Department of International Health
Mission Statement for Baltimore
The Department of International Health focuses its research and training on understanding health problems and developing affordable solutions to improve the health of disadvantaged populations around the world. Although most of the Department’s work is in low-and middle- income countries, often working with local and national authorities, the Department also has substantial activities in Baltimore, that seek to share knowledge and experience gained globally to address challenges here.
Healthier Food in Baltimore Neighborhoods
Professor Joel Gittelsohn, a world expert in addressing the problem of food deserts, is working to increase affordability, availability and consumption of healthy foods within low-income, predominantly African-American neighborhoods. He combines behavior change, environmental interventions and policy-linked approaches to improve the food and physical activity environment in low-income minority communities. He leads a policy group seeking to develop and support options to improve the food environment in Baltimore, and directs the B’more Healthy Communities for Kids trial, which increases access to healthy foods in corner stores, carryout restaurants, wholesalers, recreation centers and other venues throughout the city, promotes these foods at the point of access, and assesses their impact on psychosocial factors, diet and obesity. The BHCK project is one of the Global Obesity Prevention Center’s (GOPC) projects, a worldwide organization that connects science to policy and action. The GOPC uses a multi-disciplinary systems approach to the complex factors contributing to obesity and brings together global stakeholders to find innovative solutions.
Improving Relations Between Police and Teens in Baltimore
Professor Peter Winch leads a study funded by the Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to evaluate outdoor education programs for middle school youth implemented by Outward Bound in West Baltimore. Such programs have the potential to increase self-efficacy and communication skills of youth (skills often not taught in school) and provide opportunities for children who do not have equal access to safe parks to participate in outdoor activities. One of the three program models is a one-day program that brings together police officers and middle school students. The research team reviews the impact of the dialogue on both police officers and youth participants.
Reducing Trash Accumulation in Low-Income Neighborhoods
Professor Peter Winch leads a multidisciplinary study with assistant professor Cindy Parker (Environmental Health Sciences), Ben Hobbs (Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, Whiting School of Engineering) and Jian Li (Carey Business School) on reducing trash accumulation in low-income neighborhoods. Many Baltimore City residents live in neighborhoods characterized by litter, piles of household trash and discarded construction materials in back alleys and vacant lots. This situation has consequences for quality of life, crime, economic development, human health, and the Chesapeake Bay. We are working in close partnership with the City of Baltimore and community organizations and residents to both develop innovative ways to address the problem, measurement tools for tracking progress over time, and systems modeling to determine the best combination of actions to put in place a lasting solution to the problem.
International Health Baltimore Project: Bidirectional exchange
International Health will establish a working group to examine ways of enhancing mutual learning between global health and Baltimore. The working group will be a collaboration of faculty, students, and community partners who together will design and implement sustainable teaching and learning collaboration opportunities. Possible activities include a series of community workshops.