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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

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • Department of Mental Health Welcomes Four New Assistant Professors

    Leslie Adams photoLeslie Adams, PhD, MPH. Dr. Adams is currently a David E. Bell post-doctoral fellow at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, where she is studying social contexts that shape black men’s mental health and healthcare utilization–both in the US and globally. She received her PhD in Health Behavior from UNC Chapel Hill’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, an MPH in Health Policy from Dartmouth, and a BA in Neuroscience also at Dartmouth. Her research interests are at the intersection of gender, race, and mental health care utilization, with attention to measurement challenges and applications of latent variable approaches. Her long term goals focus on developing tools to better detect and mitigate depressive symptoms, prevent clinical depression, and curtail suicidal behavior among boys and men of color. Her work easily fits into several activities and centers at the Bloomberg School including the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, the Center for Adolescent Health, and the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions.

    Sachini BandaraSachini Bandara, PhD. Dr. Bandara is currently an Assistant Scientist in the Department of Health Policy and Management here at the Bloomberg School, where she also earned her PhD in Health and Public Policy as a Brown Scholar. In between, she was a post-doctoral fellow with us in Mental Health on the Mental Health Services and Systems T32 Training Program. Prior to her time at Bloomberg, she received an MS in Social and Behavioral Sciences from Harvard and a BA in Public Health from UC Berkeley. Her work is at the intersection of mental health, substance use, criminal justice and public health. She hopes to identify strategies to improve access to high quality treatment services and social safety-net programs for people living with mental illness. She is also working to identify communication tools that reduce stigma and increase public support for policies and programs that help people living with mental illness and substance use disorders. She is already working with multiple programs at the Bloomberg School, including the Center for Mental Health and Addiction Policy Research and the addiction activities of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. We are excited to see her policy and social science expertise blossom in our department and delighted that her work will highlight the many strong connections between our colleagues in HPM and faculty and students in Mental Health.

    Rebecca FixRebecca Fix, PhD. Dr. Fix is currently an Assistant Scientist in Mental Health and a core member of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse. She received a dual-focused PhD in clinical child psychology, and in forensic psychology from Auburn University as well as an MS in clinical psychology from West Virginia University. She completed a residency focused on youth violence at the University of Maryland before joining the Moore Center. She is interested in evaluation of prevention programs addressing youth violence, with attention to racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system. She has applied her expertise to prevention of sexual abuse, considerations of culture and mental health, intersection of mental health and substance use disparities, and disparities affecting youth of color at the community level. She is already working with multiple centers at the Bloomberg School, including the Moore Center, the Center for Adolescent Health, and the violence and adolescent health components of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. We are excited to see her work in these areas expand further through her role as Assistant Professor!Rebecca Fix, PhD.

    Tiara WillieTiara Willie, PhD, MA. Dr. Willie is currently a post-doctoral fellow at Brown University where she is examining the etiology and health consequences of gender-based violence among marginalized populations, particularly black women, domestically and globally. She received her PhD in Epidemiology from Yale, as well as an MA in Women’s Studies from So. Connecticut State, and a BS in Biology from UNC Chapel Hill. As a social epidemiologist guided by the social-ecological model, her research explores individual-, relationship-, community-, and societal-level determinants of gender-based violence and the health implications of violence, particularly mental health. She is also a burgeoning implementation scientist, with a K award set to begin in April that will use implementation science to increase prevention intervention uptake among African American women who may be experiencing gender-based violence. Tiara’s expertise in implementation, prevention, violence, and health disparities are a great fit for our department and school, and will contribute to many efforts around violence prevention including the Bloomberg American Health Initiative.


  • Laura-MurrayLaura Murray, Ph.D., has been promoted to Senior Scientist in the Department of Mental Health
    Dr. Murray’s research focuses on global mental health with a concentration on dissemination and implementation research about evidence-based mental health treatments in low and middle income country (LMIC) settings. Dr. Murray obtained Masters and Doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology from Western Michigan University, followed by work at Columbia University where she worked on the Child and Adolescent Trauma Treatment and Services (CATS) study after the September 11th attacks. In 2004, she was recruited to Boston University, where she worked with Drs. Paul Bolton and Judy Bass on global mental health, forming the Applied Mental Health Research Group (AMHR). In 2008, Dr. Murray moved with Drs. Bass and Bolton to JHSPH.

    Murray’s work is multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative, drawing on theories and methods from psychology, social work, anthropology, and public health. She is an expert in Implementation Science, and has completed the 2-year NIMH Implementation science fellowship. She developed the global mental health group’s DIME (Design, Implementation, Monitoring, and Evaluation) approach and helped develop the Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA) for LMIC settings to address multiple mental health challenges instead of each one in isolation via a modular, transdiagnostic model. CETA has now been studied in 4 randomized trials in LMIC settings and multiple organizations are promoting its implementation including CDC, WHO, DFID and USAID. She has successfully garnered NIH and non-government grants to carry out this work. She has also contributed to public health practice and education. She has mentored students and post-doctoral fellows in our Global Mental Health NIMH T32 program, with her mentees going on to successful and impactful global mental health careers. As one of few nationally certified trainers in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Dr. Murray serves as a regular TF-CBT trainer and has served on specialty committees and working groups for sex-trafficked youth in the United States. She has also developed research, intervention, implementation, and/or service capacity for government, NGO and lay workers by personally training many hundreds of workers in Zambia, Lebanon, Iraq, Myanmar, Georgia, Thailand, Uganda, Rwanda, DR Congo, Cambodia, Pakistan, Israel, Bougainville, Colombia, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, and the USA.

    In short, Dr. Murray is an outstanding scholar, practitioner, and implementation scientist that brings incredible value to our department, school and the countries she serves. Her unusual expertise in both clinical and global mental health is an essential part of our department and school’s global mental health program. We are thrilled to have her in our department and to see her accomplishments recognized by this promotion.

  • Andrew_Jaffe Andrew Jaffe, Ph.D. has been promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Health
    Dr. Jaffe’s work is at the intersection of population science, biological psychiatry, computational biology, and biostatistics. He is a Lead Investigator at the Hopkins-affiliated Lieber Institute for Brain Development (LIBD), reflecting a unique opportunity for an academic membership and our department and deep collaboration between LIBD and the Bloomberg School. Dr. Jaffe earned a B.A. in Public Health Studies at Johns Hopkins, followed by a joint PhD and MHS in Epidemiology and Bioinformatics, respectively, from our School, before joining the LIBD in 2011. In 2014, he was appointed as Assistant Professor in Mental Health, and now also has joint appointments in Biostatistics, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Neuroscience.

    Dr. Jaffe’s work leverages large human brain and stem cell datasets to better understand how genomic signatures associate with brain development and subsequent dysregulation in mental illness. He has developed new computational and laboratory approaches for processing, normalizing and analyzing epigenomic and transcriptomic data and applied these to understand new biological insights into "normal" brain development and aging as well as severe mental illness. He has contributed to some of the most commonly used software tools in genomics including: derfinder, recount, sva, bumphunter, minfi, polyester, and ballgown. These are available through his own jaffelab R package, where he has also made his brain epigenetics data available for public use. Further, he was a founding member of the PsychENCODE Consortium, which is creating a public resource of genomic data across brain tissues and cells for use in psychiatric research, and was recently elected to co-chair the next five year phase. He leads several NIH grants and collaborates with many folks in our department and school on other awards. Finally, he is a generous mentor and teacher.

    In short, Dr. Jaffe has shown outstanding scholarship, research leadership, and teaching service to our department and school. We are excited to see recognized through this promotion and to have him as part of our faculty and school!

  • Tamar_MendelsonTamar Mendelson has been promoted to the rank of Professor in the Departments of Mental Health and Population, Family, and Reproductive Health
    Tamar joined our DMH faculty in 2006 as a licensed clinical psychologist interested in prevention science related to maternal and child health and particularly the integration of mindfulness components into prevention interventions. She has thrived at the Bloomberg School and was recruited last year to lead the School’s Center for Adolescent Health, which works with community partners to improve the health and well-being of urban youth. She successfully led a renewal application to the CDC securing the future of the Center for the next 5 years. She was also recently named the second Bloomberg Professor of American Health, in recognition and support of her leadership in adolescent health.

    Much of her current work addresses the development, evaluation, and dissemination of prevention strategies among underserved populations with a focus on urban youth. Through the Center for Adolescent Health and the Bloomberg Initiative, she works with colleagues and stakeholders to promote well-being and thriving among urban youth and to reduce the number of youth disconnected from school, the workforce, and other key supports. She has also worked effectively with Baltimore area public schools on prevention interventions that include mindfulness and yoga to benefit urban youth who are exposed to community violence and other forms of stress and trauma. In addition, she has worked to evaluate cognitive behavioral strategies to promote maternal mental health and prevent postpartum depression.

    While accomplishing all this, she has continued to be an excellent teacher and mentor, receiving recognition for Excellence in Teaching from the School as well as the Maryland Psychological Association of Graduate Students Mentoring Award.

  • Adam_SpiraAdam Spira has been promoted to rank of Professor in the Department of Mental Health
    Adam, a clinical psychologist, joined our faculty in 2008 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014.  His innovative work focuses on disturbed sleep as a risk factor for poor health outcomes in older adults, and on psychopathology linked to both sleep and cognition in older adults. Early on, Adam was one of the first to use objective sleep measures examining the links between sleep and functional decline.  His group also showed association between sleep-disordered breathing and cognitive impairment in older adults.

    Adam has clearly thrived at the Bloomberg School.  He is a world-recognized scholar in sleep and health, leads multiple NIH grants, works directly with multiple centers and T32 programs, and teaches our flagship first term course on psychopathology for public health. He has received several awards including the Advising, Mentoring and Teaching Recognition Award (AMTRA) from the Bloomberg School in 2018, the Insomnia Section Investigator Award from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Barry Lebowitz Early Career Scientist Award from the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry in 2013.  In addition to being an outstanding scholar and educator, Adam has contributed greatly to the Department and School, including membership on the JHSPH Faculty Senate, the Institutional Review Board Member and the Academic Ethics Board.  In recognition of his leadership, he has also been appointed as Vice Chair for Research and Faculty here in the Department.

  • Interesting People Doing Important Work
    Tamar Mendelson is a strong proponent of viewing the issue of youth disconnection, and the significant disparities associated with it, as a public health problem, meriting large-scale, population-based strategies focused on prevention as well as reengagement.
    Tamar Mendelson is featured on pages 14 – 16 of the Issuu - Mary Christie Quarterly.

  • Lots of time on social media linked to anxiety, depression in teens
    Full article in JAMA Psychiatry: AP News, is quoted in Kira Riehm
    Teens who spend more time with social media are more likely to suffer from social withdrawal, anxiety or depression, a new study says. Lead researcher and doctoral student, Kira is first author, and Kenny Feder and Kayla Tormohlen are student co-authors. Dr. Ramin Mojtabai is the senior author.

  • We spend billions after child sexual abuse happens and nothing to prevent it [Opinion]
    We desperately need more resources focused on the development of effective prevention strategies that keep children safe from sexual abuse in the first place.
    Elizabeth Letourneau wrote the piece in the Hill.

  • The Men Who Call Themselves Non-Offending Pedophiles
    Getting help for pedophilia is risky in the U.S., where therapists are obligated to report people they deem a threat to children. ‘Non-offending pedophile’ is a term used to describe an adult who is attracted to children but has never acted on those feelings with a child.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in Vice.

  • Johns Hopkins: Faculty Receives $2.5 Million Grant To Study Effectiveness of New ‘Good Behavior Game’ Online Training Program for Baltimore City Elementary School Teachers
    Dr. Nicholas Ialongo, professor in the department of mental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has received a $2.5 million grant from the Institute on Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education to study the effectiveness of a new online training and mentoring model for the PAX Good Behavior Game program.

  • 4.5 Million Young People Nationwide Are Not Working or in School. How Cities Are Working to Get Them Back on Track — & Avoid the School-to-Prison Pipeline
    Disengaged from both education and the labor force, an estimated 4.5 million young people are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, too often finding themselves in the school-to-prison pipeline.
    Tamar Mendelson is quoted.

  • Study finds more edible pot among Colorado teen users
    Some teenagers in Colorado, where marijuana is legal for adults, are shifting away from smoking in favor of edible cannabis products.
    Kayla Tormohlen, a PhD candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and co-author of the featured study, is quoted in AP News.

  • Suicide Crisis: Can the rising rate be stemmed?
    Paul Nestadt shared a good long form investigation of Suicide (past and future) that he’d been interviewed for several times over the past several months.

  • Brody: Before a sleeping pill, try anything else
    Desperate to fall asleep or fall back to sleep, many resort to Ambien or another of the so-called “Z drugs” to get elusive shut-eye. But except for people with short-term sleep-disrupting issues, like post-surgical pain or bereavement, these sedative-hypnotics have a time-limited benefit and can sometimes cause more serious problems than they might prevent.
    Adam Spira is quoted in the Herald-Tribune.

  • Fatal overdoses decline in Maryland for first time in years as fentanyl-related deaths dip in first quarter
    Fatal overdoses linked to the highly potent synthetic opioid fentanyl dipped in the first three months of 2019 in Maryland, leading to a decline in the total number of drug and alcohol deaths for the first time in years.
    Michael Fingerhood (joint appointment) is quoted.

  • Alabama Sex Offender Bill: What Is Chemical Castration and Why Is it So Controversial?
    While there is no cure for pedophilia, the ACLU believes forcing sex offenders to undergo chemical castration is a violation of the Constitution.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in Rolling Stone.

  • Insomnia Can Kill You
    Chronic insomnia is linked to an increased risk of developing hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, heart attack, depression, anxiety and premature death.
    A study co-authored by Adam Spira is cited in The New York Times.

  • Johns Hopkins: Researchers Participating in GEMMA Multi-Omics Research into Autism Spectrum Disorder
    Wendy Klag Center Director Dr. M. Daniele Fallin and affiliated faculty member Dr. Chris Ladd-Acosta are part of a new European-based initiative to identify treatment and prevention targets for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The five-year project, called GEMMA (Genome, Environment, Microbiome and Metabolome in Autism), began January 1.

  • Poor Mental Health Ups Risk For Teen E-Cigarette Use [Paywall]
    Teens with mental health problems were more likely to take up cigarettes, both electronic and regular, according to a longitudinal study.
    The article (in MedPage Today) cites a paper, published in Pediatrics, by PhD student Kira Riehm.

  • Sleep Habits May Be Directly Related to Alzheimer’s Disease
    Analysis of data captured during a long-term study of aging adults shows those who reported being very sleepy during the day, were three times more likely to have brain deposits of beta-amyloid; a protein that's a hallmark for Alzheimer's disease, years later. This suggests that getting adequate nighttime sleep could be a way to help prevent Alzheimer's disease.
    Adam Spira is quoted in an article in the

  • How Exercise Affects Our Memory
    Even a single workout may make our brain's memory centers, like our muscles, more fit.
    Alfonso Alfini, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow, is co-author of the paper described in this article in the New York Times.

  • The Sleep-Dementia Connection
    Among the many things that can shatter when Alzheimer's disease tightens its grip is the steady rhythm of the body's sleep-wake cycle.
    Adam Spira is quoted in an article in Scientific American.

  • Want to Leave a Legacy? Be a Mentor
    This is how you cam make a positive impact so that even after you've left this earth you'll stay on in the memories and lives of others.
    Michelle Carlson,  PhD, is quoted in an article in SBS News.

  • NASA twins study explores space, the final genetic frontier
    From his eyes to his immune system, astronaut Scott Kelly’s body sometimes reacted strangely to nearly a year in orbit, at least compared to his Earth-bound identical twin — but newly published research shows nothing that would cancel even longer space treks, like to Mars. (The Associated Press)
    Andrew Feinberg, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor with appointments at the Bloomberg School, the Whiting School, and the School of Medicine, led one of the 10 research teams that scrutinized the twins’ health before, during and after Scott Kelly’s 340-day stay at the International Space Station. This research was covered in multiple additional outlets including the New York Timesthe Washington Postthe Los Angeles TimesCNNthe Wall Street Journal and the Guardian.

  • The opioid epidemic is increasingly killing black Americans. Baltimore is ground zero.
    On the ground with the people fighting to help the city’s most vulnerable. This article in Vox features the good work that Deborah Agus (Adjunct Associate Professor) and Noa Krawczyk, doctoral student, do with opioid treatment programs in Baltimore.

  • Background checks for long gun sales would reduce suicides in Md. [Opinion]
    While dramatic mass killings in Maryland have led to the proposed legislation of requiring background checks on all long gun (rifle and shotgun) sales, the law would also reduce firearm suicides, which constitute two-thirds of all gun deaths.
    Paul Nestadt is the author of the OpEd piece in The Baltimore Sun.

  • Exercise Boosts Cognitive Abilities In Older Adults, Study Says
    A recent study revealed that constant exercise positively and significantly affects human brain functions. It also uncovered that concrete short-term benefits could also point to who benefit from long-term exercise.
    Michelle Carlson is featured in an article in MSN.

  • The Precursors Study: Charting a Lifetime
    For more than 70 years, School of Medicine graduates have filled out an annual survey. Today, their information forms one of the world's longest and most detailed studies of health from 1948 to today.
    Joe Gallo (study director) is quoted in an article in the Hub.

  • Jefferson High School one of eight schools nationwide selected to participate in unprecedented teen mental health pilot
    Through a handful of courses that follow a five-step action plan, Jefferson High School teens will soon learn how to recognize and respond to developing mental health or substance use problems among their peers.Surveys will be sent to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to assess the U.S. teen mental health first aid course effectiveness.
    Holly Wilcox is one of the researchers involved with the evaluation. Article in Montana Standard.

  • Suicidal thoughts and other mental-health problems drive more youth to emergency rooms
    The number of children and young adults visiting the emergency department for psychiatric concerns rose 28 percent over a four-year period, and visits having to do with suicide more than doubled, according to a study published this week in the journal Pediatrics.
    The findings amplify concerns that the mental-health care system is failing to meet the country’s needs, forcing people to rely on emergency rooms ill-equipped to deal with psychiatric concerns.
    Luke Kalb, PhD is quoted in the Inquirer Daily News (

  • Mental Health Problems Are on the Rise Among American Teens and Young Adults
    You can call the generation of young Americans now working their way to adulthood Generation Z, because they follow Generations X and Y. You can call these 14-to-27-year-olds “iGen,” after the wireless devices that seem permanently affixed to their persons. And if they’re your kids and still living with you, you can even call (or text) them late for dinner. What you can’t call them, according to new research, is happy.
    Ramin Mojtabai is quoted in LA Times .

  • Brody: Those who can, do — and then they teach
    Experience Corps, a program dedicated to helping older adults find purpose later in life, has proven to allow older, poorly educated African-American women with signs of cognitive decline to improve their decision-making ability and brain function while the schoolchildren they interacted with improved academically.
    Michelle Carlson is a co-author of the mentioned study in the Herald Tribu.

  • Stagg Students to Get Mental Health Training with Help of Lady Gaga-backed Foundation
    Stagg High School in Palos Hills has been selected as one of eight sites around the country to participate in the first teen Mental Health First Aid pilot program, an initiative backed by singer and songwriter Lady Gaga, according to the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health. The pilot program is being evaluated by researchers from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
    Holly Wilcox is one of the researchers.

  • Want to Leave a Legacy? Be a Mentor
    A study of people recruited to help low-income children thrive showed that by participating in Experience Corps, older, poorly educated African-American women with signs of cognitive decline improved their decision-making ability and brain function while the schoolchildren they interacted with improved academically.
    Michelle Carlson is a co-author of the featured study in The New York Times.

  • How Wearable and Implantable Technology is Changing the Future of Health Care
    Adam Spira is quoted in an article in the Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine - Spring 2019 edition.

  • Drinking, Drug-use Dreams in Recovery Tied to More Severe Addiction History
    A study found that vivid relapse dreams are more common in those with more severe clinical histories of alcohol and other drug problems.
    Claire Greene, post-doctoral fellow and co-author of the study, is quoted in Sleep Review Magazine.

  • Use of Valium and Xanax for Pain Rising in U.S.
    A growing number of people in the U.S. are taking anti-anxiety drugs like Valium and Xanax not just for anxiety or depression but also for chronic pain, researchers say.
    Marissa Seamans is quoted in

  • Study defines differences among brain neurons that coincide with psychiatric conditions
    Previous studies of key brain cells have found little variability in a common cell process that involves how genetic information is read and acted on.
    Andrew Feinberg and Kasper Hansen co-led the study.  Results of the study are published online in Nature Neuroscience.

  • Many Addiction Centers Lack Anti-Opioid Meds: Study
    Although the U.S. opioid epidemic dates back more than a decade, only 6 percent of treatment centers in 2016 offered the three medications approved to treat opioid addiction, new research reveals.
    Ramin Mojtabai, lead author, is quoted in U.S. News & World Report.

  • Committee to Study Health Effects of Malaria Drugs Taken by US Troops
    A National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee, on which Elizabeth Stuart serves as a member, will conduct a review of the long-term health effects of an anti-malarial drug taken by U.S. troops that has been linked to brain damage and psychiatric disorders.
    On January 28 the committee will launch an 18-month study of mefloquine, also known by its brand name, Lariam, and other malaria medications used by military personnel, Peace Corps volunteers and State Department employees over the past several decades.
    Alum Remington Nevin, MD, DrPH, Executive Director of The Quinism Foundation, spoke to the Committee on January 28.  He has played a major role in studying the long-term psychiatric effects of mefloquine. Although their group did not ask for this study specifically, Nevin notes that it appears likely their advocacy was in large part what led VA to the decision to pursue it.

  • Depression in adolescents and young adults is rising: Are phones and social media to blame?
    Dr. Mary Alvord, psychologist and professor at GWU, discusses teen depression risk factors and helpful hints to help nurture resilience in your child in USA Today
    Ramin Mojtabai, whose study is referenced, is quoted.

  • Mental Illness Doesn't Mean Mass Murderer
    People with mental illness rarely commit homicide, and few homicides are committed by people with mental illness. About 5% of homicides are committed by people with psychotic conditions. People with serious mental illness are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators.
    Paul S. Nestadt, MD, an assistant professor, and Elizabeth Prince, DO, an instructor, both of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in Baltimore are among the writers of this opinion piece in MEDPAGE TODAY.

  • Infections in Kids Tied to subsequent mental Illness risk in New Study
    The study, published in the Journal JAMA Psychiatry, found that infections requiring hospitalizations were associated with an about 84% increased risk of being diagnosed with any mental disorder and an about 42% increased risk of using psychotropic drugs to treat a mental disorder.
    Bill Eaton is quoted in an article in CNNHealth.

  • Johns Hopkins Researchers Receive $890,000 CDC Grant to Evaluate Medicaid Expansion’s Impact on Prevention of Violence
    Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau, professor in the department of mental health and director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Dr. Beth McGinty, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s department of health policy and management, received a $890,000 three-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to advance the understanding of what works to prevent violence in low-income communities. Article in the ASPPH Friday Letter.

  • What to do when your child is accused of sexually inappropriate behavior
    When it comes to sexual abuse, parents often focus on protecting their children from adult predators; few consider the possibility that their child might be the perpetrator.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in The Washington Post.

  • The Behavioral Health Leadership Institute among 11 community health organizations receiving a grant from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield to help boost addiction treatment efforts.
    Grant will expand the mobile van buprenorphine treatment program that sits outside of the Baltimore jail.  A good article about the mobile van program...
    Deborah Agus, Adjunct Faculty, is director of BHLI. This article was posted in The Baltimore Sun.

  • The high economic toll of mental illness
    Mental disorders are estimated to cost the global community nearly $2.5 trillion each year–and those costs are increasing.
    Judith Bass is quoted in Marketplace.

  • Mental Health Mentions in the Fall 2018 Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine
    M. Claire Greene, PhD ’18, MPH  “Dangerous Drinking”  Alcohol's Global Toll
    Luke Kalb, PhD ’18, MPH   “Crisis Averted” An Emergency Mental Health Screening Tool for Youths with Autism

  • School counselors outnumbered as they struggle to help students with mental health issue
    “Sad” and “frustrating” are words some local school counselors use when they talk about the obstacles they face as more students seek mental health services at school. In Winchester and Frederick County public schools, an increasing numbers of students are seeking help, while staff members grow outnumbered.
    A study by Ramin Mojtabai is mentioned in The Winchester Star.

  • It's difficult to predict: Psychiatrist discusses mental illness's part in mass shootings
    Looking for a motive or root cause of Thursday's shooting in Aberdeen, investigators said they interviewed family and friends of the shooter, Snochia Mosely, who took her own life. Moseley was a licensed gun owner who was diagnosed with a mental health disorder in 2016. That is a red flag, according to experts, but they also said it is a mistake to consider mental health as the primary driver of violence.
    Paul Nestadt, MD is quoted on

  • How to Find the Right Place for the PhD or Postdoc
    Researchers share their advice for approaching this important decision.
    Wendy Ingram
    , PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, is quoted in

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness may signal Alzheimer’s risk
    A study found that adults who reported being very sleepy during the day were thrice more likely to have brain deposits of beta amyloid, a protein that is a hallmark for Alzheimer's, years later.
    Adam Spira is quoted in The Tribune..

  • Brain training: What PCPs need to know
    Cognitive decline is a distressing aspect of growing older for many people and it affects a large proportion of the aging population. Brain training can aid in improving cognitive performance among older patients, according to a presentation from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
    George Rebok is quoted in Healio.

  • Pittsburgh Diocese May Have Improved Sex Abuse Prevention Efforts, More Work Needs To Be Done
    Over the course of 30 years, the Pittsburgh Diocese has made changes in how it prevents and responds to accusations of clergy abuse, including psychological screenings of seminarians so as to identify potential issues in men before they enter the priesthood.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in NPR - 90.5 WESA Pittsburgh.

  • Tamar Mendelson named Bloomberg Professor of American Health
    Associate Professor Tamar Mendelson, PhD, an expert in adolescent mental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been appointed as a Bloomberg Professor of American Health.

  • The Hidden Danger of Suicide in Autism
    Many people with autism entertain thoughts of suicide and yet show few obvious signs of their distress. Some scientists are identifying risks — and solutions — unique to autistic individuals.
    The Spectrum article quotes Paul Lipkin, MD, of the Interactive Autism Network at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Lipkin and colleagues have begun using a suicide screening tool in at KKI outpatient clinics, while a team including Holly Wilcox, PhD, an associate director of mental health, used the screener previously at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  The article also quotes Roma Vasa, MD, director of psychiatric services at KKI”s Center for Autism and Related Disorders.

  • Through the Eyes of a Teenager
    After infancy, the brain’s most dramatic growth spurt occurs in adolescence, and that growth means things get a little muddled in a teen mind. Teen brains are also wired to seek reward, act out, and otherwise exhibit immaturity that will change when they become adults.

    Sara Johnson (joint) is quoted in The Bay City Tribune.

  • The Summer 2018 Magazine is live! Several DMH Faculty are featured!
    “Swimming with Dolphins”
    Faculty Mention: Michelle Carlson
    A smiling dolphin named Bandit, part of an immersive video game adapted from an original design by @HopkinsMedicine's Department of Neurology, could help older adults maintain physical and cognitive health.
    “Women Empowered” Reflexes of Resilience
    Faculty Mention: Judith Bass, Sarah McIvor Murray; Student Mention: Daniel Lakin
    The continuing impact of group therapy for sexual violence survivors in the Congo.

  • Opinion: Suicides Rates Are Rising. What Should We Do About It?
    It is estimated that more than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder. This means that, in theory, suicide should be preventable if the right treatment can be delivered to people who have these psychiatric illnesses. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know which treatments are most effective at preventing suicides because most studies of mental health interventions specifically exclude suicidal subjects.
    Elizabeth Stuart is a co-author of the Johns Hopkins study featured in the piece in The New York Times.

  • Tragedy of Child Sexual Abuse Takes Financial Toll, Too

    Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health calculated that in 2015 alone, the costs associated with the aftermath of abuse exceeded $9 billion. That figure included costs associated with health care, child welfare, special education, violence and crime, suicide and survivor productivity losses.
    Study author Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in HealthDay.

  • Surge in young Americans using marijuana as first drug
    The proportion of young people using marijuana as their first drug doubled in the 10 years from 2004, a US-based study has found.
    Renee Johnson is quoted in The Guardian.

  • Opioid Prevalence in Suicide Victims Skyrockets
    The prevalence of opioids in the blood of suicide victims has more than doubled in the past decade, new research shows.
    A study conducted by investigators at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, showed that the number of people who died by suicide who had opioids in their system increased from 8.8% in 2006 to 17% in 2017.
    Paul Nestadt is quoted in Medscape.  Commentary by Maria Oquendo (last APA president and psychiatry chair of Penn.

  • 7 Adderall Side Effects You Need To Know About
    Taking Adderall when it’s not needed and when dosing isn’t monitored can have unpleasant and dangerous side effects.
    JHSPH research (Ramin Mojtabai’s study) is mentioned in Women's Health Magazine.

  • Autism Awareness Month [Video]
    April is Autism Awareness Month, a time to shed light on the strides being made and what still needs to be done.
    Gazi Azad is featured on WBFF (Baltimore Fox affiliate).