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I love naps. I even enjoy going to bed “early”. Cuddling up with some blankets and a pillow, and drifting off is one of my favorite things to do. Any chance to catch some extra sleep is pure joy, and I’m apparently not the only one who needs more sleep.

Much of the population suffers from a lack of sleep. So much, in fact, it is now being seen as a public health issue. Adam Spira, an associate professor in the Department of Mental Health, will be highlighting the importance of sleep as a public health issue at the third annual Johns Hopkins Sleep and Circadian Research Day next Monday, June 26.

Recently, Spira did a short interview for the Summer 2017 issue of the Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health magazine. I’ve copied it below:

In the context of public health, where does sleep fit in?Adam Spira

There’s an increasing recognition of the implications of not getting enough sleep and disturbed sleep—whether it’s increased risk for chronic medical conditions, and for Alzheimer’s disease, injury, educational outcomes, mental disorders or addiction.

Are there effective ways to treat sleep disturbances without medication?

We have very good behavioral interventions, like cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia, but they’re not yet as accessible as they need to be, and there aren’t enough trained providers.

In general, do you think that people understand the importance of sleep to overall health?

Our lives are very busy, and sleep can appear to be the thing that’s expendable. Along with diet and exercise, sleep is one of the three legs of the stool that form the foundation for health.

I personally think we should all take naps in the name of Public Health on June 26, 2017. Don’t you agree?

While Chavi Rhodes was earning her MSPH in International Health here at the Bloomberg School, she would repair her bike at nearby do-it-yourself shop, Velocipede. A program she loved, it is a shop for Baltimore residents who offer support and a space to repair bikes. However, the shop doesn’t allow those under 18 years old to participate. That’s when Chavi had an idea.Row of bikes outside Wolfe Street Building

Every kid wants a bike and by providing an activity and space, maybe she could help children avoid trouble after school by teaching them how to repair bikes. After working so many hours in the shop, that child could earn his or her own bike. Thus, Baltimore Youth Kinetic Energy (BYKE) was born.

Now, BYKE is open three days a week, and Wednesdays are dedicated to girls only. Outside of the school year, extended hours are available. Chavi works to build mentorship and create community through BYKE. Once children shows development, they may be promoted to an intern where they can earn $10 an hour for working in the shop and looking out for younger kids.

Last week, The Baltimore Sun wrote an article on BYKE and their success in reaching out to kids and their families. Read the full article for insight into some of the kids’ and families’ responses to the program.

Public Health often crosses disciplines and requires collaboration. At the Bloomberg School of Public Health, we see this daily in the classrooms, special lectures and cross-department research. In response to the Johns Hopkins University’s call for creating innovative, interdisciplinary solutions, the Alliance for a Healthier World was born. Now they are offering grants of up to $25,000 to faculty members and students. Another round will be offered this coming fall.

David Peters, chair of the Department of International Health, is the director of the alliance. He says the center hopes the grants will help to “create new ideas, new collaborations and achieve research that has some impact”. Eventually, the goal is to increase partnerships with governments, foundations and corporations. Implementation will focus on vulnerable or low-income communities overseas.

Although headed by a Bloomberg School professor, the alliance already has participation or interest from every division and school across the university, as well as the Applied Physics Laboratory and the Berman Institute of Bioethics.

For more information on the grants, make sure to read the full article and check out the Alliance for a Healthier World’s website.

Time to do a little spring cleaning, provide policy reminders and a few blog tips...

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Students

Admissions Services will close today at 12 noon to celebrate the accomplishments of our students. The Bloomberg School of Public Health’s Convocation Ceremony is taking place at the Royal Farms Arena as an expected 846 students graduate.

Admissions Services will open again on Wednesday, May 24 at 8am and resume normal business hours.

Congratulations to our 2017 graduates!