The Alliance for a Healthier World was created to unleash the scientific, analytic, and creative expertise of Johns Hopkins University faculty to address the toughest health equity challenges of our time in Baltimore and throughout the world. As we look ahead to 2019, we are excited by the portfolio of projects underway to advance these important goals.
The Alliance last year awarded four Impact Grants (formerly known as Implementation Grants) of $250,000 each to address health equity issues across the globe. The Thermal Cooker for Healthier Air project in Peru is refining prototypes of insulated cooking bags that could transform the way food is prepared and help communities move away from unhealthy biomass fuel to cleaner liquified petroleum gas. The Safe Passage for American Indian Adolescent Girls team is working to create a new app designed specifically to provide Native American girls with information and resources related to sexual and reproductive health. The Zero TB in Tibetan Kids group is implementing novel tuberculosis drug regimens for Tibetan refugee children in India, who suffer from TB at a rate 12 times higher than that of Indian children. And our ADHINCRA Study team is working in Ghana to address gaps in management and treatment of hypertension, which the WHO estimates will be the cause of 75 percent of all deaths in the Sub-Saharan region by the year 2020. The Alliance is excited to share with you stories from the field in the coming months as the researchers on these four projects work to advance our health equity efforts.
In 2019, the Alliance will award another three Impact Grants based on a competitive proposal process to identify the most innovative proposals that target the highest value global health equity challenges. Stay tuned for more information about key dates for this process.
In order to reach new audiences and better promote understanding of health equity issues, the Alliance team will seek technical and creative expertise from colleagues across the university to produce student-created educational pieces from multiple mediums including video, photography, music, writing, and performances. We’ll have more details in coming months about this innovative approach and opportunities for involvement in this new initiative.
In April, Dr. Peter Winch, a professor in the Department of International Health and head of the Alliance’s Healthy Environments theme, will host a clean-air symposium to bring together researchers from across Johns Hopkins who study this issue in order to foster new research collaborations on air pollution, climate change, and energy systems. Our three other themes—Food & Nutrition Security, Transformative Technologies & Institutions, and Gender Equity & Justice—also have events in the works that will create awareness and spark new collaborations.
At the heart of the Alliance is our mission to bring together experts from diverse field across Johns Hopkins to address health equity. To that end, our next round of Launchpad Grants (formerly known as Planning Grants) is underway and will be awarded after a matching process between faculty across the university, guided by our Steering Committee members and Alliance staff.
Global Health Equity Scholars
Since joining the program in November 2018, our 10 scholars have been busy as they move from foundations to applied work. In monthly sessions with AHW staff, they have discussed the drivers of health inequity and developed creative solutions to address health disparities in Baltimore City. In the coming months, our teams will engage in a variety of work, including applying app-development expertise to inform a planned algorithmic-bias conference; investigating the measures available to track sexual harassment and discrimination across U.S. campuses; developing equity-centric evaluations for our grants teams; and preparing a schoolwide symposium to discuss findings from a review of interventions to mitigate outdoor air pollution and climate change. We are extremely proud of our Scholars, whose important efforts advance the mission of our Alliance.
We are grateful to President Daniels and Provost Kumar for their continued support, and as we look ahead to what 2019 offers, we are excited about the important work we can accomplish to further our heath equity goals and improve people’s lives.
David Peters is the Academic Director of the Alliance for a Healthier World (AHW), and the Chair and Professor at the International Health department in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His research explores the factors that improve overall levels and distribution of health status, the risk of poverty due to health expenditures and ill health, and public satisfaction with health services.