Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute
Robert Blum, a pediatrician and expert on societal influences on the health and welfare of adolescents, has been named director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute, President William R. Brody said.
Blum, who has been interim director since last May, will coordinate the efforts of the university and Johns Hopkins Health System, in collaboration with the community, to improve the health of residents of East Baltimore and other economically stressed parts of the city.
The institute's mission also includes the promotion of research-proven initiatives to address urban health problems nationwide.
"As the institute's interim director, Dr. Blum already has greatly broadened the conversation at Johns Hopkins about urban health and the role and future of the institute in promoting healthy communities in Baltimore City," Brody said.
"Working together within Johns Hopkins and with our community partners," Brody said, "we have an outstanding opportunity to improve the healthcare infrastructure in disadvantaged Baltimore communities, to reduce race- and income-based disparities in health, to advance community-based research partnerships, and to set an example for the nation."
Blum succeeds Claude Earl Fox, the institute's first permanent director, who left Johns Hopkins after five years for a new position at the University of Miami.
Blum said he plans to broaden university and community representation in a revised organizational structure for the institute. He will initiate a new small grants program, providing students, faculty and community organizations with seed funds that will support innovative collaborations between the university and community in research, program development and new urban health and development courses. With outreach through both conventional and electronic media, he said, the institute will strengthen its ties with the Baltimore community.
Blum is the William H. Gates Sr. Professor and chair of the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. His research has focused on factors in the lives of disadvantaged youth — both in the United States and internationally — that impact, positively or negatively, their health and well-being. He was elected in 2006 a member of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences. He was the longtime U.S. representative to the World Health Organization Human Reproduction Program and Child and Adolescent Advisory committees.
He came to Johns Hopkins in 2004 from the University of Minnesota, where he directed the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health and a World Health Organization Collaborating Center in Adolescent Health. Blum graduated from the Howard University College of Medicine in 1973. He trained as a pediatrician and earned as master of public health degree in 1976 and a doctorate in health policy two years later from the University of Minnesota. In 1978, he founded the adolescent health program at Minnesota.
Blum's appointment as institute director is for an initial three-year term, beginning July 1.
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