Special Interest Projects
Institute for Health and Productivity Studies (IHPS)
IHPS is one of six Prevention Research Centers participating in the Workplace Health Research Network (WHRN) funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As a WHRN collaborating center, IHPS is collaborating with other members of the Network to build an infrastructure for informing and applying best practices in workplace health promotion. The five-year research agenda is focusing on answering questions that have rapid application for improving employee health promotion programs and practices.
The WHRN will emphasize cross-cutting prevention and health promotion workplace approaches, innovative solutions for difficult problems in workplace settings, and the practical application of research findings, technologies, and information generated by the network. The WHRN is expected to increase the capacity of public health networks, employers, and their partners to implement science-based workplace health programs that can reduce health risks and improve the quality of life of working Americans, lower health care expenditures, and boost economic growth for U.S. employers.
Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN)
As a NOPREN collaborating center, the Johns Hopkins Global Obesity Prevention Center and Center for Adolescent Health is conducting mixed-methods formative research to further develop the Baltimore low-income food environment (BLIFE) model. The BLIFE model is an agent-based model (ABM) of Baltimore city adolescents (10-14 years) interacting with their food environment in urban low-income neighborhoods, including geo-specified homes, food outlets, schools, and recreation centers. The model can be used to test out potential programs and policies prior to implementation, to assess potential impact and unexpected consequences.
The expanded model will include a larger part of the city, school, recreation center and home food and physical activity environment characteristics, and adults and their diets. The work has the following aims: 1) To conduct formative research to collect additional data on the food behaviors and environment at the household, school, food source, and recreation center levels; 2) To iteratively revise our existing ABM with this collected data and then utilize revised models to test the impact of and refine policies/programs for these venues; and 3) To offer our approach and tool to the NOPREN network to guide and refine their studies and translation of results to policy makers.
Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY)
CAMY seeks to reduce underage drinking, the leading drug problem among youth, through monitoring and reducing youth exposure to alcohol advertising. Numerous long-term studies have found that the more young people are exposed to alcohol advertising, the more likely they are to begin drinking or, if already drinking, drink more. The project will identify and monitor use of specific strategies to reduce youth exposure, and will also train future public health professionals in methods for monitoring and reducing young people’s exposure to this risk factor for excessive alcohol use.
Physical Activity Policy Research Network Plus (PAPRN+)
The Physical Activity Policy Research Network Plus (PAPRN+) Coordinating Center is housed at the JHSPH (PI, Keshia Pollack) and jointly led with colleagues from Active Living Research. The mission of PAPRN+ is to conduct and communicate policy research so it can be used by stakeholders in multiple sectors to help Americans achieve adequate physical activity, with an emphasis on walking, to promote and sustain health. The national PAPRN+ Network includes researchers and practitioners, and aims to:
- Promote high quality research vital to the development, implementation, evaluation, and sustainability of policies, environments, and programs that increase physical activity, specifically walking;
- Enhance translation of research into practice and ensure that practice informs research by strengthening collaborations with a diverse array of stakeholders from key health and non-health sectors and taking interventions to scale;
- Integrate translation, dissemination, and implementation research and practice into the training of key stakeholders from various sectors and future leaders in the field.
The JHSPH is also home to one of the five PAPRN+ Collaborating Centers being supported to conduct physical activity policy research. The JHSPH is working with researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and partnering with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, to explore the types of initiatives to promote physical activity that are being implemented by worksites in the Healthiest Maryland Businesses (HMB) program – a worksite wellness program supported by a CDC 1305 grant. Data are being collected through the CDC Worksite Health ScoreCard, interviews with the HMB coordinators, and a multiple case study involving a subset of these businesses.