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How Community-Based Organizations and Nongovernmental Organizations Can Transform Global Public Health



Igniting the Power of Community: The Role of CBOs and NGOs in Global Public Health is a new book edited by Paul Gaist, PhD, MPH, adjunct professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which explores the pursuits and potential of community-based organizations (CBOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to transform global public health.

“At a time of unprecedented challenge—economic crises, social inequalities, environmental stressors, emerging health threats—these organizations are driving change, often being the first to call attention to the issues and increasingly forging significant and sustainable solutions,” said Gaist.

In Igniting the Power of Community, Gaist demonstrates why understanding the roles of the diverse organizations of this sector is vital to anyone concerned with improving health and public health today. He explains how citizen sector organizations work, their immediate and long-term impact on public health, and the key players and business dynamics involved. A sampling of the coverage:

  • The new era of social entrepreneurship and philanthropy
  • Sustainability in international public health NGOs
  • Front-line perspectives from both well-established and grassroots CBOs
  • Faith-based organizations and public health
  • NGOs and the military: evolving relationships in conflict and disaster zones
  • Understanding the environmental health movement and its impact

According to Gaist, the book serves as an invaluable resource for those working in clinical care, health research, public health programs or policy development and implementation in working most effectively with and within these dynamic organizations for those working in clinical care, health research, public health programs or policy development and implementation.

“This book is a guide to understanding, working with, and improving nongovernmental and community-based organizations. For those of us interested in improving the health of populations, Igniting the Power of Community should be required reading," said Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH, dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Gaist is an adjunct professor in Bloomberg School’s departments of Epidemiology; Health Policy and Management; and Health, Behavior and Society. He earned his doctorate in both behavioral sciences research and health education, and his master’s of public health degree in health policy and management from the Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is also a health scientist administrator in the Office of AIDS Research in the Office of the Director at the National Institutes of Health. He also has degrees in psychology and physiology from the University of California, Berkeley. Throughout his career, he has worked with many types of CBOs and NGOs across a diverse array of health and public health concerns in the U.S. and around the world.

Previously, Gaist was an intramural researcher at the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH); a program director for the Psychobiology Branch of the NIMH; the Deputy Director for HIV/AIDS for the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, Mental Health Administration at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; and a senior health adviser/agency representative at the White House National AIDS Program Office. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Health Communication: International Perspectives and the Journal of Science and Engineering Ethics.

Public Affairs media contact for JHSPH: Tim Parsons at 410-955-7619 or