March 26, 2012

Recognizing Baltimore-based research

New award for faculty will honor ‘the best of the best’

Each year, Johns Hopkins faculty conduct hundreds of research efforts aimed at improving the health and social well-being of Baltimore and its citizens.

These projects include studies of hypertension, violence prevention, drug enforcement policy, clinical drug trials, economic growth and the history of the city’s neighborhoods, just to name a few.

A new award, sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute and the President’s Office, wants to recognize the “best of the best” of these efforts.

Nominations are currently being accepted for the inaugural President’s Research Recognition Award, which aims to acknowledge Johns Hopkins faculty who are conducting exceptional research related to urban issues in Baltimore and to further encourage community-based research across the university.

A $5,000 top prize will be given to the faculty member who in the opinion of the selection committee best addresses an issue or issues impacting the city. The award can be used at the faculty member’s discretion to advance his or her work.

Up to three $2,000 runner-up prizes will also be awarded.

Robert Blum, director of the Urban Health Institute, said that he anticipates nominations coming from multiple academic divisions and a range of disciplines.

“Great work is being done across the entire university,” he said. “This award is aimed at highlighting research that benefits the health, development and understanding of the city, and there is no shortage of such projects here.”

Blum said that the award supports President Ronald J. Daniels’ vision for the university’s strengthened relationship with the city.

“President Daniels has made focusing on Baltimore a priority for him. Johns Hopkins is of Baltimore, not just in Baltimore,” Blum said. “The president has championed a number of strategic initiatives to strengthen that focus, and this is one more step in that process.”

Nominees should have at most 10 years in a faculty appointment, at Johns Hopkins or elsewhere, working on projects that focus on issues impacting Baltimore. In addition to the objective of the research, the nomination must include evidence of impact or potential impact, such as evaluation results, success stories and details of past and future funding support.

Nominations are due no later than April 6 and will be reviewed by a selection committee made up of university and community leaders.

The awards will be presented at a dinner hosted by President Daniels at Nichols House, his Homewood campus residence, on May 2.

Blum said that he doesn’t envy the work of the committee.

“This will not be an easy selection process,” he said. “I could go through every department here at Johns Hopkins and find a worthwhile, meaningful project aimed at Baltimore. We’re trying to find the best.”

Nominations can be sent to Amy Gawad at