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Medical and Nursing Students Challenge Medical Professionals to be Better Role Models for Patients

In an era of soft drink bans and restrictions on junk food ads, students at the Schools of Medicine and Nursing are taking a different approach to aid the more than 170 million Americans who are overweight or obese. In June, students launched The Patient Promise, a grassroots initiative asking healthcare providers to publicly commit to practicing the basic tenets of healthy living - regular exercise, eating a balanced diet and managing stress - to model healthy behaviors for their patients.

"The Patient Promise transcends the coach-pupil relationship in which a clinician is merely telling a patient how to live his or her life," explains David Gatz, a medical student who helped found The Patient Promise with fellow medical student, Shiv Gaglani.

Another medical student and single mother, Veronica Hocker was an early signer of the promise. She says it has challenged her to live healthier. Hocker, who began the academic year with a body mass index that placed her in the obese category, committed to making lifestyle changes after taking a course on obesity - the same class that inspired Gaglani and Gatz. Motivated to set an example for her son and build confidence in prescribing a healthy lifestyle for future patients, Hocker began watching her diet and incorporating exercise into her schedule. She lost nearly 30 pounds in less than five months.

While the students only recently launched a formal effort to encourage healthcare providers across the country to sign on to The Patient Promise, more than 400 individuals representing 40 different institutions have already accepted and signed the pledge. They hope to get at least 1,000 students and clinicians to commit to the promise by the end of the year.

To learn more or sign the promise, The Patient Promise website.

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SOM Student Receives a Gates Cambridge Scholarship

Ian Hsu, a third-year medical student, is one of just 40 American recipients of a Gates Cambridge Scholarship, which will enable him to study for a master’s degree in social anthropology at the University of Cambridge in Great Britain. The scholarship program, begun in 2001, is funded by a $120 million gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Hsu is the fifth student from Johns Hopkins to be awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship since the program’s inception.

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Students Come Together to Help Meet a Community Need

For several years now, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine chapter of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA) has developed and run Community Adolescent Sexuality Education (CASE), a program targeted toward eighth grade students that covers topics ranging from decision-making, goal setting, sexually transmitted infections, nutrition and anatomy.

Currently, Baltimore City Public Schools lack the funding to teach comprehensive sexual education before high school, leading to the inspiration behind CASE.

According to medical student Martha Brucato '14, many local leaders and school principals have welcomed CASE in their classrooms. Some of the proudest moments for volunteer teachers have been when students open up about their questions and uncertainties, says Brucato, immediate past SNMA chapter president and CASE co-coordinator.

The CASE curriculum is set up to run for eight, one-hour sessions. Brucato, along with fellow co-coordinators Jesse Yang '13 and Jaleesa Jackson '15, recruits volunteer teachers from the Schools of Medicine, Nursing and Public Health.

"We have so much depth and breadth of knowledge amongst teachers," said Brucato. It is challenging to find the time to recruit volunteers and teach, but in the end, it is "very, very worth it" she says.

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Inspiring Young Researchers

April 13 marked the 35th annual Young Investigators' Day, when School of Medicine trainee researchers are recognized for their accomplishments in the lab. This year's event recognized 13 graduate students and three postdoctoral fellows with awards.

"Students and postdoctoral fellows are the major work force of biomedical research at Johns Hopkins, yet we don't have the luxury of fast, immediate gratification because most experiments are trial and error," says Lishi Li, who is finishing up her doctorate in Neuroscience. "The Young Investigators' Day is a good recognition of our efforts and great encouragement for us to continue with the hard work."

Read more in the JHU Gazette.

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AMA Foundation Honors Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Student Atul Nakhasi with Leadership Award

Atul Nakhasi has been named a recipient of the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation’s 2012 Leadership Award. This award provides medical students, residents/fellows and early career physicians from around the country with special training to develop their skills as future leaders in organized medicine and community affairs.

The AMA Foundation honored 30 individuals with Leadership Awards at its annual Excellence in Medicine Awards ceremony, which was presented in association with Pfizer Inc on February 13, 2012, in Washington D.C. Recipients of the award are recognized for demonstrating outstanding non-clinical leadership skills in advocacy, community service and education.

AMA Foundation President Dr. Owen Garrick presided over the awards ceremony and praised the Leadership Award recipients, stating, “These dedicated medical students, residents and physicians are deeply committed to transforming their communities and improving the health of their neighbors. Our hope is that celebrating the efforts of these medical leaders will inspire us all to give back to our communities, as they have done.”

Atul Nakhasi hails from Iowa and is currently a student at Johns Hopkins University. During his undergraduate years at the University of Iowa, Nakhasi was involved in the 2008 U.S. presidential race and was recognized by the Wall Street Journal, ABC World News, Good Morning America, NPR and XM radio for his contributions to rallying students across the state of Iowa. After graduating in 2009 with his Bachelor’s Degree in Neuroscience, he went to Washington, D.C. to analyze the impact of the health reform legislation on the U.S. health care system with the Alliance for Health Reform. Thereafter, he came to Johns Hopkins University as a medical student in 2010, and has taken on several leadership roles including co-founder of an innovative health start-up recognized by Former President Bill Clinton, and as Vice Chair for Region VI of the AMA Medical Student Section. Ultimately, Mr. Nakhasi hopes to advocate for an equitable, accessible health care system for all citizens.

View the list of 2012 Leadership Award recipients.

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