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Former Maryland health secretary to head up Hopkins public health initiative

Former Maryland health Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein will oversee a new initiative at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health aimed at solving issues such as addiction, adolescent health, environmental challenges and violence.

The Bloomberg Health Initiative is being launched with a $300 million gift from Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City mayor and Hopkins graduate.

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Michelle L. Spencer, director of the Prevention & Health Promotion Administration at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, will be deputy director of the initiative.

"We could think of no one better to lead this project than Josh Sharfstein, who will help us create the building blocks needed to get us to this ambitious goal of transforming the national response to modern public health challenges," Dr. Michael J. Klag, dean of the Bloomberg School, said in a statement.

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Sharfstein is an associate dean at the school and oversees the office of Public Health Practice & Training and the General Preventive Medicine Residency. He also supervises collaboration with public health agencies and holds a faculty appointment in the Department of Health Policy and Management. He came to Johns Hopkins in 2015 after serving as secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. He also served as principal deputy commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Baltimore City commissioner of health and a health policy advisor for former Congressman Henry A. Waxman.

Twitter.com/ankwalker

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