Skip Navigation

Letter from the Director

Lawrence Appel

Welcome to the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research!


The Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research (aka the Welch Center) remains a vibrant, intellectually stimulating, and highly productive academic unit that bridges the Schools of Medicine and Public Health at Johns Hopkins. In 1989, the Dean of the School of Public Health (DA Henderson), the Dean of the School of Medicine (Richard Ross), the Chair of Epidemiology (Leon Gordis), and Paul Whelton (an emerging institutional leader) established the Welch Center. Since its inception, the Welch Center developed and sustained a well-earned reputation for its academic rigor, collegial environment, and interdisciplinary approach to conducting high quality research and educating a diverse cadre of trainees.

In celebration of our 25th anniversary, we held a symposium attended by numerous luminaries, including current and former trainees and faculty - Leon Gordis, Paul Whelton, Neil Powe, Al Sommer, Mike Klag, Linda Fried, and Dan Ford. Mike Lauer, MD, Director of the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, gave the keynote address. Especially memorable were remarks made by Ron Daniels, President of The Johns Hopkins University.

Over the past few years (2014-2018), Welch Core faculty members have:

  • Published nearly 300 papers each year in peerreviewed journals
  • Directed or co-directed ~30 courses
  • Trained over 100 students in the School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Made scientific discoveries related to risk prediction, prognosis, prevention, and treatment
  • Fostered a highly collegial environment that cultivates future leaders in academic medicine and public health
  • Promoted diversity and inclusion across several dimensions, including race-ethnicity, gender, and scientific disciplines
  • Led an impressive portfolio of research across the spectrum of epidemiologic, clinical, and translational research.
  • Contributed substantively to major institutional initiatives, including the Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (ICTR) and the Patient-Centered Clinical Research Network (PCORnet)
  • Collaborated with Johns Hopkins Health Care, Walgreens, and Healthways to support translation of research findings
  • Sustained large research programs in the community (ProHealth in West Baltimore and the George W Comstock Center in Hagerstown)
  • Initiated major new initiatives, including Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity, the American Heart Association Strategically Focused Research Network on Obesity, the Resolve to Save Lives initiative to improve hypertension control globally, the Chronic Kidney Disease Prognosis Consortium, and the Alacrity Center for Health and Longevity in Mental Illness.

Notwithstanding our success, we have also experienced great sadness. Three beloved faculty members passed away – Nancy Fink, Fred Brancati, and Linda Kao. We dearly miss them. Subsequently, three of the four Hopkins leaders who founded the Welch Center died – Leon Gordis, Richard Ross, and DA Henderson. We remain indebted to them for their vision and wisdom.

Looking ahead to the next 25 years, I remain optimistic. Despite many challenges, we have flourished. I am confident that our faculty and trainees will remain incredibly successful and that the Welch Center will continue to be a model interdisciplinary unit at Hopkins and elsewhere.

Lawrence Appel

Lawrence J Appel, MD, MPH

C. David Molina Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and International Health
Director, Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research