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Student Profile: Deja Knight

Deja Knight, MPH, MA, is a PhD candidate in the Social and Behavioral Interventions program in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her research focuses on intersectional social determinants of health, HIV, and substance use in the United States, specifically among minoritized and low-resource communities.

Deja is a graduate research assistant in both the Department of International Health and Department of Mental Health. She also serves as a Steering Committee Member in the Department’s IDARE Group and is a Teaching Council Fellow at the School. She also serves as a Section Counselor in the Community Health Planning and Policy Development Section of the American Public Health Association. Previously Deja’s professional work included providing risk assessments and free, confidential HIV and Hepatitis C testing to high-risk communities in Iowa.

Deja is an advocate for diversity and inclusion in higher education, serving as an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Fellow in the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Additionally, she co-founded and co-directed Our Collective Brains (OCB), an organization that aimed to help first-generation and minority students excel academically at the University of Iowa.

For her work in public health Deja was named a C. Sylvia and Eddie C. Brown Community Health Scholar at the Bloomberg School. She has also been recognized as a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow and has received the Center for AIDS Research Adolescent and Young Adult Microgrant. Deja was a Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program Fellow and a QuestBridge Scholar at Wesleyan University. In early 2023, Deja was accepted into the Edward A. Bouchet Graduate Honor Society where she will be inducted at Yale University and the Johns Hopkins University, further demonstrating her commitment to professional and personal excellence.

Deja is passionate about promoting health equity and committed to addressing health disparities in communities through her research and advocacy. “I encourage everyone to challenge yourself both in and outside of your program. Trying and exploring different avenues might not always be the most comfortable, but it can lead to tremendous growth!”


Published March 9, 2023.