Director’s Reflections: Our Community and Beyond

The daily drumbeat of sad and alarming news might lead us to feel hopeless. That is true for Baltimore. But what recent critics of our community failed to recognize are the efforts of groups and individuals alike to combat our problems and engage our communities. Some of these groups and individuals are right here in the Department of Medicine.

They face our community’s complex social challenges head on, benefitting not only Baltimore but, at times, even the nation and world at large. Among these are people like Lois Eldred, assistant professor in the Division of General Internal Medicine, who chairs the Criminal Justice Committee at Memorial Episcopal Church in West Baltimore, advocating for issues such as bail reform, prison reform and support for returning citizens; and Panagis Galiatsatos, instructor in the Division of Pulmonary, whose work with Medicine for the Greater Good has helped bridge the gap in health disparities throughout Baltimore.

These are just two examples of members of the DOM who go above and beyond to address issues facing the Baltimore community. If you know someone who deserves to be recognized for his/her community outreach efforts, please consider nominating him/her for a Johns Hopkins University Martin Luther King Jr. Award for Community Service, which recognizes outstanding commitment to volunteer service by members of the Hopkins community. The deadline for submissions is Friday, Oct. 11.

Learn more about the MLK Award here.

Kathleen Page, associate professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases, is also working to improve social conditions throughout Baltimore through Centro SOL, an organization based at Bayview that offers clinical care, advocacy and education for Baltimore’s Latino community. In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month (spanning from Sept 15-Oct 15), Centro SOL, along with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and other groups, is sponsoring a series of events including symposiums, dance classes and happy hours to celebrate and recognize Hopkins’ Hispanic patients, faculty, trainees and staff. The Hispanic and Latin American community is an important part of our Hopkins identity with such concentrated populations surrounding both JHH and Bayview. We are privileged to live and work in an area where we are exposed to such diversity, and I encourage you to learn more about one part of our diverse Baltimore community by participating in these events. The more we know about the members of our community, the more effectively we can work together as ‘people helping people.’

Every community has its problems. The value of a community should not be placed on its challenges, but by the people working to overcome them. Our department is full of people committed to helping people in need, and together we are building a stronger and healthier Baltimore. I applaud your efforts and thank you for making Baltimore an exceptional place to work and live.