UW Dean of Public Health Provides Update on New Health Sciences Center and Various School Projects – State of Reform

The University of Washington’s School of Public Health (SPH) has several plans to help students, including the addition of a new Health Sciences Center.

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

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

Godwin discussed some of the projects on the SPH agenda, including the construction of the new Health Sciences Education Building, which will occupy the open space adjacent to the T-Wing, I-Wing, J-Wing and Hitchcock Hall on the main campus. The four-story building will include a variety of classrooms, study areas, libraries 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 completed in July.

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

Other upcoming projects include the renovation of the T-wing and the development of hybrid telecommuting plans which should be implemented this summer.

Godwin also discussed some key developments over the past two years, including updates to the Mission, vision and values statement, developing a school-wide marketing and communications plan, and raising $3.2 million in student financial support through SPH Campaign for students which ran from July 1, 2020 to April 20 this year. A significant amount of money has been designated as emergency funding in response to the challenges associated with the pandemic.

“These are student support funds for scholarships, emergency funds, infrastructure, our new lab facilities, and programs that support students,” Godwin said. “This year we have focused on raising money for the Student Emergency Fund.”

The school has also developed anti-racism training programs, which 1,000 SPH faculty, staff and students have completed, Godwin said. Schools Center for Anti-Racism and Community Health launched on February 23. The center’s goals include training and developing black, Indigenous and anti-racist scholars, she said.

The SPH’s Roosevelt Building was also modernized. Its molecular toxicology, vivarium, cell culture and microbiology laboratories have been modernized and consolidated. New laboratory spaces have been created for spectrometry, biosafety, trace metals, inorganics and gas calibration.

“We’ve consolidated all of our labs and done a huge upgrade,” Godwin said.

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