Helping Our City Heal

Published in Dome - July/August 2015

Baltimoreans have engaged in significant reflection following the tragic turmoil that erupted in April after the death of Freddie Gray from injuries sustained while in police custody. Clearly, much remains to be done to eliminate social inequities and injustice in our city and else­where, despite the genuine progress that has been made in recent decades.

While pondering how we can better address these crucial issues, it is helpful to remember some of the remarkably effective efforts we have already undertaken.

For example, in early spring, we took part in two distinctly different events that celebrated the impact of Johns Hopkins Medicine’s decadeslong commitment to improving the lives and opportunities of those who reside in the communities sur­rounding The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

On June 4, my colleagues and I were touched to be recog­nized by Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Chesapeake, which honored Johns Hopkins Medicine’s more than two de­cades of work to improve the career opportunities and health of youth in our community.

We have continuously expanded our outreach. We began in the mid-1980s with what became our year-round health career development and youth mentoring program, Bond-to-Bond. Designed to support high school students in the Johns Hopkins Hospital area by exposing them to a variety of careers in health care through internships within our hospital, school of medi­cine and the broader health care system, this program is still very much in demand.

Twenty-one years ago, we also began our Johns Hopkins Summer Jobs Program, which since then has provided health care work and mentoring experiences for more than 2,500 young people. We have extended our outreach through the Dunbar High School Health Partnership and our Adopt-A-Class program for fourth graders. We also have supported the Start on Success Program for students with disabilities, as well as the Baltimore Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America’s Scoutreach Program, which serves the most at-risk and disad­vantaged youth in underserved neighborhoods and communi­ties. And, as much as Johns Hopkins Medicine has done to help the youth of our community with these and other programs, we are making plans to do even more.

Community leaders have told us that summer activities and employment for Baltimore’s young people are the highest priority. As a result, we are expanding our current summer jobs program to provide employment opportunities for more city youth. In partnership with Baltimore City’s summer jobs program, YouthWorks, Johns Hopkins is committed to increas­ing our placements by 50 percent, providing 300 more young people with paid internships across our institutions. Johns Hopkins Medicine will work hard to meet that commitment.

As seen in the 2016 Biennial Report. Learn more.

On the night of May 26, a crowd packed Turner Auditorium for our Dancing with the Hopkins Stars benefit for United Way. By the end of the evening, more than $52,000 was raised to support United Way’s long-term strategies to create a region in which families have a place to call home, are financially stable, and have access to quality and affordable health care, and where students succeed in school.

Ten teams of top faculty, staff and students trained for weeks to perform a variety of dances, including the tango, the Hustle and hip-hop. It was a delight for me to emcee this event, which was an exceptional example of how deeply Johns Hop­kins Medicine cares about our community.

Like our programs dedicated to youth mentoring, Johns Hopkins Medicine’s strong support for United Way is just one more example of how we have demonstrated our enduring dedication to alleviating the challenges of poverty and develop­ing healthier communities in the neighborhoods we share.