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The University of Washington Department of Health Systems and Population Health (HSPop) prepares future health practitioners, managers, and researchers to conduct the work of improving the well-being of communities in the United States and throughout the world. We envision a future where systems effectively, efficiently, and equitably promote the health of all populations. We are committed to working with partners in public health and health care systems to prepare leaders, design solutions, and conduct innovative research that is translated into practice and policy.

Our Mission, Vision, and Values

Our Mission

We work with partners in public health and health care systems to prepare leaders, design solutions, and conduct innovative research that is translated into practice and policy.

Our Vision

We envision a future where systems effectively, efficiently, and equitably promote the health of all populations.

Our Values

Health Equity

We strive to ensure equity in health outcomes across all social groups and work to remove obstacles to health such as poverty, discrimination, and their consequences, including powerlessness and lack of access to good jobs with fair pay, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.

Service to the Public Good

We build and use knowledge to promote the collective health and well-being of all people in our local communities, across Washington state, and around the world. We acknowledge that strong public institutions and resources are necessary to promote health equity.


We commit to act with fairness, integrity, and respect in our relationships with each other, with our students, and with people outside the academy. These commitments require genuine openness to others’ ideas and transparency in our decision-making.


We work together to solve problems with an open and welcoming approach that demonstrates mutual respect and fairness. Working across disciplines and other boundaries, such as varied cultural and economic boundaries, we strive for collective achievement. As much as possible, we share power and fully participate in decisions that shape our institution.


We aspire to produce the best possible outcome in our teaching, research, and service. Our work is deliberative, evidence-based, and designed to improve public health, focusing on problems that really matter in our communities.

Health Systems, Population Health, and Health Services Research

Within the UW Department of Health Systems and Population Health, several academic programs focus on and require research about health systems, population health, and/or health services.

What are health systems?

Health systems are all the public, private, and voluntary entities that contribute to the delivery of essential public health and health care services. Health systems include health departments, clinics, hospitals, and insurance companies.

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What is population health?

Population health examines the health of defined populations, rather than individuals. Population health acknowledges the impact of surroundings and social determinants. Public health practitioners use data to create interventions that improve population health and well-being. However, some major determinants of health, such as education and income, historically fell outside of the traditional public health scope. Population health brings together knowledge from many disciplines — such as the health sciences, social sciences, public policy, law, business, education, and so forth — to address factors that influence health.

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What is health services research?

Health services research, broadly defined, encompasses research into the social determinants of population health as well as research into cost, quality, and policy aspects of the provision of medical services, prevention, and health education.

  • Health services research is the process of generating new knowledge and understanding through development of new theory and empirical evidence, as well as the original synthesis of existing theory and evidence. Our general focus areas include delivery, financing, management, and organization of health services
  • Social and economic factors that contribute to population health and health disparities
  • Health promotion, prevention, and health education

Health services research is instrumental in advancing population health and improving policy, management, and practice within the health services domain.

UW, Seattle, and the Pacific Northwest

The University of Washington (UW) is considered one of the best universities in the world and is highly ranked by the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Global Universities rankings. UW is committed to excellence through diversity and provides health leadership across the Pacific Northwest, the United States, and the world.

The Space Needle lit purple at night for the Together UW campaign.

UW enrolls more than 60,000 students each year and thrives as a center for groundbreaking research in numerous fields, including public health, medicine, education, public affairs, aeronautics, and business. UW offers many areas of study, including more than 300 separate programs and over 600 degree options. A major research center, UW is one of the few universities in the U.S. with total research funding of more than one billion dollars. Since 1969, the University of Washington consistently places among the top for total sponsored research funding for all public and private universities in the country. It is home to seven Nobel Prize winners and 17 MacArthur Fellows, also known as “genius grant” recipients.

For working professionals in the Seattle area, opportunities abound. Some of the world’s top companies and institutions were started here and continue to have major operations in the region. The city is among the most innovative health care communities in the country with excellent hospitals, medical centers, and research institutions.

Beyond the excellent academics, the University of Washington is among the most beautiful college campuses in the world. The largest UW campus is located in the heart of Seattle, one of the most scenic and livable cities in the United States. The Seattle campus offers stunning views of snow-capped Mount Rainier and nearby Lake Washington. In the spring, the campus gardens bloom with color, while its Japanese cherry trees erupt in spectacular pink and white blossoms.

Seattle offers its residents the best of city and country living. Cultural attractions include world-class museums, an aquarium, a zoo, professional and college sports, a symphony, and large annual film and music festivals. For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, excellent running, biking, hiking, camping, boating, and skiing are abundant in the city or nearby.