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The Globe | Summer 2019

From the Chair

Edgar Berman Professor and Chair David Peters

David Peters

This year, the Bloomberg School launched an exciting new strategic plan called The Power of Public Health. The plan will help us address emerging public health challenges by reshaping what we do and how we do it. To complement the School’s efforts, we’re developing our own five-year strategic plan for International Health. Over the past few months a team of faculty, staff and students has been meeting with groups across the Department to discuss priorities and opportunities for the future. As the plan takes shape, we are also engaging collaborators to learn about their needs and how we can work better together. We hope this process will make for a robust strategic plan that strengthens our commitment and ability to help the world’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged people improve their health and well-being.

In this issue of The Globe, you’ll see examples of how our faculty, alumni and students are working with people across the world to improve access to health care and health equity. For example, Professor Anthony So recently presented the United Nations (UN) Secretary General António Guterres with expert recommendations on antimicrobial resistance. With the threat of antibiotic-resistant diseases pushing millions of people into extreme poverty, the recommendations stress the need for equitable and affordable access to antimicrobials.

Associate Professor Caitlin Kennedy also presented at the UN this year. She and her team of researchers, including many Hopkins students and alumni, contributed to a special BMJ series on self-care interventions for sexual and reproductive health and rights. Dr. Kennedy spoke at the UN about her findings and their implications for expanding access to self-care tests and medications, especially among vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.

We recently welcomed our first faculty for digital health, Assistant Professor Smisha Agarwal. Agarwal is one of the top researchers and practitioners in the field. As part of a World Health Organization (WHO) development group, she was instrumental in the development of WHO’s first guideline on digital health. The group, co-chaired by Associate Professor Alain Labrique, examined and interpreted the evidence and formulated the final recommendations. The guideline emphasizes the importance of reaching vulnerable populations, and ensuring that digital health does not put them in danger. 

And finally, congratulations to our 2019 graduates. Twenty-four dissertations were defended successfully and more than 66 master’s degrees were awarded. International Health alumni are one of our greatest assets. Through our strategic planning process, we are working on ways of building even stronger connections with you. We always welcome your suggestions and advice.  

David Peters, MD, MPH ‘89, DrPH ’93
Edgar Berman Professor and Chair
Department of International Health
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health