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Faculty and Staff

Our team of faculty and staff are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of the community by facilitating understanding and information sharing between Johns Hopkins institutions and the Baltimore community.

Robert Wm. Blum, MD, PhD, MPH,  Director

Rebkha Atnafou, MPH, Director for Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program

Verlando Brown, MS, Program Coordinator

Amy L. Gawad, MPH,  Program Director

Philip J. Leaf, PhD, Senior Associate Director

Pamala Martin, MBA, Institute Administrator

Terri Powell, PhD, Assistant Professor

Eric Rice, PhD,  Associate Director

Jaclyn Tyng, Communications and Marketing Associate

Natalie V. Wiggins, Program Coordinator
 


Robert Wm. Blum, MD, MPH, PhD, Director
Robert Blum was named the director of the UHI in July 2007. In addition to urban health issues, Dr. Blum’s research interests include adolescent sexuality, chronic illness, and international adolescent health care issues. Dr. Blum is also the William H. Gates, Sr. Professor and Chair of the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health (PFRH) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Faculty Bio
Email: rblum@jhu.edu

Rebkha Atnafou, MPH, Director, Bunting Neighborhood Leadership Program
Rebkha Atnafou is an accomplished program manager and education advocate who has devoted much of her professional life to enriching the lives of young people. She is executive director of The After-School Institute (TASI), a Baltimore-based nonprofit focused on building the capacity of after-school programs. As the UHI’s associate director for community engagement, Atnafou works to cultivate new and existing relationships within the community. 
Email: ratnafo1@jhu.edu

Verlando Brown, MS, Program Coordinator
Verlando grew up in Baltimore and went to Frederick Douglass High School.  He graduated from Towson with a BS in Interdisciplinary studies and was the first in his family to do so. He went on to receive his Masters’ degree in Human Services Administration from the University of Baltimore.  Verlando is the founder of The First-Gen Baltimore Initiative, which advocates for providing support and resources to first-generation college students across Baltimore city.  His advocacy efforts have affected policy change at institutions around the city, and the Baltimore Social Innovation Journal recognized him in 2015 for his work on this issue. 
Email: vbrown34@jhu.edu

Amy L. Gawad, MPH, Program Director
Amy Gawad works on developing new initiatives and oversees ongoing activities at UHI. Prior to joining our team, she was a research associate at the Board on Children, Youth, and Families of the National Academy of Sciences, where she oversaw the William T. Grant Foundation Youth Development Prize Committee. In addition, she served as the research associate on a number of reports, including Ethical Considerations for Research on Housing-Related Health Hazards Involving Children; Working Families and Growing Kids: Caring for Children and Adolescents; and Community Programs to Promote Youth Development. Prior to her work on youth development at the NAS, she had responsibility for the dissemination of Board reports, including From Neurons to Neighborhoods, a report on the science of early childhood development.  She received her MPH from the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.
Email: agawad1@jhu.edu

Philip J. Leaf, PhD, Senior Associate Director
Philip Leaf brings expertise in mental health and sociology to the UHI. Dr. Leaf is also a professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and director of the Center for Prevention of Youth Violence.  His work focuses on preventing youth violence and promoting positive youth development. Faculty Bio
Email: pleaf@jhu.edu

Pamala Martin, MBA, Institute Administrator
Pamala Martin oversees finance and administrative aspects of UHI. In addition, she has been administratively responsible for the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health in the Bloomberg School of Public Health since 2003.. Before joining Hopkins, she was an administrator for St. Agnes Healthcare where she had responsibility for both outpatient and inpatient services. She has expertise in community based federally qualified health care centers, information technology and financial as well as human resource management.
Email: pcmartin@jhu.edu

Terri Powell, PhD, Assistant Professor
Dr. Powell is a researcher where her goal is to conduct research on the theoretical, practical and policy implications in the areas of African American youth, sexual health disparities and community-engaged research, using varitey of methods and approaches.  In her work she is interested in understanding how school, home and faith settings affect the health outcomes of African American youth.  Dr. Powell is committed in developing, conducting and evaluating effective community preventions for urban, underserved youth and their families.  She received both her MA and PhD from DePaul University.  Faculty Bio
Email: terri.powell@jhu.edu

Eric Rice, PhD, Associate Director
Trained as a cultural anthropologist at Johns Hopkins, Eric Rice provides leadership for the UHI’s Small Grants Program and Third Tuesday Seminar Series. He also co-represents the UHI on the Early Child Development Initiative. Dr. Rice is also assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Education where he coordinates the Masters of Science, Educational Studies program, conducts research about teacher-led charter schools, and trains Northrop Grumman engineers to more effectively volunteer in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) classrooms. Faculty Bio
Email: ericrice@jhu.edu

Jaclyn Tyng, Communications and Marketing Associate
Jaclyn Tyng oversees the management, implementation and evaluation of all communication efforts for the UHI. Her responsibilities include writing and editing content for the UHI newsletter and website, and developing marketing and outreach strategies. Jaclyn holds a BA in Communication Studies from American University. Prior to joining the UHI, Jaclyn was a community engagement manager at Power Supply, a healthy meal delivery company in DC. She also worked as a communications coordinator at Burness, a public relations firm in Bethesda, where she supported the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s work on social determinants of health. 
Email: jtyng@jhu.edu

Natalie V. Wiggins, Program Coordinator
Natalie Wiggins coordinates on- and off-campus events and programs and assists in the development of new initiatives that will match community needs with university resources and vice versa. She is also responsible for working with our communications associate on the graphic design of promotional materials for UHI events and print products. Prior to joining Hopkins, Natalie was a graphics designer and a program coordinator at ARIEL, one of the largest religious Russian-American centers in the DMV tristate area. She received her first B.S. in Government and Business Administration from Belgorod State University, Russia, and her second bachelor’s degree in Web Design from the University of Maryland, University College (UMUC).
Email: nwiggins@jhu.edu

 

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