About

What is hypertension and why we care

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke, and it causes other severe health conditions as well, such as peripheral vascular disease, renal impairments, retinal hemorrhage and visual impairment.   More than 10 million individuals die worldwide every year due to hypertension — this is over 12% of all deaths!  Almost one out of three adults in the world has hypertension.  Despite the fact that there are several effective, low cost, low risk treatments for hypertension, less than 15% of the people who have hypertension have it under control.  This can be due to a person being unaware of their condition (hypertension has no symptoms), maintaining an unhealthy lifestyle, not having access to medications, or being unable to afford them, or simply forgetting to take their medicines.

What we do

We are a diverse group of doctors, scientists, nutritionists and advocates who seek to improve the worldwide situation related to hypertension.  We hope to provide research evidence that can influence policy and practice that improves hypertension screening, diagnosis and management.  We hope to increase awareness of this condition and its treatment options in individuals, as well as for healthcare providers and those people in power positions within governments who can help institute policies that will reduce the burden of hypertension across the globe.

Who we are

Lawrence Appel, MD, MPH

Lawrence Appel, MD, MPH

Dr. Appel is Professor of Medicine with Joint Appointments in Epidemiology, International Health, and Nursing at Johns Hopkins. He is also the Director of the Welch Center for Epidemiology, Prevention and Clinical Research. His research has focused on preventing and controlling hypertension and its cardiovascular-kidney consequences. He has three lines of research: (1) controlled feeding studies, (2) behavioral intervention trials, that test novel strategies to accomplish lifestyle changes, and (3) cohort studies and trials related to chronic kidney disease and its consequences. He has been actively involved in nutrition policy making, with particular expertise on sodium, potassium, and dietary patterns.

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Tammy Brady, MD, PhD

Tammy Brady, MD, PhD

Dr. Tammy Brady is Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She specializes in pediatric hypertension and serves as the Medical Director of the Pediatric Hypertension Program at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In this role she also serves as the Medical Director of the ReNEW clinic, a multidisciplinary pediatric obesity hypertension clinic. Her research interests include pediatric hypertension; specifically, she is interested in improving the diagnosis of hypertension in children, in identifying risk factors for end organ damage among children with hypertension, and in testing interventions to lower blood pressure in children.  She is an international expert on blood pressure measurement and device validation.

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Jeanne B. Charleston, PhD

Jeanne B. Charleston, PhD

Dr. Charleston is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, with a joint appointment in the School of Medicine. Her research is in the area of cardiovascular disease, community-based dietary and physical activity interventions, and recruitment and retention for clinical trials, with an emphasis on minority populations.

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Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, PHD, MHS, RN, FAHA, FPCNA

Yvonne Commodore-Mensah, PHD, MHS, RN, FAHA, FPCNA

Dr. Commodore-Mensah is a cardiovascular nurse epidemiologist and Assistant Professor in the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Her research seeks to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease risk among Africans locally (United States) and globally (sub-Saharan Africa) through community-engaged research. Her research expertise includes immigrant health, global health, cardiovascular disease epidemiology, and social determinants of health.

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Arlene Dalcin, RD

Arlene Dalcin, RD

Ms. Dalcin is Research Associate in the Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology, and Clinical Research. She is an experienced lifestyle interventionist who is adept at developing, tailoring, and testing practical, patient-oriented strategies to accomplish lifestyle change, particularly sodium reduction and weight control. She has a strong interest in health behavior modification and the social determinants of health.

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Cheryl Dennison-Himmelfarb, PhD, RN

Cheryl Dennison-Himmelfarb, PhD, RN

Dr. Cheryl Dennison-Himmelfarb is Associate Professor of Health Sciences Informatics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, as well as a clinician, researcher and nurse educator at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Her research focuses on patient safety and cardiovascular care. She serves as the deputy director of the Research Participant and Community Partnership Core of the Institute for Clinical Translational Research at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Dr. Dennison-Himmelfarb’s current research bridges scientific research and clinical practice, and develops and tests interdisciplinary and health information technology-based approaches. Her work focuses on reducing system and provider barriers to the implementation of cardiovascular guidelines in acute, primary care and community settings

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Anbrasi Edward, PhD, MPH, MBA

Anbrasi Edward, PhD, MPH, MBA

Dr. Anbrasi Edward is Associate Scientist in the Department of International Health and a member of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Studies and the Center for Global Health. She has been involved in projects on health systems research and evaluation, including conducting performance assessments, training on quality management and community based research, primarily in Low and Middle Income economies. She has led research and evaluation projects and provided technical support for several organizations including the World Bank, WHO, DFID, PAHO, and others. She has conducted training programs, for health policy makers, clinicians and health providers, in East and Southern Africa and Asia.

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Raquel Greer, MD, MHS

Raquel Greer, MD, MHS

Dr. Raquel Greer is Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and a core member of the Welch Center. Her areas of clinical expertise include general internal medicine and primary care management of patients with chronic kidney disease.

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Megan Henry, MS, PhD

Megan Henry, MS, PhD

Dr. Henry is Research Associate in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Henry has a background in nutritional anthropology, and has worked on a variety international health projects including improving infant and young child feeding through the Bill & Melinda Gates-funded Alive & Thrive Initiative in Vietnam, and evaluating nutrition indicators for the USAID-funded Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) Program. Domestically, she has been involved in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) in California, and Meals on Wheels for elders in New York City.

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Junishi Ishigama, MD, MPH, PhD

Junishi Ishigama

Dr Ishigama is Assistant Scientist in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  He is a trained nephrologist and epidemiologist.  His research focuses on the intersection between the epidemiology of chronic kidney disease and cardiovascular disease.

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Matti Marklund, PhD

Matti Marklund, PhD

Dr. Marklund is a Research Fellow in the Vascular Metabolic Group at The George Institute for Global Health. He completed postdoctoral training at the Department for Public Health and Caring Sciences, Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism, Uppsala University, Sweden. He has extensive knowledge on research design, statistical analysis and scientific writing. Dr. Marklund is experienced in development and validation of dietary biomarkers and their utilization in clinical trials and nutritional epidemiology.

Kunihiro Matsushita, MD, PhD

Kunihiro Matsushita, MD, PhD

Dr. Matsushita is Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Medicine and a member of the Welch Center. He is a certified cardiologist of Japan and has expertise in risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), and in applying epidemiological methods to create an evidence base to improve the treatment and prevention of CVD and its risk factors. He has also been investigating the associations among hypertension, kidney, diabetes, and CVD using several data sources such as the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, CKD-PC, and the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).

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Edgar R. Miller, III, MD, PhD

Edgar R. Miller, III, MD, PhD

Dr. Miller is Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine with a joint appointment in Epidemiology in the Bloomberg School of Public Health.  He is also a core faculty member of the Welch Center. His areas of clinical expertise include hypertension and internal medicine. He is an expert in non-pharmacological and pharmacologic therapies for hypertension. His current research includes clinical trials on the effects of dietary interventions on blood pressure and kidney disease and the effects of dietary interventions on hyperuricemia and gout.

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Dinesh Neupane, PhD

Dinesh Neupane, PhD

Dr. Neupane will be Research Associate in the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.  He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Global Health Research Center, Duke Kunshan University, China. He has extensive experience in population-based surveys, cardiovascular disease prevention, cluster randomized trials, systematic reviews, and qualitative studies. He led a cluster-randomized controlled trial that tested community-based management of hypertension involving female Community Health Volunteers in Nepal. He worked as a country leader for a nationwide blood pressure measurement campaign in Nepal, and as a commissioner for Lancet NCDI commission in Nepal and as a member of Global Burden of Disease collaborative group. He is a Research Fellow at the International Society of Hypertension.

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Kristin Riekert, PhD

Kristin Riekert, PhD

Dr. Kristin Riekert is Professor of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine She is leading intervention trials focused on improving adherence and health outcomes in cystic fibrosis, asthma, chronic kidney disease, sickle cell disease and secondhand smoke reduction. Hers primary areas of research interest are: psychosocial predictors of adherence in adolescents and young adults with chronic illnesses, measurement of adherence, development of culturally and developmentally appropriate interventions to improve adherence.  She works to improve healthcare quality and delivery, particularly among underserved and disadvantaged populations.

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Carol Resnick, BA

Carol Resnick, BA

Ms. Resnick is Research Associate in the Department of Epidemiology of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  She has supported multiple faculty members on a variety of research projects.  She has organized community and faculty advisory boards, been project manager of community based research projects, and manager for multiple large federal and non-federal grants. She has worked with faculty and trainees from Brazil, Mongolia and Mexico.

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Steve Tamplin, MSE

Steve Tamplin, MSE

Mr. Tamplin is Associate Scientist in the Department of Health Behavior and Society. His effort is primarily focused on tobacco control through the Center for Global Health and the Institute for Global Tobacco Control.  He is an experienced professional in tobacco control, environmental health and environmental engineering, and currently oversees leadership and research capacity building efforts at the Institute for Global Tobacco Control. He has vast experience in designing and implementing training programs throughout the world.

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Di Zhao, MHS, PhD

Di Zhao, MHS, PhD

Dr. Zhao is Research Associate in the department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg of Public Health. Her work has been focused on glaucoma screening, and gender differences in cardiovascular disease. She also developed novel algorithms for glaucoma screening and organizing a large-scale glaucoma screening campaign in local communities in the Baltimore area. She has substantial research experience in analyzing observational and clinical studies using various epidemiological methodologies, as well as in the organization and management of large cohort databases.

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Outside Collaborators

Lyn Steffen, PhD, MPH, RD

Lyn Steffen, PhD, MPH, RD

Dr. Steffen is Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She has expertise in nutrition epidemiology and cardiovascular disease epidemiology. Her research focuses on diet assessment, diet patterns, and cardiovascular disease and its risk factors in the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study, the Coronary Artery Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study and the Multi-Ethnic Study in Atherosclerosis (MESA). Recently, she completed a landmark study on dietary sources of sodium in the US.

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Cheryl Anderson, PhD, MPH

Cheryl Anderson, PhD, MPH

Dr. Anderson is Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. She is a member of the Cardiovascular Epidemiology and Prevention Center of Excellence, as well as the Health Behavior Changes in Underserved and Vulnerable Populations Center of Excellence. Her research focuses on nutrition and chronic disease prevention, as well as cardiovascular disease epidemiology.

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Other Contributors

Todd Joseph “Joey” Mattingly II, PharmD, MB, PhD, Univerity of Maryland School of Pharmacy

Ning Ding, Research Data Analyst, Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Olive Tang, PhD student, Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Minghao Kou, MHS student, Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Yumin Gao, PhD student, Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health