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About the Center for Adolescent Health

Our Center is housed at the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Our mission is to promote health equity and wellbeing for youth through connection and collaboration with a diverse network of young people and community and academic partners on public health research, education, policy, and practice. We pursue our mission by: 

  • Improving the health and wellbeing of young people in the community 

  • Collaborating with community partners in Baltimore on research that advances healthy adolescent development 

  • Ensuring that research results are readily available for practical application in the community 

  • Connecting with other youth-serving organizations who share a common vision 

  • Communicating Center work to the broader community 

The Center is one of the 26 academic research centers that make up the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Prevention Research Centers (PRCs) Program. 

Our Community Partners

CAB member Christine Johnson talks with community member at CAH dinner

Community partnerships are essential to our mission. We work in collaboration with community agencies and stakeholders in Baltimore to understand and reduce adolescent risk behaviors such as tobacco and alcohol use, violence, and early sexual activity. We also rely on the perspectives, insights, and talents of our Youth Advisory Board (YAB) and Community Advisory Board (CAB) to guide our work.  

Synergy with the Bloomberg American Health Initiative

The Center works closely with the Bloomberg American Health Initiative (the Bloomberg Initiative) to pursue a shared focus on opportunity youth. Center Director Tamar Mendelson leads the Adolescent Health Steering Committee of the Bloomberg Initiative; Center faculty members Kristin Mmari, Terri Powell, Maria Trent, and Kiara Alvarez and CAB member Monica Guerrero Vazquez serve on the Adolescent Health Steering Committee. 

Our History

CDC Prevention Research Centers logo

The Center for Adolescent Health has been a member of CDC’s national network of funded Prevention Research Centers (PRCs) since its inception. The Center is located in the Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health (PFRH) at the Bloomberg School of Public Health and has longstanding ties to the Baltimore City Health Department and other city and community partners. 

Our Past Directors

Philip J. Leaf, PhD

Emeritus Director

Freya Sonenstein, PhD

Emeritus Director

Cheryl Alexander, RN, PhD (1945-2006)

Center Founding Director