Today, Michael J. Klag, Dean of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, announced the launch of the new Center for Public Health Advocacy, with this letter:
"It is my privilege to announce the launch of the Center for Public Health Advocacy (CPHA), a cross-departmental effort led by Jose "Oying" Rimon and Beth Fredrick of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health and David Jernigan of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth and the Department of Health, Behavior and Society. The new CPHA will be organized around the Bloomberg School’s three pillars of excellence – teaching, research, and practice – in order to strengthen the role of evidence-based advocacy in our curriculum, our research portfolio and our work outside the School. It will play a critical role in connecting research to policy and practice, ultimately leading to larger impacts on public health outcomes.
"Effective advocacy is the means through which science and evidence influence policies, programs and practice in ways that benefit people’s health, wellbeing and society. Through excellence in research, teaching and practice, advocacy can:
- Improve policies and laws, their development, adoption and implementation;
- Increase and influence better use of resources for interventions and scientific inquiry;
- Set agendas in policy circles and the media environment through higher visibility of issues; and
- Shift public attitudes, behaviors and social norms.
"Few, if any, academic institutions have rigorously incorporated advocacy training, teaching and evaluation into their curricula and degree requirements. Knowledge and skills about effective strategies for advocacy are in great demand. The CPHA will enhance the ability of JHSPH faculty, students, and staff to apply our research and programmatic capability in real-world settings; maximize our strengths and experiences in influencing policy; and advance the ability of public health organizations to use evidence and best practices in pursuit of policy change and programmatic improvements.
"In planning and establishing CPHA, the leadership team has worked with an Advocacy Working Group composed of center directors or their representatives from across departments in the School. The concept of the Center was presented to the Committee of the Whole and the Health Advisory Board and approved by the Advisory Board of the Bloomberg School. The establishment of the CPHA at the Bloomberg School will drive progress in the U.S. and internationally in how science and evidence influence policies, programs and practice worldwide.
"The Center builds on the enormous assets already in place at JHSPH to create a platform to address multiple public health issues through research, strategic policy interventions, evaluation and leadership development. Issues that will be addressed range from reproductive health, maternal and child health, and family planning to vaccines, nutrition, tobacco, alcohol, guns, injury prevention, malaria, water and sanitation. We are uniquely positioned to take the leading role given our long history in advocacy, from oral rehydration salts to safe drinking water to vitamins A, B and D, among many other public health issues. The history and culture of advocacy run deep at our School, and we must continue to ensure advocacy rests on a solid scientific foundation. When evidence is clear, we advocate for change that preserves health and prevents illness and injury. Generating new knowledge is the lever by which we move mountains.
"Jose Rimon, David Jernigan and Beth Fredrick have agreed to jointly direct the Center while we build towards hiring a full-time center director."