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Annual Levi Watkins, Jr. M.D. Lectureship

Ivan Montoya portrait

The Annual Bayview Summer Scholars Levi Watkins Jr., M.D., Lectureship, held on July 14, looked a little different this year. Instead of gathering in a crowded auditorium, students, faculty and staff logged into Zoom for a virtual celebration – a first in the program’s 11-year history. This year’s keynote speaker, Ivan Montoya, M.D., deputy director, Division of Therapeutics and Medical Consequences, National Institute on Drug Abuse, presented “Navigating a Career in Addiction Medicine.” Dr. Montoya talked about his journey from Medellin, Colombia, an industrial city known for drug trafficking, to the U.S. as a Fulbright Scholar at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. He has dedicated the past 30 years of his career to researching and developing medications and therapies to treat substance use disorder.

Students who attended the conference were entered into a raffle to win an iPad. Congratulations to Cecily McIntyre and Sruthi Selvakumar. McIntyre is a student at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and is participating in the MSTAR program. Selvakumar is a student at Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Allopathic Medicine, Nova Southeastern University. She is participating in the MSTAR program, as well as doing independent research within the Department of Hematology.

In 2016, this celebration was renamed in honor of the late Levi Watkins, Jr., M.D., a pioneer in both cardiac surgery and civil rights. Dr. Watkins’ niece, Crystal C. Watkins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Memory Clinic in the Neuropsychiatry Program at Sheppard Pratt, and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, inspired students with the inaugural keynote address.

Levi Watkins, M.D.

Dr. Levi Watkins is a fitting namesake for the Summer Scholars Lectureship. After joining the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1971, Dr. Watkins charted a career of historic firsts. In 1980, he performed the world’s first implantation of an automatic heart defibrillator in a human. In cardiac surgery, he became the first black chief resident at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and later the first African-American full professor. He was a tireless advocate for fairness and diversity, spearheading a drive to recruit minorities to Hopkins and establishing the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration.

Previous Keynote speakers have included:

  • Marie Bernard, M.D., National Institute on Aging
  • Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, Ph.D., University of Maryland-Baltimore County
  • Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa, M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Jean Lud Cadet, M.D., National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • Levi Watkins, Jr., M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Lisa D. Cooper, M.D., MPH, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Crystal C. Watkins, M.D., Ph.D., Sheppard Pratt Health System
  • Robert S.D. Higgins, M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Nadia Hansel, M.D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
  • Michele Evans, M.D., National Institute on Aging
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