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Johns Hopkins Medicine
Office of Communications and Public Affairs
Media Contact: Gary Stephenson
May 25, 2004
HBO MOVIE TELLS STORY OF TWO HOPKINS BREAKTHROUGHS: ONE MEDICAL, ONE INTERRACIAL
"SOMETHING THE LORD MADE" AIRS ON MAY 30 AT 9 P.M.
On May 30, at 9 p.m., HBO Films will air Something The Lord Made (www.hbo.com/films/stlm/, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/stlm), a new movie based on the true story of two unlikely partners – a black lab technician and a prominent white surgeon – who together in one famous operation at The Johns Hopkins Hospital in the racially segregated 1940s ushered in the era of heart surgery. Their unusual, poignant and sometimes stormy partnership did more than challenge the medical establishment; it challenged the social establishment of the day.
Starring Alan Rickman, Mos Def, Kyra Sedgwick, Charles S. Dutton and Mary Stuart Masterson, the film offers not only a dramatic story of healing and perseverance, but also a reflection on how far the nation, Hopkins and institutions like it have come in rewarding merit regardless of race or gender.
The Hopkins of today is not the Hopkins of the 1940s. Some of the most renowned African-American surgeons in the world are at Hopkins, including Ben Carson, the pediatric neurosurgeon widely known for his operations to end crippling seizures; cardiac surgeon Levi Watkins, who, in 1980, became the first physician to insert an automatic implantable defibrillator (developed at Hopkins) into a patient; Claudia Thomas, the first African-American female orthopedic surgeon in the nation; and trauma surgeon Edward Cornwell, whose efforts on behalf of violence prevention programs have matched his ability to save youthful victims of violence. Julie Freischlag, appointed chief of the Hopkins Department of Surgery in 2003, is the first woman to serve as a chief of surgery in the elite medical schools of the nation. Last year, 47 Hopkins medical students out of a class of 116 were females; 13 were African-American, 24 were Asian, and 5 were Hispanic.
As the birthplace of cardiac surgery, Hopkins continues to build on its legacy of discovery and innovation. Stories you may want to pursue in conjunction with HBO Film’s “Something The Lord Made debut:”
To learn more about Hopkins’ role in the HBO film Something The Lord Made or to cover any of the stories outlined above, contact Gary Stephenson at 410-955-5384, cell at 443-324-6726, pager at 410-283-4991, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org