“U-Dub” and Public Health – Seattle & King County team up with new alliance for healthier communities

As our community’s top public health strategist, Public Health – Seattle & King County uses science and best practices to improve and promote health county-wide. We hire some of the best trained experts and generate research that makes a real difference, like having one of the world’s best survival rates from cardiac arrest.

At the University of Washington, scientists aim to generate science-based evidence for public use and their training programs produce graduates to carry out important front line public health work.

Today, Public Health – Seattle & King County and the University of Washington are announcing the formalization of an alliance of our scientists, experts and practitioners that promotes collaboration through a new Academic Health Department.

Image courtesy of the University of Washington

Public Health – Seattle & King County, the UW’s School of Public Health, School of Nursing, and the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice are executive sponsors for the agreement, with other programs across the UW potentially joining in.

The goals of our collaboration include:

  • Advancing public health practice, programs, and policies at Public Health – Seattle & King County to better serve the county’s residents;
  • Maximizing public health training opportunities for students;
  • Encouraging collaboration between Public Health staff and UW faculty, including student mentors, that fill academic and public health practice needs;
  • Generating research and evaluation evidence to improve public health practice;
  • Increasing Public Health’s ability to recruit and retain skilled professional staff, and assuring high quality public health practice training for UW students and trainees; and
  • Enhancing UW’s ability to recruit new students.

The new agreement formalizes a long-standing working relationship, but with the agreement in place, we will be able to enhance collaboration and exchange of information, which will benefit our residents by bringing more opportunities to develop the best evidence-based population health strategies and activities.

“Through this collaboration, our two great institutions benefit from each other’s expertise and experience,” said Patty Hayes, RN, MN, Director of Public Health – Seattle & King County. “The end result is a stronger public health system that better serves the public to promote health and well-being.”

One exciting opportunity presented by the collaboration is field placements and internship opportunities for UW students with Public Health to build student skills and knowledge of community-based public health practice, and to work together to improve data quality and systems to improve the effectiveness of public health services provided to the county’s residents.

“I look forward to strengthening our partnership with the University of Washington to enhance both public health and academic practice, including teaching, training, workforce development, and collaborative applied research,” said Dr. Jeff Duchin, MD, Health Officer for Public Health – Seattle & King County.  “Formalizing this priority work through the Academic Health Department is great news for our department, residents of King County and the state.”

The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, a center within the UW School of Public Health, will help facilitate the activities of the Academic Health Department. NWCPHP Director Betty Bekemeier, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, said that the NWCPHP is particularly suited for its key role of helping facilitate the Academic Health Department: “The Northwest Center for Public Health Practice’s mission is to promote excellence in public health by linking academia and the practice community,” she said. “How that plays out is by facilitating bridges, assuring that we are focused on building capacity, both with the University for practice, and with the practice community by leveraging the University resources and opportunities

“Academic public health departments make for great collaboration. Our faculty and students can engage in meaningful service while being exposed to state-of-the-art public health work,” Joel Kaufman, MD, MPH, interim Dean of the UW School of Public Health, said. “It’s another great example of how our School is involved in the community and not huddled in the ivory tower.”

“The Academic Health Department builds important bridges between academia and the public sector for the good of the community,” said Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, RNT, FAAN, Executive Dean of the UW School of Nursing. “Our school is undertaking major efforts to see that population health is an embedded part of every nursing class and clinical experience, at every level. We want all nurses to be prepared to address the social determinants of health through assessment, leadership, collaborative practice, and policy development. The Academic Health Department is integral to this effort.”

The relationship between Public Health – Seattle & King County and the University of Washington is similar to a “teaching hospital” affiliation between hospitals and medical schools. For more information about Academic Health Department partnerships, click here.

Originally posted on 1/26/18

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