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Sara B. Johnson, M.P.H., Ph.D.

Photo of Dr. Sara B. Johnson, M.P.H., Ph.D.

Director, General Academic Pediatrics Fellowship

Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Research Interests: Child health; Adolescent health; Lifecourse; Self-regulation; Developmental origins of health and disease; Health disparities; Neurodevelopment; stress and health; Injury prevention ...read more

Contact for Research Inquiries

David M. Rubenstein Child Health Building
200 N Wolfe St, Rm 2017
Baltimore, MD map

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Background

Dr. Sara B. Johnson is an associate professor of pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine with a joint appointment in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health in the Bloomberg School of Public Health. She serves as the Co-Director of the Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education and the Director of the General Academic Pediatrics Fellowship Program.  

Dr. Johnson's research is focused on understanding and reducing disparities in child health and achievement. She studies how adverse experiences (e.g., poverty, trauma, stress) shape the biology of child health and development and ways to mitigate these effects. She is particularly interested in the development and malleability of behavioral and physiological self-regulation from the fetal period to adolescence. 

Dr. Johnson' s other research interests include adolescent health, particularly neurodevelopment in adolescence and its implications for adolescent health policy, and social influences on brain and behavioral development.

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Titles

  • Director, General Academic Pediatrics Fellowship
  • Co-Director, Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education
  • Associate Professor of Pediatrics

Education

Degrees

  • M.P.H., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Maryland) (2001)
  • Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (Maryland) (2005)

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Johnson’s research interest is in understanding how social experiences (e.g., poverty, family relationships, neighborhood characteristics and life events) shape the biology of child development. Specifically, she is interested in the development and plasticity of behavioral and physiological self-regulation. She has examined the role of early life stress in shaping self-regulatory development from the fetal period to age five. Other research interests include neurodevelopment in adolescence and its implications for adolescent health policy, social influences on neurodevelopmental trajectories, and adolescent injury prevention.

Selected Publications

Johnson SB, Blum RW, Giedd J. Adolescent maturity and the brain: The promise and pitfalls of neuroscience research in adolescent health policy. J Adolescent Health, 2009; 45(3): 216-221.[PMCID: 2892678]

Johnson SB, Riley AW, Granger DA, Riis JA. The science of early life toxic stress for pediatric practice and advocacy. Pediatrics, 2013;131(2):319-327. [PMCID: 4074672]

Bair-Merritt MH, Voegtline K, Granger DA, Ghazarian SR, The Family Life Project Investigators, Johnson SB. Maternal intimate partner violence exposure, child cortisol reactivity and child asthma. Child Abuse and Neglect. 2015; 58:50-57 [PMCID: 4446253]

Riis JA, Granger D, Minkovitz CS, Bandeen-Roche K, DiPietro JA, Johnson SB. Maternal distress and child neuroendocrine and immune regulation. Social Science and Medicine. 2016;151:206-214. [PMCID: 4766032]

Johnson SB, Riis JA, Noble K. State of the art review: Poverty and the developing brain. Pediatrics, 2016; 137(4): e20153075. [PMCID: 4811314]

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Graduate Program Affiliation

Population, Family and Reproductive Health

Activities & Honors

Honors

  • Children's Health Pioneer Award, Ashoka/Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2016
  • Advising, Mentoring and Teaching Recognition Award, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2013
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2011 - 2014
  • Delta Omega, Alpha Chapter, Honorary Society in Public Health, 2006
  • William Haddon, Jr. Fellowship in Injury Prevention, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 2004 - 2005
  • Phi Beta Kappa, 1997
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