Newswise — The Bloomberg American Health Initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health today announced its inaugural class of fellows. These eight students will receive full scholarships to earn a master of public health degree from the Bloomberg School and have committed to returning to their communities to apply their new knowledge and skills to address some of the nation’s toughest public health challenges.
The Bloomberg Fellows program represents an innovative way to train the next generation of public health leaders, as it requires not only a commitment to public health practice from the students, but also a commitment of collaboration from the organizations for which they already work. Fellows can study full time or part time and, upon completion of the program, they agree to work for their organization for at least one additional year.
“The Bloomberg Fellows program will provide dedicated professionals who are already doing incredible work in their communities with new tools to tackle some of the toughest challenges affecting health in the United States,” says Michael J. Klag, MD, MPH ’87, dean of the Bloomberg School. “We’re building the next generation of public health leaders, and these eight students are leading the way.”
“The pioneering public health work led by Johns Hopkins over the last century has helped Americans live longer, healthier lives – and today, as those gains are being threatened by preventable health problems, the school is once again leading the charge to save lives," says Michael R. Bloomberg. “It's great to welcome an excellent incoming class of fellows, and I know their work will do a lot to help us address today’s most pressing health challenges.”
The fellows and their collaborating organizations are (more information about each fellow can be found below):
- Andrea Walker – Director of Behavioral Health Services
- Organization: Frederick County Health Department, Frederick, Maryland
- Haven Wheelock – Syringe Exchange Program Coordinator
- Organization: Outside In, Portland, Oregon
- Brady Garrett – Psychologist
- Organization: Cherokee National Behavioral Health, Tahlequah, Oklahoma
- Julian Drix – Asthma Program Manager
- Organization: Rhode Island Department of Health
- Kelli McIntyre – Physical Activity Coordinator
- Organization: Philadelphia Department of Public Health
- Mila Neyra – Diabetes Program Coordinator
- Organization: Institute for Family Health, New York City
- Mónica Guerrero Vázquez–– Program Coordinator
- Organization: Centro SOL, Centro SOL- Center for Health & Opportunity for Latinos, Baltimore, Maryland
- Katherine Vander Tuig – Senior Program Specialist
- Organization: Futures Without Violence, California
The Bloomberg American Health Initiative aims to improve health and save lives in the United States. Launched with a transformational gift of $300 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Initiative aims to tackle five complex and urgent health challenges that threaten American lives: drug addiction and overdose, environmental challenges, obesity and the food system, risks to adolescent health and violence.
More Information about the 2017 Bloomberg Fellows:
Addiction and Overdose
Andrea Walker –– Frederick County Health Department – Frederick, MD
As the director of Behavioral Health Services for Frederick County, Walker oversees prevention programs and clinical services in a county that includes suburban and rural areas. In recent years, her role has begun to shift as the division she oversees moves from being strictly a direct service provider to also serving as the Local Addiction Authority. She oversees a staff of 85, only one of whom has an MPH degree. The Bloomberg Fellowship will better equip Walker to utilize data to survey community needs and develop comprehensive plans and programs to address addiction and overdose in her county, and will prepare her to launch a syringe exchange program.
The Frederick County Health Department provides public health services to a population of about 250,000. Like its counterparts around the country, the department is on the front lines of addressing the opioid crisis, and will be a key partner for the Bloomberg American Health Initiative in its work to find and promote innovative strategies for progress.
Haven Wheelock – Outside In – Portland, OR
Wheelock is the coordinator of the syringe exchange program at Outside In, a federally qualified community health center that started one the nation’s first publicly funded syringe exchange programs. During her 10 years with the organization, in addition to a variety of efforts to expand access to harm-reduction programs, Wheelock spearheaded the effort to establish and expand the use of naloxone to prevent opiate overdose deaths. Following the successful effort to advocate for a change in the law regarding naloxone prescription, she began training clients in the use of naloxone and distributing naloxone to people she had trained. Her efforts led to a 40-percent drop in the heroin overdose death rate in Portland over the next year. The Bloomberg Fellowship will equip Wheelock with the additional tools she needs to advocate for innovative harm- reduction policies and expand access across her community.
Outside In serves homeless and low-income people in Portland. Last year, the organization exchanged nearly a million syringes with 4,600 injection drug users. The Fellowship will allow Outside In to stay on the cutting edge of integrated health care and share its knowledge and best practices with the Bloomberg American Health Initiative network.
Brady Garrett –Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health – Tahlequah, OK
Garrett is a psychologist at Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health, providing outpatient counseling services and conducting research as an NIH postdoctoral fellow. Much of his career and academic work has focused on serving the tribe, of which he is a member, and ensuring that behavioral health services are provided in a culturally competent and respectful manner. Garrett hopes to use the knowledge gained through the Bloomberg Fellowship to design and implement a comprehensive prevention and intervention program to reduce opioid addiction in the Cherokee Nation. He will help Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health (CNBH) establish a research and evaluation department, allowing the clinic to use surveillance measures to better drive evidence-based program development.
CNBH is the flagship clinic of the tribe and provides outpatient counseling services, including for addiction- and trauma-related disorders, among others. The clinic will be a key partner in the Bloomberg American Health Initiative network as we work to find innovative solutions to address addiction in tribal communities and reduce health disparities that affect Native American communities.
Julian Drix –Rhode Island Department of Health – Providence, RI
Drix is the Asthma Program Manager for the Rhode Island Department of Health, where he develops, implements and evaluates comprehensive asthma interventions that connect public health with the health care system. He has a particular interest in climate change, environmental justice and impacts on marginalized communities, and is focused on addressing the root causes of health disparities. Drix has been named by the Kresge Foundation as an Emerging Leader in Public Health and is working with Health Department leadership to integrate social and environmental justice into departmental practices, policies and workforce development. The Bloomberg Fellowship will provide him with the knowledge and tools to analyze complex social and environmental determinants and establish initiatives to advance health equity.
The Rhode Island Department of Health is the sole public health agency in the state, and health equity is a top priority for Department leadership. The organization will be a strong partner in the Bloomberg American Health Initiative network, as the innovations implemented and shared at the state level will be a driving force behind the Initiative’s success.
Kelli McIntyre –Philadelphia Department of Public Health; Get Healthy Philly
McIntyre has used a background in exercise and wellness programs to inform her work as the Physical Activity Coordinator for Get Healthy Philly, part of the Division of Chronic Disease Prevention in the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. In her current role, she engages with the community to promote physical activity and improve community design to promote health. The Bloomberg Fellows program will give McIntyre a greater knowledge base to address issues related to transportation, community design and sustainability, and how they affect community health.
Get Healthy Philly was created by the Department of Public Health in 2010 as an innovative multidisciplinary collaboration of public health professionals, academic institutions, community-based organizations and the private sector with the goal of tackling an epidemic of chronic disease facing Philadelphia. Big-city health departments will be core partners of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health will play a key role in our efforts to grow and sustain a network with considerable reach.
Obesity and Food System
Milagros (Mila) Neyra –The Institute for Family Health – New York, NY
Neyra is a Diabetes Program Coordinator with the Institute for Family Health. Her work involves collaborating with providers and other staff to deliver services and programs that help patients manage their diabetes. She has demonstrated a sustained interest in addressing health challenges, particularly obesity and nutrition-related challenges in low-income and culturally diverse communities. The Bloomberg Fellows program will prepare her to take her work to the next level, developing and implementing programs in coordination with partners across New York City that aim to address obesity and its consequences in hard-hit communities.
The Institute for Family Health is one of the largest Federally Qualified Health Centers in New York state, providing primary care, mental health treatment, dental care, social work and other services to residents of New York City and the Mid-Hudson Valley, regardless of their ability to pay. Given its mission and reach across New York City, the Institute for Family Health will be a valuable partner in the Bloomberg American Health Initiative network.
Mónica Guerrero Vázquez– Centro SOL- Center for Health & Opportunity for Latinos – Baltimore, MD
Guerrero Vázquez’s passion for human development arose from her personal experience as an immigrant from Ecuador. She has worked as the program coordinator for Centro SOL since it was founded in 2014. She oversees programming serving families in Baltimore, with a primary focus on coordinating youth programs. They include the Scholars Program that identifies promising Latino teens, regardless of their immigration status, and exposes them to career paths in health care at Johns Hopkins, and the Teen Testimonios program, which provides support groups for newly arrived immigrant students to assist them in the transition to life in Baltimore. As a Bloomberg Fellow, Guerrero Vázquez will gain the tools to evaluate these and other programs from a public health perspective, and to develop innovative new programs to support young people and their families in the community.
Centro SOL works to promote equity in health and opportunities for Baltimore’s Latino community. Being a part of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative network will allow Guerrero Vázquez and Centro SOL to tap into a wealth of knowledge and experience as it continues to grow.
Katherine (Kate) Vander Tuig– Futures Without Violence, San Francisco, California
Vander Tuig is a senior program specialist with Futures Without Violence, focusing on building the capacity of health professionals and systems to address the impact of gender-based violence on health. She has been instrumental in developing resources and training toolkits for health providers and, notably, led the development of new resources for LGBT survivors of violence, filling a critical need. Despite its influence, Futures Without Violence does not have a programmatic staff member with an MPH, so the Bloomberg Fellows program will provide Vander Tuig and the organization with valuable tools and resources to build upon their work and advance their mission.
Futures Without Violence provides groundbreaking programs, policies and campaigns that empower individuals and organizations working to end violence against women and children around the world. The organization is home to the National Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence. As an organization with national reach, Futures Without Violence will be a valuable partner in the Bloomberg American Health Initiative network as it seeks to grow and reach a range of sectors.
For more information on the Bloomberg American Health Initiative: http://www.jhsph.edu/about/bloomberg-american-health-initiative/