university of washington school of medicine department of emergency medicine


The Department of Emergency Medicine formed a new Section of Population Health in August 2018. The focus of this Section is to coalesce the Department's efforts around the health of communities, local and global, with a focus on health systems and underserved populations. Our expertise spans a wide array of topics including:

  • Environmental Health
  • Health Disparities
  • Public Health
  • Data Analytics
  • Health Services
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Global Health

Our Section aligns its efforts with the UW Population Health Initiative convened by President Ana Mari Cauce in May 2016, whose vision is to "help people live longer, healthier, more productive lives - here and around the world."  This Initiative sees population health revolving around three pillars: human health, environmental resilience, and social and economic equity. As a Section in the Department of Emergency Medicine, our efforts are mainly in the realm of human health. We focus on the care of underserved populations and serve as a hub for research, clinical care, advocacy, and policy related to population health.


To improve health of underserved communities by examining the social determinants of health, and the health-related impact of race and economic status on the most vulnerable populations.

Population Health Research Fellowship

In order to materialize this vision, the Section of Population Health in the Department of Emergency Medicine offers a two-year Population Health Research Fellowship for graduates of accredited emergency medicine residency programs who are interested in pursuing academic careers in population health research.

For more information about the Population Health Research Fellowship, click here.


What is Population Health?

Although there is no standard definition, the American Journal of Public Health states:

"...the field of Population Health includes health outcomes, patterns of health determinants, and policies and interventions that link these two."

For example, there are discrepancies in life expectancy in different population centers in King County, along with disparities in health.

Role of Emergency Medicine

As EM physicians, we see the most vulnerable, underserved populations, and we observe firsthand challenges and opportunities as they relate to the development and implementation of effective and efficient health systems. We seek to deliver excellent, value-based care to the emergency patient population, while viewing their entire needs through the lens of their social and environmental contexts.

Our ultimate goal is to improve health equity across all populations, by understanding and evaluating care both domestically and globally. This includes transitions of care from the ED, determinants of health - social, economic, and environmental - and their intersection with emergency care delivery, especially among vulnerable populations, such as those with mental illness, substance abuse, and traumatic injury.