UW Bothell receives $1.5M from Congress, signed by President Biden

BOTHELL, Washington — An initiative to meet the urgent need for behavioral health education for K-12 public school teachers and a new center that will support the fast-growing cluster of biomedical, biotechnology and bioengineering companies in the region have secured significant funding from Congress. The School of Nursing & Health Studies and the School of STEM at the University of Washington Bothell each received $750,000 as part of the $1.5 trillion FY 2022 omnibus spending bill approved last week and signed by President Joe Biden on March 15. 

Long before the coronavirus pandemic began, teachers rated mental health as the most pressing issue affecting K-12 students. One out of every five children and youth in the United States has a diagnosable emotional, behavioral or mental health disorder. One out of every 10 has a mental health challenge that impacts their ability to function at school and at home. Gender minority students have at least twice the rate of suicide as other students. On average, there is only one nurse for every 6,000 students in K-12 districts. 

Headshot of Shari Dworkin

Dr. Shari Dworkin, dean of the School of Nursing & Health Studies

“With our colleagues in the School of Educational Studies, we developed the Behavioral Health Initiative to support teachers and other staff in K-12 districts in our region,” said Dr. Shari Dworkin, dean of the School of Nursing & Health Studies. “It is designed to increase behavioral health knowledge and skills and to address the social-emotional development, well-being and success trajectories of students.

“After a successful pilot program in the Renton School District, this funding will allow us to expand to more school districts across the state and relieve the many pressures placed on K-12 educators and staff that were exacerbated by the pandemic.” 

The $750,000 earmarked for the School of STEM will go toward expanding curriculum, increasing student-faculty research to support innovation and creating a pipeline of talent for the biotech/biomedical device sector. These are the goals for the future Center for Biotechnology Innovation & Training, a partnership between UW Bothell and local biotech, medical device and other life science sectors. 

Headshot of Leslie Cornick

Dr. Leslie Cornick, dean of the School of STEM

“This funding will greatly increase our ability to keep pace with the growth experienced by the Biomedical Device Innovation Partnership Zone,” said Dr. Leslie Cornick, dean of the School of STEM. “Currently these biotech firms can’t expand locally due to a shortage of trained life scientists, and there is concern they may choose to relocate altogether.”

The CBIT will develop a future workforce of UW Bothell graduates, including those traditionally underrepresented in STEM, with a high level of training specifically tailored to the industry. It will house a multidisciplinary core of UW Bothell faculty from chemistry, biology, engineering, physics, computer science, health studies and business with expertise in multiple areas of biotechnology and biomedical device engineering and advanced manufacturing. Additionally, affiliate faculty from the biotech and medical device industry sectors will be an integral part of the teaching and training core. 

“We can now explore space in Canyon Park and be imbedded in the life sciences sector,” said Cornick. “This is great news for our students, our faculty, existing firms and the future companies that will enterprise from CBIT.” 

“This congressional allocation recognizes the overall innovation ecosystem that is thriving at UW Bothell and that we want to expand,” said Dr. Sharon A. Jones, UW Bothell’s vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “We are grateful to Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray for their efforts to secure this funding that will move us closer to our vision to be the catalyst that elevates quality of life for our region.” 

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UW Bothell’s commitment to increasing access to a UW education extends well beyond admissions. It also includes offering evening, offsite, online, hybrid and certificate programs that help make it possible for more students to pursue higher education. Known for the diversity of its student population — as measured by a variety of factors — UW Bothell has also been recognized for innovations in academic programming and support services designed to help students graduate on time and debt-free. As part of its commitment to excellence, UW Bothell places particular value on diversity and equity, community and campus engagement, and cross-disciplinary teaching and scholarship.


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