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Four Faculty Awarded ‘Institute for Policy Solutions Health Redesign’ Grants


Four faculty from the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing have been awarded Institute for Policy Solutions Health Redesign grants. Recipients Robert Atkins, Noelene Jeffers, Jermaine Monk, and Bonnielin Swenor will take on critical and timely issues including location-specific threats to youth flourishing, Black maternal health, strategies to foster diversity and inclusion in higher education, and disability advocacy.

The grant is funded through the recently launched Institute for Policy Solutions at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Each award recipient receives $100,000 for nurse-led convenings and research projects that bring together researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to identify solutions to improve the health and well-being of individuals, families, and communities. “Nurse-led” research is the right approach for this moment; nurses are trusted insiders within our health and social systems, across the health care team and with colleagues in housing, schools, justice reform and more. Ultimately, the work of these researchers will contribute to the Institute’s goal of shifting policy and practice toward preventive, whole-person care while also eliminating racist policies and structures.

“No matter who you are or where you live, you deserve the opportunity for a healthy life. But not many in the U.S. are afforded that chance,” says Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, PhD, MPH, LCSW, RN, the director of the Institute for Policy Solutions.

Dean Sarah Szanton, PhD, RN, FAAN continues, “The work these faculty are doing will shed light on the path forward towards a healthier future where everyone can reach their full potential.”

Robert Atkins, PhD, RN, FAAN
Executive Vice Dean

Youth Mobilizing for Understanding, Solutions, Civic Engagement, Leadership, and Energy (MUSCLE) for Healthier Communities and a Stronger Democracy

By partnering with neighborhood youth and adults, Youth Mobilizing for Understanding, Solutions, Civic engagement, Leadership, and Energy (MUSCLE) seeks to address issues like gun violence, motor vehicle crashes, obesity, air pollution, and chronic absenteeism, while also building the civic muscle of communities and reducing racial disparities in threats to youth flourishing. This “location-specific” approach has the potential to create lasting change, reduce disparities, and serve as a model for future community-university collaborations.

Noelene Jeffers, PHD, RN, CNM, IBCLC
Assistant Professor

Co-Creation of a Research Agenda to Promote Black Maternal Health Equity Through Equitable Partnerships Between Community-Based Doula Services and Perinatal Healthcare Systems: A Community-Based Participatory Research-Enhanced Modified Delphi Study

Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than White women, with most deaths being preventable. Researchers propose taking on the problem through equitable partnerships between community-based doulas and health care systems. This project focuses on convening community-based doulas, Black birthing people, clinicians, policymakers, and payers in the Mid-Atlantic region to determine research priorities.

Jermaine Monk, PhD, MSW, MS MGMT, MA TH, MA
Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging

Beyond SFFA: Dismantling Barriers and Fostering Innovation through a Health Policy Incubator

Diversity is critical for achieving health equity and access. This project will be an incubator-style health policy convening to bring together researchers, policymakers, and practitioners for a two-day “think-and-do-tank” event. In the wake of the recent U.S. Supreme Court college admission decision, institutions dedicated to health access and equity must rethink strategies to foster and sustain inclusion.

Bonnielin Swenor, PhD, MPH
Associate Professor and Endowed Professor for Disability Health and Justice;
Director of the Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center

Defining Disability to Better Inform Federal Policy: A partnership between The Century Foundation Disability Economic Justice Collaborative and the Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center

This project aims to develop a unified definition of disability that can be used to more effectively develop, assess, and promote U.S. federal policies and advance equity for people with disabilities. It will also aid dissemination of that definition as the first phase of long-term policy agenda to advance disability equity.


The Institute for Policy Solutions at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing is a place where research, evidence, innovation and thought leadership unite to shape policies for a healthy future. Through evidence-based, actionable nurse-led solutions, the Institute will move policy and practice away from sick care toward preventive and whole-person care. Trusted by the public and decision-makers, nurses will serve as strategic experts and change agents in redesigning the U.S. health care system. For more information, please visit instituteforpolicysolutions.org.


Sydnee Logan, MA
[email protected]