Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital

Program in Pediatric Health Equity Research

The Johns Hopkins All Children’s Program in Pediatric Health Equity Research (PHER) addresses child health disparities related to maternal/child health, obesity, diabetes, sickle cell disease and adolescent health. The program promotes diverse research efforts to address these disparities and understand the social determinants of pediatric health, disease onset and disease outcomes.

The program adopts a population health perspective in developing, implementing and investigating community-based, clinical, educational and quality improvement interventions toward pediatric health equity for children who have any component of their health care through the Johns Hopkins All Children’s health system.

Examples of current Pediatric Health Equity Research projects include:

PREDICT (Prospective Research on Early Determinants of Illness and Children's Health Trajectories)

An innovative prospective research study focused on identifying the familial, social, behavioral, molecular and genetic factors that promote healthy growth and neurodevelopment. PHER efforts relate to promoting diversity in the study population and understanding what populations may be most vulnerable to adverse outcomes within this study population as it relates to race/ethnicity, gender, community and other factors.

iPICs (Institution-wide Prospective Inception Cohort Study)

With various iPICS or disease focused populations currently launched, PHER efforts will focus on understanding the variability in these disease populations as it relates to social determinants with a goal to develop strategies to reduce disparities for disease risk.

Sickle Cell

Nearly 100,000 individuals are living with sickle cell disease (SCD), the most common genetic disorder, in the United States. The disease predominantly affects minorities with over 30% residing in the Southeastern region and more than 8,800 individuals in the state of Florida. Sickle cell disease is exhibited by myriad symptoms and complications, such as periods of unpredictable acute pain, debilitating chronic pain, reduced quality of life, multi-organ injury and shortened lifespan. Over 95% of children with sickle cell disease will survive into adulthood, due to early diagnosis, innovative preventative therapies, and improved comprehensive care. Unfortunately, mortality rates continue to rise for young adults, in part due to a dire lack of access to high-quality care.

The Transition Program (Adolescent Young Adult Sickle Cell Uplift and Learn Program for Transition – AYA SCULPT) was started in this population to merge our efforts and resources on understanding and supporting that age group with a goal to develop strategies to reduce disparities as their transition from pediatric to adult care. Other research efforts are being set in place to help increase access to care, eliminate the stigma associated with the disease, offer the latest clinical trials as well is providing multidisciplinary care with resources for this patient population.

The Program in Pediatric Health Equity Research fosters collaboration between The Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins All Children’s faculty as well as community stakeholders toward community-based participatory research efforts while also advocating for policy interventions based on health equity research efforts.

Meet Our Team

Raquel Hernandez, M.D., Director

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Director, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Healthy Weight Initiative; Johns Hopkins all Children’s Department of Pediatric Medicine

E. Leila Jerome Clay,  M.D., Associate Director

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Chief, Division of Hematology, and Director, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Sickle Cell Program, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Cancer & Blood Disorders Institute

Errol Fields, M.D, M.P.H.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore-based)

Sharon Ghazarian, Ph.D.

Senior Director, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Health Informatics, Research Data Science & Analtyics Shared Resource

Sara Johnson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore-based)

Sheela Magge, M.D., MSCE

Director, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore-based)

Sarah Polk, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Co-Director, Johns Hopkins Center of Excellence in Latino Health (Baltimore-based)

Rachel J. Thornton, M.D., Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore-based)