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HeadLines - The Bar Has Been Raised

Summer 2010

The Bar Has Been Raised

Date: 06/14/2010


John K. Niparko
Keith Weller

Teamwork and commitment brought us through a challenging and seemingly endless winter. Now, we are about to experience another markedly changed environment as health care reforms begin to impact our systems.

It’s clear that the pie of American medicine will not get much bigger, even though it will need to feed up to a third more people. Providing coverage to meet those expanding needs will pose challenges. Expectations for access will continue to grow, and so too will expectations of outcome and performance.

Remaining dedicated to Johns Hopkins’ mission of patient care, teaching and research, while addressing expanding commitments, will call for new ways of doing things.

I have long been intrigued by the history of high jump in track and field. At the start of the 20th century, high jumpers cleared up to 6.5 feet using a scissor technique. Then came the Western Roll, raising the standard to 7 feet, followed by the straddle, which lifted the record to 7.5 feet. But it was in 1970 that Dick Fosbury revolutionized the sport by simply flinging his body backward over the bar. The “Fosbury Flop” raised the world record to where it stands today—over 8 feet.

At each stage in the development of high jump, innovation and creativity had a profound effect. Athletes could win through continuous improvement using existing technique. But it was only by changing the approach that the bar could be measurably raised.

In the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery, there will also be an ongoing need for a jump in our performance to address the tasks ahead. But this department remains at its core fundamentally optimistic. We relish the opportunity to find creative solutions through discovery and communication, consistent with our role as physicians, researchers and educators.

We can do this, pursuing an agenda that speaks to what is best about Johns Hopkins and the patients we are honored to serve.


John K. Niparko, M.D.
George T. Nager Professor and Interim Director
Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery

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