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International Health

Brandon Brown, PhD'10

Undergraduate Director, Public health
University of California, Irvine

Brandon Brown

Brandon Brown, PhD, International Health,
Global Disease Epidemiology and Control, 2010

With the Department’s focus on maintaining academic excellence here at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, we can easily lose sight of the impact our alumni have on the quality and success of academics at universities and institutions around the globe. Many of our graduates go on to hold faculty positions worldwide and they cite Hopkins as an instrumental component to the success of their academic and training programs that prepare the next generation of global health professionals. 

One graduate of the Department, Brandon Brown, PhD ‘10, recently became the Undergraduate Director of Public Health at the University of California, Irvine (UC-Irvine). As director, he’s responsible for building an overall successful undergraduate experience and managing the growing program’s curriculum and staff. He’s also the head of the public health honors research program, which includes him mentoring gifted undergraduate students.

“I owe much of the mentoring skills I use to the superb faculty mentors I had at Hopkins, namely Professors Neal Halsey, Joanne Katz, and Larry Moulton,” Brown says. One of his goals as faculty is to build the global health capacity of both students and researchers at UC-Irvine. He’s the founding director of the Global Health Research, Education and Translation (GHREAT) Program at UC-Irvine. GHREAT’s mission is to promote global health awareness and develop a comprehensive global health research, education, and training program. As the director, Brown developed a student-to-student mentoring program that matches students who have been abroad with those who have not. He also developed the university’s global health certificate program that GHREAT administers.

Brown maintains an active research portfolio and often collaborates with Hopkins faculty. His PhD project was “Acceptability of HPV vaccine among FSWs in Lima, Peru” under the supervision of Professor Halsey. While working on it, he was able to build relationships with NGOs and clinics in Lima, hire staff, set up a lab, and apply for supplemental funds from Merck pharmaceuticals. “During these 2 years in Peru,” Brown says, “I learned how to conduct my own independent research project, which consists of hundreds of moving parts. I learned a great deal from faculty in the Department and have used the same methods to conduct about a dozen additional projects following my graduation.” He continues to build on his dissertation work, and is now concentrating on HPV vaccine acceptability and health literacy among low-income parents in the United States. “Three dose HPV vaccine completion rates are still very low, with some reports showing 40% completion among adolescents nationwide,” he adds. 

As a Hopkins student, Brown received several Department and School-wide scholarships that helped him sustain his research in Peru, including the Minority Health Predoctoral Fellowship, the Clements-Mann Fellowship in Vaccine Sciences and the Mary and Carl Taylor Scholarship in International Health. Now as faculty himself, he’s helping students secure funding, publish, and conduct their own international health research projects. Professor Halsey remarks on Brown as a colleague and former student: 

Brandon Brown was an excellent student and he is a pleasure to collaborate with on projects.  He has shown what can be accomplished with an inquisitive mind, self-determination, and perseverance. He will undoubtedly continue to make important contributions to global public health and teaching for many years. 

You can learn more about Brown's many global health and mentoring initiatives in a recent University of California President’s Letter. While no longer at Hopkins, Brown is a great example of how the Department’s tradition of student mentorship and academic excellence is carried on wherever our alumni go.