Dr. Hernandez is an associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and medical director of the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Healthy Weight Initiative. She completed her medical school, residency and fellowship training at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She additionally completed a Master in Public Health with an emphasis on nutrition at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health during her fellowship in general academic pediatrics.
As medical director of the hospital’s Healthy Weight initiative, Dr. Hernandez has developed and grown innovative and evidence-based approaches to promote healthy lifestyles that target the current pediatric obesity epidemic within our institution and our community. As one of few pediatricians certified in obesity-medicine nationally and regionally, she has led a multidisciplinary weight management clinic, Healthy Steps, based at Johns Hopkins All Children’s since 2012. With the support of her interprofessional team, the Healthy Steps clinic has provided tailored, patient-centered recommendations to children ages 0-21 years of age who have weight-related medical issues, including low self-esteem, anxiety/depression, hypertension, elevated cholesterol, diabetes and other health conditions. She also has been an ongoing advocate for reducing weight-related stigma within the health care setting as well as within schools. By engaging with community partners including our community division and school-based health clinics, exciting new community-based programs including Health Squads, the First Steps/Fit4Allkids Program and Fit4Allteens Program have continued to engage at-risk children in the Tampa Bay region while connecting them to the outstanding specialty care provided by Johns Hopkins All Children’s for those requiring additional medical care.
Dr. Hernandez is widely published in various medical journals including the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) for her pediatric obesity-based and other academic research. Her current research focuses on enhancing pediatric obesity screening and prevention efforts within our community as well as implementing innovative mobile-health technology with teens and families to promote improved lifestyles and weight loss. Dr. Hernandez additionally served as director of Medical Education at Johns Hopkins All Children’s from 2012-2018 where she successfully led efforts to develop a newly-accredited, educationally focused pediatric residency program as well as newly accredited fellowship programs based at the hospital. She is additionally a nationally invited speaker on issues related to pediatric health disparities, cultural competence and graduate medical education. Dr. Hernandez’s educational, research and clinical efforts have helped Johns Hopkins All Children’s obtain more than $800,000 in funding for clinical and community efforts related to pediatric obesity to date, with the goal of continuing programmatic and research efforts in the coming years.