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Research Investigations


Exploring Operational Metrics in Hospital Care Delivery Process Affecting Disparities in Health Outcomes for Communities of Focus in the Pierce County, Washington

Dr. Alireza Boloori was the recipient of a grant award from the Office of Equity and Inclusion and Milgard School of Business to evaluate hospital data that permit an identification of the relationship between operational hospital level metrics and specific health outcome measures for disadvantaged patients in Pierce County Washington (Communities of Focus). He was joined by Dr. Laing in this work to explore these relationships via evaluation of publicly available data, and an existing WSDOH database. The work engages undergraduate students in community-level data and merges business and healthcare disciplines for a novel assessment of the relationship between hospital metrics and health outcomes for marginalized communities. Establishing such a relationship can help to identify relevant actionable insights that may support later interventional studies targeting the Communities of Focus. The work began June 2023 and ends June 2024.

School Safety Summit among Regional School Districts

The Collaborative Leadership Addressing School Safety (CLASS) Project is a collaboration among  Dr. Laing, Dr. Monica Vavilala, Dr. Kmail, King County Criminal Justice and Policy, UW Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center to support school safety in six regional school districts. This work will develop and facilitate a regional summit with Federal Way, Kent, Seattle, Olympia, Highline, and Tukwila School Districts. The summit will host superintendents, district board leaders, parents, students and other stakeholders coming together to consider ways to promote school safety by utilizing the CDC’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Model. The summit is scheduled for early fall 2024.


Supporting Black, Indigenous and People of Color Communities and Healthcare Providers Post COVID-19 Pandemic

 Investigate the social, economic, environmental, and mental health impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color (India, Vietnam, Africa and African American communities) – both patients and healthcare providers. Ascertain strategies to support these communities post the pandemic.


HealthPoint Community Health Centers, Washington

Washington State Department of Health

Study Description

This ongoing initiative begun by engaging BIPOC Healthcare Leadership students from UWT School of Nursing and Healthcare Leadership in community-focused qualitative research with members of their respective communities to assess the impact of COVID-19 on social, economic, environmental and mental health outcomes and to identify solutions for moving forward post the pandemic.
The Second phase of the initiative involves working with healthcare providers (nurses and other frontline professionals) to provide social and emotional support po
st the COVID-19 pandemic.


Assessing the Emotional, Environmental and Social Impact of COVID -19 on the Vietnamese Community:

Focus groups conducted with Vietnamese community members from Washington State and Boston Massachusetts.

Average age of respondents was 50.3 years; 55% reported household incomes at or below $20k/year; 45% college-educated and 27% resided in US for less than 5 years.

Four prominent themes were identified regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the Vietnamese Community: 

Experience of substantial emotional strains related to children’s schooling/social adjustment and elderly caregiving.

Emotional strains associated with being a new immigrant in the US

A Persevering coping persona with respondents hesitancy in seeking emotional support in the face of extreme adversity.

Future research must promote engagement of this at-risk community in trauma and resilience-based health interventions that target parents and youth.


Informing mHealth Delivery in Healthcare Settings

 Exploratory research to evaluate digital healthcare practices of safety-net patients and the perceptions of their healthcare providers about strategies needed to support digitally-engaged patients.


Casa Ruby Center, Washington DC

HealthPoint Community Health Centers, Washington 

The Women’s Collective Community Health and Human Service Center, Washington DC

Trinity Washington University, Department of Psychology

Study Description

This five-year bicoastal exploratory study evaluated safety-net patients’ engagement in digital healthcare management via investigator-administered surveys to respondents accessing services at community health centers in Washington state and DC. The surveys queried patients about their current use of mobile devices for self-care management, barriers to engagement, and assessment of care received at current healthcare facilities.
The second phase of the study utilized focus group methodology to query healthcare providers about perceived barriers to integrating remote patient data into clinical practices and their insights about the type of clinical decision supports needed to work with safety-net patients using mHealth technology for care management outside clinic settings.


76% of safety-net patients use smartphones for healthcare support

48% use health-based mobile apps for self-care management

Among the safety-net sample, females (79%), younger adults 18 – 29 years (84%), and individuals with high school education or higher (77%) are more likely to use their mobile phones to acquire health information relative to their counterparts 

Poorest of poor patients (<20k) are significantly less likely to use mobile technology for healthcare management

Ethnicity predicts use of health applications, with Hispanic communities most likely to use this technology

Patients who receive support during a clinical visit to engage in physical activity are almost three times more likely to use health-based mobile applications for care management

Access to specialized services makes a substantial positive impact on safety-net patients’ feelings of optimism about their health and well-being

Clinicians perceive some barriers to integrating remote digital-based data from their patients into existing work but are optimistic about the value of remote health status monitoring data to support patient care delivery

Clinicians report that an mHealth Clinical Practice Guide can be useful when working with digitally-engaged safety-net patients. The guide must (1) provide information about evidence-based mobile applications; (2) link to community services that support healthcare engagement and target Social Determinants of Health factors, and, (3) provide a profile of patients likely to engage in digital healthcare management

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