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Mental Health

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Sleep and Alzheimer's

Professor Adam Spira, PhD is quoted in an article that discusses how sleep could ward off Alzheimer's disease.

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  • Email updates to DMH faculty, staff and students regarding COVID-19

  • Stigma is COVID-19′s silent complication. It has changed since the pandemic’s early days
    Stigma is an unanticipated complication of COVID-19. Three Philadelphia-are residents talk about how they felt about their own illness and how they were treated by others.
    Laura Murray is quoted in the Philadephia Inquirer.

  • Johns Hopkins Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual abuse Received $10.3 Million grant for global prevention program
    Center will conduct research studies and assess and develop perpetration prevention programs aimed at curbing child sexual abuse
    The Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has been awarded $10.3 million from Oak Foundation for the Center’s new “Global Perpetration Prevention: Translating Knowledge into Action” program. The five-year program will identify, validate, and disseminate perpetration prevention programs worldwide. The award is thought to be the single largest investment in child sexual abuse prevention. Read More

  • COVID-19 Effects After the Pandemic: Mental Health [Podcast]
    Liz Stuart explains how mental health issues as a result of Covid-19 may last beyond the pandemic in Bloomberg.

  • SCIBAR: Supporting Scientists Who Dream Big
    Adam Spira is highlighted for his SCIBAR project, Can Cool Roofs Improve Health Equity While Combating Climate Change? Kirsten Koehler is co-PI on the award. Article in JHSPH Magazine.

  • Heartbeat of Baltimore
    With fierce love and deep commitment, Joni Holifield helps trauma-burdened Baltimore youth become “lifepreneurs.”
    Tamar Mendelson and Phil Leaf are quoted in an article in JHSPH Magazine.

  • Dr. Holly Wilcox Promoted to Full Professor
    photo of Holly WilcoxDr. Wilcox is internationally recognized for her work on suicide prevention, a critical aspect of public mental health. She is a graduate of our own Psychiatric Epidemiology Training program where she first began working on PIRC data, studying the long-term impact of the Good Behavior Game on suicidality. After a postdoctoral fellowship at George Washington University, she became faculty in Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine at JHU School of Medicine, with a joint appointment in DMH. She moved to our department in 2017. Throughout her career, she has been an actively engaged with DMH as a dedicated colleague and educator. Dr. Wilcox’s research is focused on understanding the etiology of, and developing prevention strategies for, suicidal behaviors and mood disorders among children, adolescents, and young adults. Her most significant contributions have been in three areas: 1) large population-based, prospective cohort studies of suicidal behaviors; 2) development and evaluation of community-based universal prevention programs targeting suicidal behaviors; and 3) data linkage and harmonization to best identify suicide risk and strategically deploy prevention interventions. Given her expertise, Holly has served in multiple advisory capacities at the federal, state, and local levels. To name a few, she has given federal guidance on suicide prevention for US veterans, serves as co-chair of the MD state Commission on Suicide Prevention and is a member of the state’s board of education, and serves on the JHU faculty training and resource working group as well as leading a SAMHSA-funded universal screening effort for students across JHU.

  • Three DMH Faculty selected for Baltimore City’s Trauma Informed Task Force
    Phil Leaf, Tamar Mendelson and Associate Faculty David Fakunle were selected by the Baltimore City Council to serve on the task force. The Task Force will advise Baltimore City on implementation of the Elijah Cummings Healing City Act to make Baltimore a trauma-responsive city and promote healing from trauma.

  • Carlina Carter named to the Indispensable Role of Blacks at Johns Hopkins University project
    photo of carlina carterCarlina Carter, our Department Administrator, has been named to the Indispensable Role of Blacks at Johns Hopkins University project. The digital exhibit recognizes Black students, faculty, and staff who have contributed to the university’s history and who have brought honor to Johns Hopkins through their achievements. Her induction will be held virtually on June 18.

    Carlina joined the Department in 2007 as a budget analyst where she was responsible for submitting and monitoring the department’s payroll systems, preparing budges for grants, contracts, and subcontracts, reviewing budget justifications, and ensuring compliance with university and/or agency regulations and restrictions. Over the years, she has become an invaluable asset to the department and the school. She has held various roles including as senior research analyst and as financial manager, where she managed over $12 million in grant and contract revenue and another $615 thousand in gifts and other non-sponsored revenue. Carlina was promoted in 2017 to her current role as Department Administrator. She supervises and manages the department’s academic and financial administrative staff, and works with the chair and faculty on strategic planning across financing, research, education, human resources, marketing, and many other department domains. Before coming to DMH, Carlina worked in administrative roles both in the Department of General Internal Medicine in the School of Medicine and the Center for American Indian Health at the Bloomberg School.

    Carlina exemplifies the contributions staff make to the success of our department, school, and university. She is mission-driven, knowledgeable, and steps up to every challenge! She is resourceful in finding solutions to problems, and is the definition of a team player. Importantly, she is also a joy to work with. She genuinely cares for and respects all of our DMH people and promotes our “family” atmosphere. She is also an exceptional representative of the department, serving as a liaison between DMH and international NGOs, other external organizations, and other departments within the School. In sum, Carlina’s dedication to our work and public mental health mission, as well as her attention to detail and efficient processes, has contributed greatly to our success, as well as to operations across the school.

  • Five Urgent Public Health Policies To Combat The Mental Health Effects Of COVID-19
    Blog by Cindy B. Veldhuis, Liz Stuart and Dani Fallin.

  • What Scientists Wish They Knew a Year Ago About the Covid-19 Pandemic
    On January 20, 2020, the first known case of covid-19 in the U.S. was reported—a man in his 30s who had traveled back to Washington State from Wuhan, China, where the first cases of the novel viral disease had been discovered in December 2019. Nearly everyone failed to predict the full scale of the devastation that would follow, largely fueled by those in power who did little to prepare us for the worst.
    Liz Stuart and Josh Sharfstein are quoted in Gizmodo.

  • The other pandemic: COVID-19 has elevated mental health concerns (opinion)
    The impacts on overall health outcomes should be monitored.
    Leslie Adams is quoted in Street Roots.

  • When MD Bars and Restaurants are a Higher Priority Than Schools, Everyone Loses
    Rashelle Musci and Sarah Murray were involved with this Op Ed about prioritizing our kids and schools in the Baltimore Sun

  • During early coronavirus lockdown, Black suicides spiked, Johns Hopkins study finds — and now experts worry about winter
    A new study from Johns Hopkins shows that during the early part of the pandemic, the suicide rate among Black Marylanders appeared to be double the recent historical average. Even as the numbers dropped off this summer, physicians - concerned about the tough winter to come.
    Paul Nestadt, study-lead, is quoted in the Baltimore Sun.

  • Andrew Feinberg named Hagler Fellow at Texas A&M University
    The Bloomberg Distinguished Professor will conduct epigenetic studies at TAMU facilities and build research collaborations between the universities through the fellowship.

  • How Parents Can Help Children of the Pandemic Cope
    The stressors we’re all facing reach beyond fear of getting sick from COVID-19, and kids are no different. The toll the disease has taken on the economy, housing, food security and our daily routines of school and work shred our sense of safety and security — the foundation for mental well-being.
    Liz Stuart is quoted in Discover Magazine.

  • Bloomberg School of Public Health Team Awarded Grant to Evaluate Overdose Programs in Maryland
     Ju Nyeong Park, PhD, MHS, assistant scientist in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society, and co-lead Renee M. Johnson, PhD, MPH, associate professor in the Department of Mental Health received a grant from the Maryland Department of Health to increase understanding around overdose prevention and response programs in Maryland.

    The Maryland Overdose Data Collaborative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health received a two-year grant to conduct a rigorous and data-driven evaluation of Maryland’s overdose prevention programs. Awarded by the Maryland Department of Health, the $975,000 grant will engage stakeholders across the state and analyze data to inform the implementation of Maryland’s overdose prevention and response programs.

    An epidemiologist by training, Park has expertise in addressing issues around substance use, drug overdose, and infectious diseases. Johnson’s expertise includes adolescent and young adult health, particularly around areas of substance use and injury prevention. READ MORE…

  • There’s No Room for Teens in the Pandemic City
    With schools remote, sports canceled, and libraries closed, teenagers in many U.S. cities find themselves unwelcome in parks and public spaces.
    Tamar Mendelson is quoted in Bloomberg.

  • Fact check: Studies show COVID-19 lockdowns have saved lives
    As many states enter a new wave of more stringent measures to limit the spread of COVID-19, users on social media have been sharing posts that question the purpose of so called “lockdowns”. Some posts falsely claim that these measures “don’t save lives”. This article examines some of the reasons why lockdowns have been called, and how effective they have been.
    Liz Stuart is quoted in Reuters.

  • Four Faculty from Hopkins Named AAAS Fellows
    Elizabeth Stuart recognized by American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) for contributions to her respective fields. Article in the JHU Hub.

  • Extreme Risk Protection Orders Can Prevent Suicide
    Op-ed by Paul Nestadt, MD about the role clinicians can play in preventing gun violence through the use of ERPO petitions in the Washington Post.

  • Here's How To Lead Your Team Through Global Adversity [Paywall]
    The rules of leadership are changing as the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. Leaders must now adopt a new mindset to deal with the pandemic. This article outlines where to adapt.
    Laura Murray is quoted in

  • A conversation about mental health considering COVID-19
    In August, the COVID-19 Mental Health Measurement Group based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health discussed new research findings about the impact of COVID on public health.
    Johannes Thrul is quoted in The Clermont Sun.

  • Life as a COVID-19 Long-Termer
    It’s becoming clear that, for many people, symptoms can persist for months — and they can wreak havoc on our bodies, and our mental health.
    Laura Murray is quoted in Rolling Stone.

  • An Open Letter to University Leadership
    As more than 100 experts in public health, infectious diseases, mental health, social sciences and clinical care, holding faculty positions at universities across the country, we call on university administrators to embrace a more humane approach to students during the coronavirus pandemic.
    A number of JHSPH faculty contributed to the letter in Inside Higher Education. Judy Bass and Sarah Murray contributed.

  • Mental health warriors: Accepting our new reality [Opinion]
    Due to COVID, we are on the verge of a mental health epidemic. According to Hartford Health, “Experts call it the underlying crisis. While COVID-19 cases spike around the country, more than one-third of Americans report related depression and anxiety.”
    Johannes Thrul is quoted in the Times Gazette.

  • White roofs could keep Baltimore houses cooler and residents healthier | COMMENTARY
    About 50 families who live in Baltimore rowhouses likely slept better on hot summer nights this year as their bedrooms were cooler than last year. That’s because they now sleep under a cool white roof, thanks to the Baltimore Office of Sustainability, which each year applies white coating on up to 50 rowhouse roofs.
    Adam Spira is quoted in the Baltimore Sun.

  • Your pandemic hobby might be doing more good than you know
    A 2015 study in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine found that engaging in leisure activities improved mood and stress levels and lowered heart rates. In 2017, a small study in Psychosomatic Medicine found that pleasant leisure activities lowered the blood pressure of Alzheimer's disease caregivers. Experts say that's important in the middle of a pandemic
    Jeanine Parisi and Michelle Carlson are quoted in American Heart Association News

  • Americans Are Drinking More As Pandemic Worsens Mental Health, Studies Find
    The study reported that people ages 30 to 59 are drinking more often and heavily, as adults report more symptoms of mental health issues like anxiety and depression in other studies.
    Elizabeth Stuart is quoted in NowThisNews.

  • Biden's spotlight on son's addiction earns praise from advocates
    Story drawing attention to how Biden used Trumps attacks on his son's addiction to turn around and destigmatize recovery.
    Paul Nestadt, the co-director of the Johns Hopkins Anxiety Disorders Clinic, thinks Biden’s remarks might lighten the stigma those vulnerable Americans face at every turn. Article in YahooNews.

  • Tips for managing mental health during COVID-19
    How does isolation affect mental health? What are some strategies we can use to find community during a lockdown?
    Elizabeth Stuart is quoted in Reuters.

  • Mental Health During COVID-19
    Members of the COVID-19 Mental Health Measurement Group based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health shared some of their research findings about the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on mental health.
    Johannes Thrul is quoted in Times Gazette.

  • How Do You Have a Productive Conversation with Someone Who Doesn't Take the Threat of COVID-19 Seriously?
    It can be difficult to address certain questions and concerns with friends and family during the pandemic. Experts go over how to have a productive conversation with someone who doesn't take the threat of COVID-19 seriously.
    Laura Murray is interviewed on WYPR (radio). 

  • What That Sturgis COVID-19 Paper Doesn’t Show — And What It Does
    Scholars are paying attention to new research on the motorcycle rally’s effects on coronavirus spread, but they have lots of questions about it, too.
    Elizabeth Stuart and Keri Althoff are quoted in The Huffington Post.

  • How Can I Ask My Friends to Wear Masks?
    Talking to Friends, Family, Kids, and Coworkers About COVID-19 Safety
    This guide lays out scenarios like these, and Laura Murray, PhD, clinical psychologist and senior scientist in the Department of Mental Health, weighs in on the interpersonal side of pandemic precautions. Crystal Watson, DrPH, a senior scholar at the Center for Health Security, provides practical underpinnings based on current research, data, and public health guidance.
    This article also appears in the ASPPH Friday Newsletter.

  • Using marijuana in pregnancy may heighten baby's risk of autism
    The risk of autism may be greater in babies born to women who used marijuana during pregnancy, a new study suggests.
    Daniele Fallin is quoted (although not involved in the study) in NBC News.

  • 'A Rinsing of the Brain.’ New Research Shows How Sleep Could Ward Off Alzheimer's Disease
    Yet exactly what goes on in the sleeping brain has been a biological black box. Do neurons stop functioning altogether, putting up the cellular equivalent of a Do Not Disturb sign? And what if a sleeping brain is not just taking some well-deserved time off but also using the downtime to make sense of the world, by storing away memories and captured emotions? And how, precisely, is it doing that?
    Adam Spira is quoted in Time.

  • How to mentally cope if you're living with your parents again during the pandemic
    A Pew Research Center poll found that around 1-in-10 adults ages 18 to 29 said they moved because of the outbreak. What may have seemed like a temporary situation in March or April now feels more permanent — which doesn't make the situation any easier.
    Laura Murray is quoted in Today.

  • Being fit, losing weight is a powerful force against COVID-19 but cities have to do more  
    Liz Stuart discusses how people can properly inform themselves about the novel coronavirus and sets the record straight on Hydroxychloroquine and other myths surrounding the virus in G2B[radio].

  • How to Read Covid-19 Research (and Actually Understand It) 
    Evaluating the quality of Covid-19 research is challenging, even for the scientists who study it. Studies are rapidly pouring out of labs and hospitals, but not all of that information is rigorously vetted before it makes its way into the world. 
    Elizabeth Stuart and Kate Grabowski are quoted in Wired.

  • Confederate monuments are coming down. Now, what do we do about memorials to slaveholders like Washington and Jefferson? 
    If monuments are meant to be permanent tributes to individuals and what they stand for, experts say it’s a process laden with flaws.
    David Fakunle, PhD ’18 is quoted in The Baltimore Sun.

  • Experts see no proof of child-abuse surge amid pandemic
    Some experts on the front lines, including pediatricians who helped sound the alarm, say they have seen no evidence of a marked increase in child abuse during the pandemic.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is featured in Associated Press.

  • Bleak UNICEF Report On Kids And COVID-19…But There Is Hope
    Because of the lockdowns, children are out of school and at risk of hunger and domestic abuse. Especially concerning, say UNICEF and regional mental health experts, are anecdotal and statistical reports that show suicides and suicidal thoughts are going up, in particular among adolescents.
    Laura Murray is featured on NPR.

  • In Harm’s Way
    Health care workers around the world are risking their lives—and those of their families—to fight the coronavirus pandemic. The Times is collecting their reflections.
    Adam Milam, PhD ’12, MHS ’09 is featured in the series as an alumnus in

  • How to Cope When COVID Steals Loving Touch, Hugs
    Understanding the reason why we can’t hug and touch those we love during the pandemic is one thing. Deaqling with the effects of that are still proving very difficult for many.
    Elizabeth Stuart is quoted in WebMD.

  • FDA Revokes Emergency Hydroxychloroquine Approval Over Side Effects Concerns
    Alum Remington Nevin, MD, DrPH ‘16 is quoted in

  • Promoting health literacy during the COVID-19 pandemic: a call to action for healthcare professionals
    Joe Gallo and April Joy Damian collaborated on a recently published commentary piece in Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review.

  • Managing Stress During the Pandemic
    ura Murray shares her insight on managing stress and wellness during the pandemic in this podcast on Bloomberg.

  • Elizabeth Stuart Appointed as New Bloomberg Professor of American Health
    Elizabeth A. Stuart, PhD, a national expert in biostatistics and policy evaluation, has been appointed as a Bloomberg Professor of American Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. This endowed position will provide dedicated support for her work through the Bloomberg American Health Initiative in multiple fields, including addiction, violence, adolescent health, and education. 

  • For Stressed-Out Black Americans, Mental Health Care Often Hard to Come By
    While it might seem logical to assume that all that stress would translate into higher rates of mental health conditions like depression and anxiety, that doesn't seem to be the case for many black Americans when actual diagnoses are tallied.
    David Fakunle is quoted in US News.

  • What is safe to do during the pandemic?

    A recent survey provides a snapshot of where Americans see the most danger — and where they’re most out of sync with experts.
    Elizabeth Stuart is quoted. 14 other JHSPH experts are featured on the panel. Article from

  • Insomnia May Forecast Depression, Thinking Problems in Older People
    Insomnia may significantly increase the risk that older adults will be unable to shake off depression, researchers say.
    Senior study lead author Adam Spira is quoted.

  • Pandemic Poses Key Challenges for Preventing Child Sexual Abuse
    Johns Hopkins Moore center releases family resource pages, online course for people concerned about their own sexual feelings toward children.
    Elizabeth Letourneau's research is highlighted in an article in JHU HUB.

  • Watching for Signs of Child Sexual Abuse During Pandemic
    Troubling signs can show that child sexual abuse may be on the rise as families shelter at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    An excerpt from Episode 71 of the Public Health On Call podcast is featured. Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau, director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse spoke with host Dr. Josh Sharfstein about troubling signs that child sexual abuse may be on the rise as families shelter at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Persistent and Worsening Insomnia May Predict Persistent Depression in Older Adults
    Study finds that depressed people with ongoing or worsening sleep disturbances are more likely to remain depressed
    Adam Spira is senior author of the study.  Joe Gallo is lead author.

  • Reports of Child Abuse Have Fallen in Maryland Since Coronavirus Shutdown, But Experts Say Harm May be Hidden.
    Sexual abuse perpetrated by someone outside a family household would likely decrease during this time, but children could be at increased risk if their abuser is within the family due to the time spent at home.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in the Baltimore Sun.

  • Mental Health in Academia: How to enact change
    Postdoctoral fellow and activist Wendy Marie Ingram explains how she trains, educates and works with students and faculty to improve academic mental health in

  • Emotional Intelligence Key to Leadership Amid Pandemic: Johns Hopkins’ Murray [Video] 
    Laura Murray discusses how leaders can help promote better public and mental health during the coronavirus pandemic in a video on

  • Protecting your mental health during the coronavirus pandemic
    The new reality of social distancing and other safety measures is testing everyone, and those living with mental illness may find this time even more challenging if the support system they rely on is not in place.
    Experts from the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health put together these tips and resources on how to protect your mental health during these trying times.
    Calliope Holingue, Dani Fallin, Luke Kalb, Paul Nestadt and Elizabeth Stuart contributed to the article at

  • Managing and understanding mental health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic
    Dani Fallin, chair of the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, discusses the psychological and emotional challenges that arise during social distancing in The Hub.

  • Is It Social-Distance Sadness…or Depression? Here’s How to Tell, According to Psychologists 
    How can you know if your feelings of sadness and hopefulness is a temporary mood swing due to extreme circumstances, or clinical depression?
    Laura Murray is quoted in Apartment Therapy.

  • Social Distancing? Here's How to Prioritize Self-Care
    Resources and tips from Johns Hopkins mental health experts to help you maintain your physical and emotional well-being in the time of COVID-19.
    Calliope Holingue and Laura Murray is quoted in the Hub.

  • Here’s how to reduce your stress over the coronavirus pandemic
     Five psychologists spoke with The Baltimore Sun to explain why the pandemic is stressing us out. They also provided guidance on how to protect your mental health during this time.
    Laura Murray and Johannes Thrul are quoted in the Baltimore Sun.

  • American Teens Struggling With Mental Health Issues
    Rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts are all on the rise among U.S. teens, a new study finds.
    Ramin Mojtabai is quoted in US News & World Report..

  • Nearly all businesses in NJ are closed. Why are liquor stores considered 'essential'? 
    When Gov. Phil Murphy declared that only "essential" retail businesses "critical to our response" could remain open, liquor stores were one of the handful that made the essential list. Why?
    There may be a public health reason for that, addiction experts say.
    Paul Nestadt is quoted in an article in

  • Building Aps to Help Smokers Quit
    Tailored interventions delivered by smartphone may help curb smoking.
    Johannes Thrul is quoted in the spring issues of JHSPH Magazine.

  • Researchers Link Autism to a System That Insulates Brain Wiring
    Scientists have found a clue to how autism spectrum disorder disrupts the brain's information highways. The problem involves cells that help keep the traffic of signals moving smoothly through brain circuits, a team reported Monday in the journal Nature Neuroscience.
    Andrew Jaffee is one of the author to the research article,

  • Elise Pas and Tamara Marder Receive Health Equity Launchpad Grant from the Johns Hopkins Alliance for a Healthier World (AHW)
    The grant will Pas and Marder to begin the work of exploring issues around paraprofessional training to optimize the educational experiences for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. In response to feedback from reviewers, they have also engaged Li-Ching Lee to consult with the group on the global implications of this work. 
    It its announcement, the Alliance for a Healthier World writes: “As a vulnerable population with advanced educational needs, youth with ASD need access to evidence-based practices and a high degree of educational support to ensure their positive behavioral health development. However, in the United States, children with severe educational needs spend the majority of their instructional time with paraprofessionals or aides who lack the high-quality training needed to ensure that an equitable education is received by students with ASD. National data in the U.S. suggest these trends are the worst for children from underserved backgrounds in impoverished schools, creating a complex and intractable behavioral health inequity: the most vulnerable students are educated by the least qualified individuals. Globally, equitable access to education is even more limited. These researchers will gain a better understanding of the barriers and facilitators to paraprofessional training to in order to develop a problem-solving strategy to facilitate schools’ ability to train and retain high-quality educators.”