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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
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 focuses on understanding how early life experiences (e.g., poverty, trauma, life events) shape the biology of child and adolescent health and development. Currently, she is investigating biological and social mechanisms in the intergenerational transmission of health disparities. Other research interests include brain development adolescence and its implications for adolescent health policy, social influences on neurodevelopmental trajectories, and adolescent injury and violence prevention.
Dr. Johnson serves as the Co-Director of the Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education in the Johns Hopkins Children's Center. The Center is focused on testing new models of school-based health programming to reduce health and educational disparities. She also directs the Johns Hopkins General Pediatrics Fellowship Program.
- Director, General Academic Pediatrics Fellowship
- Co-Director, Rales Center for the Integration of Health and Education
- Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Centers & Institutes
- 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
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.
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]
Contact for Research Inquiries
David M. Rubenstein Child Health Building
200 N Wolfe St, Rm 2017
Baltimore, MD map
Academic Affiliations & Courses
Graduate Program Affiliation
Population, Family and Reproductive Health
Activities & 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