Kathleen (Kate) West, PhD, MS

Current Roles

  • Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Global Health, University of Washington
    • Introduction to respectful partnerships and collaborative approaches in Global Health, GH306
    • Global Health and Justice, GH305
  • Research Scientist, Department of Bioethics & Humanities, University of Washington
    • Ethical use of genetic testing in identifiable populations
    • Pregnancy decision-making among patients with adult congenital heart disease
    • Implementation of genetic services in low-resourced settings
  • Adjunct faculty, Department of Midwifery, Bastyr University
    • MW-6127: The third course in the research series for the Maternal-Child Health Systems Master’s program, focused on research ethics with communities


  • PhD in Public Health Genetics, University of Washington, School of Public Health, Department of Bioethics and Humanities
  • MS in Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Center for Alaska Native Health Research
  • BA in Politics, Oberlin College

Past Experience

I have taught at the undergraduate and graduate levels, focusing on ethics and social justice in public health. I have also worked on several curriculum development committees within the University of Washington School of Public Health, including the undergraduate major and undoing racism training. 

I have spent over a decade studying research ethics and ethical community-academic health research partnerships, particularly involving Alaska Native and American Indian communities, and particularly in genetic/genomic research. My dissertation addressed what it means to be a trustworthy academic research partner, on a backdrop of distrust and harm to marginalized communities. I also spent three years working on research projects with the Center for Alaska Native Health Research, a multi-disciplinary community-based participatory research partnership with Yup’ik communities in rural Alaska. 

Previously, I worked as a Reproductive Health Specialist and Health Educator for Planned Parenthood of Alaska, where I provided a range of patient services, and developed education and outreach programs to bring health information and services to remote locations.

My publications are available at my website: http://www.katemwest.com/publications.html


Professionally, I am interested in advancing the ethics of health research with communities experiencing health disparities, and in contributing to shifting institutional policies and norms that hinder the development of ethical partnerships that could benefit these communities. I am often in inter-/multidisciplinary and cross-cultural settings, where all involved do not necessarily share a set of values, background or language. I listen with humility, and often serve as a connector of ideas across otherwise disparate fields and groups of people—integral to addressing complex Public Health problems, such as health disparities. My work can be found at www.katemwest.com.

I love being outdoors with my family, singing, dancing and being Mama to my 5-year-old son and 1.5-year-old daughter.


I respect my students as whole people, and believe that all students bring experience and expertise to the classroom. I use active learning and case studies to engage complex concepts, and tailor my classes to offer tools and skills that are relevant to students’ interests and future goals.

Kate West, PhD, MS
Kate West PhD, MS