Skip Navigation


September 15, 2020

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Appoints Susan G. Sherman as New Bloomberg Professor of American Health

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has appointed Susan G. Sherman, PhD, MPH, as a Bloomberg Professor of American Health in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society. This is an endowed position supported by the Bloomberg American Health Initiative through a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Sherman’s work focuses on improving the health of marginalized populations, particularly that of people who use drugs and women engaged in sex work. She is an international leader in harm reduction and the structural drivers of health and risk in these populations. Her work exemplifies how research can directly inform policy.

“Dr. Sherman’s innovative work advances social justice and equity by exploring how to support some of the most marginalized members of our society,” says Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, ScM. “We are delighted to congratulate her on this honor.”

Sherman serves on several local and state advisory committees on syringe service programs and overdose prevention initiatives. She also testifies regularly in Annapolis, Maryland, and before Congress, using evidence to support humane drug policy. She is the founder of SPARC Women’s Center, a harm reduction center that provides safer sex and drug supplies, opioid maintenance therapy, health care, legal services, and case management, as well as drop-in services to sex workers in Baltimore. She is also chair of the National Harm Reduction Coalition.

Sherman also has extensive experience in developing and evaluating HIV prevention, and peer-outreach behavioral and microenterprise interventions in Baltimore, Pakistan, Thailand, and India. She is co-director of the Baltimore HIV Collaboratory and part of the Executive Leadership Committee of the Johns Hopkins Center for AIDS Research. She is core faculty on two training grants: the Drug Dependence Epidemiology Training Program and Data Integration for Causal Inference in Behavioral Health, both within the Department of Mental Health.

“Dr. Sherman’s contributions to public health are extensive, and her highly innovative approaches have been adopted both locally in Baltimore and globally in many low- and middle-income countries,” says Rajiv Rimal, PhD, chair of the Department of Health, Behavior and Society.

Sherman holds joint appointments in the departments of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, Epidemiology, Mental Health, and Health Policy and Management. She is also affiliated with the Center for Global Health and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights.

“Dr. Sherman’s inspiring research and advocacy have helped many understand how harm reduction approaches save lives,” says Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. “Her leadership will inform and shape more effective responses to addiction and overdose for many years.”

Sherman received her MPH in 1996 from the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Health Behavior and Health Education. She received her PhD in 2000 from the Bloomberg School in Social and Behavioral Sciences.

“Dr. Sherman’s pioneering work has improved public health in Baltimore and far beyond,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “I’m glad to congratulate her on her new appointment.”

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 and overdose, violence, and adolescent health.

# # #

Media contacts: Marianne Amoss at and Carly Kempler at