About the Idea Initiative

Launched in 2016, the IDEA (Innovation + Design Enabling Access) Initiative based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health seeks to foster innovation and the design of new technologies for greater health access and impact through a combination of research, policy work, and training. It also collaborates with a variety of initiatives across the University and beyond, including the Johns Hopkins Alliance for a Healthier World and ReAct - Action on Antibiotic Resistance.

The Team

Anthony So, Director


Dr. Anthony So is Director of the IDEA (Innovation + Design Enabling Access) Initiative and the second Professor of the Practice at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is thematic lead for the Transformative Technologies and Institutions arm of the recently launched Johns Hopkins Alliance for a Healthier World, which strives for multidisciplinary collaboration to advance health equity. Dr. So is also Director of the Strategic Policy Program of ReAct - Action on Antibiotic Resistance, a global network dedicated to meeting the challenge of antibiotic resistance. He also serves as head of the Secretariat for the Antibiotic Resistance Coalition (ARC), a network of over 25 civil society organizations working in the human health, environmental and agricultural sectors to tackle antimicrobial resistance (AMR) globally. Appointed by the UN Secretary-General, Dr. So also serves as Co-Convener of the United Nations Interagency Coordination Group (IACG) on AMR.

Dr. So has served on The Lancet Infectious Diseases’ Commission on Antibiotic Resistance, co-edited the Chatham House report on a new global business model for financing antibiotic research and development, and was part of the Expert Advisory Group of the UN High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines. He has chaired a WHO expert working group on fostering innovation to address AMR and was part of the Antibiotic Resistance Working Group of the U.S. President’s Council of Advisors in Science and Technology. He also has studied antibiotic innovation as a recipient of the Robert Wood Johnson Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Dr. So founded and directed the Program on Global Health and Technology Access at the Duke Sanford School of Public Policy. For over a decade, he directed Duke’s Global Health Fellows program, which exposed students to global health policy coursework and internships in Geneva. He has served on a diverse range of non-profit boards and is currently on the boards of Public Citizen, one of the nation’s most prominent consumer groups, and Community Catalyst, a leading national organization that works to ensure quality, affordable health care for all, as well the Advisory Council of Princeton University’s Center for Health and Well-Being.

Before this, Dr. So was associate director of Health Equity at the Rockefeller Foundation, where his strategic approach to grant-making improved access to HIV/AIDS medicines in low- and middle-income countries. Dr. So received a BA in philosophy and biomedical sciences and an MD from the University of Michigan. He was awarded a Masters in Public Policy as a Woodrow Wilson Scholar at Princeton University and subsequently trained in internal medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.


AJ Tsang, Research Assistant

AJ Tsang is currently studying Public Health at Johns Hopkins University. In addition to serving as a Research Assistant & Policy Intern with the IDEA Initiative and the Alliance for a Healthier World in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, he is the Executive Vice President of the Johns Hopkins Student Government Association on the Homewood undergraduate campus.


Joshua Woo, Research Assistant

Joshua Woo is currently studying Public Health and Economics at Johns Hopkins University. In addition to serving as a Research Assistant with the IDEA Initiative, he is a part of numerous organizations within the University, such as Osler Medical Symposium, Public Health Student Forum, Epidemic Proportions, and Medhacks.


Jennifer Applegate, Research Assistant


Jennifer earned her MSPH in the Global Disease Epidemiology and Control Program in the International Health Department at JHSPH and is currently a PhD Candidate in the same program. In addition to her work with ReAct, she is also a doctoral fellow with the International Center for Maternal and Newborn Health at JHSPH. Her dissertation project is an implementation research study of Bangladesh’s national guidelines for managing infections in young infants at primary health centers, with simplified antibiotic treatment regimens, when hospital referral is not feasible for families. She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Georgia, earning a dual-degree in Psychology and Child and Family Development.