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Mentors Wanted

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.

Deborah Knight-Kerr
Director of Community and Education Projects
JHH Human Resources

April Issue

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.

Jean Silber

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 or thief.

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



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