Research & Innovation Focus

The Alliance has identified four thematic areas where an integration of expertise and perspectives is needed to address difficult and inter-dependent social problems. This focuses research and innovation on areas where JHU is best positioned to harness its expertise to make an impact.  

  • Each thematic area addresses underlying and systemic drivers that create a large burden of health inequity around the world. They are also connected to each other; the Alliance supports work both within and across thematic areas.

  • The thematic areas address unresolved, complex and rapidly changing concerns that have consequences for all, while particularly affecting the most disadvantaged populations.


1. Food & Nutrition Security

We study critical linkages between food systems and dietary needs to maintain nutritional health across all stages of life. Research integrates public health, nutritional sciences, food security, ethics, and agriculture economics to address nutritional inequities in underserved communities. Read more about this theme.


2. Healthy Environments

This sector underscores the importance of natural ecosystems on the health of individuals, communities, and nations. The work to secure healthy living environments has never been more important or more urgent. The 2018 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a stark warning on the impact of climate change and described the sweeping changes in energy, transportation, agriculture, and diet that need to take place across sectors and industries to prevent catastrophic increase in temperatures. Read more about this theme.


3. Gender Equity & Justice

We study the intersection of gender, oppression, power and discrimination, and the negative impact on health equity. Around the world, a major cause of health inequity is gender-based power disparities related to social roles, status, stereotypes and limited access to justice. Although these are among the most intractable issues to address, focusing efforts in these areas offer tremendous potential to make a significant and lasting impact on the health of girls, women, individuals who identify as LGBTQ, and all community members. Read more about this theme.


4. Transformative Technologies & Institutions

We are discovering, developing and delivering transformative technologies, including design of innovative platforms, financing mechanisms, and reengineering the healthcare value chain: design, market, produce, deliver and support healthcare services and products, emphasizing quality of care and incorporating efficient use of resources. Read more about this theme.

AHW's Thematic Icon Designs

The team at Alliance for a Healthier World worked closely with Jess Bromley Bartram, Illustration & Design to create unique sets of icons and illustrations to represents key elements of each thematic area.