More than 10,000 students a year will soon be able to learn what it’s like to be a patient, provider or executive at Johns Hopkins Medicine thanks to its new emergency room and pharmacy educational storefront at Junior Achievement of Central Maryland BizTown. About 60% of those students will come from Baltimore City Schools to BizTown, a program that combines in-class instruction with a daylong visit to a simulated town.
“As we watch thousands of children come through this space, the most important lesson we can teach them is how to make a difference in people’s lives through service and connecting the head and heart,” says Kevin W. Sowers, president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Hopefully this will begin to influence the next generation in making decisions about health care and other parts of their lives.”
On Oct. 11, Sowers and other Johns Hopkins Medicine leaders joined officials from Junior Achievement (JA) for a ribbon-cutting of the new space in the Lansdowne area, beginning a multiyear collaboration between the two institutions. The new BizTown, which moved from JA’s former Owings Mills location, will host its first student groups later this month.
“When students come in, they’re able to see a future for themselves in a way that maybe they haven’t seen before,” says Paul Kappel, CEO of Junior Achievement of Central Maryland. “We know the connection between physical wellness and financial wellness, and how often those go hand in hand. Partnerships like this can prepare our students to be more successful, financially and health-wise.”
At the Johns Hopkins storefront — which is outfitted with photos of exam rooms and Johns Hopkins facilities, an exam table, a real X-ray lightbox from Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and a pharmacy window — students will be assigned to one of several roles: CEO, CFO, triage nurse, physician, X-ray technologist and pharmacist. Students who “work” in other storefronts will go to the emergency room storefront for a checkup, will see all the providers and even receive a mock X-ray. The pharmacist will then fill their prescription — in amber medicine bottles filled with buttons — and give it to the students through a pharmacy window.
Sowers and Kappel were joined by Alicia Wilson, vice president of economic development at The Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Health System; Panagis Galiatsatos, assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; Jeanne Hitchcock, special adviser to the vice president for local government, community and corporate affairs at Johns Hopkins University and Medicine; Randy Komenski, administrator of the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center; Arnetta Shelton, senior manager for community initiatives and strategies at Johns Hopkins University and Medicine; Selwyn Ray, director of community relations at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center; Lori Kirkpatrick, graphic designer, Johns Hopkins Medicine Marketing and Communications, who designed the space; and Baltimore City Councilwoman Phylicia Porter of District 10.
“I remember Junior Achievement as a child, coming and learning about what it was like to work in a town and what it’s like to be a part of a community,” Wilson says. “But at that BizTown, we didn’t have the health center, which we know is a part of every thriving community.”
JA is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to teaching young people skills for economic and academic success and work readiness. Other JA program partners in the new center, which also includes a finance park for high school students, include: Aerotek, the Allstate Foundation, Baltimore County Public Library, Bank of America, Brown Advisory, the Chick-fil-A Foundation, First Financial Federal Credit Union, GEICO, HomeTown Lenders, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Maryland Association of Certified Public Accountants, the Maryland Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Maryland State Library, Merritt Properties, Northrop Grumman, Toyota Financial Services, Travelers, Wells Fargo and Whiting-Turner.
Councilwoman Porter calls the new space “an amazing opportunity.”
“This initiative is not only going to produce future leaders, it is also going to produce tens of thousands of the next generation of individuals who will proactively invest in Baltimore,” she says.