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July 2023 Letter from the Director


Welcome to the July 2023 issue of Health Equity Happenings, the digital newsletter of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity! 

On May 5, 2023, the World Health Organization declared that COVID-19 was no longer a global public health emergency, so it can be said with caution and hope that we are now living in a post-pandemic world. But the challenges of health disparities remain, and there will always be the risk of another disease outbreak. To create a society where health equity is the norm, we need to train and support a diverse public health workforce. We still have a lot of work ahead of us, and I'm grateful you are joining us on this journey. 

The first half of this year has been a period of tremendous growth and change for the Center. In March, we were able to convene an official in-person launch for the Mid-Atlantic Center for Cardiometabolic Health Equity (MACCHE), which I co-lead with Dr. Deidra Crews. The MACCHE Kickoff was a resounding success, bringing together professionals from diverse backgrounds to strategize and collaborate on three intervention studies that address cardiometabolic disease disparities in Maryland: Health for Two Home-Visiting Program (Principal Investigators Drs. Wendy Bennett and Kelly Bower); UNLOAD Heart Failure (Principal Investigators Dr. Chiadi Ndumele and me); and LINKED HEARTS (Principal Investigators Drs. Yvonne Commodore-Mensah and Cheryl Dennison Himmelfarb). 

We hosted several exciting Jam sessions during the first half of the year, with our May session being held hybrid so we could feature two international healthcare researchers who were visiting Johns Hopkins as part of the Scottish Quality and Safety Fellowship. Dr. Leona Carroll, a general practitioner from Scotland, and Dr. Meryam Sugulle, an obstetrician from Norway, shared their insights and experiences with health disparities in countries that provide national healthcare, further enriching our understanding of global health equity challenges. Watch for announcements in September to find out who our next season of Jam session speakers will be! 

Congratulations to Dr. Deidra Crews, who is co-PI on a new $$3,378,763 (over five years) R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health for the project “A Hybrid Type 1 Effectiveness-Implementation Study of Education Strategies for Vascular Access Creation in Advanced Kidney Disease.” Dr. Crews is working with investigators from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to study the effectiveness of three education strategies developed for people with advanced kidney disease planning for hemodialysis.

Our Center researchers have been hard at work, and we are proud to highlight some significant publications. Some of those papers include: 

During our Community Advisory Board (CAB) meeting, Dr. Chidinma Ibe led a discussion about the invaluable contributions of Community Health Workers (CHWs) and I highlighted the latest updates from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). As Co-Chair of the PCAST public health working group, I am pleased to announce the publication of our report offering recommendations on improving the public health workforce to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities. 

We have also recently launched a third Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), Health Equity Research & Practice: Local & Global Lessons, to make our expertise accessible to a global audience and further advance our mission of promoting health equity at scale. This new MOOC covers systemic drivers of health inequity, maternal and immigrant health, and ways health equity researchers can learn by studying local and global problems and solutions. Find it on Coursera

We would like to extend our heartfelt congratulations to Dr. Chiadi Ndumele and Dr. Tanjala Purnell on their well-deserved faculty promotions. Their expertise and dedication have driven our research, education, and advocacy efforts. We are also delighted to welcome Dr. Eliana Perrin to the Center for Health Equity faculty. She is a nationally recognized leader in patient-oriented primary care, childhood obesity, and health disparities research. 

Other recent recognitions and accolades include:

  • Dr. Chidinma Ibe was awarded the AMTRA (Advising, Mentoring, and Teaching Recognition Award) from the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
  • Dr. Yvonne Commodore-Mensah received the newly established Term Professorship for Rising Faculty (Rising Professorship) from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.
  • Dr. Mary Catherine Beach received the Excellence in Medical Ethics Award, which recognizes the original scholarship that members of the Society for General Internal Medicine (SGIM) members have done to advance medical ethics.
  • Also from SGIM, Dr. Michelle Ogunwole won the competitive Milton W. Hamolsky Award for her abstract “Applying Critical Race Feminism to Explore Barriers and Facilitators to Postpartum Primary Care Utilization among Black Women with Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors: A Qualitative Study.”

Lastly, I was honored to receive the William B. Graham Prize for Health Services Research from Baxter International, Inc. and the Association of University Programs in Health Administration; the John M. Eisenberg National Award for Career Achievement in Research from the Society of General Internal Medicine; and the Robert S. Gordon, Jr. Lecture in Epidemiology Award from the National Institutes of Health. 

We are grateful for your continued support and commitment to health equity. Together, we can create a world where everyone has equal access to quality healthcare and the opportunity to lead healthy lives. We look forward to sharing more updates and accomplishments with you in the coming months. 

Wishing you good health and happiness, 

Lisa A. Cooper, MD, MPH 

Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity