Health Policy Research Scholars is a leadership opportunity for second-year full-time doctoral students from populations underrepresented in specific doctoral disciplines and/or marginalized backgrounds. Examples of eligible individuals include, but are not limited to, first-generation college graduates, individuals from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, individuals from communities of color, and individuals with disabilities. They want to apply their research to advance health and equity, and their innovation helps build a Culture of Health, one that enables everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives.

HPRS includes scholars from disciplines as diverse as economics, political science, psychology, architecture, transportation, sociology, social welfare, and environmental health. We’re always looking for students from any research-focused discipline that can advance a Culture of Health.

“The Culture of Health reminds me of an olelo no`eau, ‘ua ola loko i ke aloha’ (love gives life within). HPRS promotes the health of Native Hawaiians by making health a shared value. The health of our people, land, and resources must be supported by everyone through policies and programs that are made with Native Hawaiians in mind and with a seat at the table.”

Samantha R. H. Scott, DrPH Student, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa


Upon completion, scholars will have the tools to:

  • Lead and collaborate across sectors, professions, and disciplines.
  • Apply and translate research to shape and advocate for systemic change.
  • Frame issues and build policy solutions.
  • Integrate equity and related concepts into their research.


Over the course of the program, scholars will:

  • Participate in policy and leadership development trainings and coursework via webinars and other virtual learning technology.
  • Receive an annual stipend of up to $30,000 for up to four years or until you complete your doctoral program (whichever is sooner).
  • Receive training in health policy translation, dissemination, communication, health equity, and population health.
  • Continue learning and working from their home institutions.
  • Establish and strengthen professional ties to public health and policy leaders.
  • Be eligible for a competitive dissertation grant of up to $10,000.

Health Policy Research Scholars is a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, led by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

These programs continue the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s legacy of supporting the development and diversity of leaders. Initially focused on health and health care, the programs have been expanded, because we know that building a Culture of Health requires all of us in every sector, profession, and discipline working together.

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve health and health care. It is working with others to build a national Culture of Health, enabling everyone in America to live longer, healthier lives.


Keshia M. Pollack Porter, PhD, MPH
Keshia M. Pollack Porter, PhD, MPH Director, HPRS
Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Keshia M. Pollack Porter, PhD, MPH is, in addition to directing the Health Policy Research Scholars program, is a Professor of Health Policy and Management and Associate Dean for Faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Pollack Porter’s research advances policies that create safe and healthy environments where people live, work, play, and travel. She is an injury epidemiologist and policy researcher studying active play, sports injury prevention, active transportation, and the nexus of transportation and health. She is also an expert in advancing health equity and policy change using tools such as health impact assessment and strategies that promote health in all policies.

Shannon Frattaroli
Shannon Frattaroli Associate Director, HPRS
Associate Professor, Department of Health Policy and Management
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Shannon Frattaroli is a core faculty member of the Center for Injury Research and Policy, the Center for Gun Policy and Research, and the Center for Qualitative Studies in Health and Medicine at the School. Her work involves bringing evidence to policy formulation and implementation processes in order to maximize the potential for public health benefits from policy interventions. Dr. Frattaroli’s current research portfolio includes projects examining Extreme Risk Protection Order laws, home fire sprinkler policies, strategies to prevent opioid overdose, and safe systems for road safety. She teaches courses in Policy Formulation, Qualitative Methods, and Implementation Research and Practice.

Laurie Unruh, MSc
Laurie Unruh, MSc Deputy Director, HPRS
Department of Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Laurie G Unruh is the Deputy Director of Health Policy Research Scholars at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Her work involves managing multiple program aspects, including operations, logistics, finances, recruitment, and scholar support. Ms. Unruh was a Program Manager at the previous National Program Center of Health Policy Research Scholars at George Washington University. Prior to her time at HPRS, she worked in online higher education management, student services, and recruitment.

Attia Goheer, PhD, MHS
Attia Goheer, PhD, MHS Director of Evaluation, HPRS
Assistant Scientist, Department of Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Attia Goheer is the director of evaluation for HPRS and co-instructor of the course for 4th year scholars. Her past work focused on developing, implementing, and evaluating obesity interventions in diverse settings, including schools, corner stores, churches, fire stations, and recreation centers. She received both her masters and her doctorate in Human Nutrition from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and completed her post-doctoral training at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine as a fellow with the American Heart Association’s Strategically-Focused Obesity Research Network (SFORN).

Jessica Harrington, MPA
Jessica Harrington, MPA Director of Scholar and Alumni Leadership Development, HPRS
Department of Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Jessica Harrington is the Director for Scholar and Alumni Leadership Development. She has over 10 years of experience in graduate student program development and advising. She is also a Certified Executive & Leadership Development Coach. She is passionate about providing the necessary tools to facilitate the growth and development of college student populations including those of underrepresented backgrounds. Mrs. Harrington is responsible for engaging scholars in leadership development throughout their time in HPRS. She is dedicated to the personal and academic progress of each scholar whom she encounters. Prior to HPRS,  Ms. Harrington was the Director of Student Life at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Caitlin Hoffman, MPH
Caitlin Hoffman, MPH Director of Communications, HPRS
Communications Associate, Department of Health Policy and Management
Bloomberg School of Public Health

Caitlin Hoffman is a public health communications professional with over a decade of experience in program development, evaluation and communicating public health information to government officials, community stakeholders, healthcare professionals and the public. She leads the strategic communication program for the Department of Health Policy and Management. She has conducted original research on health communication strategies and presented work at national conferences including the National Conference on Health Communication. Caitlin is passionate about translating evidence-based research into practice, using data to drive policy change, and emphasizing the importance of effective communication strategies. Caitlin earned her BA from the Pennsylvania State University and an MPH from Emory University.

Munin Streitz, MPH
Munin Streitz, MPH Communications Specialist, Department of Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Munin supports communications activities for HPRS and is the communications specialist for the Health Policy and Management Department at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She joins the team with five years of communications, marketing, and project management experience. Recently, she earned her MPH from the George Washington University in Washington, DC. Her culminating experience paper examined how climate change disproportionately impacts low-socioeconomic communities in the northeast United States and developed a communications strategy to generate policy change on the issue.

Renny John, MPH
Renny John, MPH HPRS Academic Program Coordinator
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Renny John is the Academic Program Coordinator for HPRS. He is a community health professional with applied experience and a passion for building grassroots awareness and supporting treatment coordination and delivery through community engagement, research, outreach program management, counseling, and advocacy. Renny earned his BS from Brooklyn College and an MPH from Cornell University.

Nicole Moseley, MS
Nicole Moseley, MS Administrative Lead, HPRS
Sr. Administrative Assistant
Department of Health Policy and Management
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Nicole S. Moseley began her college career at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, PA and later transferred to Morgan State University (MSU), obtaining her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 2014 and her Master of Science in Project Management in 2018.

Nicole has over 12 years of experience working in the Administrative field, starting with The State of Maryland in the Business and Economic Department as a Project Coordinator.  There, she was responsible for managing the project workflow, in addition to customer and vendor relationships for the Graphic Art Team. She was a major contributor to the project processes the Graphic Art Team implemented and are currently using today. Nicole is currently working at Johns Hopkins University as a Senior Administrative Coordinator with the Institute in Health and Social Policy, School of Public Health and has recently taken on the role of Administrative Lead for the Health Research Scholars Program.  

Our partners are instrumental in developing and delivering curriculum, providing mentorship and coaching, and extending the network of scholars.

National advisory committee

John Chin, PhD
John Chin, PhD National Advisory Committee Chair, HPRS;
Professor and Director, Master of Urban Planning Program, Department of Urban Policy and Planning, Hunter College, City University of New York

John J. Chin’s research focuses on the role of community institutions in delivering social and health services to under-served communities, including immigrant communities and communities of color. His NIH-funded research has examined the role of immigrant-led community institutions in delivering HIV prevention and stigma-reduction messages. He recently completed an NIH-funded study of health risks for Asian immigrant women working in sexually oriented massage parlors. Prior to his academic career, Chin helped to found the Asian & Pacific Islander Coalition on HIV/AIDS (now a federally qualified health center known as APICHA Community Health Center), where he served as deputy executive director.

Jean Bennett, PhD, MSM, MSN, BSN, RN
Jean Bennett, PhD, MSM, MSN, BSN, RN National Advisory Committee Member, HPRS;
Regional Administrator, Region III, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Jean Bennett has served as the Philadelphia-based regional administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration since 2011, responsible for federal Region III, which includes Pennsylvania; Delaware; Washington, D.C.; Maryland; Virginia; and West Virginia. Bennett chairs the HHS Region III Opioid Task Force, convenes regional stakeholders focused on interprofessional addiction education, expanding access to medication-assisted treatment, suicide prevention, Naloxone, harm reduction, philanthropy and peers. As a result, Bennett oversees the implementation of dozens of opioid-related project ideas developed during regional summits on stakeholder-recommended topics. Bennett served in the U.S. Navy where she retired at the rank of captain after serving in clinical, administrative, and leadership positions. She spent 10 years after September 11 serving in emergency preparedness and response roles for Children’s Hospital Boston, the Veterans Integrated Service Network in San Francisco, and for HHS Region 6, impacted directly by Hurricane Katrina. Bennett has four academic degrees including a BS and MS in nursing, an MS in management and a PhD in organization and management. Bennett grew up in Boston and currently resides in Nutley, New Jersey, with her husband, Michael, and their two kitties, Beanie and Snaggy.

Jeronimo Cortina, PhD
Jeronimo Cortina, PhD National Advisory Committee Member, HPRS;
Associate Professor, University of Houston

Jeronimo Cortina is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and the associate director of the Center for Mexican American Studies. He earned a PhD in political science from Columbia University, where he previously earned a master’s degree in public administration and public policy from the School of International and Public Affairs. Cortina specializes in Latino politics, survey research, and immigration. His work has been published in scholarly and policy journals such as the Political Research Quarterly, Journal of Policy Studies and American Politics Research Journal, among others. His books include “Red State, Blue State, Rich State, Poor State: Why Americans Vote the Way They Do,” published by Princeton University Press; “A Quantitative Tour of the Social Sciences,” published by Cambridge University Press; and “New Perspectives on International Migration and Development” with Columbia University Press.

Gail Dana-Sacco, PhD, MPH
Gail Dana-Sacco, PhD, MPH National Advisory Committee Member, HPRS;
Principal, Wayfinders for Health

Gail Dana-Sacco, PhD, MPH, associate faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, serves as co-investigator on a research study designed to culturally tailor safety planning for indigenous women experiencing intimate partner violence. Through Wayfinders for Health, she provides equitable and transformative evaluation to philanthropy to advance health equity, using a culturally-grounded capacity-building approach. She applies extensive knowledge of tribal law, policy and governance to develop collective, multilevel approaches. Recognizing the foundational role of indigenous languages in healing, she works in community with indigenous women to activate the spoken Passamaquoddy language through music.

Andrew J. Imparato, JD
Andrew J. Imparato, JD National Advisory Committee, HPRS;
Executive Director, AUCD

Andrew J. Imparato is a disability rights lawyer with more than 25 years’ experience advancing disability policy at the federal level. He has served as Executive Director of AUCD (a national network of federally-funded centers and programs conducting research, training, and advocacy to improve the quality of life of children and adults with disabilities) for six years. Before that, Imparato was Disability Policy Director for the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions under Chairman Tom Harkin. His perspective is informed by his lived experience with bipolar disorder.

Samuel L. Myers, Jr., PhD
Samuel L. Myers, Jr., PhD National Advisory Committee Member, HPRS;
Roy Wilkins Professor of Human Relations and Social Justice, Hubert H. Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

Samuel L. Myers, Jr., PhD, specializes in the use of applied econometric techniques to examine racial disparities in crime, to detect illegal discrimination in home mortgage lending and consumer credit markets, to assess the impacts of welfare on family stability to evaluate the effectiveness of government transfers in reducing poverty, and to detect disparities and discrimination in government contracting. He is an expert on conducting disparity studies for state and local governments and analyzes race-neutral public procurement and contracting policies. He has served as an expert witness in the ground-breaking federal cases of GEOD v. New Jersey Transit (3rd Circuit Court of Appeals) and Geyer v. MnDOT (8th Circuit Court of Appeals).

Jamila M. Porter, DrPH, MPH
Jamila M. Porter, DrPH, MPH National Advisory Committee Member, HPRS;
Director, Programs and Evaluation,
Safe States Alliance

Jamila M. Porter is the director of programs and evaluation at the Safe States Alliance, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to strengthening the practice of injury and violence prevention. She provides senior-level strategic leadership and management of program, policy, and evaluation initiatives. Porter also provides evaluation-related technical assistance and training to practitioners at local, state, and national levels. Her research focuses on program and policy evaluation, active transportation policy, pedestrian injury, and transportation equity. Porter earned her bachelor’s degree in communication and health policy and administration from Wake Forest University, her Master of Public Health degree from Mercer University School of Medicine, and her Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of Georgia College of Public Health. She was recently honored as one of the de Beaumont Foundation’s inaugural 40 Under 40 in Public Health in recognition of her efforts to build capacity across diverse sectors responsible for implementing and evaluating injury and violence prevention strategies.

Rashawn Ray, PhD
Rashawn Ray, PhD National Advisory Committee Member, HPRS;
Associate Professor, University of Maryland; Rubenstein Fellow, The Brookings Institution

Rashawn Ray, PhD, is associate professor of Sociology and executive director of the Lab for Applied Social Science Research (LASSR) at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is also one of the co-editors of Contexts Magazine: Sociology for the Public. Formerly, Ray was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Research Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, he is a David. M. Rubenstein Fellow at The Brookings Institution. Ray’s research has appeared in the American Journal of Sociology, Science Advances, Social Science Research, Ethnic and Racial Studies, Du Bois Review, and the Annual Review of Public Health. 

Janelle Scott, PhD
Janelle Scott, PhD National Advisory Committee Member, HPRS;
Professor and Robert C. and Mary Catherine Birgeneau Distinguished Chair in Educational Disparities, University of California at Berkeley

Janelle Scott is a professor and the Robert C. and Mary Catherine Birgeneau Distinguished Chair in Educational Disparities at the University of California at Berkeley in the Graduate School of Education, African American Studies Department, and Goldman School of Public Policy. She earned a PhD in education policy from the University of California at Los Angeles’ Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, and a BA in political science from the University of California at Berkeley. Before earning her doctorate, she worked as an elementary teacher in Oakland, California. Scott’s research investigates how market-based educational reforms affect democratic accountability and equity within our nation’s schools. She is the recipient of a Spencer Dissertation Year Fellowship and a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship. In 2014, she was awarded the Distinguished Scholar Award from the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Committee on Scholars of Color. She has been active in the American Educational Research Association and the Politics of Education Association. She is currently serving as vice president for Division L (Policy and Politics) of AERA.


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