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September 24, 2003

Robert Blum to Chair Department of Population and Family Health Sciences

Bob BlumThe Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has named Robert Wm. Blum, MD, MPH, PhD, a leading authority in adolescent health, to chair its Department of Population and Family Health Sciences. Dr. Blum joins the faculty of the School of Public Health from the University of Minnesota, where he is director of the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health and director of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Collaborating Center in Adolescent Health. Dr. Blum will begin the transition to his new duties with the School of Public Health in January 2004.

"I am delighted to welcome Bob Blum to the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. I believe he will lead Population and Family Health Sciences, which is already an outstanding department, to even greater heights,” said Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS, dean of the School of Public Health.

“I’m eager to begin working with the preeminent faculty of the Department of Population and Family Health Sciences. Together, I hope we can set a clear direction for what our field should be, not only for Johns Hopkins, but for the nation,” said Dr. Blum.

Dr. Blum received his medical degree from the Howard University College of Medicine. He did his pediatrics training, earned his Master in Public Health in Maternal and Child Health and doctorate in Health Policy from the University of Minnesota. In 1978, he founded the adolescent health program at the University of Minnesota.

Dr. Blum’s research interests include adolescent sexuality, chronic illness, and international adolescent health care issues. He has edited two books and written over 220 journal articles, book chapters, and special reports on the study of adolescent health. Dr. Blum was also co-investigator for the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, which measured adolescents in grades 7 through 12, their social settings, the ways in which adolescents connect to their social world, and the influence of social settings and connections on health. The study was the largest survey of American youth ever undertaken. Recently, he published a study in the American Journal of Public Health debunking the myths that race, income, and family structure can be major predictors of youth health risk behaviors.

Dr. Blum was a keynote speaker at the White House Conference on Youth in May 2000. He has been honored by the American Public Health Association with the Needleman Award for “scientific research and courageous advocacy for children” in 1998. In addition, he was the recipient of the Society of Adolescent Medicine’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 1993.

For many years, Dr. Blum has served as a U.S. representative to the WHO as chair of the Technical Advisory Group of the Maternal and Child Health Program and as a member of the Scientific and Technical Advisory Group of the Reproductive Health Program. He has also served as a consultant to the Pan American Health Organization, World Bank, and UNICEF. Dr. Blum has been chair of the Alan Guttmacher Institute Board of Directors and is a past president of the Society for Adolescent Medicine. He was also named chair of the National Academy of Sciences newly formed Committee on Youth Health and Development.

Dr. Blum will take over for Bernard Guyer, MD, MPH, who led the Department of Population and Family Health Sciences for nearly 14 years. Dr. Guyer is stepping down as chair to focus on his scholarly activities as the Zanvyl Krieger Professor of Children’s Health and direct the Doctor of Public Health degree program.

The Department of Population and Family Health Sciences is dedicated to researching and developing practices to address global population growth and assure the health and development of all people, particularly mothers and infants, families, adolescents, and children. The department’s research and training initiatives include activities of the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, Center for Adolescent Health Promotion and Disease, Women’s and Children’s Health Policy Center, Center for Communication Programs, and the Hopkins Population Center.

Public Affairs Media Contact for the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Tim Parsons at 410-955-6878 or

Photographs of Robert Blum are available upon request.