families to help improve birth outcomes.

By working on a real-world, client-driven project as part of a multidisciplinary team, students will understand how to integrate their disciplinary expertise into a team-oriented, problem-solving approach that develops multi-pronged solutions to population health challenges.

“There was an incredible level of interest from highly qualified and motivated students to work in a multidisciplinary, team-based environment on a project that could have a real impact on population health in their own backyard,” said CSDE Affiliate Ali Mokdad, the university’s chief strategy officer for population health and professor of Health Metrics Sciences. “It reflects the demand among students for meaningful, experiential learning opportunities that can make a real difference in people’s lives.”

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