Keshia M. Pollack Porter Named Chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
Keshia M. Pollack Porter, PhD, MPH, an expert in advancing health equity and policy change that promotes safe and healthy environments, has been named chair of the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Pollack Porter, who joined the Bloomberg School faculty in 2006 and most recently served as Vice Dean for Faculty, will be the first Black department chair at the Bloomberg School. She assumes her new role on February 15.
Pollack Porter has extensive experience engaging with policymakers to inform the development and implementation of policies that can advance health equity at the local, state, and federal levels. Pollack Porter is an advocate for policy changes that incorporate health and health equity, including health impact assessments that help decision makers and practitioners evaluate the potential health effects of a plan, project, or policy, before it is implemented.
Central to her work is collaborating across key sectors, including urban planning, housing, education, transportation, and criminal justice. She has published widely on policies and practices that promote inclusive and anti-racist public spaces to expand opportunities for outdoor play, recreation, and physical activity.
“I am thrilled to be the next chair of one of the largest, disciplinary diverse, and strongest departments of health policy and management in the world,” says Pollack Porter. “My vision for the Department includes amplifying our research, dissemination, and training activities with a particular focus on health equity. Beginning my tenure as the School’s first Black chair during the month when we celebrate Black excellence makes this appointment feel even more meaningful and, quite frankly, long overdue.”
As chair, Pollack Porter will lead the Department’s faculty, staff, and educational programs, including its Master of Health Administration, Master of Science in Public Health in Health Policy, and two doctoral degree programs. She will also provide leadership and support for the Department’s research centers, including the Center for Gun Violence Prevention and Policy, Center for Health Disparities Solutions, and Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy, among others.
She will continue to prioritize the Department’s Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-Racism, and Equity (IDARE) initiatives. This includes implementing curriculum review, cultivating inclusive learning environments, and prioritizing scholarship that advances health equity and focuses on the impact of racism on public health and public safety.
Pollack Porter recently served as the guest editor for the Bloomberg School magazine’s Fall 2020 special section on racism as a public health crisis and created the magazine’s Voices Against Racism column, which provides School faculty with space to express their perspectives on racism and racial equity.
“Dr. Pollack Porter shines as an academic, a faculty and community leader, and a champion of inclusion, diversity, and anti-racism,” says Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, ScM, dean of the Bloomberg School and a former chair of the Department. “As chair, she will lead with energy and grace while charting a bold course for the future. I am excited to see how the Department of Health Policy and Management will thrive under her guidance.”
Among her many awards and accolades, Pollack Porter was selected in 2011 by the Maryland Daily Record for its annual 40 Under 40 list of young leaders, and in 2012 received the American Public Health Association’s Injury Control and Emergency Health Services Section Mid-Career Outstanding Service Award. She is a three-time winner of the School’s Advising, Mentoring, and Teaching Recognition Award, and in 2018 received the Johns Hopkins University Distinguished Alumna Award.
Pollack Porter is currently a Bloomberg Centennial Professor in the Department. She also serves as director of the School’s Institute for Health and Social Policy in the Department and co-director of the Institute’s European partner in Barcelona, the Johns Hopkins University-University Pompeu Fabra Public Policy Center. She is also the director of Health Policy Research Scholars, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation leadership program, and co-director of the School’s Center for Health Disparities Solutions Investigator Development Core.
Pollack Porter graduated with a BA in Sociology from Tufts University in 2000 and earned her MPH in Chronic Disease Epidemiology from the Yale School of Public Health in 2002. In 2005, she completed her PhD in Health and Public Policy at the Bloomberg School. Before joining the Bloomberg School faculty, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship jointly sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Pollack Porter succeeds Albert Wu, MD, who became the Department’s interim chair after Colleen L. Barry, PhD, MPP, stepped down as chair to become the inaugural dean of the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy at Cornell University. Barry served as chair of the department from January 2017 to August 2021. Dean MacKenzie, the School’s 11th dean, served as the Department’s chair from September 2005 to December 2016.