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Letters

No Need to Be ‘Fixed’

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[“Unlikely Lobbyists,” Spring/Summer 2015] was a great article on policy implementation. I just want to point out for your readers’ sake that despite what the article says, deafness/hearing loss is not a disease. It is a characteristic of an individual and cannot be acquired via transmission of any method. The norm in medicine has long been to “fix” and “treat” deafness. Many people don’t realize that the deaf community is considered a linguistic minority by the National Institutes of Health, and that many deaf individuals take pride in their culture and do not wish to be “fixed.”

As diverse as the medical profession is, medical providers should not actively seek to “fix” deaf patients, but rather focus on their overall health and well-being, and learn to embrace a unique linguistic community.

Kyle DeCarlo Gahagan

Deaf Student, Bloomberg School of Public Health

Master of Public Policy, 2017

Co-founder, Deaf Health Initiative

Don’t Squander the Opportunity

Upon reading “Embracing the Rainbow” in the Spring/Summer 2015 publication of Hopkins Medicine, I became quite disturbed by medicine’s current state of care for [LGBT] people. The health disparities with increased risk for substance abuse, mood disorders, STIs, obesity, cardiovascular disease and suicide discussed are not acceptable. I am hopeful for the new research Johns Hopkins will be pursuing with the EQUALITY Study.

 I suspect that the research into “in-depth interviewing” of LGBT patients has great potential for reducing these serious risks if the focus is on the whole patient, not only acceptable interview language. The health disparities appear to parallel the very same ones found in the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study at cdc.gov/violenceprevention/acestudy/about.html. I suspect that there may be a large undiagnosed proportion of LGBT patients who have suffered some form of trauma, abuse, neglect or dysfunction from their childhood from which they never healed.

 In my experience, many of my high-risk, depressed, addicted and even obese patients have suffered some form of trauma/neglect that initiated their decline in health. I hope the EQUALITY Study will include screening questions for these issues and prospectively integrate treatment plans for those patients who may have been suffering from PTSD, reactive depression, etc. If the focus is mainly on acceptable interview language, then I believe a great opportunity for improving LGBT patients’ care will be lost.

Daniel Meyring, P.A.-C.

Internal Medicine, Eastern Carolina Medical Center, Benson, North Carolina

More Gantt Treasures

After reading “The Genuine Pavlov” in Hopkins Medicine (Spring/Summer 2015), colleagues in the Medical Archives have asked that I inform your readers about the W. Horsley Gantt Collection because some of the “extraordinarily useful” notes by Horsley Gantt that Dan Todes cites in his interview with Neil Grauer may be found in this collection. (Visit medicalarchives.jhmi.edu/papers/gantt.html.)

 In the meantime, the Gantt Collection is about to expand with the addition of significant new materials donated by the Gantt family. These materials document the period that Gantt served as a health officer with the American Relief Association in Russia, his years of study and training with Pavlov, and development of the Pavlovian Laboratory at Johns Hopkins. Chris Ponticas, who serves as a volunteer in the Medical Archives, has steadily persevered to process this large cache of additional materials (57.6 cubic feet). Chris, the former director of medical staff services for The Johns Hopkins Hospital, has even had to resort to refreshing her shorthand skills so as to decode many of Gantt’s notes written in shorthand.

Several generous gifts of funding have enabled the Medical Archives to digitize more than 3,000 still photos and negatives from the Gantt Collection, which will soon be available in the catalog of the collection. Thanks to recent grants, the films in the collection have also been restored and digitized.

 We look forward to completion of the processing and cataloging projects within the next few months. The Gantt Collection, with the incorporation of new content and digitization of visual materials, will constitute a remarkably rich resource for research of Pavlovian principles and investigative practices. It will also be of great use in teaching students of many levels. The catalog and images will be accessible worldwide via the Medical Archives website: http://www.medicalarchives.jhmi.edu/.

Nancy McCall

Archivist

The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions

Remembering a Legend

“To say that Dick Ross is a tough act to follow would be an understatement. His legacy at the school of medicine is really felt today. His focus on excellence at all levels still drives this institution. Dick knew that our top-class faculty needed top-class facilities for their research. So the building that bears his name is a tremendous legacy to [him].”  
—Paul Rothman, dean of the school of medicine and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine

“He really put cardiology at Hopkins on the map. He reinvigorated it. He is a legend in cardiology—not just at Hopkins, but in the world.”
—William Baumgartner, senior vice president for the Office of Johns Hopkins Physicians

“I think I was the first basic science chair Dick Ross hired when he recruited me from Harvard to become head of what then was called the Department of Anatomy in 1977. Somehow he had faith that an untested 34-year-old could put together a new department of cell biology. Since we agreed that the term ‘anatomy’ was too narrow to encompass the interdisciplinary work we were doing on cells, we renamed it the Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy—and Dick Ross got to know personally each of the 15 faculty members I hired. Such a personal touch is unheard of today, so all of us became very attached to Dick and appreciated his support. Over the ensuing two decades, the department was a huge success, with four of us being elected to the National Academy of Science, one to the Royal Society of London and one receiving a Nobel Prize. We owed a tremendous debt to Dick Ross’ unwavering commitment to our work. He was a visionary—and a great friend.”
—Thomas Dean Pollard, Sterling Professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Yale

“In 1989, Dr. Ross initiated a study that resulted in women faculty receiving equitable salaries to those of men. There were approximately 30 women [full] professors in the entire history of the school of medicine at that point. And so we started the initiative—and now we have over 200 [women full professors]. We can thank Dick Ross for that too.”
—Catherine DeAngelis, University Distinguished Service Professor, Johns Hopkins

“He began single-handedly what was eventually named for him: the Richard Ross Clinical Investigator Award, which persists to this day. In economic terms, it supports the time that clinical investigators [need] to have in order to invest in real research and real progress.”
—Steven Achuff, former director of adult cardiology clinical programs at Johns Hopkins