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School of Medicine
Media Relations, Public Relations and Corporate Communications Team
Journalists should always work with our team first to coordinate interviews. Each team member represents several departments or specialties of medicine and is available to respond to media inquiries or interview requests in a timely manner. If you are a journalist and unsure which specialty would be most appropriate for your request, please send an inquiry to JHMedia@jhmi.edu. Thank you.
- Media Relations Phone: 410-955-6681
- Media Relations Email: JHMedia@jhmi.edu
- After Hours & Holidays: 410-955-6070. Request that they page the media relations representative on call.
Johns Hopkins Medicine Hospital Communicators and Media Representatives
- The Johns Hopkins Hospital
- Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital
- Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
- Howard County General Hospital
- Sibley Memorial Hospital
- Suburban Hospital
Director of Public Relations and Corporate Communications
As the director of public relations and corporate communications for Johns Hopkins Medicine, Kim Hoppe, M.A. oversees strategic media interaction and integrated external institutional communications in addition to managing the public relations and corporate communications team. She is responsible for increasing awareness for Johns Hopkins Medicine, managing and monitoring issues, implementing crisis communication management and developing a system-wide proactive media communication plan.
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.
- Crisis Communications
- Issues Management
- Legal Issues
- Research Integrity
- Third Party Releases/Branding
Audrey M. Huang, M.A., Ph.D.
Director, Marketing and Communications for Research and Education
Director, Media Relations
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.
Alsy Acevedo, M.S.
As senior media specialist for Johns Hopkins Medicine International, Alsy focuses on global media relations strategies and outreach to position the Johns Hopkins Health System as a top-of-mind destination for complex diagnosis and treatment, and as a trusted resource for health information.
A former journalist, Alsy has written for the Orlando Sentinel and the Asheville Citizen-Times, produced two different radio shows, and was an adjunct professor of marketing, international business and communications in Puerto Rico. Before joining Johns Hopkins, Alsy worked for Catholic Relief Services, where she led international media campaigns, served as media spokeswoman and trained staff members on cultural competencies, media best practices and social media.
Alsy has been recognized by the Huffington Post as one of the 50 Top Latino Voices to Follow on Twitter, by Latino Leadership as an Outstanding Woman in Media and by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists with the Ruben Salazar Scholarship.
- Johns Hopkins Medicine International
- International Media
In her role as a media relations representative, Rachel coordinates media interviews, writes about clinically applicable research and provides media-relations services to researchers and physicians.
Rachel is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a bachelor's degree in biological sciences.
- Anesthesiology & Critical Care Medicine
- Infectious Disease
- Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
- Sports Medicine & Orthopaedics
- The Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute
Brian Conlin, M.A, joined the John Hopkins Medicine team in 2016 as a senior communications specialist for the public relations and corporate communications team. In this role, he primarily develops and implements communications and media relations strategies for Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures.
Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, Conlin worked at Cision, most recently as its content marketing manager, and as a reporter at the Baltimore Sun Media Group, where he won awards for education reporting, science reporting and feature writing that appeared in the Catonsville Times and Arbutus Times.
Conlin earned an M.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a B.A. in English from St. Mary's College of Maryland.
- Business of Medicine
- Technology Transfer, ventures
Taylor Graham is a media relations specialist with the Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications team. In her role, she assists with proactive media outreach and provides media relations services to doctors.
Prior to joining the media relations team in July 2014, she was an assistant associate at Warschawski, a marketing communications agency, where she aided in media relations efforts and account services.
Taylor is a graduate of Towson University and holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Marin Hedin, M.P.S.
As assistant director of media relations, Marin Hedin, M.P.S., helps lead and direct the day-to-day strategy of the media relations team. Through her relationships with media, she promotes stories that improve Johns Hopkins Medicine’s brand reputation and loyalty. With storytelling at the forefront of Marin’s work, she is dedicated to inspiring engagement through scientific innovation, medical advancements and patient care.
Prior to Johns Hopkins Medicine, Marin led the marketing and communications strategies for top science, health and technology brands at Van Eperen & Company, a public relations firm located in the Washington, D.C., region. As account supervisor, Marin guided the direction of clients’ communications efforts, mentored staff and helped build the agency’s digital division.
Marin holds a master’s of professional studies degree in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in public relations and business management marketing from California State University, Sacramento. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and Women of Color in Communications.
Shannon Jackson is a communications coordinator with the Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications department. In her role, she is responsible for assisting the public relations and corporate communications team in day-to-day activities and tracking the progress of projects.
Prior to joining the public relations and corporate communications team in December 2015, Shannon worked for WMARTV ABC2 in Baltimore, as a member of the traffic department.
Shannon is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University and holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communications with a concentration in public relations.
- General Business of Medicine
- Cameras on Campus
Helen Jones joined the Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications team in January 2013. She is 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.
- Awards and Announcements
- General Media Inquiries
- Photo/Photo Permissions
Catherine Gara, Ph.D.
As a senior communications specialist for the media relations team, Catherine 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.
Marisol Martinez, M.A.
As a communications specialist for Johns Hopkins Medicine International, Marisol focuses on bilingual (Spanish and English) media relations and communications outreach in Latin America and the Caribbean, raising brand awareness and positioning the Johns Hopkins Health System as a destination for complex diagnosis and treatment, and a trusted resource for health information.
A seasoned writer, editor and strategic communications professional, Marisol has over 15 years of experience creating and executing marketing and communications campaigns. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins Medicine International, she served as senior copywriter at Adworks Corp., a marketing and communications firm in Puerto Rico with various clients in the health care industry.
She holds a master’s degree in communications with a concentration in media writing and a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of the Sacred Heart in Puerto Rico. Marisol also earned a certificate in translation (Spanish-English/English-Spanish) from La Salle University in Philadelphia and has won several Aster Awards.
- Caribbean Media
- Latin American Media
- Johns Hopkins Medicine International
Jania Matthews, M.P.S.
As the assistant director of public relations and corporate communications, Jania Matthews, M.P.S., helps to build and protect the Johns Hopkins Medicine brand by developing and implementing strategic proactive media relations plans and products for service lines and business initiatives. She also helps manage internal and external communications for institutional reputational issues.
Jania has more than 10 years of experience in media relations, project management, writing/editing, and issues management. Most recently she was the associate director of strategic communications at the International Food Information Council and Foundation, where she led the planning, development and implementation of public outreach strategies for organization campaigns and programming initiatives.
Jania earned her master of professional studies degree in public relations and corporate communications from Georgetown University. She earned her bachelor of science degree in communications from the University of Tennessee. She is an active member of the Public Relations Society of America.
- Cameras on Campus
- Government Affairs
- Health Care Policy
- Issues Management
- Johns Hopkins Community Physicians
- Labor Relations
- Managed Care
Vanessa C. McMains, Ph.D.
Vanessa C. McMains, Ph.D., joined the media relations staff in June 2010 as a media relations representative and communications coordinator covering the basic sciences. She is now a senior media relations representative covering several clinical beats. 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 is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and the D.C. Science Writer's Association.
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.
Laura Motel is a communications specialist with the Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications team. In her role, she is responsible for providing strategic communications support to The Johns Hopkins Hospital Department of Nursing.
Prior to joining Johns Hopkins Medicine in June 2016, Motel worked as a communications specialist for the Maryland State Department of Education, focusing on communicating the state's education initiatives to internal and external audiences. She also served as a media specialist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, where she produced TV and video segments and provided media outreach.
Motel earned an M.A. in journalism and public affairs from American University and a B.A. from Franklin and Marshall College.
As a media relations specialist with the Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications team, Lauren Nelson coordinates media interviews and provides media relations services to doctors and researchers.
Lauren joined the media relations team in January 2014.
A graduate of Stevenson University, she previously worked at T. Rowe Price on the direct mail team and spent a year as a creative intern at MGH, an advertising agency.
Archana Nilaweera joined the media relations team in 2016 as a project coordinator. In this role, she is responsible for distributing and managing press releases, as well as tracking media hits in order to compile monthly reports.
Before joining the media relations team, Archana interned for the Injury Prevention Program at Johns Hopkins Children's Center.
Archana is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, where she received her B.A. in the Health Administration and Policy Program. While in college she worked as a student assistant to Freeman A. Hrabowski III, the president of UMBC.
Kim Polyniak, M.A., serves as a senior communications specialist with the Johns Hopkins Medicine team. In this role, she focuses her time managing communications projects and media relations activities for the departments of Emergency Medicine and Infectious Disease and the Johns Hopkins National Center for the Study of Preparedness and Critical Event Response (CEPAR).
Throughout her experience, Polyniak has held a wide range of positions in the communications industry in Maryland. Her career began at WBFF-TV Fox45 in Baltimore, where she served in different producing roles. She also held positions at Maryland Public Television, in marketing and communications at a local Baltimore hospital and as a freelance writer. Polyniak has written for various formats, including television news, print publications, the Internet, and social media.
Polyniak earned an M.A. in writing from The Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in mass communication from Towson University.
- Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality
- Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR)
- Emergency Medicine
- Hospital Epidemiology
- Infectious Disease
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.
- Community Health
- Diversity Initiatives
- Integrative/Complimentary Medicine
As senior media relations representative, Chanapa is responsible for writing about clinical sciences and coordinating media interviews with physicians.
Prior to joining the Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications team, Chanapa worked as a science writer for the University of Utah, where she covered paleontology, ecology and metallurgical engineering, among other subjects. She has also written for the Arizona Department of Health Services, the Maricopa County Medical Society and the Embryo Project, a National Science Foundation-funded digital encyclopedia for developmental biology and reproductive medicine.
Chanapa earned both her bachelor of science degree in biological sciences and master of science degree in biology with an emphasis in bioethics, policy and law from Arizona State University.
Beatriz Vianna joined the Johns Hopkins Medicine team in 2016 as a communications specialist for the marketing and communications team. In this role, Vianna will help in the coverage of the Institute for Basic Biomedical Sciences, the Institute for Cell Engineering and the Institute of Genetic Medicine as well as organizing Johns Hopkins’ annual Science Writers Boot Camp.
Originally from Brazil, Vianna obtained her M.S. degree in cell and molecular biology from West Virginia University. In addition to her full time position at Johns Hopkins, Vianna is finishing her Ph.D. in science communication at George Mason University.
- Basic Science Research
- Institute for Basic Biological Sciences
- Institute for Cell Engineering
- Institute of Genetic Medicine
- Stem Cell Research
Vanessa Wasta, M.B.A.
With more than 15 years of experience managing media relations and web projects at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, Vanessa Wasta covers laboratory and clinical research news that spans the work of more than 250 cancer center members across numerous academic departments. She also guides the Kimmel Cancer Center’s social media program, authoring the Cancer Matters blog, and contributing to Twitter, Facebook and Youtube accounts. She is a member of the National Association of Science Writers and former chair of the Public Affairs and Marketing Network of the nation's top cancer centers.
She holds a bachelor of science degree in biology and a master’s degree in business administration. Previously, she worked in the Marketing and Public Relations Office for the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center.
- Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center
Brian H. Waters
Brian H. Waters joined the Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications team in March 2016. He implements social media strategies and helps the team manage media requests and Johns Hopkins Medicine media-related events.
Before joining the marketing and communications team, Brian worked at ESPN as a production assistant, where he produced highlight films for various shows, including "SportsCenter," and served on the social media team.
Brian graduated in 2013 from Morgan State University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in broadcast and integrated media.
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.
St. Petersburg, Florida
VP Marketing & Communications
Sylvia Ameen is vice president, Marketing & Communications, for Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital. In this role, she is responsible for the oversight of all marketing and communications operations at the hospital, including internal hospital communications and external marketing strategy. She also serves as a member of the hospital's executive leadership team, working collaboratively with her colleagues on transforming the hospital into a leading academic and research institution focused solely on improving health outcomes for children.
Ameen joined the All Children's Hospital Foundation in 1989. She was responsible for a principal gift portfolio, board engagement and campaign management. She also directed the $75 million capital campaign for the construction of the new All Children's Hospital, which opened in January 2010.
Ameen holds a B.A. from Eckerd College and is a Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE). Throughout her career, she has been active in the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy, the St. Petersburg Suncoasters and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Tampa Bay. Most recently she joined the board of the St. Petersburg Downtown Partnership to focus on economic development for her favorite city.
Sandy Reckert-Reusing, M.A.
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications
Sandy Reckert-Reusing has been with Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center for 26 years in the Marketing & Communications department. For the past nine years, she has overseen and guided the communications efforts as department director. In her role, Sandy works closely with Johns Hopkins Bayview and Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) leadership, department administrators, and JHM’s senior director of strategic marketing and outreach to ensure that integrated and strategic marketing and communications programs are in place. She directs daily activities related to the Medical Center, including publications writing and design, internal communications, media relations, advertising, crisis communications, Web, physician liaison activities and service line marketing.
Sandy earned her Master of Arts in Writing and Graphic Design from the University of Baltimore in 1995. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with a minor in Public Relations in 1985.
Susan Brickley Case
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications
Susan Case directs the marketing, public relations and internal communications efforts for Howard County General Hospital and has been in the position since 2012. She previously worked for Johns Hopkins Medicine, marketing surgical services of The Johns Hopkins Hospital, including the Brady Urological Institute, Department of Surgery, Comprehensive Transplant Center and Department of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. She has more than 20 years of experience in healthcare-related marketing and non-profit communications.
Susan earned her Bachelor of Science in journalism-advertising and a minor in English from the University of Maryland at College Park. She is a member and board member of the Maryland Society of Health Care Strategy and Market Development. She grew up in Howard County.
Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, Maryland
Ronna Borenstein-Levy, M.S.
Senior Director, Marketing and Communications
Ronna Borenstein-Levy is senior director of marketing and communications for the Johns Hopkins Medicine Community Division in the National Capital Region. She previously served as senior director of marketing and public affairs for Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md., a member of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Prior to joining Suburban 17 years ago, she held numerous positions in hospital marketing departments in the Boston area and was marketing promotion manager for Hewlett-Packard Company’s Medical Products Group for 10 years. The recipient of numerous professional awards for writing, marketing, and public relations, Ronna has a B.A. degree in marketing communications from Simmons College in Boston and an M.S. degree in public affairs from Boston University.
She has served in leadership positions on the boards of many community and professional organizations and was president of the Capital Area Healthcare Communicators for two years.
Director, Public Relations
Gary M. Stephenson, former director of media relations for Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., has rejoined Johns Hopkins Medicine (JHM) as director of public relations for Sibley Memorial Hospital and Suburban Hospital, both members of JHM.
In this role, Stephenson will facilitate print, broadcast and online media coverage of Sibley and Suburban news and will help journalists tap the expertise of their respective scientific and medical experts as well as direct the other public relations activities of the two hospitals.
Before joining St. Jude, Stephenson was director of media relations and public affairs for Johns Hopkins Medicine in Baltimore, MD. At Hopkins, Stephenson was the chief spokesperson for the institution and responsible for strategic media relations planning and implementation, including corporate communications, executive leadership communications and crisis communications.
Prior to joining Hopkins in 1996, Stephenson was senior associate director of media relations and public affairs for the University of Maryland, College Park, the flagship university of the Maryland University System.