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April 12, 2012

Joanna Cohen Appointed to Bloomberg Professorship in Disease Prevention 

Bloomberg Professorship InstallationJoanna Cohen, PhD, MHSc, a leader in the field of tobacco-use prevention, is the inaugural recipient of the Bloomberg Professorship in Disease Prevention at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The Bloomberg Professorship was bestowed during a special ceremony at the Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Md., on April 12.

Researchers estimate that roughly 55 percent of the premature morbidity and mortality in the U.S. is due to behavioral patterns and social circumstances, with smoking behavior leading the way as a crucial driver of unnecessary suffering and health disparities. The endowed Bloomberg Professorship will help to develop, test and implement interventions to change key risk behaviors, modify social determinants, and prevent disease and disability to improve public health.

The Bloomberg Professorship in Disease Prevention is named in honor of Michael R. Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York. Mayor Bloomberg is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and directed its Board of Trustees for many years. The Bloomberg School of Public Health was renamed in his honor and is one the world's leading institutions of public health research and training. Since taking office, Mayor Bloomberg has implemented ambitious public health strategies, including the ban on smoking in restaurants and bars. His philanthropic foundation supports initiatives to control global tobacco use and reduce traffic deaths among other causes.

“We wanted this professorship to not only bring prestige to the School’s work in this area (behavioral interventions) but also to attract the best talent to its critical mission,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

“Through his public policy and his philanthropy, Mike is living that mission with passionate and evident commitment. This professorship is just one more example of the ways he is helping people live longer, healthier lives,” said Ronald J. Daniels, president of Johns Hopkins University.

Cohen joined the Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2010 as director of the Institute for Global Tobacco Control and is associate professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society. She also holds an appointment in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto and has been involved in tobacco policy research for almost 20 years.

Cohen received her doctorate in health policy and administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her master of health sciences degree in community health and epidemiology from the University of Toronto.

“Those who hold endowed professorships are leaders in their fields. They are the pioneers who will chart new courses of discovery and attract the brightest and most promising students to our school. Today we are honoring Dr. Joanna Cohen. We are exceptionally proud of her professional accomplishments and know that the results of her outstanding work have improved the health of people around the world,” said Michael J. Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Trained in epidemiology and health policy, her research interests focus on the factors that affect the adoption and implementation of public health policies, and on evaluating the beneficial effects and the unintended consequences of such policies.

She has worked on studies of both U.S. and Canadian legislators regarding tobacco and tobacco control policy, a longitudinal cohort study of smokers, focusing on factors that influence quitting behavior, tobacco promotion at the point of sale, tobacco prices including taxes, tobacco packaging, options for reducing the physical availability of tobacco products, and tobacco industry interference in tobacco control.

Cohen has been recognized for her teaching and mentoring, and has co-led a six-year training program in public health policy. She is also a senior editor of the international journal Tobacco Control.

Media contact: Tim Parsons, director of Public Affairs, at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.