Health and Democracy

Health and democracy are tied in many ways. Healthier people—physically and mentally—are more able to participate fully in civic and democratic life; meanwhile, people who experience health challenges may be motivated to address these in public. The Health and Democracy community of practice fosters interdisciplinary research and education on connections between health and democracy, emphasizing the bidirectional relationships by which health may influence democracy and democracy may influence health.

The collaboration is led by faculty affiliates Sara Johnson, Ph.D. (Blanket Fort Foundation Professor in Pediatric Population Health and Health Equity Research, SOM, SPH); Eliana Perrin, MD, MPH (Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Primary Care, SOM, SON, BSPH), and Andrew Perrin, Ph.D. (SNF Agora Professor of Sociology, KSAS), with participation from across the university including KSAS, SON, SOM, and BSPH. We leverage the unique strengths of Johns Hopkins faculty in health and in democracy to build these connections.

The current focuses of the community practice are:

  • Collaborate on postdoctoral education for medical, nursing, public health, social science, and humanities scholars to build long-term connections;
  • Develop an undergraduate-oriented series or class focused on relationships between democracy and health;
  • Work with the Baltimore Area Survey (a project of the 21st Century Cities collaborative) to collect data on health and democracy in order to determine connections; and
  • Develop a research project on the actual and potential contributions of primary care to civic capacity and democratic engagement