Media Office Phone: 410-955-6681
Media Office Email: JHMedia@jhmi.edu
Director, Media Relations and Public Affairs
cell : 410-935-4762
As the director of media relations and public affairs for Johns Hopkins Medicine, Kim Hoppe, M.A. oversees strategic media interaction and integrated external institutional communications in addition to managing the media relations and public affairs team. She is responsible for increasing awareness for Johns Hopkins Medicine research, education, and patient care and developing a system-wide proactive media communication plan and implementing crisis communication management.
Prior to this position, Kim spent nine years as associate director of communications and public affairs for Johns Hopkins Children's Center, where she was managing the media relations, video production and special event coordination for the hospital. A journalist for nearly ten years, Kim was a senior news producer, medical news producer, and newsroom manager at the Baltimore CBS and ABC television affiliates and a coordinating producer at Maryland Public Television. Over the years, Kim has received several Tellys, a nomination for an Emmy and an award of merit from the Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development.
Kim earned her master of arts degree in communication from Johns Hopkins University with a concentration of study in corporate and non-profit communication. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in journalism from the University of Connecticut. She is a longstanding member of the Public Relations Society of America.
As a senior science communications and media relations specialist, Natalia Abel, Ph.D., joined the media relations team within Johns Hopkins Marketing and Communications division in September 2008 as the primary media representative for Johns Hopkins Medicine International, the global arm of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Natalia has spent more than a decade in print journalism, television and radio news and documentary production, as well as nonprofit and agency media relations on both sides of the Atlantic.
At the Russian Television Network in Moscow and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Toronto, Canada, Natalia covered health care and foreign affairs, business and lifestyle stories. She helped to deliver investigative articles and programs to readers of The New York Times and Sports Illustrated, and to viewers of the Discovery Channel and CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) News.
In her academic career, Natalia served as a researcher at the Nordica Centre for Research in Journalism, Mass Media, and Culture at Moscow State University, coordinated exchange programs with Scandinavian universities, and mentored graduate students. She also directed the Russian portion of a multinational project titled News Definitions Across Cultures under the auspices of Syracuse University.
Natalia received her doctorate in Journalism at Moscow State University. She underwent further professional training at a rigorous BBC World Service Center course in London, UK, and was selected for the Yeltsin Democracy Fellowship Program sponsored by the Canadian International Development Agency in Canada.
Stephanie Desmon, an award-winning medical journalist, joined Johns Hopkins Medicine as a senior media relations representative and public information officer in October 2009.
Desmon comes to Johns Hopkins from The Baltimore Sun, where she spent the last nine years as a reporter and writer covering medicine and politics, among other topics. While at the Sun, she was nationally recognized for her six-part series, “The Trial of Their Lives,” which chronicled the lives of terminal cancer patients undergoing an experimental breast cancer trial at Hopkins. She also received the Gerald Loeb Award, the highest journalism honor for business reporting, for a series she wrote about the decline of the Maryland crab industry and the subsequent rise of crabbing in Asia.
At JHM’s division of Media Relations & Public Affairs, she will be principally responsible for covering surgery, transplants, gastroenterology, and complementary and integrative medicine.
Desmon previously worked at newspapers in West Palm Beach and Jacksonville, Fla., and in Birmingham, Ala. She is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied American history.
Director, Marketing and Communications for Research and Education
Audrey M. Huang, M.A., Ph.D.,is a science writer and molecular geneticist by training. She joined the media relations staff at Johns Hopkins Medicine in 2006.
Huang was a science writer and communications officer at the Genetics and Public Policy Center, part of the Berman Bioethics Institute at Hopkins, located in Washington, DC. As a freelance editor and writer, Huang has written for the National Institutes of Health, the Carnegie Institution of Washington, and the Ontario Genomics Institute. She holds a master’s degree in science writing from Johns Hopkins University where she currently teaches a graduate course in writing.
She has extensive research experience in developmental biology, molecular and cell biology and genetics, having studied the molecular mechanisms involved in muscle cell development at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle and mammalian embryonic development at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York. Huang studied chromosome structure in fruitflies and yeast during her postdoctoral training at the Carnegie Institution of Washington Department of Embryology. She holds a Ph.D. in genetics and a B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of California at Berkeley.
- Animal Care and Use
- Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences
Helen Jones joined the Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications team in January 2013. She is responsible for responsible for managing the distribution and tracking of all press releases, collecting and disseminating daily headlines and helping the team manage incoming media requests and all JHM media-related events.
Helen was previously employed at the Washington Post, where she edited opinion pieces, editorials and letters to the editor and helped keep track of daily readership trends on the Web. Before that, she worked as a copy editor and assigning editor for her hometown newspaper, the Baltimore Sun.
She received a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Towson University.
As a senior communications specialist for the media relations team, Cathy Kolf, Ph.D., is responsible for writing about basic science research and the activities of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences.
She comes to us from the National Academy of Sciences where she most recently was a communications associate in the Policy and Global Affairs Division and previously worked in media relations at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences through the Mirzayan Science Policy Fellowship. Previous to that, she spent some time on the Hill and in the classroom as an adjunct professor.
She earned her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins doing research in the Cartilage Biology and Orthopedics Branch of the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. She also holds a B.S. in biology and philosophy from the University of Notre Dame.
John M. Lazarou, a former journalist and public radio talk show host joined the media relations staff at Hopkins in January 2002. Lazarou came to Hopkins after two years at a local public relations agency, where he practiced media relations. His areas of responsibility include dentistry, dermatology, event communications, ophthalmology, plastic surgery and women’s health – GYN/OB/reproductive endocrinology. Prior to relocating to Maryland, Lazarou was the media relations representative for Englewood Hospital and Medical Center in New Jersey. Before entering public relations, he worked as a newspaper reporter and feature writer in New Hampshire as well as a journalist and a talk show host for public radio stations in the New York and New Jersey area. He received his bachelor of arts in communications from Temple University and holds a master of arts in liberal studies from Fordham University.
Ellen Beth Levitt
Ellen Beth Levitt, a media relations and health care communications leader with extensive experience in academic medicine, joined the media relations staff in February 2011.
Levitt came to Johns Hopkins from the University of Maryland Medical Center, where she was director of public affairs and media relations and led a joint media relations program with the UM School of Medicine . That program was recognized by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) with an Award for Excellence and was called a “national model.”
Ellen Beth also created a widely viewed cable TV show, Maryland Health Today, which was converted into a video podcast series. She also was responsible for publications and crisis communications.
Prior to joining the University of Maryland Medical Center, Levitt had worked for 12 years as a reporter and news director at radio stations in Baltimore, Washington, Richmond and Syracuse. Her work won numerous awards from the Associated Press, the Radio-TV News Directors Association and the Society of Professional Journalists. She previously worked at Johns Hopkins early in her career as creator and producer of Health Newsfeed, a service that provides health features for radio stations nationwide.
A native of Philadelphia, Pa., Levitt received a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.
Levitt is also on the executive committee of the PRSA Health Academy and enjoys teaching yoga part time.
Levitt also writes for Hopkins publications and is responsible for Cardiovascular Report, a newsletter for physicians.
David B. March, a science writer and former public relations agency consultant, joined the media relations staff at Johns Hopkins Medicine’s Office of Corporate Communications in May 2004. March comes to Hopkins from the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, where he practiced media relations for Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center.
Prior to joining the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, March was a media relations consultant for Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia, Canada.
March received his bachelor of sciences degree in biology from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and holds a master of health administration degree from the University of Ottawa.
Vanessa C. McMains, Ph.D. joined the media relations staff in June 2010 as a media relations representative and communications coordinator. Her background is in science writing and research.
Previously, she performed freelance writing and editing for the National Institutes of Health and The American Physiological Society. She was selected as an American Association for the Advancement in Science (AAAS) mass media fellow, which placed her at the Chicago Tribune reporting on science and medicine.
Vanessa's roots are in scientific research with specialties in cell and developmental biology. She studied a protein found in amoebas that is also linked to Alzheimer's disease when mutated in people. Also, she studied the fungus that caused the North American chestnut blight. She holds a Ph.D. in biology from a joint program between the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins University. She also holds a B.S. in biological sciences from the University of Maryland at College Park.
As a senior science communications and media relations specialist, Ekaterina is responsible for managing and implementing science communication and related media activities within the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center to promote the cornerstones of the institution’s tri-partite mission: research, teaching and patient care. Ekaterina works with news media to help them identify scientific news, trends and developments within the institution and highlight the work of the pediatrics faculty. She also oversees content and production for the Children’s Center’s annual Radiothon. Prior to joining the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center, Ekaterina worked at the University of Missouri-Columbia as a research assistant and a health writer for a federal project designed to improve media coverage of arthritis and rheumatologic diseases. Prior to that, Ekaterina worked as a medical and general-assignment reporter for newspapers in St. Louis. Ekaterina has a master’s degree in Journalism with focus on Health Communication from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism and a bachelor’s degree from Truman State University. She is a 2003 recipient of the Missouri Press Association Award for News Reporting.
Leah Ramsay joined the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics in November 2011 as a science writer to manage communications and news media relations. She comes to Johns Hopkins from Washington, DC, where she worked in multimedia and nonprofit communications for more than a decade.
Most recently, Ramsay handled media and public relations for the advocacy organization DC Vote. Previously she worked on the other side of the media aisle, in documentary production for National Geographic, the Smithsonian Channel and Discovery Networks, and as a writer online for DC Style and Metromix.com.
A graduate of the Catholic University of America with a degree in Media Studies, Ramsay also worked with prominent independent filmmakers in Washington, helping to produce Yoo-Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg with Aviva Kempner and interning with Charles Guggenheim on his final film, Berga: Soldiers of Another War. This independent film production experience included fundraising, skills she will use at the Berman Institute.
In addition, Ramsay will work with faculty members to share their research news internally and externally, as well as contribute to social media and Web-based communications.
Senior Communications Specialist Patrick Smith joined the media relations team in March of 2013 after six years as communications director at the People’s Community Health Centers in Baltimore, a historic nonprofit clinic specializing in health care for the underserved.
Smith has spent 20-plus years as a writer and communications professional in the Baltimore-Washington region. A senior writer and communications director at United Way of Central Maryland and the Baltimore/D.C. American Red Cross, Smith also has served as a press aide and speechwriter to several elected officials.
A consultant to such clients as the National Governors Association, Porter Novelli, the U.S. Telecom Association and the National Association of Community Health Centers, Smith began his career as a newspaper reporter at the Dundalk Eagle. He holds a B.S. in English from Towson University.
- Diversity Initiatives
Shannon Swiger, a public relations professional from Charlotte, N.C., joined the Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications team in August 2011 as a senior communications specialist. In her new role, Swiger will write for internal publications and manage media relations on a number of topics of great importance to Hopkins, including patient safety, diversity and technology.
Swiger was previously employed by Presbyterian Healthcare, a multi-hospital system based in Charlotte, N.C., where she coordinated media relations and marketing for hospital and outpatient services. Swiger also brings experience in internal communications and social media outreach. She worked on two award-winning projects recognized by the Carolinas Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Society while at Presbyterian Healthcare.
An alumnus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Swiger is a former writer for The Daily Tar Heel, and former editor in chief of campus magazine Kaleidoscope. She graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communication and political science.
- Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality
- Patient Safety
Vanessa Wasta joined the Public Affairs Office for the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in September 1998. She holds a bachelor of science in biology and a master of business administration with a concentration in marketing. Previously, she worked in the Marketing and Public Relations Office for the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center.
As a communications manager, Shawna Williams oversees coverage of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, the Institute for Cell Engineering, and the Institute of Genetic Medicine. She joined the media relations staff in November 2012.
Previously, Williams worked as a communications officer at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, at Johns Hopkins' Genetics & Public Policy Center, and at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research. She also served for a year as an instructor and journal editor at West China Hospital and West China School of Medicine, and later as a freelance science writer and medical editor.
Williams earned a B.A. in biochemistry from Colorado College and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.