Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
April 16, 2024

Baltimore, take research in stride

February 14, 2013

Stark contrasts in the health of Baltimore residents are evident according to the work of Hopkins researchers. Debra Furr-Holden, an associate professor at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, states that one of the clearest examples is the 20-year disparity in life expectancy between Roland Park and Upton Druid Heights, two neighborhoods who also have near opposite racial makeups.

These disparaties cannot be ignored, and this page believes that more research on this subject is needed to bring about an improvement in the wellbeing of the city’s most vulnerable populations.

Due to her work, Furr-Holden was able to encourage the city to enforce an overlooked city law that stated that liquor stores must be at least 300 feet away from schools. She found that there was a negative impact of liquor stores locations on teenage susceptibility to drug and alcohol use by high school.

Research such as Furr-Holden’s has the ability to enact change. Funding sources at all levels must continue to support the work of public health researchers and expand opportunities for investigators to work towards a better future for Baltimore residents. Furthermore, the city should keep a close ear to the findings of the research community in order to better inform ordinances and legislation they may enact and identify enforcement shortcomings.

As the nation confronts the challenges of aging populations, increased prevalence of chronic diseases and the stagnation of our life expectancy, Baltimore has a unique opportunity to tackle these and other issues specific to the varied urban populace. In tandem with its research institutions, this city can lead the way for similar urban locations in bridging the health challenges that fall on racial and economic lines.


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