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Mental Health

Mental Health

Department News

  • Laura-MurrayLaura Murray, Ph.D., has been promoted to Senior Scientist in the Department of Mental Health
    Dr. Murray’s research focuses on global mental health with a concentration on dissemination and implementation research about evidence-based mental health treatments in low and middle income country (LMIC) settings. Dr. Murray obtained Masters and Doctorate degrees in Clinical Psychology from Western Michigan University, followed by work at Columbia University where she worked on the Child and Adolescent Trauma Treatment and Services (CATS) study after the September 11th attacks. In 2004, she was recruited to Boston University, where she worked with Drs. Paul Bolton and Judy Bass on global mental health, forming the Applied Mental Health Research Group (AMHR). In 2008, Dr. Murray moved with Drs. Bass and Bolton to JHSPH.

    Murray’s work is multi-disciplinary and highly collaborative, drawing on theories and methods from psychology, social work, anthropology, and public health. She is an expert in Implementation Science, and has completed the 2-year NIMH Implementation science fellowship. She developed the global mental health group’s DIME (Design, Implementation, Monitoring, and Evaluation) approach and helped develop the Common Elements Treatment Approach (CETA) for LMIC settings to address multiple mental health challenges instead of each one in isolation via a modular, transdiagnostic model. CETA has now been studied in 4 randomized trials in LMIC settings and multiple organizations are promoting its implementation including CDC, WHO, DFID and USAID. She has successfully garnered NIH and non-government grants to carry out this work. She has also contributed to public health practice and education. She has mentored students and post-doctoral fellows in our Global Mental Health NIMH T32 program, with her mentees going on to successful and impactful global mental health careers. As one of few nationally certified trainers in Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TF-CBT), Dr. Murray serves as a regular TF-CBT trainer and has served on specialty committees and working groups for sex-trafficked youth in the United States. She has also developed research, intervention, implementation, and/or service capacity for government, NGO and lay workers by personally training many hundreds of workers in Zambia, Lebanon, Iraq, Myanmar, Georgia, Thailand, Uganda, Rwanda, DR Congo, Cambodia, Pakistan, Israel, Bougainville, Colombia, Australia, Germany, Sweden, Netherlands, Norway, and the USA.

    In short, Dr. Murray is an outstanding scholar, practitioner, and implementation scientist that brings incredible value to our department, school and the countries she serves. Her unusual expertise in both clinical and global mental health is an essential part of our department and school’s global mental health program. We are thrilled to have her in our department and to see her accomplishments recognized by this promotion.

  • Andrew_Jaffe Andrew Jaffe, Ph.D. has been promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Health
    Dr. Jaffe’s work is at the intersection of population science, biological psychiatry, computational biology, and biostatistics. He is a Lead Investigator at the Hopkins-affiliated Lieber Institute for Brain Development (LIBD), reflecting a unique opportunity for an academic membership and our department and deep collaboration between LIBD and the Bloomberg School. Dr. Jaffe earned a B.A. in Public Health Studies at Johns Hopkins, followed by a joint PhD and MHS in Epidemiology and Bioinformatics, respectively, from our School, before joining the LIBD in 2011. In 2014, he was appointed as Assistant Professor in Mental Health, and now also has joint appointments in Biostatistics, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, and Neuroscience.

    Dr. Jaffe’s work leverages large human brain and stem cell datasets to better understand how genomic signatures associate with brain development and subsequent dysregulation in mental illness. He has developed new computational and laboratory approaches for processing, normalizing and analyzing epigenomic and transcriptomic data and applied these to understand new biological insights into "normal" brain development and aging as well as severe mental illness. He has contributed to some of the most commonly used software tools in genomics including: derfinder, recount, sva, bumphunter, minfi, polyester, and ballgown. These are available through his own jaffelab R package, where he has also made his brain epigenetics data available for public use. Further, he was a founding member of the PsychENCODE Consortium, which is creating a public resource of genomic data across brain tissues and cells for use in psychiatric research, and was recently elected to co-chair the next five year phase. He leads several NIH grants and collaborates with many folks in our department and school on other awards. Finally, he is a generous mentor and teacher.

    In short, Dr. Jaffe has shown outstanding scholarship, research leadership, and teaching service to our department and school. We are excited to see recognized through this promotion and to have him as part of our faculty and school!

  • Tamar_MendelsonTamar Mendelson has been promoted to the rank of Professor in the Departments of Mental Health and Population, Family, and Reproductive Health
    Tamar joined our DMH faculty in 2006 as a licensed clinical psychologist interested in prevention science related to maternal and child health and particularly the integration of mindfulness components into prevention interventions. She has thrived at the Bloomberg School and was recruited last year to lead the School’s Center for Adolescent Health, which works with community partners to improve the health and well-being of urban youth. She successfully led a renewal application to the CDC securing the future of the Center for the next 5 years. She was also recently named the second Bloomberg Professor of American Health, in recognition and support of her leadership in adolescent health.

    Much of her current work addresses the development, evaluation, and dissemination of prevention strategies among underserved populations with a focus on urban youth. Through the Center for Adolescent Health and the Bloomberg Initiative, she works with colleagues and stakeholders to promote well-being and thriving among urban youth and to reduce the number of youth disconnected from school, the workforce, and other key supports. She has also worked effectively with Baltimore area public schools on prevention interventions that include mindfulness and yoga to benefit urban youth who are exposed to community violence and other forms of stress and trauma. In addition, she has worked to evaluate cognitive behavioral strategies to promote maternal mental health and prevent postpartum depression.

    While accomplishing all this, she has continued to be an excellent teacher and mentor, receiving recognition for Excellence in Teaching from the School as well as the Maryland Psychological Association of Graduate Students Mentoring Award.

  • Adam_SpiraAdam Spira has been promoted to rank of Professor in the Department of Mental Health
    Adam, a clinical psychologist, joined our faculty in 2008 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2014.  His innovative work focuses on disturbed sleep as a risk factor for poor health outcomes in older adults, and on psychopathology linked to both sleep and cognition in older adults. Early on, Adam was one of the first to use objective sleep measures examining the links between sleep and functional decline.  His group also showed association between sleep-disordered breathing and cognitive impairment in older adults.

    Adam has clearly thrived at the Bloomberg School.  He is a world-recognized scholar in sleep and health, leads multiple NIH grants, works directly with multiple centers and T32 programs, and teaches our flagship first term course on psychopathology for public health. He has received several awards including the Advising, Mentoring and Teaching Recognition Award (AMTRA) from the Bloomberg School in 2018, the Insomnia Section Investigator Award from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Barry Lebowitz Early Career Scientist Award from the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry in 2013.  In addition to being an outstanding scholar and educator, Adam has contributed greatly to the Department and School, including membership on the JHSPH Faculty Senate, the Institutional Review Board Member and the Academic Ethics Board.  In recognition of his leadership, he has also been appointed as Vice Chair for Research and Faculty here in the Department.

  • Tamar Mendelson is a strong proponent of viewing the issue of youth disconnection, and the significant disparities associated with it, as a public health problem, meriting large-scale, population-based strategies focused on prevention as well as reengagement.
    Tamar Mendelson is featured on pages 14 – 16 of the Issuu - Mary Christie Quarterly.

  • Full article in JAMA Psychiatry: AP News, is quoted in Kira Riehm
    Teens who spend more time with social media are more likely to suffer from social withdrawal, anxiety or depression, a new study says. Lead researcher and doctoral student, Kira is first author, and Kenny Feder and Kayla Tormohlen are student co-authors. Dr. Ramin Mojtabai is the senior author.

  • [Opinion]
    We desperately need more resources focused on the development of effective prevention strategies that keep children safe from sexual abuse in the first place.
    Elizabeth Letourneau wrote the piece in the Hill.

  • Getting help for pedophilia is risky in the U.S., where therapists are obligated to report people they deem a threat to children. ‘Non-offending pedophile’ is a term used to describe an adult who is attracted to children but has never acted on those feelings with a child.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in Vice.

  • Dr. Nicholas Ialongo, professor in the department of mental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has received a $2.5 million grant from the Institute on Education Sciences in the U.S. Department of Education to study the effectiveness of a new online training and mentoring model for the PAX Good Behavior Game program.

  • Disengaged from both education and the labor force, an estimated 4.5 million young people are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, too often finding themselves in the school-to-prison pipeline.
    Tamar Mendelson is quoted.

  • Some teenagers in Colorado, where marijuana is legal for adults, are shifting away from smoking in favor of edible cannabis products.
    Kayla Tormohlen, a PhD candidate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and co-author of the featured study, is quoted in AP News.

  • Paul Nestadt shared a good long form investigation of Suicide (past and future) that he’d been interviewed for several times over the past several months.

  • Desperate to fall asleep or fall back to sleep, many resort to Ambien or another of the so-called “Z drugs” to get elusive shut-eye. But except for people with short-term sleep-disrupting issues, like post-surgical pain or bereavement, these sedative-hypnotics have a time-limited benefit and can sometimes cause more serious problems than they might prevent.
    Adam Spira is quoted in the Herald-Tribune.

  • Fatal overdoses linked to the highly potent synthetic opioid fentanyl dipped in the first three months of 2019 in Maryland, leading to a decline in the total number of drug and alcohol deaths for the first time in years.
    Michael Fingerhood (joint appointment) is quoted.

  • While there is no cure for pedophilia, the ACLU believes forcing sex offenders to undergo chemical castration is a violation of the Constitution.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in Rolling Stone.

  • Chronic insomnia is linked to an increased risk of developing hypertension, Type 2 diabetes, heart attack, depression, anxiety and premature death.
    A study co-authored by Adam Spira is cited in The New York Times.

  • Wendy Klag Center Director Dr. M. Daniele Fallin and affiliated faculty member Dr. Chris Ladd-Acosta are part of a new European-based initiative to identify treatment and prevention targets for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The five-year project, called GEMMA (Genome, Environment, Microbiome and Metabolome in Autism), began January 1.

  • [Paywall]
    Teens with mental health problems were more likely to take up cigarettes, both electronic and regular, according to a longitudinal study.
    The article (in MedPage Today) cites a paper, published in Pediatrics, by PhD student Kira Riehm.

  • Analysis of data captured during a long-term study of aging adults shows those who reported being very sleepy during the day, were three times more likely to have brain deposits of beta-amyloid; a protein that's a hallmark for Alzheimer's disease, years later. This suggests that getting adequate nighttime sleep could be a way to help prevent Alzheimer's disease.
    Adam Spira is quoted in an article in the ScienceTimes.com.

  • Even a single workout may make our brain's memory centers, like our muscles, more fit.
    Alfonso Alfini, PhD, Postdoctoral fellow, is co-author of the paper described in this article in the New York Times.

  • Among the many things that can shatter when Alzheimer's disease tightens its grip is the steady rhythm of the body's sleep-wake cycle.
    Adam Spira is quoted in an article in Scientific American.

  • This is how you cam make a positive impact so that even after you've left this earth you'll stay on in the memories and lives of others.
    Michelle Carlson,  PhD, is quoted in an article in SBS News.

  • From his eyes to his immune system, astronaut Scott Kelly’s body sometimes reacted strangely to nearly a year in orbit, at least compared to his Earth-bound identical twin — but newly published research shows nothing that would cancel even longer space treks, like to Mars. (The Associated Press)
    Andrew Feinberg, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor with appointments at the Bloomberg School, the Whiting School, and the School of Medicine, led one of the 10 research teams that scrutinized the twins’ health before, during and after Scott Kelly’s 340-day stay at the International Space Station. This research was covered in multiple additional outlets including , , , ,  and .

  • On the ground with the people fighting to help the city’s most vulnerable. This article in Vox features the good work that Deborah Agus (Adjunct Associate Professor) and Noa Krawczyk, doctoral student, do with opioid treatment programs in Baltimore.

  • [Opinion]
    While dramatic mass killings in Maryland have led to the proposed legislation of requiring background checks on all long gun (rifle and shotgun) sales, the law would also reduce firearm suicides, which constitute two-thirds of all gun deaths.
    Paul Nestadt is the author of the OpEd piece in The Baltimore Sun.

  • A recent study revealed that constant exercise positively and significantly affects human brain functions. It also uncovered that concrete short-term benefits could also point to who benefit from long-term exercise.
    Michelle Carlson is featured in an article in MSN.

  • For more than 70 years, School of Medicine graduates have filled out an annual survey. Today, their information forms one of the world's longest and most detailed studies of health from 1948 to today.
    Joe Gallo (study director) is quoted in an article in the Hub.

  • Through a handful of courses that follow a five-step action plan, Jefferson High School teens will soon learn how to recognize and respond to developing mental health or substance use problems among their peers.Surveys will be sent to researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to assess the U.S. teen mental health first aid course effectiveness.
    Holly Wilcox is one of the researchers involved with the evaluation. Article in Montana Standard.

  • The number of children and young adults visiting the emergency department for psychiatric concerns rose 28 percent over a four-year period, and visits having to do with suicide more than doubled, according to a in the journal Pediatrics.
    The findings amplify concerns that the mental-health care system is failing to meet the country’s needs, forcing people to rely on emergency rooms ill-equipped to deal with psychiatric concerns.
    Luke Kalb, PhD is quoted in the Inquirer Daily News (philly.com).

  • You can call the generation of young Americans now working their way to adulthood Generation Z, because they follow Generations X and Y. You can call these 14-to-27-year-olds “iGen,” after the wireless devices that seem permanently affixed to their persons. And if they’re your kids and still living with you, you can even call (or text) them late for dinner. What you can’t call them, according to new research, is happy.
    Ramin Mojtabai is quoted in LA Times .

  • Experience Corps, a program dedicated to helping older adults find purpose later in life, has proven to allow older, poorly educated African-American women with signs of cognitive decline to improve their decision-making ability and brain function while the schoolchildren they interacted with improved academically.
    Michelle Carlson is a co-author of the mentioned study in the Herald Tribu.

  • Stagg High School in Palos Hills has been selected as one of eight sites around the country to participate in the first teen Mental Health First Aid pilot program, an initiative backed by singer and songwriter Lady Gaga, according to the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health. The pilot program is being evaluated by researchers from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
    Holly Wilcox is one of the researchers.

  • A study of people recruited to help low-income children thrive showed that by participating in Experience Corps, older, poorly educated African-American women with signs of cognitive decline improved their decision-making ability and brain function while the schoolchildren they interacted with improved academically.
    Michelle Carlson is a co-author of the featured study in The New York Times.

  • Adam Spira is quoted in an article in the Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine - Spring 2019 edition.

  • A study found that vivid relapse dreams are more common in those with more severe clinical histories of alcohol and other drug problems.
    Claire Greene, post-doctoral fellow and co-author of the study, is quoted in Sleep Review Magazine.

  • A growing number of people in the U.S. are taking anti-anxiety drugs like Valium and Xanax not just for anxiety or depression but also for chronic pain, researchers say.
    Marissa Seamans is quoted in Reuters.com.

  • Previous studies of key brain cells have found little variability in a common cell process that involves how genetic information is read and acted on.
    Andrew Feinberg and Kasper Hansen co-led the study.  .

  • Although the U.S. opioid epidemic dates back more than a decade, only 6 percent of treatment centers in 2016 offered the three medications approved to treat opioid addiction, new research reveals.
    Ramin Mojtabai, lead author, is quoted in U.S. News & World Report.

  • A National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee, on which Elizabeth Stuart serves as a member, will conduct a review of the long-term health effects of an anti-malarial drug taken by U.S. troops that has been linked to brain damage and psychiatric disorders.
    On January 28 the committee will launch an 18-month study of mefloquine, also known by its brand name, Lariam, and other malaria medications used by military personnel, Peace Corps volunteers and State Department employees over the past several decades.
    Alum Remington Nevin, MD, DrPH, Executive Director of The Quinism Foundation, spoke to the Committee on January 28.  He has played a major role in studying the long-term psychiatric effects of mefloquine. Although their group did not ask for this study specifically, Nevin notes that it appears likely their advocacy was in large part what led VA to the decision to pursue it.

  • Dr. Mary Alvord, psychologist and professor at GWU, discusses teen depression risk factors and helpful hints to help nurture resilience in your child in USA Today
    Ramin Mojtabai, whose study is referenced, is quoted.

  • People with mental illness rarely commit homicide, and few homicides are committed by people with mental illness. About 5% of homicides are committed by people with psychotic conditions. People with serious mental illness are far more likely to be victims than perpetrators
    Paul S. Nestadt, MD, an assistant professor, and Elizabeth Prince, DO, an instructor, both of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences in Baltimore are among the writers of this opinion piece in MEDPAGE TODAY.

  • The study, published in the Journal found that infections requiring hospitalizations were associated with an about 84% increased risk of being diagnosed with any mental disorder and an about 42% increased risk of using psychotropic drugs to treat a mental disorder.
    Bill Eaton is quoted in an article in CNNHealth.

  • Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau, professor in the department of mental health and director of the Moore Center for the Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Dr. Beth McGinty, associate professor in the Bloomberg School’s department of health policy and management, received a $890,000 three-year grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to advance the understanding of what works to prevent violence in low-income communities. Article in the ASPPH Friday Letter.

  • When it comes to sexual abuse, parents often focus on protecting their children from adult predators; few consider the possibility that their child might be the perpetrator.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in The Washington Post.

  • Grant will expand the mobile van buprenorphine treatment program that sits outside of the Baltimore jail.  .
    Deborah Agus, Adjunct Faculty, is director of BHLI. This article was posted in The Baltimore Sun.

  • Mental disorders are estimated to cost the global community nearly $2.5 trillion each year–and those costs are increasing.
    Judith Bass is quoted in Marketplace.

  • M. Claire Greene, PhD ’18, MPH    Alcohol's Global Toll
    Luke Kalb, PhD ’18, MPH   ” An Emergency Mental Health Screening Tool for Youths with Autism

  • “Sad” and “frustrating” are words some local school counselors use when they talk about the obstacles they face as more students seek mental health services at school. In Winchester and Frederick County public schools, an increasing numbers of students are seeking help, while staff members grow outnumbered.
    A study by Ramin Mojtabai is mentioned in The Winchester Star.

  • Looking for a motive or root cause of , investigators said they interviewed family and friends of the shooter, Snochia Mosely, who took her own life. Moseley was a licensed gun owner who was diagnosed with a mental health disorder in 2016. That is a red flag, according to experts, but they also said it is a mistake to consider mental health as the primary driver of violence.
    Paul Nestadt, MD is quoted on WBALTV.com.

  • Researchers share their advice for approaching this important decision.
    Wendy Ingram
    , PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow, is quoted in Sciencemag.org.

  • A study found that adults who reported being very sleepy during the day were thrice more likely to have brain deposits of beta amyloid, a protein that is a hallmark for Alzheimer's, years later.
    Adam Spira is quoted in The Tribune..

  • Cognitive decline is a distressing aspect of growing older for many people and it affects a large proportion of the aging population. Brain training can aid in improving cognitive performance among older patients, according to a presentation from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
    George Rebok is quoted in Healio.

  • Over the course of 30 years, the Pittsburgh Diocese has made changes in how it prevents and responds to accusations of clergy abuse, including psychological screenings of seminarians so as to identify potential issues in men before they enter the priesthood.
    Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in NPR - 90.5 WESA Pittsburgh.

  • Tamar Mendelson named Bloomberg Professor of American Health
    Associate Professor Tamar Mendelson, PhD, an expert in adolescent mental health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been appointed as a Bloomberg Professor of American Health.

  • Many people with autism entertain thoughts of suicide and yet show few obvious signs of their distress. Some scientists are identifying risks — and solutions — unique to autistic individuals.
    The Spectrum article quotes Paul Lipkin, MD, of the Interactive Autism Network at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Lipkin and colleagues have begun using a suicide screening tool in at KKI outpatient clinics, while a team including Holly Wilcox, PhD, an associate director of mental health, used the screener previously at Johns Hopkins Hospital.  The article also quotes Roma Vasa, MD, director of psychiatric services at KKI”s Center for Autism and Related Disorders.

  • After infancy, the brain’s most dramatic growth spurt occurs in adolescence, and that growth means things get a little muddled in a teen mind. Teen brains are also wired to seek reward, act out, and otherwise exhibit immaturity that will change when they become adults.

    Sara Johnson (joint) is quoted in The Bay City Tribune.

  • The is live! Several DMH Faculty are featured!

    Faculty Mention: Michelle Carlson
    A smiling dolphin named Bandit, part of an immersive video game adapted from an original design by @HopkinsMedicine's Department of Neurology, could help older adults maintain physical and cognitive health.

    Faculty Mention: Judith Bass, Sarah McIvor Murray; Student Mention: Daniel Lakin
    The continuing impact of group therapy for sexual violence survivors in the Congo.

  • It is estimated that more than 90 percent of those who die by suicide have a diagnosable mental disorder. This means that, in theory, suicide should be preventable if the right treatment can be delivered to people who have these psychiatric illnesses. Unfortunately, it’s hard to know which treatments are most effective at preventing suicides because most studies of mental health interventions specifically exclude suicidal subjects.
    Elizabeth Stuart is a co-author of the Johns Hopkins study featured in the piece in The New York Times.

  • Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health calculated that in 2015 alone, the costs associated with the aftermath of abuse exceeded $9 billion. That figure included costs associated with health care, child welfare, special education, violence and crime, suicide and survivor productivity losses.
    Study author Elizabeth Letourneau is quoted in HealthDay.

  • The proportion of young people using marijuana as their first drug doubled in the 10 years from 2004, a US-based study has found.
    Renee Johnson is quoted in The Guardian.

  • The prevalence of opioids in the blood of suicide victims has more than doubled in the past decade, new research shows.
    A study conducted by investigators at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland, showed that the number of people who died by suicide who had opioids in their system increased from 8.8% in 2006 to 17% in 2017.
    Paul Nestadt is quoted in Medscape.  Commentary by Maria Oquendo (last APA president and psychiatry chair of Penn.

  • Taking Adderall when it’s not needed and when dosing isn’t monitored can have unpleasant and dangerous side effects.
    JHSPH research (Ramin Mojtabai’s study) is mentioned in Women's Health Magazine.

  • April is Autism Awareness Month, a time to shed light on the strides being made and what still needs to be done.
    Gazi Azad is featured on WBFF (Baltimore Fox affiliate).

乐动体育开户The Department of Mental Health conducts research to advance the understanding of mental and behavioral disorders; develops, implements, and evaluates methods to prevent and control these disorders; and promotes mental health in the population.

Our department -- the only department dedicated to mental health in a school of public health -- brings together leading researchers across multiple disciplines joined by their passion for understanding, preventing, and treating mental health and substance use disorders. Faculty, students and community health leaders in Mental Health are dedicated to educating the next generation of public health workers and scientists about the importance of mental health, the specific skills needed to address public mental health issues and the integration of mental and physical health.

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The Department of Mental Health holds a weekly seminar in various areas related to public mental health.

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