University of Washington
Summer 2013  
Solomon Lubinga and Andy Stergachis

Tackling Mental Health in Uganda

A fellowship recipient and a donor talk
about their goals

Research is underway to improve mental health care in Uganda, thanks to an endowed fellowship created by Andy Stergachis and his wife, JoAnn. Stergachis, now director of the Global Medicines program at the School of Public Health, spent two months in Uganda in 2006 during the country’s response to the HIV/AIDS crisis. After that experience, the couple decided to support health sciences graduate students working on public health projects in developing countries through the Stergachis Endowed Fellowship for International Exchange. Solomon Lubinga was recently identified by the selection committee as the very first recipient of this fellowship. Read more.

Alumni Profile

Rogelio Riojas

"An activist until I die"

Rogelio Riojas, MHA 1977, has been named to the UW Board of Regents by Gov. Jay Insee. As an undergraduate at the UW, Riojas marched against the Vietnam War, campaigned for Chicano causes and lobbied for a community health clinic in his hometown of Othello, WA. That activism led to a career in public health. After earning his MHA here, Riojas joined Sea Mar Community Health Centers as its CEO. Today he continues to direct Sea Mar, which serves more than 200,000 people a year, while advocating for better health and human rights. “I’ll be an activist until I die,” he says. Read more.

Making a Difference

Finding Bombs Before They Explode

IEDThe best defense against the homemade bombs, or IEDs, that have killed and maimed thousands of troops and civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq is to find them before they explode. That is what Michael Yost (DEOHS) and his collaborator, Bill Asher at the UW Applied Physics lab, are working on. Under a Dept. of Defense subcontract, they will research novel sensors and spectroscopic techniques that can detect hazardous materials in concealed explosives. One new sensor involved, called a nanowire, was developed by Antao Chen at the UW Applied Physics Lab. When made of silicon, these nanowires, as thin as one-billionth of a meter, are sensitive enough to respond to the vapors of nitro-explosives. 

Increasing Flu Shots for Restaurant Workers

vaccinationLast fall, researchers from the Health Promotion Research Center conducted a pilot study aimed at increasing flu immunization among restaurant workers. The intervention, which focused on lowering barriers to flu immunization through increased access and targeted messaging, resulted in a 74 percent increase in immunization rate among workers at 11 Seattle-area restaurants. The pilot was part of a series of studies known as the Workplace Immunization Project. "Our team feels terrific about these results," says HPRC research scientist Kristen Hammerback. "Our next step will be putting together an easy-to-use toolkit so that restaurants can do their own flu-shot program in the future." Led by Jeff Harris, the research team also included Peggy Hannon, Meredith Cook, Amanda Parrish and Claire Allen.

Analyzing Where Traffic Pollution is Worse

Jill Schulte practicumTraffic noise and pollution disproportionately affect the poor and people of color in King County, which encompasses Seattle. That’s what Jill Schulte (MPH 2013, DEOHS) found as a result of her practicum research for King County’s Equity and Social Justice Initiative, where she analyzed traffic density and demographic data. Her results were reported in Sightline Daily, Real Change News and to county and civic leaders. Richard Gelb, her supervisor at King County, says the county has long been concerned that land use and building codes may be resulting in inequitable traffic densities. “Jill’s work not only validates this inequity in housing (and highlights evolving trends), but helps us and others to work toward a solution,” he says.

Alumni Updates

Theresa Hastert, PhD 2013, Epidemiology, has accepted a position with the University of Michigan.
Zheyu Wang, PhD 2013, Biostatistics, and MS 2010, Biostatistics, is now a tenure-track Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University, Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Nicole Dankerlui, MPH 2012, Global Health, works as a Technical Advisor Consultant with the Ministry of Health in Suriname, her home country.
Siobhan Brown, PhD 2010, Biostatistics, with UW Professor Scott Emerson submitted a paper that won first place in the ASA Biopharmaceutical Section's competition at the Joint Statistical Meetings.
Maile Taualii, PhD 2009, Health Services, and MPH 2004, Health Services, has been named to the National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations by the US Census Bureau.
Amy Hagopian, MHA 1983, Health Services, became the new program director of the Department of Health Service's Community-Oriented Public Health Practice MPH program this summer. The program will have an expanded incoming class of 24 students this fall.
Paul Demers, PhD 1991, Epidemiology, and MS 1987, Environmental Health, was awarded the 2013 Jeffrey S. Lee Lectureship at the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA) Conference and Expo in Montreal.
Ronald R. Loeppke, MPH 1987, Health Services, has been named the President of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM), the nation’s largest association representing occupational and environmental physicians.
Arthur Kellermann, MPH 1985, Health Services, has been named the new Dean of the F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD. 
Margaret Stanley, MHA 1977, Health Services, received the Lifetime Achievement Award in Health Care from Seattle Business Magazine’s Leaders in Health Care on February 28, 2013. She is currently working as Chair of the Washington Health Benefit Exchange.
Edgar Marcuse, MPH 1973, Public Health and Community Medicine, was named Washington’s 2013 CDC Childhood Immunization Champion in recognition of his many years of dedication to promoting immunization.
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