Newswise — Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has appointed Terrinieka W. Powell, PhD, MA, as a Bloomberg Associate Professor of American Health in the areas of Equity and Adolescent Health. This is an endowed position supported by the Bloomberg American Health Initiative with funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies.

Powell is an associate professor and serves as vice chair of Inclusion, Diversity, Anti-Racism, and Equity in the Bloomberg School’s Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health. She also directs the Bloomberg School’s C. Sylvia and Eddie C. Brown Community Health Scholarship Program. The program trains future public health leaders who are committed to eliminating health disparities in Baltimore and other cities. Powell is also a core faculty member of the Bloomberg School’s Center for Adolescent Health and the Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health.

“Dr. Powell’s research has illuminated the difficult struggles and hard-won victories of young people under tremendous stress,” says Dean Ellen J. MacKenzie, PhD, ScM. “This well-deserved honor will allow her to expand her work and impact.”

Powell is a trained community psychologist with expertise in adolescent health, qualitative methods, intervention development, and implementation science. A major focus of her research and professional interest has been improving the health and well-being of Black youth through partnerships with youth, churches, schools, libraries, families, health departments, and community-based organizations. She has collaborated with institutions across the country to promote educational attainment as well as prevent sexual risk-taking and substance use among adolescents. 

“Dr. Powell’s inspiring vision for a world where all youth are safe, healthy, hopeful, and connected compels all of us to contribute to solutions to build an inclusive and anti-racist society that celebrates diverse voices,” says Cynthia Minkovitz, MD, MPP, William H. Gates Sr. Chair of the Bloomberg School’s Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health .

Powell has over 50 publications and has been principal investigator or co-principal investigator on several externally funded grants that seek to improve the lives of vulnerable young people. Most recently, Powell worked with young adults and public library staff to develop the Better Together program, a library-based intervention designed to prevent substance use among Black youth affected by household trauma, including parental substance use, mental health challenges, and incarceration history.

She also co-leads Voices on Vax, a campaign funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which provides a social media platform for Baltimore City’s youth to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines. The campaign aims to increase COVID-19 vaccine confidence and uptake among Black families in Baltimore by creating a space for youth and their families to ask questions, share stories, and learn from one another.

“Dr. Powell has an extensive track record helping young people live healthier lives, particularly those facing the toughest challenges,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “This new appointment will allow her to reach more people and save more lives.”

Powell received her BA in psychology from Williams College. She earned her MA and PhD in community psychology from DePaul University. Powell went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship focused on community-based participatory research with the W.K. Kellogg Health Scholars Program at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. 

“Dr. Powell looks to advance public health in unlikely places to help people who are often overlooked,” says Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. “It’s exciting to imagine all she will accomplish in this new role.”

This professorship endowment is part of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, which is supporting 25 new endowed positions. The Initiative focuses on addressing major health challenges facing the nation, including obesity and the food system, environmental challenges, addiction and overdose, violence, and adolescent health.

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