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Faculty Directory

Sara Johnson, PhD

  • Director, General Academic Pediatrics Fellowship
  • Co-Director, Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education
  • Associate Professor

Departmental Affiliations

Center & Institute Affiliations

Contact Information

David M. Rubenstein Child Health Building
200 N Wolfe St, Rm 2017
Baltimore, Maryland 2017


Rales Center for the Integration of Health & Education:

SciVal Experts Research Profile


PhD, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2005
MPH, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2001


Dr. Johnson’s research interest is in understanding how social experiences (e.g., poverty, family relationships, neighborhood characteristics, life events) shape the biology of child development. Specifically, she is interested in the development and plasticity of behavioral and physiological self-regulation. She has examined the role of early life stress in shaping self-regulatory development from the fetal period to age five. Other research interests include neurodevelopment in adolescence and its implications for adolescent health policy, social influences on neurodevelopmental trajectories, and adolescent injury prevention. 

Honors and Awards

Advising, Mentoring and Teaching Recognition Award (AMTRA), 2013

JHSPH Excellence in Teaching Award, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014

NIH Loan Repayment Program recipient: 2006-2011

Delta Omega, Alpha Chapter, national public health honorary society,2006

William Haddon, Jr. Fellowship in Injury Prevention, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2004-2005

National Institute of Mental Health, Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, Interdisciplinary Research Training on Violence, T32 #MH20014, 2001-2003 

School of Public Health Merit Scholarship, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, 2000-2001 

Phi Beta Kappa, 1997

  • child health, adolescent health, lifecourse, self-regulation, developmental origins of health and disease,health disparities, neurodevelopment, stress and health
  • Bair-Merritt ME, Johnson SB, Okelo S, Page G.  Intimate partner violence exposure, salivary cortisol and childhood asthma. In press: Child Abuse and Neglect.

  • Granger DA, Johnson SB, Szanton SL, Out D, Schumann LL.  Incorporating salivary biomarkers into nursing research: An overview and review of best practices.  2012; Epub ahead of print. Biological Research for Nursing.

  • Johnson SB, Riley AW, Granger DA, Riis JA*.  The science of early life toxic stress for pediatric practice and advocacy. Pediatrics, 2013;131(2):319–327.

  • Johnson SB, Blum RW. Stress and the adolescent brain: How experiences and exposures across the lifespan shape health, development and learning in adolescence. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2012;51: S1-2.

    Johnson SB, Dariotis JA, Wang C. Adolescent risk-taking under stressed and non-stressed conditions: Conservative, calculating and impulsive types. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2012;51: S34-40.