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Jennifer Hartle, 1973—2022

By: Christine Grillo

The public health community will deeply miss Dr. Jennifer C. Hartle, who died on August 15 of cancer at the age of 48. She was known and loved by the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF) and by the CLF-Lerner Fellowship community.

Dr. Hartle (MHS ’00, DrPH ’13) was a five-time CLF-Lerner Fellow from 2008 to 2013 while she earned her doctorate at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering. During her fellowship years, her research focused on equity as it relates to dietary environmental exposures. Her dissertation examined bisphenol-A (BPA) exposures in the food system and investigated whether people of differing economic and racial backgrounds experience different exposures. She earned her Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree in 2013 and then accepted a post-doctoral fellowship at Stanford University. She later accepted a tenure-track faculty position at San Jose State University and earned tenure in June of this year. Her research at San Jose University continued her work as a CLF-Lerner Fellow, investigating environmental exposures and their effects on human health, with a special focus on environmental exposures from the food system. She was also a Certified Industrial Hygienist and worked at Intel Corporation in Santa Clara, California, prior to beginning her doctoral program.

Holly Henry, another CLF-Lerner Fellow, first met Jennifer in a 2009 food systems course.

“Her huge smile and positive spirit were apparent right away and we bonded over the challenges of growing our families and completing our doctoral work,” says Henry. “Fast forward and we both found ourselves living and working in Northern California where we often daydreamed of establishing a West Coast branch of BSPH. Jennifer was a helpful, kind, and ambitious colleague and friend who was always there to listen and strategize.”

Dr. Hartle’s doctoral adviser was Dr. Robert Lawrence, the founding director of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.

“As Jennifer's doctoral advisor and thesis supervisor I had abundant opportunity to know her and to meet her husband, Al, and her children on several occasions in Baltimore and Mountain View, California,” says Lawrence. “Her thesis and subsequent publications documented the increased risk among children living in poverty. She carried that commitment to health equity and improved nutrition for low-income families to her faculty role at San Jose State University. My fondest memories of Jennifer were our weekly Skype calls once she had passed her preliminary orals and returned to be with her family in California while working on her dissertation. Her premature death cuts short a promising career and all that she meant to her family and those of us privileged to having her as a friend.”

She is survived by her sister, her two high school-aged children, and her husband of 22 years. A birding and outdoors enthusiast, she will be remembered as a fantastic mom, friend, wife, sister, and cousin.

A memorial and celebration of life is scheduled for September 17 in Mountain View, California. Mourners may visit this memorial website for more information about the service and for information about where and what to donate if so moved.