$250K Healthier World Implementation Grants Bring Fresh Approaches for Health Equity

JHU Alliance for a Healthier World Awards Four Healthier World Challenge Implementation Grants to Advance Research and Action toward Global Health Equity  

The Johns Hopkins Alliance for a Healthier World (AHW) is thrilled to announce four recipients of the inaugural Healthier World Challenge Implementation Grants. The grant program provides up to $250,000 over three years for teams comprised of Johns Hopkins University (JHU) faculty, staff, and students to partner with local organizations and public sector entities. The external collaborations aim to ensure community involvement and expand the long-term benefits of research projects in low-and middle-income countries (LMIC) or in First Nations communities.

In late August 2018, AHW awarded four cross-divisional JHU teams representing biomedical, engineering, education, arts and sciences and business divisions across the campus to advance their proposed transformative contributions.

Dr. David Peters, Director of the Alliance for a Healthier World, says he's excited to have researchers coming 7 different divisions at Johns Hopkins, and that "they have found a way to build from plans that they've made together from old and new collaborations with real practical applications".

At its core, the grant program "facilitates collaborations with local partners, institutions and communities and involve the local individuals and communities in the implementation work," says Dr. Peters. It's the centerpiece of the Alliance’s mission to facilitate innovative research by supporting multidisciplinary teams to focus on complex and intractable socio-structural challenges linked to health inequities. Learn more about health inequity challenges here.

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Dr. Peters says, the selected teams offer "interesting and important ways to address health inequities; whether we're looking at adolescents and mental health issues in American Indian communities to working with a displaced and vulnerable population of Tibetan children in India, or tackling the big problem around neglected chronic diseases in urban populations in Ghana or addressing issues around affordable and non-polluting ways of generating energy for cooking in Peru."

Each of the four grants "looks at health equity in a very different way with different kinds of teams and different populations and all of them have a way of linking evidence and using science to making practical differences in peoples lives," he added.

 From grantee team -  Promoting Safe Passage from Adolescence to Adulthood for Native American Women  - Dr. Allison Barlow (Principal Investigator) in middle with Francene Larzelere, (Senior Leader) on left, and Novalene Goklish (Senior Leader) on right at the workplace hub for project, Fort Apache. 

From grantee team - Promoting Safe Passage from Adolescence to Adulthood for Native American Women - Dr. Allison Barlow (Principal Investigator) in middle with Francene Larzelere, (Senior Leader) on left, and Novalene Goklish (Senior Leader) on right at the workplace hub for project, Fort Apache. 

 From grantee team -  Transformative Technologies for Zero TB in Tibetan Kids  - Dr. Richard Chaisson (Principal Investigator), fifth from left, with Dr Kunchok Dorjee (JHU) and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (center), who has blessed the project, with collaborators (from left) Dawa Phunkyi, Dr. Tsetan Sadutshang, Dr. Zorba Paster, and Dr. Sonam Topgyal.

From grantee team - Transformative Technologies for Zero TB in Tibetan Kids - Dr. Richard Chaisson (Principal Investigator), fifth from left, with Dr Kunchok Dorjee (JHU) and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama (center), who has blessed the project, with collaborators (from left) Dawa Phunkyi, Dr. Tsetan Sadutshang, Dr. Zorba Paster, and Dr. Sonam Topgyal.

 From grantee team -  ADHINCRA - Study ADdressing HypertensIon Care in AfRicA  - Yvonne Commodore-Mensa (Principal Investigator.

From grantee team - ADHINCRA - Study ADdressing HypertensIon Care in AfRicA - Yvonne Commodore-Mensa (Principal Investigator.

 From grantee team -  Thermal cooker to reduce household air pollution in Puno Peru  - Right bottom corner, Steve Harvey (Principal Investigator), with team members David Danz, Kendra Williams, Elba Angeles, Danz, Leonora Condorí, Marysol Encarnación, and Marisa Henry.

From grantee team - Thermal cooker to reduce household air pollution in Puno Peru - Right bottom corner, Steve Harvey (Principal Investigator), with team members David Danz, Kendra Williams, Elba Angeles, Danz, Leonora Condorí, Marysol Encarnación, and Marisa Henry.

Quick Facts about the Grant Teams

  • Research projects will be implemented on four continents and in four countries: India, Peru, Ghana, and American Indian First Nations. 
  • The four multidisciplinary teams will convene expertise from 7 of 9 JHU Divisions: Bloomberg School of Public Health, Carey School of Business; Krieger School of Arts and Sciences; School of Education; School of Medicine; School of Nursing; and Whiting School of Engineering
  • Taken together, the research portfolio addresses health equity challenges from all four prioritized themes - Food & Nutrition Security, Healthy Environments, Gender Equity & Justice, Transformative Technologies & Institutions. Read about our prioritized themes here.
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The grant criteria encourage teams to focus on health inequities occurring among the most marginalized and vulnerable populations in the most difficult institutional and resource-constrained environments (Learn about these concepts here).  

A key requirement for these teams will be to measure and document the impact and scale of their work for the purpose of sharing effective approaches and new knowledge broadly. 

"We don't often get opportunities to do team science with a planning period beforehand to bring different groups together. The focus that each multidisciplinary team is going to have toward social justice and health equity and the emphasis on being able to demonstrate their impact, will offer significant value, " said Peters, emphasizing, "There isn't the implicit assumption that you when improve a health service, it's going to automatically address health inequities. The robust demonstration of the health inequity solution IS the outcome of interest."  

The Healthier World Challenge Implementation Grant selected portfolio represents a focus on a socio-structural determinants theory of change and suggests that complex, layered global health equity challenges require the integration of multi-dimensional perspectives, skillsets and learnings from across sectors, academic disciplines, and geographic contexts.

The AHW team was impressed by the quality of submissions received and, in addition to the four awarded groups, will assist teams who were not awarded Healthier World Challenge grants to identify potential funding sources for innovative work.

Please join us in congratulating our fellow colleagues, students, friends, mentors and mentees.

“Through these grants, we hope to intentionally engage and unify our best minds in not only medicine, nursing and public health, but also international relations, engineering, education, business, the creative arts, and bioethics.”
— David Peters, Director for the Alliance for a Healthier World.

Next Steps

The AHW will continue to support awardees throughout the three-year project duration by providing training opportunities in communications and fundraising, generating multimedia pieces focused on community & academic partnerships, bi-directional learning and broadly sharing teams’ progress, successes and challenges. All teams will submit regular progress reports, host annual field visits, and participate in AHW events. 

The next cycle of Healthier World Challenge Implementation Grants will open in the second quarter of 2019. Further details here.

Follow our Grantee teams' accomplishments

Join us and follow the progress of our 2018 implementation grant awardees and previous planning grant recipients - we'll be producing a series of visual and written stories documenting the progress of research teams and the communities they're serving.

Acknowledgment

The 2017-2019 Healthier World Challenge Grant Program is made possible through generous support from the JHU’s Office of the Provost. More information about the program and the grantees is available on the AHW website