Department of Health, Behavior and Society
Mission Statement for Baltimore
The Department of Health, Behavior and Society is discovering the optimal ways to change human behavior to improve public health and to address social factors that also impact health and wellness. HBS centers, faculty, staff and students partner with community-based organizations and local governmental agencies in Baltimore to improve access to care and prevention services and to provide educational opportunities and materials on a variety of topics, such as injury prevention, maternal and child health, drug addiction and HIV. The principles of community-based participatory research are core to the philosophy and work of the Department, and local partnerships are seen as opportunities for reciprocal talent sharing, through which both entities serve as agents for positive change in Baltimore. The following are a few of the programs through which the department engages with the Baltimore community.
B’More for Healthy Babies
The Center for Communication Programs in HBS is the lead communications partner for the city-wide strategy to reduce infant mortality, known as B’More for Healthy Babies. The cornerstone of B’more for Healthy Babies is the SLEEP SAFE campaign, ongoing since 2010, which has reduced deaths due to unsafe sleep by over 40%. The initiative works to improve the health of mothers before and during pregnancy, promote parent-child bonding and pre-literacy learning after the baby comes, and link young mothers with social support and health services. B’More for Healthy Babies is now expanding to focus on other public health challenges through initiatives such as B’more Fit for Healthy Babies, which offers weight-loss support and wellness education, group exercise classes led by professional trainers, tips on budgeting and food preparation and much more.
Professor Carl Latkin is the principal investigator of Lighthouse Studies at Peer Point, a community-based effort in Baltimore to identify ways to empower city residents to overcome obstacles and improve their health. The Lighthouse has studied ways to use peers for health education, fight the stigma associated with HIV, and encourage individuals addicted to drugs to avoid infectious disease and seek treatment.
The Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy (JHCIRP), led Professor Andrea Gielen, works across the nation and throughout the world to reduce unnecessary suffering and death from injuries. In Baltimore, the Center leads programs that have distributed thousands of car seats, bike helmets, smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors and other safety equipment to city residents, along with critically important education to protect families. These programs include SafetyLane, a children’s safety center located in the Harriet Lane Clinic at Johns Hopkins, and the CARES (Children ARE Safe) Mobile Safety Center, a 40-foot vehicle that provides low-cost safety products and personalized information to community members. Combined, the safety resource centers have served more than 35,000 people.
HBS Baltimore Project: Community Engagement Fund
The Department of Health, Behavior and Society launched a community engagement fund in 2015 to help build on its commitment as a department to fostering even stronger, mutually beneficial relationships with partners in the Baltimore community. In its first year, the department set aside funds to be available for small grants that faculty can apply for and subsequently use for activities that build partnerships with local agencies or community-based organizations.