Ours is a world of constant change. Social, economic, political, environmental, and other forces relentlessly challenge human health.
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is an institution with a century of history and accomplishments because we have always recognized the need to adapt. We have maintained our excellence and extended our impact by examining today’s priorities and anticipating tomorrow’s needs.
Our new strategic plan follows that tradition by confronting emerging challenges and reshaping what we do and how we do it. It will unleash the power of public health to pursue the greatest public health challenges globally, nationally, and in our own hometown of Baltimore. We will speak up loudly in support of science and the principle of improving health for all people. We know we can drive transformative change in the world because we have done it before.
In October 1918, the School held its first classes just as the Great Influenza Pandemic began to intensify. Founded by William Henry Welch and the Rockefeller Foundation, the School made the pandemic the urgent launch point for its work. The pandemic jumpstarted the School’s growth as a leading center of research and training in epidemic disease and led to its rise in international prominence in vaccine development, evaluation and policy. Our faculty continued to advance health in many areas, conducting fundamental micronutrient research, developing the methods that made water safe to drink, making transformative advances in occupational health and injury prevention, leading the eradication of smallpox worldwide, and advancing health in countless other ways.
However, new problems continue to emerge that challenge us to think in different ways. In the early 1900s, the perils of smoking were still not widely known. The first case of HIV was decades away, climate change had not yet been recognized as a major health threat, and the extent of gun violence we see today would have been impossible to imagine. With the aging of the population, we have seen a meteoric rise in non-communicable diseases and its consequences for both mortality and quality of life.
Over the past century, many discoveries and innovations have changed our ability to tackle these challenges. Among the more impactful developments has been the extraordinary advancement of basic sciences and technologies that has touched off an information explosion. Sequencers can map the expression of a person’s genome; accelerometers record the amount and intensity of personal activity second by second; and digital devices can capture gigabytes of clinical data. All challenge us to learn from past experiences and harness the power of big data in a new and more systematic way.
We believe deeply in the power of public health. Our strategic plan will guide us in unleashing that power to address the greatest challenges facing our communities here at home and around the world.
Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD ’79, MSc ’75
Bloomberg Distinguished Professor
That is why, as we embark on the School’s second century, it is essential we craft a new strategic plan. Created by faculty, students, staff, alumni, and members of our broader community, the strategic plan lays out five overarching goals and specific objectives within each goal that we plan to accomplish in the next five years. For each objective, we list an initial set of tactics. The goals and objectives will not change over the coming few years, but the tactics will evolve as we move forward and respond to dynamic challenges and opportunities.
The strategy will guide how we set priorities, allocate resources, and explicitly recognize and reward the contributions of students, staff and faculty, including at the time of appointment and promotion. It will guide our collaborations with external stakeholders to advance the work of the School. At the same time, it sets the stage for the larger task of sustaining public health gains and innovating to deal with as-yet unimagined health threats.
The Bloomberg School’s strategic plan aims to invigorate our core strength of teaching through approaches inextricably linked to science and practice. It sets us on a course to expand our reach and engagement with communities at home and around the world, boost the public’s understanding of what public health is and why it matters, and make our School a place where everyone has equal opportunity to thrive. Implementation of the plan will build the institutional flexibility and resilience necessary to tackle unknown challenges the School and the field of public health may soon face.
To achieve our strategic goals, we will need talented, committed people from diverse backgrounds guided by thoughtful and adaptive leadership and supported with financial and human resources. Our success necessitates deep partnerships with others who share our vision of a healthier world, from community members in Baltimore to global leaders, and from those within and outside the traditional boundaries of public health.