Planning Grants awards - Cycle 2

The following proposals were received during summer 2017 and awarded funds up to USD$25,ooo from the Cycle Two of Planning Grants. 

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  • RESEARCH TEAM: School of Medicine, Carey Business School, Whiting School of Engineering, Jhpiego, and Berman Institute of Bioethics
  • TEAM MEMBERS: Soumyadipta Acharya, Jean Anderson, Rachel Chan-Seay, Grace Chen, Jenell Coleman, Maqbool Dada, Ahizechukwu Eke, Clark Johnson, Nancy Kass, Ekene Ojukwu, John Sampson, Jeffrey Smith
  • COUNTRY FOCUS: Sierra Leone
  • THEMATIC AREA(S): Gender Equity and Justice

In Sierra Leone, the probability of a woman age 15-49 dying from maternal causes is 58% as compared to 1% in the United States. The lack of women’s reproductive health providers and inadequate levels of basic and comprehensive obstetric care are major factors affecting increased maternal mortality and morbidity, as well as the loss of workforce suffered during the 2014 Ebola crisis. To address these gaps, the project aims to develop a phased, comprehensive, sustainable, and high-quality strategy to build capacity in women’s reproductive health care. The team will draw on science and expertise from business process improvement and total quality management (TQM), and bioengineering design and techniques to rethink healthcare service capacity with a focus on equity and justice.

“Addressing health disparities impacting suicide: A systems dynamic approach for planning prevention programming with displaced populations”


  • RESEARCH TEAM: School of Public Health, Whiting School of Engineering, School of Medicine
  • TEAM MEMBERS: Paul Bolton, Soshanna Fine,  Emily Haroz, Tak Igusa, Catherine Lee, Paul Nestadt, Qi Wang, Holly Willcox
  • COUNTRY FOCUS: Thailand
  • THEMATIC AREA(S): Gender Equity and Justice

Suicide rates for refugee and displaced populations are thought to be even higher, likely due to a combination of elevated traumatic exposure, including gender-based violence, socioeconomic factors, and unequal access to appropriate and quality services, compared to non-displaced populations. However, very little is known about how to prevent suicide particularly in the context of displacement, with no known programs or studies focused on preventing suicide for this population. The project will use Community-Based Systems Dynamics, a participatory and innovative approach, to plan for addressing the suicide burden among displaced persons and the complexities of suicide prevention in the context of displacement in Thailand.

“Prioritizing gender equity in midwifery care: improving maternal and newborn health through nurse-midwifery leadership development in Tanzania”


  • RESEARCH TEAM: School of Public Health, Jhpiego, School of Education, Whiting School of Engineering, Carey Business School, School of Nursing
  • TEAM MEMBERS: Myra Betron, Mario Macis, Julius Masanika, Rosemary Morgan, Eric Rice, William Smedick, Karen Trister Grace
  • COUNTRY FOCUS: Tanzania
  • THEMATIC AREA(S): Gender Equity and Justice

Nurses and midwives are critical members of the health workforce in many low- and middle-income countries, and provide essential maternal and newborn care to promote safe pregnancy and wellbeing of mother and child. In Tanzania, however, the low social status of and minimal investment in nurse-midwives prevents them from providing high-quality, lifesaving care. This project aims to harness a gender transformative leadership approach to address gender inequity in nurse-midwifery education leadership and competency development. Combining the strengths of several JHU schools and affiliates and Tanzanian partners, the group aims to ultimately support midwives to improve maternal and newborn health.

“Promoting Safe Passage from Adolescence to Adulthood for Native American Women”


  • RESEARCH TEAM: School of Public Health, School of Nursing, Whiting School of Engineering, School of Medicine
  • TEAM MEMBERS: Kamila Alexander, Allison Barlow, Teresa Brockie, Jacquelyn Campbell, James Case, Sarah Connor, Zhaohao Fu, Charlotte Gaydos, Timian Godfrey, Novalene Goklish, Emily Haroz, Tak Igusa, Lauren Tingey, lawrence Wetsit
  • COUNTRY FOCUS: White Mountain Apache & Sioux Nations
  • THEMATIC AREA(S): Gender Equity and Justice

Adolescence can be a time of growth and exploration, but can also be a period of risk. Gender-based sexual, physical, and emotional violence and related risks—including STIs, substance abuse and self-harm—disproportionally affect Native American adolescent females. Led by faculty at the Johns Hopkins University Center for American Indian Health, this project will adapt innovative mobile technologies and social media to promote emotional and physical wellbeing among adolescent Native American women in the White Mountain Apache and Sioux nations. The group aims to design an app that can be scaled to other nations and indigenous settings across the US and the world.

“Integrating refugees into national health systems: Enhancing equity and strengthening sustainable health services for all”


  • RESEARCH TEAM: School of Public Health, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, School of Advanced International Studies
  • TEAM MEMBERS: Sara Bennett, Meaghan Charlton, Nour Jaber Chehayeb, Fadi El Jardali, Will Cragin, Mohammed Darwish, Hussein Ismail, Marwa Mahmoud, Linda Matar, Sarah Parkinson, Paul Spiegel, Alfred Tager
  • COUNTRY FOCUS: Jordan, Turkey, Uganda
  • THEMATIC AREA(S): Gender Equity and Justice; Transformative Technology & Institutions

Conflict and crisis in the last decade have left thousands displaced from their homes and seeking refuge in camps or other shelters. However, despite significant health needs, refugees living outside of refugee camps typically face higher obstacles to health care compared to host nationals. A team of faculty from JHU School of Public Health, Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and School of Advanced International Studies will explore collaborations with colleagues in Jordan, Turkey, and Uganda to describe how health system institutional arrangements may be transformed so as to enhance access to sustainable, quality health services for both refugee and host populations, and diminish current inequities between these populations.

“The DART Study - The Development of an Antigen Rapid dipstick Test for Bedside Detection of Pediatric Tuberculosis”


  • RESEARCH TEAM: School of Public Health, Whiting School of Engineering
  • TEAM MEMBERS: Amanda Debes, Robert Gilman, Lance Liotta, Alessandra Luchini, Peter Searson, Zach Silverstein, Hannah Steinberg, Jacqueline Yang, Sameen Yusuf
  • COUNTRY FOCUS: Bolivia
  • THEMATIC AREA(S): Transformative Technology & Institutions

A significant proportion of the more than 10.4 million people who had TB in 2015 are children, however, research into improved detection and treatment of pediatric TB has been neglected. We propose the development of a transformative technology to improve health outcomes in the affected pediatric population while revolutionizing the ability to detect pediatric tuberculosis with an easy to use, rapid point of care test with high sensitivity and specificity. The team will bring together expertise from public health and engineering to develop a nanoparticle-concentrated urinary-antigen diagnostic assay that can be used easily in resource-constrained areas to aid diagnosis of pediatric TB.

“Creation of an ecosystem for equitable innovation and patient care in ophthalmology”


  • RESEARCH TEAM: School of Medicine, Whiting School of Engineering
  • TEAM MEMBERS: David Friedman, Christine Diaz, Yueheng Dou, Ailon Haileyesus, Kunal Parikh, Benjamin Ostrander, Mohit Singhala, Katherine Solley
  • THEMATIC AREA(S): Transformative Technology & Institutions

Vision loss represents an enormous healthcare burden that affects more than 940 million individuals globally, particularly in central and southeast Asia, which account for the largest percentage of the world’s blind. Enabling eye care providers to obtain the best solutions for their populations will enhance global equity in eye care. Faculty from the Dana Center for Preventative Ophthalmology aims to collaborate with the Center for Bioengineering and Design and Aravid Eye Care System to develop a full landscape of the most significant needs in ophthalmology, and build the foundation for a multidisciplinary, collaborative ecosystem for equitable innovation and patient care in ophthalmology.

“A novel screening tool for identifying children at risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD): feasibility to estimate prevalence in a low-resource environment”


  • RESEARCH TEAM: School of Public Health, Whiting School of Engineering
  • TEAM MEMBERS: Andrea Carcelen, Li Ching-Lee, Nicholas Durr, Paola Donis Noriega, Robert Gilman,
  • THEMATIC AREA(S): Transformative Technology & Institutions

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) currently affects nearly 1 in 160 children worldwide. However, there are no prevalence estimates in Peru, as ASD is difficult to diagnose in resource-limited settings. Previous work by this group has been testing a novel inexpensive, tablet-based eye tracking diagnostic tool for use in diagnosing children 18 months and older who are at risk for ASD. This project will bring together bioinformatics experts, epidemiologists, psychologists and engineers are proposing to use this device to identify children with ASD at a young age.

We will feature follow up stories on progress made by research teams in coming months, so please check in again to read about success stories and lesson learned.