Expanding Profiles to Present the Research and Academic Strength of Our Faculty

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What You Need to Know

Centralized profiles on hopkinsmedicine.org:

  • Demonstrate the competence and compassion of our faculty members by presenting their research, academic and clinical accomplishments
  • Include 900 nonclinical research profiles from the school of medicine and the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences to foster collaboration between colleagues, students and other academics
  • Were designed through an eight-month collaboration with faculty members and Web professionals
  • Are enhanced through ongoing content authoring and acquisition involving internal content specialists and marketing managers, external contractors with backgrounds in academic medical centers, and faculty members, who can update their individual profiles at any time by clicking the “Is this You? Edit Profile” button


When the faculty directory launched on hopkinsmedicine.org several years ago, it initially functioned as a find-a-doctor tool — helping patients, caregivers and referring physicians find an appropriate physician. The tool launched with data provided by sources credentialed by the institution, and it created an opportunity for faculty members, administrators and other Web content editors across the institution to post additional content.

Clinical data comes to us from other teams across Johns Hopkins including the Medical Staff Office for the Web (MSOW) and the Clinical Practice Association (CPA) for clinical faculty and physicians:

  • Name (first, last, middle, suffix) and degrees
  • Gender
  • Languages spoken
  • Departments
  • Academic titles
  • Board certifications and board-certified or billing specialties
  • Education (medical, residencies, fellowships)
  • Locations and contact information

This baseline data is useful; however, we relied for some time on our faculty or their representatives to complement it with the types of content that appeal to physician peers, research colleagues or consumer audiences. Unfortunately, a 2013 audit revealed that very few profiles included information beyond these basic fields. In fact, only 451 of 2,651 profiles had any copy in the biography field, which is usually the first content that any faculty member or supporting editor adds to a profile, and one that many Web visitors — whether patients and caregivers or colleagues in research or medicine — are likely to review.

As I spoke with faculty, they expressed that the ability to update their profiles is very important to them; however, they did not want a good profile be dependent on their participation.

With this in mind, I opted to reallocate more than 50 percent of the Internet Strategy operating budget to the faculty directory. It would mean mothballing the technical development of other key areas of the website and freezing other opportunities, but it enabled us to dedicate unprecedented resources to acquiring, authoring and presenting high-quality faculty data, and to doing a multistage rebuild of the infrastructure that enabled data workflows, back-end management and Web publishing. These projects occur on an ongoing, incremental basis.

Hand holding smartphoneReflecting Research, Education and Patient Care in Faculty Bios

In November 2013, we launched a pilot project for the Department of Medicine that expanded our profiles beyond a traditional find-a-doctor model to present 100 full-time, dedicated research faculty members who have no clinical obligations.

The project resulted from eight months of collaboration with leadership, feedback and faculty reviews. Myron Weisfeldt, Landon King and Stephen Desiderio shaped the high-level vision, while Ellen Stein, Bama Sampath, Robin DiCocco, Joe Marine, Li Gao, Christian Merlo and Ellen Reather shared their experiences with similar tools and feedback from patients. All were engaged in reviewing design iterations leading up to launch.

We sought to demonstrate both the competence and compassion of our faculty. We added data points from the School of Medicine registrar to serve as a foundation. The data includes JHED IDs and other private fields to validate quality. Additionally, the registrar provides the following publicly displayed details:

  • Name (first, last, middle, suffix) and degrees
  • Departments and divisions
  • Academic titles

And the team got to work adding additional content, including:

Today, the directory presents over 900 nonclinical research profiles from the school of medicine and the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences. These profiles are found on our Find a Researcher tool, featured on hopkinsmedicine.org/research. Modeled after Find a Doctor, this tool serves to attract and foster collaboration and engagement between colleagues, students and other academics.

Before and After

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Putting It All Together

Technical development to add these fields and to enable workflows and data capturing is an ongoing process. Internal and external development teams partner to produce major iterations on a rolling basis. The first major update that enabled the presentation of these new data fields launched in July 2014.

Content acquisition efforts are equally extensive. Writers gather content by researching individual faculty members, just as anyone outside the institution might do. They use search engines to gather information from websites published by Johns Hopkins entities, the professional affiliations of faculty members and physicians, and individuals’ independent websites. The content is validated and rewritten for the central profiles.

Whenever possible, internal team members do this work. Content specialists or marketing managers who are funded by specific service lines or institutional priorities balance this work with other daily responsibilities. Additionally, we contract an outside team of content writers, led by the former associate Web director of one of America’s leading academic medical centers, who author approximately 40 profiles every month.

And in the meantime, one thing has remained constant: Faculty members and physicians can always revise their own profiles to update what they consider most important. Clicking the “Is this You? Edit Profile” button at the bottom of individual profiles is the easiest way to do this.

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Profiles Timeline

Centralization Profiles Timeline 2013-15

A number of parallel or contingent projects are underway at all times to enhance the faculty and physician directory. The project described in this article began in November 2013 and launched in July 2014. An external content team researches our faculty members to populate approximately 40 profiles every month.[/themify_box]