Terrific article! ("Fanning the Fires of Youthful Aspirations,"
April) We are really finding it difficult these days to recruit mentors,
and I hope people reading this will feel inspired and volunteer a few
hours per month.
Director of Community and Education Projects
JHH Human Resources
Last week during a visit to a Hopkins office at Green Spring Station,
I picked up the April copy of Dome and was very impressed with the great
degree of coverage across a very large spectrum. The layout, the many
photographs and the variety of feature articles were all excellent.
Prejudice in East Baltimore
"Hopkins is great-with the exception of the black neighborhood."
I hear this type of sentiment deplorably increasing in frequency-in
the halls of the hospital and medical school, amongst my peers and superiors
alike. In my preceptor's office, I heard a physician say that if a patient
is black and lives in Baltimore, she is automatically suspicious of
drug abuse and hesitant to give certain prescriptions. Most of my classmates
are afraid to walk outside the radius of the blue security booths.
They feel as if they are in imminent danger. They tell demeaning jokes
about the very people who will largely depend on them for clinical care.
Although East Baltimore definitely houses a poor neighborhood, and the
complexities of poverty, homelessness and substance abuse surely surround
us, poverty is not synonymous with evil. I speak out now because I am
personally insulted and frustrated by the people who grasp carefully
in one hand the titles "best of the best" and "brightest
scientist," but in the other hand choke the life out of the very
principles they should-if not by virtue of personal character, at least
by job description-automatically uphold. If you disrobed the African-American
physicians, professors, students, and workers of their scrubs and/or
Hopkins ID, they are the mirror image of "these people" who
are a priori grouped into the category of drug dealer, drug user, prostitute
This is an issue that demands attention, honesty and rectification.
It is high time now for response.
Paulette Grey, first-year medical student
We should do everything humanly possible to encourage
faculty, staff and students to approach East Baltimore residents as
we would like to be approached were we in their shoes. Many of us have
never had to struggle with multiple issues of how the rent will be paid
or food put on the table, much less how we receive health care. As healers,
we should be sensitive to these issues that transcend race, income or
other factors that might "make us different."
Many committed and caring Hopkins colleagues are working to improve
not just the health but the lives of East Baltimore residents. Hopkins,
through the Urban Health Institute, is working on a broad array of issues
including health, employment and education. In fact, the mission of
UHI is to improve the health and well-being of the residents of East
Baltimore. Other organized efforts at Hopkins include "interaction
groups" within medicine and public health that offer opportunities
for students to get involved in the neighborhood in which we work. I
invite anyone and everyone at Johns Hopkins to join us and our friends
and neighbors in East Baltimore in working on these important concerns.
Claude Earl Fox, M.D.
Director, Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute