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Legacy of Service

Meet the recipients of the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Community Service Awards.

By Janet Anderson, Sarah Richards, Katelynn Sachs and Stephanie Shapiro

Date: 01/04/2017

Legacy of Service

The 2016 Community Service Award recipients are from left: Leigh Goetzke, Alexia Camm, Jessica Havern, Panagis Galiatsatos, Yvette Hicks, Charles Odonkor, Daniel Pham  and Carlisa Jones.

Eight recipients of the 2016 Martin Luther King Jr., Community Service Awards were honored at Johns Hopkins’ annual MLK commemoration.

Alexia Camm

Administrative Coordinator, Marketing and Communications

Johns Hopkins Health System

Alexia Camm says there’s a common misconception that people who lead a busy life will never succeed as volunteers. “You can find a way to volunteer that fits you,” assures Camm, “even if it’s just for a day.” Camm works full time as an administrative coordinator. When she’s not at work, she volunteers for Thread, a nonprofit that links at-risk high school students with volunteer mentors and community resources. Through her department’s employee engagement committee, Camm helped organize two days of cleaning and flower planting at a park used by children in Southwest Baltimore. She has also volunteered for the Maryland Food Bank, Marian House, House of Ruth and United Way.

Panagis Galiatsatos

Pulmonary and Critical Care Fellow

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Born and raised in East Baltimore’s Greektown, physician Panagis Galiatsatos says he owes it to his hometown to help reduce the health disparities that afflict so many in the city. He channeled his commitment to health equity into Medicine for the Greater Good (MGG), a program he co-founded with colleagues at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Since 2011, MGG has inspired hundreds of undergraduate and graduate student volunteers across Johns Hopkins to help underserved city residents become advocates for their own health.

On his own time, Galiatsatos speaks about chronic health conditions and takes part in screenings, health fairs and other events in schools, churches and libraries in East Baltimore. A pulmonary and critical care fellow at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Galiatsatos regards health disparities as “primary health issues, not just primary care issues” that transcend medical specialties.

Leigh Goetzke

Client Relations Account Manager

Johns Hopkins HealthCare

Looking to volunteer with her three children, Leigh Goetzke signed her family up to raise puppies for Guiding Eyes for the Blind, an organization that connects individuals in need of a guide dog with the perfect Labrador retriever or German Shepherd. Six years later, the Goetzkes have trained five puppies in their Annapolis home to sit, stay and follow unique commands that prepare them for formal training to become service dogs for blind or visually impaired individuals.

Goetzke, a client relations account manager for Johns Hopkins HealthCare, stays in contact with their first puppy’s owner. “Our puppy has changed her life, and I am fortunate to have been a small part of that change,” she says.

Jessica Havern

Director of Enterprise Performance for Health Care Transformation and Strategic Planning

The Johns Hopkins Health System

When Jessica Havern moved to Baltimore two years ago, she got involved with the Junior League of Baltimore, an organization of women committed to promoting volunteerism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Now, the Johns Hopkins Health System’s director of enterprise performance for health care transformation and strategic planning looks forward to monthly volunteer activities, like sorting donations at the Junior League’s Wise Penny thrift store, planting trees with Blue Water Baltimore, overseeing donation drives for House of Ruth and preparing healthy meals with Moveable Feast.

Yvette Hicks

Financial Informatics Systems Architect

Johns Hopkins Health System

Yvette Hicks’ first volunteer experience was as a candy striper growing up in Hartford, Connecticut. Since moving to Baltimore in 2008, she’s been deeply involved with the nominating committee of the Junior League of Baltimore, which trains members to lead and serve on volunteer initiatives. “It makes me feel good to help others,” says Hicks. Among her many volunteering activities, she serves meals with her teenage son at Our Daily Bread, speaks to students about achieving academic success for the Maryland Business Roundtable for Education and recently signed up to help the P-TECH program, which blends high school and college classes with work experience to help students build careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

Carlisa Jones

Administrative Supervisor

Wilmer Eye Institute

For 15 years, Carlisa Jones has encouraged Johns Hopkins’ participation in the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for a Cure, signing up fundraising team captains and walkers who have raised tens of thousands of dollars in donations. Jones has personally raised nearly $14,500 the past two years. As Johns Hopkins’ lead campaign organizer, she encourages colleagues to increase their financial support, solicits donations for snacks from supermarket chains and organizes an awards luncheon for the department captains.

Fundraising took on special significance when her husband, Dean, became a patient at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The couple organized a charity dance, which netted nearly $7,500 for pediatric oncology and juvenile diabetes research.  Among other service activities, Jones volunteers for the annual Henrietta Lacks celebration in Turner Station.

Charles Odonkor

Resident, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Since 2014, Charles Odonkor and a few colleagues have offered a free writing and review service to help minority students craft compelling, error-free essays as part of their applications for college and medical school. The fourth-year resident in physiatry also collects late-version textbooks and tablets loaded with links to various open-source medical libraries so that disadvantaged medical students in countries such as his native Ghana can have access to necessary information. Project REACH, Representatives for Equal Access to Community Health, has helped more than 400 students since 2011. Additionally, Odonkor organizes an orthopaedics shadowing program that lets local students observe African-American physicians and scientists.

Daniel Pham

Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

Like many great ideas, Project Bridge emerged from confusion. Daniel Pham, a Ph.D. candidate in neuroscience, was unsuccessful in his attempt to describe to his partner the intricacies of his research. The communication breakdown led Pham and colleagues to found Project Bridge, “with the goal of getting scientists to communicate and connect with the public,” he says. The outreach program features talks and demonstrations by Johns Hopkins scientists in farmers markets, cafes and restaurants. In September, Project Bridge brought Baltimore Brain Fest, a daylong neuroscience expo, to a city elementary school. “It’s a very grass-roots approach, getting bystanders to come by and having scientists in the community, explaining rudimentary topics,” Pham says.