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A Commitment to our Communities

Our community initiatives have been reinvigorated throughout all of our neighborhoods, from Baltimore to St. Petersburg, Florida.

By Paul Rothman, M.D.

Dean of the Medical Faculty
CEO, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Date: 10/03/2017

A Commitment to our Communities

In a city with excellent health care infrastructure and two premier academic medical institutions, far too many members of our community are struggling. It is our responsibility to actively partner with our fellow community members to change that. Our first step was to ask the community what it needs and then listen. We have relied on that principle to guide our community engagement efforts.

A couple of years ago, we met with various local groups and asked them what they see as the biggest hurdles and the biggest opportunities as we work together to build a stronger, more unified Baltimore. We asked all of our employees, faculty members and students as well, and we listened to their responses. As a result, we have come together in new ways, redoubling our community outreach. 

And not just in Baltimore. Our community initiatives have been reinvigorated throughout all of our neighborhoods, from St. Petersburg, Florida, where children and their families are learning good nutrition through free cooking classes, to Columbia, Maryland, where our colleagues at Howard County General Hospital helped those devastated by a flood, to Washington, D.C., where Sibley Memorial Hospital’s community efforts focus on impoverished areas east of the Anacostia River.

These efforts are paying off. We recently received a progress update on our HopkinsLocal initiative, which launched in late 2015. This joint effort by the university and health system uses our economic activity to promote business growth and employment in Baltimore as we build, hire and buy local. In the first year alone, we:

•  Steered $55 million in construction spending to minority-owned, women-owned or disadvantaged businesses

•  Hired more than 300 people from the city’s most distressed communities for targeted positions

•  Spurred a nearly $5 million increase in goods and services purchased from local companies.

We’ve learned a lot and will build on the lessons of our first year to reach our goals in the next two years.

To share updates about what Johns Hopkins Medicine is doing as an organization to support the communities we serve, and to provide opportunities for our own community to become involved, we have launched a quarterly e-newsletter called Connections. We also want to hear from our faculty and staff members and from students about their personal experiences and ideas for engaging and strengthening our local communities to help us keep the momentum going. Please share your ideas through this online suggestion box.

Our community initiatives are wholly consistent with our mission at Johns Hopkins Medicine, which is why it’s so heartening to see so many of our colleagues use their own personal time to make a difference in the community. There is still a great deal of work to do to ensure that all of our neighbors have equal opportunities. Despite any challenges we face, we remain committed to investing in our neighborhoods and our communities.