Sarah Szanton is the fifth dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.
Dr. Szanton holds a joint appointment in the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Under Dr. Szanton’s leadership, the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is ranked No. 1 nationally by U.S. News & World Report for its master’s and doctor of nursing practice programs and No. 3 globally by QS World University.
In 2022, Dr. Szanton launched the impactful Policy Honors Program to help students develop advocacy skills in influencing policies that improve health. She is also chartering the creation of an innovative policy institute to advance health policy leadership and research for global nurse leaders and scientists.
As an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion, Dr. Szanton helped shape the pioneering Pathway to PhD Nursing Scholars Program to accelerate diversity within PhD-prepared nurses, and she established the Term Professorship for Rising Faculty to fund distinguished faculty in their research and leadership. During her first year as Dean, Dr. Szanton was elected as a member of the National Academy of Medicine and named a Woman of Achievement by Business and Professional Women of Maryland. She is a Heinz Award winner for the Human Condition and a PBS Organization’s “Next Avenue Influencers in Aging.”
In her early career, Dr. Szanton provided house calls to homebound elderly patients with low incomes in West Baltimore. To address the environmental challenges that were often as pressing as their health challenges, she co-developed a program called CAPABLE—now active in 23 states—involving a nurse, an occupational therapist, and a handyworker to help older adults age in community. Dr. Szanton maintains research on CAPABLE as well as on the impact of financial strain on health and the measurement of structural racism and resilience across the life course. As a researcher, Dr. Szanton has published more than 200 papers and been Principal Investigator on more than $20 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Innovation Center, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and others.
Dr. Szanton is core faculty at the Center on Aging and Health and Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions and adjunct faculty with the Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy. A former health policy advocate, Dr. Szanton aims her research and publications toward improving health equity, aging in community, and policies related to health. She has also testified on Capitol Hill regarding the nursing workforce and faculty shortages.