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Position Details

Academic Personnel

Postdoctoral Scholar – Nature and Health

Position Overview

School / Campus / College: College of the Environment

Organization: Environmental and Forest Sciences

Title: Postdoctoral Scholar – Nature and Health

Position Details

Position Description

We are seeking a postdoctoral scholar to work with an interdisciplinary team on an innovative study to evaluate the impacts of urban tree planting on a variety of community health outcomes. The two-year study will investigate physical and mental health benefits of increased nature contact resulting from tree planting in communities currently experiencing health disparities that stem from social and environmental disadvantage. This is a partnership between the UW and The Nature Conservancy, Tacoma Tree Foundation and the City of Tacoma that is funded by a grant from the Puget Sound Partnership. In collaboration with the PIs and members of the Environment and Well-Being Lab (, and the UW Interdisciplinary Conservation Science Lab (, this postdoc will lead research that involves partnership with communities in Tacoma and the use of interdisciplinary methods to examine the impacts of tree plantings on heat- and stress-related health outcomes.


The research will occur in the Tacoma Mall Regional Growth Center and surrounding neighborhoods, located in South Tacoma, WA. This area contains few green amenities (70% of land cover is impervious surface), and is forecast to become one of Puget Sound’s most dense urban centers in the near future. Tacoma Tree Foundation, City of Tacoma, and other partners are working to expand tree canopy and green infrastructure to reduce stormwater pollution, improve water infiltration to the South Tacoma Aquifer, improve air quality, and cool urban heat islands.


This position will be an initial 21-month appointment with a possible extension, pending funding. The position will be co-supervised by Drs. Gregory Bratman and Phillip Levin (UW School of Environmental and Forest Sciences), and work closely with Maia Murphy-Williams and Dr. Ailene Ettinger  (The Nature Conservancy), to assess the health impacts of nature exposure through a randomized-controlled trial study design that compares impacts in planted vs. non-planted areas within south Tacoma. The study team will conduct a longitudinal study of integrated socio-environmental benefits of urban tree plantings in this rapidly changing area, where widespread green infrastructure is planned over the next several years. The team will quantify how ecosystem services, including environmental effects (temperature reduction) and  human  health  (psychological  well-being) of greening efforts shift over time and in response to tree characteristics such as size and age.


The project requires attention to detail and training in conducting research with human participants, as well as best practices in community based participatory research, writing and ensuring study team consistency with Institutional Review Board and clinical protocols, development of standard operating procedure documentation, and leading other aspects of study coordination. Interested candidates should have some experience with human participants, as well as knowledge of established methodological approaches and models, and a dedication to adherence to project timelines, and completeness of documentation.


In addition to coordinating and running key components of the study, the postdoctoral researcher will conduct studies of related literature and research to support the design and implementation of the study design, generation of reports, ensuring conceptual relevance, comprehensiveness, and currency of information. Postdoctoral scholars are expected to write and publish articles in peer-reviewed journals that highlight findings from research activities ensuring consistency with the highest standards of academic publication. The successful candidate will develop collaborative links with core personnel in related program areas to gain exposure to, and build knowledge on research activities and approaches, in order to improve conceptual development and implementation of existing programs and make progress towards project objectives. The postdoctoral scholar will also contribute to the writing of grant proposals, as appropriate. Telework permitted in some instances, but in-person meetings with the community will be required. Anticipated start date is December 1, 2021.


The University of Washington (Seattle campus), a leader in undergraduate and graduate education and one of the world's premiere research universities, offers rigorous academic programs, outstanding faculty, and diverse cultural and social opportunities in a stimulating intellectual environment. The College of the Environment, including its six Schools and Departments and multiple programs, institutes, and centers, connects educators, researchers, students and citizens, cultivating communities who work with and learn from each other while tackling critical environmental challenges. The School of Environmental and Forest Sciences is dedicated to generating and disseminating knowledge for the stewardship of natural and managed environments and the sustainable use of their products and services through teaching, research and outreach.


The University of Washington (UW) is located in the greater Seattle metropolitan area, with a dynamic, multicultural community of 3.7 million people and a range of ecosystems from mountains to ocean. The UW serves a diverse population of 80,000 students, faculty and staff, including 25% first-generation college students, over 25% Pell Grant students, and faculty from over 70 countries. The UW is a recipient of a National Science Foundation ADVANCE Institutional Transformation Award to increase the advancement of women faculty in science, engineering, and math (see


The UW and School of Environmental and Forest Sciences promotes diversity and inclusivity among our students, faculty, staff, and public. Thus, we are seeking candidates whose experiences have prepared them to fulfill our commitment to inclusion and have given them the confidence to fully engage audiences from a wide spectrum of backgrounds.  Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI)


Postdoctoral scholars at UW are represented by UAW 4121 and are subject to the collective bargaining agreement, unless agreed exclusion criteria apply. For more information, please visit the University of Washington Labor Relations website.


Candidates must hold a PhD or foreign equivalent in environmental social science or a related field, and have no more than 4 years of total postdoctoral experience at the time of appointment.  The successful candidate for this position will have expertise and experience synthesizing, interpreting, and communicating scientific information; demonstrated experience with conducting research with human participants, diverse stakeholder groups, and community-based research, ideally with a focus on health; quantitative analysis skills; a record of publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and experience as a science communicator with the ability to relate scientific concepts to a variety of audiences. Multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience appreciated. Knowledge of key issues in nature and health is preferred. Experience working in interdisciplinary scientific teams is desired, as are excellent written and personal communication skills, the ability and desire to work both independently and collaboratively, and to meet deadlines.


To apply for this position, please submit an application via Interfolio. Applicants must submit:

  1. a statement of research interests and relevant skill set
  2. a CV
  3. a representative example of your scholarly work
  4. names, addresses, emails and telephone numbers of three references.

Questions regarding potential disability accommodations during the application process can be directed to  The University of Washington is using Interfolio's Faculty Search to conduct this search. Applicants to this position receive a free Dossier account and can send all application materials free of charge.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

University of Washington is an affirmative action and equal opportunity employer. All
qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, creed,
religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, genetic information,
gender identity or expression, age, disability, or protected veteran status.

Apply now

The University of Washington is using Interfolio's Faculty Search to conduct this search. Applicants to this position receive a free Dossier account and can send all application materials, including confidential letters of recommendation, free of charge.

For help signing up, accessing your account, or submitting your application, please check out Interfolio's help and support section or get in touch via email at or phone at (877)997-8807.

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Office of the Title IX Coordinator

Valery Richardson, Title IX Coordinator
Mags Aleks, Deputy Title IX Coordinator
4311 11th Ave NE Seattle, WA 98105

Commitment to Diversity

The University of Washington is committed to building diversity among its faculty, librarian,
staff, and student communities, and articulates that commitment in the UW Diversity Blueprint
( Additionally, the University’s Faculty Code
recognizes faculty efforts in research, teaching and/or service that address diversity and equal
opportunity as important contributions to a faculty member’s academic profile and
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