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October 15, 2020

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Appoints David Celentano as New Bloomberg Centennial Professor

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has appointed David Celentano, ScD, MHS, as a Bloomberg Centennial Professor. This is an endowed position made possible by a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Celentano is the chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Epidemiology, with joint appointments in the departments of International Health; Health, Behavior and Society; Health Policy and Management; and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. His research integrates behavioral science theory and research with epidemiology methods in the study of behavioral and social epidemiology and infectious diseases.

While originally trained in a chronic disease paradigm (alcoholism and cancer control), he began to focus his research in HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases in the early 1980s. He has worked on some of the major cohort studies in HIV epidemiology, as well as conducted intervention research in the U.S. for heterosexual men and women, injection drug users, and young men who have sex with men.

“We are delighted to congratulate Dr. Celentano on this appointment, which honors his significant contributions to the understanding of HIV/AIDS globally as well as his longtime leadership at the School,” says Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, ScM.

Celentano turned to international research in 1990, when he began a long-term collaboration with Chiang Mai University in northern Thailand. He recently completed four NIH-supported studies in Thailand, focusing on interventions to help prevent HIV acquisition among substance users, youth, and HIV-discordant couples (in which only one partner is infected by HIV). He was the Thailand principal investigator of Project Accept, a randomized intervention trial in Thailand, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Tanzania that showed the strong influence of community mobilization, HIV counseling, and testing on reduction in HIV at the village level.

He is also a mentor to a dozen MPH/DrPH students from Abu Dhabi, UAE, and is engaged in public health practice in the UAE and in the State of Qatar with Ministry of Health funding.

"While we have made enormous progress in battling the HIV/AIDS epidemic, it remains a major public health challenge,” says Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Dr. Celentano has long been a leader in HIV/AIDS epidemiology, and I’m glad to join his public health colleagues in congratulating him on his new appointment.”

Celentano graduated with a BA in psychology from Johns Hopkins University in 1972, later earning his MHS in mental hygiene (1975) and ScD in behavioral sciences (1977) from what was then the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health.

Among his many honors, Celentano has received an honorary PhD from Chiang Mai University in Thailand (2008) and a Heritage Award (2018) from the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association. His long-term relationship with the School as chair of the Department of Epidemiology since 2008 is a testament to his effectiveness as an educator and a public health leader.

“Dr. Celentano’s research into the associations between drug use and HIV/AIDS has advanced knowledge and understanding of this critical area,” says Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. “Our fellows and collaborating organizations will benefit from his deep expertise and strong leadership.”

This professorship endowment is part of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, which is supporting 25 new endowed positions. The Initiative focuses on addressing major health challenges facing the nation, including obesity and the food system, environmental challenges, addiction, violence, and adolescent health.

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Media contacts: Marianne Amoss at mamoss@jhu.edu and Barbara Benham at bbenham1@jhu.edu.