School of Medicine
Meeting the Needs of Inner City Patients
The Johns Hopkins Internal Medicine-Pediatrics Urban Health Residency Program, which launched in 2010, prepares physicians to be primary care leaders who can address challenges facing the urban poor and underserved. Its sister program, the Osler Internal Medicine Urban Health Primary Care Track, started a year later.
Residents in the programs become experts in the medical, social and economic factors facing underprivileged patients that contribute to the health inequalities witnessed in Baltimore - challenges like lack of transportation to appointments and the inability to afford prescriptions for every family member. Unlike traditional residency programs, residents learn, from a primary care perspective, how to prevent and treat substance abuse, mental illness, urban violence and HIV/AIDS and even practice prison medicine.
The programs take a "place matters" approach to understanding medicine in the context of community factors like environment, homelessness, drug addiction, violence, poverty, racism, language and educational barriers. The ultimate goal is to train physicians to become better in the practice of primary care medicine, ensuring the likelihood of a more capable, connected and culturally appropriate patient-centered approach grounded in the community.
The residents in both programs are eligible for certification in adult medicine while the internal medicine-pediatrics residents are also specialists in pediatric medicine. The first class for both programs will graduate in 2014.
Read about the experience of Urban Health Resident Sara Mixter.
A Commitment to Giving Back
In December, Crystal Watkins, M.D./Ph.D. '03, hosted a two-part series on dealing with grief and keeping fit during the holidays for Urban Health Radio on Baltimore’s WOLB 1010 AM. Part of Hopkins Medicine’s diversity initiatives, the Urban Health Radio Program provides easy-to-understand, culturally relevant programs addressing health issues affecting Baltimore residents.
"Breaking It Down: Our Health, Our Way" is a live, 60-minute broadcast featuring Q-&-A with Johns Hopkins Medicine experts, a host and listeners who call into the show. Malcom Brock, Med '91, serves as the chief medical consultant for the radio program and is a thoracic surgeon at Johns Hopkins.
In addition to her work with Urban Health Radio, Dr. Watkins volunteers with the Adolescent Depression Awareness Program, a Hopkins school-based initiative to educate high school students, faculty and parents about depression. She is also involved in mentoring programs and has traveled to Guatemala and Ghana to volunteer in underserved areas.
Dr. Watkins, assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the School of Medicine, received her doctorate degree under the mentorship of Dr. Solomon Snyder in molecular and cellular neuroscience. Her thesis research led to a patented discovery for a treatment for nerve disorders affecting diabetic patients. She completed her residency in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the School of Medicine.
Tell us what you've been up! Email us at SOMalumninews@jhmi.edu.
Closing East Baltimore's Health Care Gap
Each Saturday, Hopkins medical and graduate students, residents and physicians join with others from across Baltimore to donate their time to staff the Charm City Clinic, a community-based health care access program. Charm City Clinic, a non-profit organization, was founded and is operated by students from various Baltimore universities in collaboration with community leaders and residents of East Baltimore.
“There is a large gap between the community and the front door of the hospital and we’ve decided to work on the side of the community to help bridge that gap,” says Hopkins medical student Ramy El-Diwany, who is a co-founder of the clinic.
In addition to addressing the immediate medical needs of the community, clinic volunteers look to establish relationships through preventive screenings for hypertension, diabetes, HIV and high cholesterol. The clinic emphasizes follow-up visits and runs a health care referral center to assist individuals in obtaining health insurance and to navigate a complex system of social services, including programs offering access to low-cost prescription medications.
Proceeds from this year's student-run Monte Carlo Night will benefit the Charm City Clinic.