Faculty news + notes

Melinda Buntin has joined Johns Hopkins University as the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of health policy and economics. She holds primary appointments in the Department of Health Policy and Management in the Bloomberg School of Public Health and in Carey Business School. In addition, Buntin is a member of the Knowledge to Action and the Business of Health BDP research cluster. Her research analyzes health care delivery and costs with a focus on improving the value created by the U.S. health care system. She is based at the Hopkins Bloomberg Center in Washington, where she leads the newly established Center for Health Systems and Policy Modeling. Buntin comes to Johns Hopkins from Vanderbilt University, where she was a University Distinguished Professor and founding chair of the Department of Health Policy. She earned her BA in public and international affairs from Princeton and her PhD in health policy from Harvard.

Monica Prasad is the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of economic and political sociology. She joined Johns Hopkins from Northwestern University and has appointments in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences and the SNF Agora Institute. Much of Prasad's work examines the rise of neoliberal policies. Her 2018 book, Starving the Beast: Ronald Reagan and the Tax Cut Revolution, discusses another aspect of neoliberalism: the obsession with tax cuts in a country ripe with both wealth and poverty. Prasad is the recipient of several awards, including a Fulbright, a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Award, and fellowships from the Russell Sage Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation.

Nathan Stenberg is Johns Hopkins' first-ever director of disability, culture, and inclusion, and he has been tasked with developing a universitywide vision for disability. Stenberg has spent much of his career advocating for the disability community through public speaking, policy work, research, consulting, and the performing arts. Additionally, he serves on the steering committee for the proposed National Museum of Disability History & Culture and on the board of directors for the Pennhurst Memorial and Preservation Alliance, a disability rights advocacy group.

The Whiting School of Engineering's online graduate degree programs continue to be recognized by U.S. News & World Report as among the nation's best. Several Engineering for Professionals programs are ranked No. 1, including its online computer information technology offerings, which share the top spot with Columbia University. Also in the No. 1 spot are EP's Engineering Management and Electrical and Computer Engineering programs, which are tied with Purdue University and Georgia Institute of Technology, respectively. EP's online programs overall now rank No. 6 in the nation among the publication's Best Online Master's in Engineering Programs, moving up three places from last year to a tie with the University of Maryland.

Kevin Puts, a Composition professor at Peabody Institute, was named Musical America's Composer of the Year, in part for his 2023 Grammy win and star-studded adaptation of The Hours as well as for a Concerto for Orchestra composed for the St. Louis Symphony.

Marin Alsop, a professor and director of the Graduate Conducting Program at Peabody Institute, was named principal guest conductor for the Philadelphia Orchestra beginning in the 2024–25 season. Alsop will lead the orchestra in multiple subscription concerts, special events, annual summer residencies, and national and international tours during her three-year term.

Hai-Quan Mao, director of the Institute for NanoBioTechnology and a professor of materials science and engineering in the Whiting School, and Victor Velculescu, a professor of oncology and co-director of Cancer Genetics and Epigenetics at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at the School of Medicine, are among 162 academic inventors to be named National Academy of Inventors fellows this year. The 2023 class of fellows collectively holds more than 4,600 U.S. patents. Mao is a pioneer in the development of nanomaterials for regenerative medicine and therapy delivery. Velculescu is internationally known for his discoveries in genomics and cancer research. He and his colleagues performed the first genomewide sequence analysis in human cancers, identifying key genes and pathways dysregulated in tumorigenesis. The 2023 class will be inducted at the 13th annual NAI meeting on June 18, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Camille Johnston is JHU's new vice president for communications. In this role, she works with senior university leaders and divisional offices across the university, providing counsel and expertise in communications and marketing. Johnston joined Johns Hopkins from the Siemens Corporation, where she served as senior vice president for corporate affairs, leading corporate communications, strategy, DEI, and sustainability for the multinational technology company. She comes to Hopkins with more than 25 years of communications leadership experience that includes having served as communications director for first lady Michelle Obama, communications consultant for the Stand Up To Cancer campaign, and senior vice president of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Marc Overcash, a senior information technology leader with nearly three decades of experience advancing the missions of research-intensive higher education and health sciences institutions, has been named the first vice president and deputy chief information officer for Johns Hopkins University and Medicine. In this role, Overcash is responsible for developing and maintaining the information systems and services that support the academic and research mission of the university, as well as many general-purpose IT systems and processes that serve the broader Johns Hopkins community. Overcash joined Johns Hopkins from Emory University, where he worked for more than 18 years, most recently as deputy chief information officer and assistant dean for information technology.

Nasar Abadey, a Peabody Jazz faculty artist, is one of three honorees of the 2024 Ronnie Wells Jazz Service awards, presented at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival in February. The drummer/composer was also honored with the Howard University Benny Golson Jazz Master Award in November.

Cybele Bjorklund, a veteran of Capitol Hill and the health care industry, is the inaugural executive director of the Hopkins Bloomberg Center in Washington and vice president for federal strategy for Johns Hopkins University and Medicine. Bjorklund returns to Hopkins, where she served as vice president for federal strategy from February 2019 to June 2021. More recently, she worked as senior vice president of policy and government strategy at Virta Health, a health care startup focused on type 2 diabetes. In her new role, Bjorklund will oversee the development and implementation of programming that complements the work of the university's divisions. She will also pursue high-profile, D.C.-based partnerships, programming, and engagement opportunities that augment the presence of JHU's divisions and programs in the nation's capital.

Melissa Walls, co-director of the Center for Indigenous Health in the Bloomberg School, received the Advances in Culture and Diversity in Prevention Science Award from the Society for Prevention Research. The award recognizes Walls' research, which promotes health equity through culturally centered projects.

Katrina Caldwell, vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer at Johns Hopkins University, has been chosen by the reporters and editors of The Baltimore Sun as one of "25 Black Marylanders to Watch" in 2024. Published in February to celebrate Black History Month, the third annual list honors Caldwell among notable artists, activists, scholars, and entrepreneurs working to improve the lives, health, and education of all Maryland residents.

Richard Stone and Gwyn Roberts, Historical Performance faculty artists at Peabody, took their Tempesta di Mare orchestra to perform at the 17th International Fasch Festival in Zerbst, Germany. They were the first American ensemble to receive the Johann Friedrich Fasch Prize from the city of Zerbst. The ensemble is currently working on a fourth recording of works by Johann Friedrich Fasch.