Start Center - Strategic Analysis, Research & Training Center

The START Center is guided by a unique dual mission

START Center Mission
The START Center uses an innovative mentorship model to provide high-quality analysis and research support to public health organizations while developing applied research and analytic skills of graduate research assistants in global and domestic public health.

START Center Vision
The START Center supports global and public health organizations to achieve impact by enhancing strategic decision making and building the next generation of global and domestic public health leaders.


The START Center houses both The START Center Global Program and The START Center Domestic Program. These program teams include graduate research assistants and faculty mentors with diverse backgrounds in public health, clinical practice, epidemiology, social sciences and health economics. In addition, the Center has strong partnerships with the Evans School Policy Analysis Research Group (EPAR) and the Global Innovation Fellows in the Foster School of Business. The START Center has benefited tremendously from the experience of these partners and has also been able to leverage these relationships to recruit additional research assistants with experience and skills in policy and business administration. The START Center approaches research questions with a nuanced understanding of the complex challenges that affect health in communities across the globe and here at home.

Since 2011, START has:

  • Completed over 110 research requests (strategy support & operations, landscape analyses, & data metrics)
  • Delivered over 190 reports, presentations and tools
  • Trained over 60 graduate students (including current trainees) in research methodology, data presentation, leadership, project management, and communication.
  • Expanded our clientele, partnering with multiple new global clients in 2014 and an expansion into domestic public health

Quotable

  • "The START Center is one of the jewels in our School's crown. It epitomizes our commitments to excellent, hands-on student training; active engagement with agencies and other community partners; and real-time public health impact. I am a strong and enthusiastic supporter." Howard Frumkin UW School of Public Health Dean
  • "The START Center is an incredible example of how innovative approaches that combine public health service and training can bridge the "Know-Do" gap that we often see in academia. Giving highly qualified graduate students the opportunity to work on real world problems in a professional environment is a unique and valuable aspect of the Center. The depth and breadth of interdisciplinary expertise that the START Center brings to each project allows the students to develop skills working with diverse teams and producing information that ultimately has tremendous impact on the health of individuals and populations around the globe." Judith Wasserheit UW Department of Global Health Chair
  • "I am deeply grateful for my involvement with the START program; working with fellow graduate students, mentors, and partners at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation was a challenging and rewarding experience. I attribute much of my personal and professional development to my work with the START program, which cultivated my critical thinking, communication, and analytic skills in a fast-moving collaborative environment. I contributed to START projects targeting a vast array of global health topics; one particular project sparked my curiosity and ultimately motivated my dissertation research. Thank you." Michael Arndt, MPH, START Alumnus
  • "START has provided me opportunities at the beginning of my graduate career that other experiences couldn't have offered. Exposure to the consulting model within a training/academia will arm me with very specific skills and valuable research connections that push me to the next level of my career." Emily Deichsel, PhD Student, Epidemiology
  • "START has been the highlight of my graduate school experience. Through my work with the START Center, I have learned how to conduct applied research and to present results and data in meaningful and clear ways. In addition, I have been inspired by the wide variety of global health projects I have been a part of and through exposure to the work done by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue my education and pursue a PhD in Epidemiology so I can contribute more to the field." Erica Lokken, MPH, START Alumna
  • "START has given me an invaluable learning experience. The opportunity to discuss policy with high level decision makers has given me insights into fields of global health other student don't have. START fosters the highest-level of team collaboration and professionalism, attributes that are vital for the success of global health initiatives today and in the future." Kirkby Tickell, MBBS, MPH, START Alumnus
  • "The opportunity to work for the START Center was a large part of my grad school decision. It has been a pleasure to work with motivated students, top faculty mentors, and the BMGF while further refining my skills in research, analysis and presentation." Cheryl Dietrich, MPH Student, Epidemiology
  • "START has provided me with the opportunity to expand my understanding of global health topics and research approaches, collaborate with colleagues and mentors, and produce professional level deliverables. This experience has allowed insight into how public health research can be used to guide and influence decision making in real world settings." Jessica Long, PhD Student, Epidemiology
  • "I am honored to have been part of this one-of-a-kind program that allows UW grad students to apply skills and knowledge freshly acquired in the classroom to real global health problems." Torin Schaafsma, MS. START Alumnus
  • "I just don't think that there are groups who do a better job than START. The products I have seen and the approach that was built is exceptional - haven't seen anything quite like it." Grace John-Stewart Professor, Allergy & Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology, Global Health, Pediatrics