In an effort to examine the impact of research on the
health status of Baltimoreans and health
policies in the city, the Johns Hopkins
Urban Health Institute this winter put out a citywide
announcement that in effect asked, "Got abstracts?" The
reply came back resoundingly affirmative,
and this week the public can see and hear the results for
The wealth of health research conducted directly in
Charm City during the past 25 years will be
showcased on Friday, when the Urban Health Institute hosts
its inaugural Baltimore Research Day.
The half-day event will spotlight a wide range of issues,
including HIV, asthma, early childhood health,
family health, substance abuse and injury prevention.
Researchers from across the city submitted
papers, and nearly 30 of them will be presented.
Participants will include policy-makers and students
and researchers from a number of
universities and community groups, including Johns Hopkins,
Morgan State University, Towson
University, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore, as
well as a number of city agencies.
In addition, a policy impact award will be presented
at the event, co-chaired by Bernard Guyer,
of the Bloomberg School of
Public Health, and Joshua Sharfstein, Baltimore City
Guyer said that a chief goal of the conference is to
examine the linkages between research
about Baltimore and policy, in order to make the city a
"I believe that inherent to the mandate for the Urban
Health Institute is the need to assure
that we are addressing the needs of the Baltimore community
through all of our endeavors, including
research," said Guyer, the Zanvyl Krieger Professor of
Children's Health at the Bloomberg School.
"We are not just here to treat problems once they occur.
Rather, we need to be actively thinking
about promoting a research agenda that will promote a
healthier community in all of its dimensions.
Hopefully, this research conference in partnership with the
City Health Department will help us all
move along that road to collaborative research."
In terms of Johns Hopkins' role in Baltimore-based
research, the issue is a complex one, Guyer
said. Johns Hopkins, he said, is an internationally
renowned research university that finds itself in the
middle of a very disadvantaged population that suffers from
many health problems. And this fact begs
the question, How has our research endeavor benefited the
community? Baltimore Research Day, he
said, will examine that question as it pertains to all its
The event will be held from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the
Bloomberg School's Feinstone Hall. It kicks
off with a poster session, followed by two moderated
discussion sessions: Sustaining Research and
Policy Dialogues and Innovative Community-Based
In the first session, the featured abstracts will be
"Declining Human Immunodeficiency Virus
and Hepatitis C Virus Prevalence Over 20 Years Among
HIV-Positive and -Negative Injection Drug
Users in Baltimore (1988-2007)" and "Innovative
Partnerships Drive Home Safety."
The second session will look at "The Impact of the
Breathmobile on Asthma Outcomes in
Underserved City Children" and "The Three-Generation
Project: A Home Intervention That Delays the
Introduction of Solid Foods and Second Births Among
Low-Income African-American Adolescent
Mothers and Infants."
Sharfstein said that Baltimore has a high infant death
rate, and it's vital that research like the
Three-Generation Project is conducted to find out why.
In reference to the event itself, Sharfstein said he
hopes it stimulates public debate and
informs both the policy-makers and researchers in
attendance. For community members, he said, the
day is an opportunity to learn how research works and what
is being done to improve health outcomes.
Sharfstein added that the presentations will be
general in nature and not overly technical. "This
will not be your typical research symposium," he said.
Sharfstein said the discussions will also look at the
instances when research and action are
"It's frustrating for both policy-makers and
researchers that research does not always have
the impact it can and maybe should have," he said. "It's
important that people see that research has
the potential to translate into action that can save a lot
of lives. If research and action are
disconnected, it just fuels the misconception that research
is there for its own sake."
Based on the success of the conference, the Urban
Health Institute will decide whether
Baltimore Research Day should be an annual event.
For more information, contact Amy Gawad at email@example.com or