RWJF Health & Society Scholar:
Area(s) of Expertise:
Early Life Stress and Health, Brain Development, Adolescent Health, Child Health Disparities, Injury and Violence Prevention, Health Disparities, Neuroscience, Stress Biomarkers, School Health, Self-Regulatory Development
Sara Johnson is Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Public Health at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health, where she has joint appointments in the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Population, Family & Reproductive Health. At Johns Hopkins, she serves as Co-Director of the Ruth and Norman Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education and as Director of General Academic Pediatrics Fellowship program. She received her master’s and doctoral degrees in public health from Johns Hopkins, and completed the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholars postdoctoral fellowship program at UCSF and UC Berkeley. Dr. Johnson’s research is focused on understanding the biological pathways by which chronic stress and adversity shape brain and behavioral development from before birth to the transition to adulthood. She uses biomarkers to determine how and when exposure to these adversities is translated into changes that can ultimately disrupt health and educational trajectories. As part of translating this this work to practice, she and colleagues at the Rales Center at Johns Hopkins are working to redesign school based health care and wellness programs to better address the impact of early adversity on health and educational outcomes among Baltimore City public school children.