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A cross-divisional department spanning

One Health Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University

The MPOH Study

Happy family with dog in center.

Investigating Effects of Demographic-disparities, Racism, and the Human-animal Bond on Minority Health


The MPOH Study Research Goals

Via online and paper-copy survey, our project aims to identify and assess the potential health benefits of the human-animal bond for people from racial and ethnic minority groups. Racial and ethnic minorities are at an increased risk of experiencing negative mental and physical health outcomes due to social, health, and financial disparities stemming from historical systematic racism (e.g., racial residential segregation*).

The fundamental goal of this work is to identify if and how different human-animal-bond related factors (e.g., veterinary care access, frequency of interaction) are associated with improved mental and physical health outcomes for minority pet-owners, who are commonly neglected in human-animal bond health studies.

To investigate the above, our research team will:

  • Assess the potential association between pet-ownership status, human-animal bond related factors, and participant physical and mental health outcomes, with a focus on racial and ethnic minorities.
  • Assess the potential effects of human-animal bond related factors on the relationship between participant health and self-perceived stress associated with past racism-related experiences.
  • Assess how respiratory-related outcomes (e.g., allergies, eczema, and asthma) and COVID-19 health outcomes (i.e., exposure or infection) may affect the degree of interaction between pets and owners, and thus owner health. [Optional Extended Questioning Sections]

Collaborators include:

Community Organizations: To perform participant recruitment the research study team will contact organizations within Mid-Atlantic communities. These organizations are defined as:

  • Pet-care businesses
  • Community-support or wellness programs (e.g., YMCA)
  • Faith-based groups (e.g., local churches)

     The purpose of our team contacting community organizations is to catalyze a relationship with the community of focus, encourage survey
     participation, and be able to work with these groups to encourage beneficial interventions or policies based on study results.

We encourage you to take the survey if you:

  • Are 18 years or older
  • Have a fluency in English – this is due to the practical consideration of our study, such as the lack of cost to utilize a language translation service, to minimize the risk of improperly depicting stakeholder perspectives due to a language barrier 
  • Live within the Mid-Atlantic Region, to promote collecting a representative sample

If you agree that you fit into the above categories and would like to participate in this study, please go to our survey website. The survey takes about 20 to 25  minutes to complete.

    Scan or click on the QR code to take the survey.

      The MPOH Study Research Team

      Principal Investigator
      Meghan F. Davis, DVM, PhD, MPH

      Roland Thorpe, PhD, MS

      Study Coordinators



      *Resources concerning the inspiration and background of this project

      • Diez-Roux, A. V., Nieto, F. J., Muntaner, C., Tyroler, H. A., Comstock, G. W., Shahar, E., Cooper, L. S., Watson, R. L., & Szklo, M. (1997). Neighborhood environments and coronary heart disease: a multilevel analysis. American journal of epidemiology, 146(1), 48–63.
      • Mouzon, D. M., Taylor, R. J., Keith, V. M., Nicklett, E. J., & Chatters, L. M. (2017). Discrimination and psychiatric disorders among older African Americans. International journal of geriatric psychiatry, 32(2), 175–182. 
      • Ross, C. E., & Mirowsky, J. (2001). Neighborhood Disadvantage, Disorder, and Health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 42(3), 258–276.
      • Rothstein, R. (2018). The Color of Law. Liveright Publishing Corporation.
      • Williams, D. R., & Collins, C. (2001). Racial residential segregation: a fundamental cause of racial disparities in health. Public health reports (Washington, D.C. : 1974), 116(5), 404–416.
      • Williams, D. R., Yan Yu, Jackson, J. S., & Anderson, N. B. (1997). Racial Differences in Physical and Mental Health: Socio-economic Status, Stress and Discrimination. Journal of health psychology, 2(3), 335–351.