Research Portal

May 17, 2023

Population Health Initiative awards College of Built Environments researchers a spring quarter 2023 Tier 1 pilot grant

The Population Health Initiative announced the award of nine Tier 1 pilot grants to interdisciplinary research teams representing 10 of the University of Washington’s schools and colleges. The total award value of these grants is nearly $210,000, which includes school, department and unit matching funds.

Read more in the CBE Story here.

“We were extremely pleased with the range of challenges these awards will work to address,” said Ali H. Mokdad, the UW’s chief strategy officer for population health and professor of health metrics sciences. “It was also quite inspiring to see the number of different academic disciplines that came together to develop these projects.”

The purpose of Population Health Initiative Tier 1 pilot grants is to support researchers in laying an interdisciplinary foundation for a future project to generate proof-of-concept. See all nine awardees featured here.

The project “Incorporating Youth Perspectives to Improve Disaster Planning: Piloting Drone-Based Photovoice to Explore Cultural Assets” was one of the nine awardees. The investigators include representatives from the Urban Design and Planning department.


Matias Korfmacher, Department of Urban Design and Planning, Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences
Nicole Errett, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences
Dan Abramson, Department of Urban Design and Planning
Resham Patel, Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences

Project Abstract: 

Disasters frequently damage the built and natural environment and disrupt a sense of place, leading to long-term psychosocial health impacts, particularly among younger individuals. Cultural assets — places, spaces, programs, and structures — help young community members build self-identity. Youth are thus especially vulnerable to place-based disruptions. At the same time, strong place attachment can contribute to pre-disaster resilience and creating new ties can facilitate post-disaster recovery. Despite heightened youth vulnerability, youth perspectives are often underrepresented in disaster literature and in community disaster planning.

This project pilots a novel photovoice methodology that uses drones to empower youth perspectives and align these perspectives with existing disaster planning. Westport, Washington, was selected as a study site due to its high exposure to tsunami hazards, established partnerships committed to developing youth capacity, and existing capacity related to drone-based data collection and other technology-focused approaches to community asset mapping. With guidance from the research team, the Ocosta Junior-Senior High School STEAM club will use drone imagery to identify Westport’s key cultural assets. The research team will use this data to help the community create a youth-centric geonarrative. Outputs from this project will contribute to the literature on youth engagement through photovoice and help Westport identify gaps in its disaster planning by integrating youth perspectives. Additionally, the aerial photovoice protocol developed during this project has vast future potential to build new partnerships and support integration of other under-represented voices in disaster planning.