The Alliance for a Healthier World was founded to build on the successes of multidisciplinary collaborations among faculty and researchers across Johns Hopkins, and to support initiatives that promote health equity around the world. To better understand the current work of Johns Hopkins faculty and researchers, we conducted a survey to gather information and gauge their interests in health equity.
“The goal of the survey was to get a better sense of what work is already being done in health equity across Johns Hopkins University,” said Anna Kalbarczyk, AHW Special Projects Advisor. “Each of us on the AHW team had an idea of who in our networks was doing what and where but the Alliance aims to reach beyond our basic networks, to build new relationships, and grow existing resources. This survey data, disseminated with the help of our interdisciplinary steering committee, reached a broad audience and offered unique insight into the health equity scene at Johns Hopkins.”
A whopping 248 faculty and staff across all Johns Hopkins divisions completed the survey during June 2017. One third of the respondents hailed from the Bloomberg School of Public Health, one fourth were affiliated with the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences and one fourth were from the School of Medicine. The remainder were spread across other divisions, including the Applied Physics Lab, Carey Business School, School of Nursing, and the Whiting School of Engineering. This university-wide interest demonstrates the diverse range of individuals with an interest in this common challenge – to address global health equity – a concept that requires engagement from a wide range of disciplines.
Working Across the Globe
Given our global focus, we wanted to find out which countries faculty have been working in for their projects. Of the 88 countries and areas recorded in the survey, the countries which respondents most frequently worked in are - in descending order - India, Uganda, China, South Africa, Kenya and Bangladesh. While most respondents reported working in Africa and South Asia, nearly 20% of the respondents have worked in East Asia/Pacific, and just over 10% have respectively worked in Latin America/Caribbean and Europe/Central Asia. JHU faculty are clearly engaged in impactful work in many corners of the world.
Partnerships, Partnerships, Partnerships
Partnerships are imperative for advancing health equity; this complex, multi-faceted challenge extends beyond public health and, so far, has not been accomplished by a single sector. We believe strategic partnerships and cross-sector collaborations are necessary to map out best practices to address what is happening on the ground in disadvantaged communities. We asked the respondents to share the nature of any partnerships they have established. Over 70% have in-country research partners, and about 50% of the respondents have education partners. Many have partnerships with policy stakeholders or networks and civil society organizations (over 30% of respondents, respectively).
The survey highlights our faculty and staff are engaged in a variety of partnerships around the globe, and present exciting opportunities for the Alliance to unite groups working towards a common goal.
Collaborative Opportunities Reign
To determine how to best serve the JHU community, the survey asked respondents to rank the types of activities that would interest them. They expressed the most interest in conducting collaborative multidisciplinary research, networking with others interested in global health equity, and collaborating for funding opportunities. Surprisingly, respondents expressed the least interest in receiving training for applying to collaborative funding opportunities and participating in social entrepreneurship challenges – both of which are fast growing sources of funding for innovative, interdisciplinary projects.
The survey reminded us that although faculty are interested in multidisciplinary collaborations, the work that goes into making these happen and to be successful are harder to implement and achieve. We are taking this into consideration as we look to how we can better support you, your colleagues and students to lead successful collaborations that incorporate engagement and input from other disciplines.
Onwards and Upwards
We’re sharing key data in an interactive summary report on our website - please view this for more detailed information on where your peers are working, how they are engaged with partners, and their interests in health equity opportunities.
One of the resounding impressions from the survey is that Johns Hopkins faculty across the university are clearly dedicated to tackling health equity. Our faculty know collaborative and multidisciplinary research works. Collectively, we know partnerships are the way forward to making the changes needed for addressing health equity.
Our team at AHW have our work cut out for us to engage you in meaningful ways to help you undertake these; we’re excited to lead the charge to work together as a unified force for change.
Article Compiled by The Alliance for a Healthier World Team
AHW would like to acknowledge Shirley Yan, MSPH 2019 candidate, who cleaned and analyzed the survey data.