The Alliance for a Healthier World (previously known as the Global Health Signature Initiative) is one of the innovative cross-cutting signature initiatives launched by Johns Hopkins University President, Ron Daniels. 

In 2013, the university identified Signature Initiatives for the Rising to the Challenge campaign that spanned individualized health, the science of learning, the future of cities, and global health.  Together with the Bloomberg Distinguished Professors, the Signature Initiatives aimed to leverage and strengthen JHU divisional expertise to create innovative, interdisciplinary solutions for the most critical global issues. Learn more about the Signature Initiatives here.

Previous Collaboration Efforts at Johns Hopkins

Johns Hopkins has long been home to profound acts of collaboration. We have championed the role of interdisciplinary cooperation as a means of solving the world’s most complex problems and fundamental questions.

  • From Gordon “Reds” Wolman’s creation of the pioneering Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, to contemporary initiatives such as our Berman Institute of Bioethics, the Institute for Cell Engineering and the Brain Science Institute, we have, time and again, achieved distinction through interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Johns Hopkins Medicine, the Bloomberg School of Public Health and the School of Nursing together comprise nothing less than the preeminent academic health science enterprise in the world, the home to groundbreaking innovations that have advanced human knowledge and healed millions, birthed the model for medical and public health and nursing education we know today, and yielded dramatic and far-reaching improvements to patient care.
  • Our East Baltimore campus is one of the few in the world where elite schools of nursing, medicine and public health are adjacent to one another and within steps of a premier hospital and where faculty collaboration within and among schools is a widely recognized element of the culture.
  • Mayor Michael Bloomberg has already made a stirring investment in this vision with his gift of $250 million to endow fifty professorships that will anchor cross-disciplinary work across the university.

Impetus for the Alliance for a Healthier World

While JHU has a strong record of collaboration, the intensive signature initiative approach was influenced by the Framework for the Future report that observed “different sources of support, attendant responsibilities and policies have created logistical barriers to collaboration” across the university. Specific challenges to multidisciplinary collaboration were identified:

  • Organizational and budgetary arrangements can impair faculty and student success in mounting interdisciplinary ventures
  • JHU structures too often inadvertently impede the enterprising impulses of our faculty, staff and students to connect
  • Hurdles are only compounded by the geographic dispersion of our university across multiple campuses

JHU leadership recognized the need to ensure that those disciplines can be easily permeated, that it is as easy to work across the disciplines as it is within them.

Progress To Date

Initial funding support was generated by the Rising to the Challenge: which raised unprecedented levels of support to attract, sustain, and further empower the people of Johns Hopkins—our students, faculty, and researchers—who through their work, improve the lives of millions around the world.

Having devised an overarching strategy and established a preliminary network of contacts across the university, the Alliance for a Healthier World eagerly renamed its initiative (previously known as the Global Health Signature Initiative) launched its program of activities in summer 2017.