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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 13, 2003 | Vol. 33 No. 7
Robert Blum, Leading Adolescent Health Authority,
Joins Public Health

Robert Blum

By Tim Parsons
School of Public Health

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has named Robert Wm. Blum, a leading authority in adolescent health, to chair its Department of Population and Family Health Sciences. Blum joins the faculty from the University of Minnesota, where he is director of the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health and director of the World Health Organization's Collaborating Center in Adolescent Health. Blum will begin the transition to his new duties with the School of Public Health in January 2004.

"I am delighted to welcome Bob Blum to the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. I believe he will lead Population and Family Health Sciences, which is already an outstanding department, to even greater heights," said Alfred Sommer, dean of the School of Public Health.

Blum said, "I'm eager to begin working with the preeminent faculty of the Department of Population and Family Health Sciences. Together, I hope we can set a clear direction for what our field should be, not only for Johns Hopkins but for the nation."

Blum received his medical degree from the Howard University College of Medicine. He did his pediatrics training and earned his master's in public health in maternal and child health and his doctorate in health policy from the University of Minnesota. In 1978, he founded the adolescent health program at the University of Minnesota.

His research interests include adolescent sexuality, chronic illness and international adolescent health care issues. He has edited two books and written more than 220 journal articles, book chapters and special reports on the study of adolescent health. Blum was co-investigator for the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, the largest survey of American youth ever undertaken. The study measured adolescents in grades 7 through 12, their social settings, the ways in which adolescents connect to their social world and the influence of social settings and connections on health. Recently, he published a study in the American Journal of Public Health debunking the myths that race, income and family structure can be major predictors of youth health risk behaviors.

Blum was a keynote speaker at the White House Conference on Youth in May 2000. He was honored by the American Public Health Association with the Needleman Award for "scientific research and courageous advocacy for children" in 1998, and he was the recipient of the Society of Adolescent Medicine's Outstanding Achievement Award in 1993.

For many years, Blum has served as a U.S. representative to the WHO as chair of the Technical Advisory Group of the Maternal and Child Health Program and as a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group of the Reproductive Health Program. He also has served as a consultant to the Pan American Health Organization, World Bank and UNICEF. Blum has been chair of the Alan Guttmacher Institute board of directors and is a past president of the Society for Adolescent Medicine. He was named chair of the National Academy of Sciences' newly formed Committee on Youth Health and Development.

Blum will take over for Bernard Guyer, who led Population and Family Health Sciences for nearly 14 years. Guyer is stepping down as chair to focus on his scholarly activities as the Zanvyl Krieger Professor of Children's Health and to direct the Doctor of Public Health degree program.


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