Bonnielin Swenor, MPH, PhD, is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center and an associate professor of ophthalmology at the Wilmer Eye Institute. She is also an associate professor of epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, as well as a core faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health.


Dr. Swenor's research aims to improve the health of people with disabilities, and is fueled by her personal experience with vision impairment. To achieve this, Dr. Swenor and her group have concentrated on three interrelated areas:


  1. Vision and Aging: This research aims to improve the health and well-being of individuals with visual impairment across the lifespan, with a focus on older adults.
  2. Access to Care: This area of research focuses on identifying health care disparities and improving healthcare utilization, quality, and access for people with disabilities.
  3. Disability Inclusion: By identifying and addressing barriers for people with disabilities across society, Dr. Swenor and her team are working to increase disability inclusion.


Dr. Swenor uses an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach to design effective policies and programs aimed at reducing disability inequities. The overarching goals of this research are to maximize health, equity, and participation for people with all types of disabilities.


Dr. Swenor received her master of public health and doctorate degrees in epidemiology from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the National Institute on Aging prior to joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins University.


Select publications: 


Varadaraj V, Wang Y, Reed NS, Deal JA, Lin FR, Swenor BK. Trends in Employment by Dual Sensory Impairment Status [published online ahead of print, 2019 Dec 5]. JAMA Ophthalmol. 2019;138(2):213-215. doi:10.1001/jamaophthalmol.2019.4955


Reed NS, Meeks LM, Swenor BK. Disability and COVID-19: who counts depends on who is countedLancet Public Health. 2020;5(8):e423. doi:10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30161-4


Swenor BK, Munoz B, Meeks LM. A decade of decline: Grant funding for researchers with disabilities 2008 to 2018PLoS One. 2020;15(3):e0228686. Published 2020 Mar 3. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0228686


Whitson HE, Cronin-Golomb A, Cruickshanks KJ, et al. American Geriatrics Society and National Institute on Aging Bench-to-Bedside Conference: Sensory Impairment and Cognitive Decline in Older AdultsJ Am Geriatr Soc. 2018;66(11):2052-2058. doi:10.1111/jgs.15506


Swenor BK, Ramulu PY, Willis JR, Friedman D, Lin FR. The prevalence of concurrent hearing and vision impairment in the United StatesJAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(4):312-313. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.1880


Swenor BK, Lee MJ, Varadaraj V, Whitson HE, Ramulu PY. Aging With Vision Loss: A Framework for Assessing the Impact of Visual Impairment on Older AdultsGerontologist. 2020;60(6):989-995. doi:10.1093/geront/gnz117


Swenor BK, Lee MJ, Tian J, Varadaraj V, Bandeen-Roche K. Visual Impairment and Frailty: Examining an Understudied RelationshipJ Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2020;75(3):596-602. doi:10.1093/gerona/glz182

Image of Bonnielin Swenor smiling and looking off camera

Bonnielin Swenor, MPH, PhD

Departmental affiliation (Primary)

Associate Professor

  • Director - Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center
  • The Wilmer Eye Institute - Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
  • Department of Epidemiology - Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health