UW Dean of Public Health gives updates on new health sciences facility, various school projects

The University of Washington’s School of Public Health (SPH) has several projects lined up to help students, including the addition of a new health sciences facility.

 

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SPH Dean Hilary Godwin updated students and faculty on the school’s recent accomplishments and future plans on Wednesday. Godwin said most of the school’s webinars have been centered on topics related to COVID-19 over the past two years, and she wanted an opportunity to discuss other developments.

“While we’re not focusing on COVID updates today, the last two years have been traumatic,” she said. “The uncertainty and need to constantly pivot has been particularly exhausting. For members [returning to in-person workplaces], the transition to working back in our communities, and learning to be with others during the day has been even more challenging.”

Godwin discussed some projects on the SPH’s agenda, including construction of the new Health Sciences Education Building, which will occupy the open space adjacent to the main campus’ T-wing, I-wing, J-wing, and Hitchcock Hall. The four-story building will feature a variety of classrooms, study areas, library facilities, and a new anatomy lab.

The new facility will serve students from the schools of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health, and Social Work. Construction on the $100.6 million building began in February, and is expected to be complete by July.

“The new Health Sciences Education Building will open in time for fall classes,” Godwin said.

Other upcoming projects include a renovation to the T-wing, and the development of hybrid telework plans that are scheduled to be implemented this summer.

Godwin also discussed some key developments over the past two years that include updates to the school’s Mission, Vision and Values statement, the development of a schoolwide marketing and communications plan, and raising $3.2 million in  student financial support through SPH’s Campaign for Students which ran  from July 1st, 2020 through April 20th of this year. A significant amount of money was designated as emergency use funding in response to challenges associated with the pandemic.

“These are student support funds for fellowships, emergency funds, infrastructure, our new laboratory facilities, and programs that support students,” Godwin said. “This year we were focused on raising money for student emergency funds.”

The school also developed anti-racism training programs, which 1,000 SPH faculty, staff, and students completed, Godwin said. The school’s Center for Anti-Racism and Community Health launched on February 23rd. Center objectives include nurturing and developing Black, Native, and anti-racist scholars, she said.

The SPH’s Roosevelt Building was upgraded as well. Its molecular toxicology, vivarium, cell culture, and microbiology labs were modernized and consolidated. New lab spaces were created for spectrometry, biosafety, trace metals, inorganics, and gas calibration.

“We consolidated all our labs and did a huge upgrade,” Godwin said.