On May 11, the UW Board of Regents approved plans for the construction of a new Population Health building to be housed along 15th Avenue Northeast and Northeast 40th Street. 

The $230 million project is being funded by a $210 million gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and $20 million in state funds. 

The building will act as a central location for the UW’s Population Health Initiative, a 25-year project which the university said “will expand the UW’s ability to turn the diagnosis of patients, populations, and the planet into actionable policies, reforms, interventions and innovations.” 

Dr. Ali Mokdad, a professor of global health and co-chair of the Population Health Initiative, looks forward to the building’s ability to bring individuals from different departments together to do work. 

“The university is huge,” Mokdad said. “That’s the key issue. We are doing great things already. How can we connect the dots?”

Mokdad believes that with a centralized location, the ambitious participants of the Population Health Initiative will be able to organize counsels, create specific methods, and produce evident results.

“The initiative is the big vision,” Mokdad said. “The building is the catalyst for it.”

According to Mokdad, the building is currently in its design phase. Construction is set to begin in early 2018 and be completed in 2020. The new building will be located next to the Physics-Astronomy Building and the Architecture Hall, and will replace Guthrie Annexes 1, 2, 3, and 4. 

“This location demonstrates the centrality of this initiative to our university,” UW President Ana Mari Cauce said in a written statement. “This site will enable students and experts from a full range of disciplines across the UW to more easily collaborate on solutions to the grand challenges we face. Our vision is that the work done in this building will improve the health and well-being of people in our region and throughout the world.” 

Dr. Alexis Beatty, a cardiologist and acting assistant professor in the School of Medicine, is looking forward to the new building. 

“The location of the building will help facilitate the interdisciplinary nature of the work that will be supported by the initiative,” Beatty said.

Mokdad says that with the Population Health Initiative and the new building, it is an exciting time to be at the UW. 

“This has really energized our community,” Mokdad said. “There is a tremendous amount of commitment to improving population health. That’s why we are able to move as fast as we have so far.”


Reach contributing writer Kevin Teeter at development@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @kevinjteeter

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