The Johns Hopkins University is launching a
Center for Global
Health to coordinate and focus its efforts against
HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, hepatitis, flu and other
worldwide health threats, especially in developing
countries, President William R.
Brody has announced.
The center will bridge the international work of the
School of Public Health,
School of Medicine and
School of Nursing.
It will be led by
Thomas Quinn, a professor of
molecular microbiology and immunology in the Bloomberg
School and professor of
medicine in the School of Medicine.
"Johns Hopkins already works around the world to stop
HIV/AIDS, to promote maternal and child health, to prevent
malnutrition and to fight diseases — from malaria to
high blood pressure — in the developing world," Brody
said. "But we want to do more, we know how to do more, and
we must do more.
"The most effective way to strengthen our efforts is
to find smart ways to combine and focus them," Brody said,
"to create teams of physicians, nurses, entomologists,
engineers, basic scientists — whoever is needed to
attack a problem in a coordinated way. That's what the
Center for Global Health will help us do."
The Center for Global Health, Quinn says, is the first
such center anywhere to combine the strengths of top-ranked
schools of medicine, nursing and public health.
Both the causes and effects of many health problems
— infectious, environmental, behavioral or stemming
from man-made or natural disasters — are increasingly
global in nature, Quinn said. In that worldwide
environment, he said, "you can't solve one small problem
without looking at the big problem. Bringing together the
expertise of the three disciplines of public health,
nursing and medicine is far more effective than one
specialty alone in solving today's global health
"To fight HIV, for instance," he said, "you need the
behavioral specialists — that's public health and
nursing. You need the infectious disease specialists
— that's medicine and public health. And you need the
skilled care delivery — that's nursing.
"We want to take all that expertise and put it
together and focus it," Quinn said. "I have been on the
ground in these countries for more than 20 years. I know
what has been accomplished. My colleagues and I know how
much more can be accomplished. The faculty is rallying to
this idea. In many cases, they want to implement their
research findings on a larger scale in order to influence
change and improve health wherever disparities exist."
The center will help to broker collaboration among
nearly two dozen existing programs in the three schools
[see below]; together, those programs already operate more
than 400 projects around the world. Other Johns Hopkins
entities collaborating with the center will include the
Johns Hopkins Medicine International.
Additional Johns Hopkins organizations are expected to
affiliate as the effort becomes widely known around the
The center will seek out and secure funding for new
initiatives and recruit faculty to address emerging global
health issues. It also will have students working shoulder
to shoulder with faculty mentors out in the field, where
they can train most effectively to become the next
generation of leaders in global health.
Quinn has won a half-dozen awards from the U.S. Public
Health Service for outstanding, meritorious or
distinguished service and was elected a member of the
Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences
"Tom Quinn is an excellent choice to spearhead this
center," said Bloomberg Dean Michael J. Klag. "The
Bloomberg School of Public Health's international mission
has been part and parcel of what we've done since the
school was founded in 1916. [Tom] and his colleagues will
build on our already strong partnerships with the School of
Nursing and the School of Medicine so that Johns Hopkins is
even more effective in preventing and treating diseases
that kill millions of people around the world."
Martha N. Hill, dean of the School of Nursing, added
that the center is a unique three-way partnership.
"With the Center for Global Health and under the
leadership of Tom Quinn, we will rapidly increase our
effectiveness in research, teaching, practice and service
around the world," Hill said. "Our students and faculty are
enthusiastic about the schools working together as we
prepare practitioners and scientists to work in teams
dedicated to improving global health."
Edward D. Miller, dean of the School of Medicine and
CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine, said that the fusion of the
three schools' expertise, leadership and resources would
result in a "uniquely Hopkins enterprise to address
international health problems."
"While the challenges are daunting," Miller said, "I
have no doubt that this center will play a major role in
improving the health and lives of people throughout the
The center's staff will work with an executive
advisory committee, as well as internal and external
advisory committees, to define key global health problems
and then design scientifically based interventions, address
barriers and identify potential financial resources. Center
leaders will also act as Johns Hopkins' voice in support of
local, national or international policy or political
initiatives. Funds will also be identified to support
travel by students and young investigators to international
Quinn's own work on the epidemiology and nature of
HIV/AIDS infection around the world has led to recognition
of the importance of treating and preventing other sexually
transmitted diseases to slow the transmission of HIV. He
directs programs in Africa, Latin America and Asia that
examine the biological and behavioral aspects of HIV
transmission and the effectiveness of community-based STD
treatment and HIV care programs in controlling HIV spread
As with HIV and other STDs, many health problems in
today's world can have major implications not only locally
or regionally but across national borders, making a global
health perspective on those problems critically important,
"Emerging and re-emerging epidemics can spread rapidly
due to international travel and can have major health and
economic implications in all countries within weeks to
months," he said. "Chronic diseases are on the rise in
developing as well as developed countries. Malnutrition,
child survival and disaster relief are constant problems
facing many countries that lack sufficient resources to
mount effective responses."