From the Dean: The Wider View

We’ve followed the call to improve health around the globe.

A flattened out world map. On the left side is the Billings Building. Running through the map is a heart EKG. On various countries are JHM logos.

Illustration by Chiara Vercesi

Ever since Mr. Hopkins founded a hospital to serve the people of Baltimore, we’ve been proud to call this city our home. Yet our mission has always compelled us to “improve the health of the community and the world.” The founding dean of the school of medicine, William Henry Welch, pursued this mandate in countries as far away as China. Today, we follow in his footsteps with partnerships, intensive research and first-class training that bring the best of Baltimore to the world — and the best of the world to Baltimore.

Every day, people around the globe face challenges to their lives and livelihoods. Whether I’ve met them in houses or hospitals, I’ve walked away inspired by their confidence that tomorrow will be better. Fortunately, I’ve also met countless people who seek solutions to those same challenges. That desire to help — to jump in however, and wherever, we can — is the calling of medicine. As a school, we hear it too.

And we’ve followed that call around the globe. We’ve created long-standing partnerships, like in Greece, where we’ve worked with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and local medical facilities to install best-in-class radiotherapy equipment. We’ve also guided dozens of countries, communities and health systems through the process of achieving Joint Commission International accreditation — a time-intensive and complex process that opens the door to serving more patients and reducing risk. Initiatives like these go a long way toward fulfilling one of our cardinal commitments: to make sure every person, in every place, can access equitable, safe and robust care.

To that end, our approach abroad mirrors our approach back home. It’s collaborative, patient-focused and driven by hands-on work. It’s also deeply rooted in the community. Our partners are integral to creating and developing the specific, localized processes needed to expand medical access from the ground up. While Johns Hopkins can offer the resources and reach of a global institution, our local partners are the ones who know what their communities need and how we can best serve them.

It has been gratifying to watch how these partnerships affect communities and, most importantly, individuals’ lives. For example, in Panama City, we’ve worked with local clinicians over the past two decades to transform Pacífica Salud’s Hospital Punta Pacífica (HPP). Through our institutional expertise and the hospital’s vision and commitment, HPP has become a top care destination: It has the first private Panamanian pediatric emergency department as well as the first Joint Commission-certified Primary Stroke Center in Central America. These specializations have elevated care for patients in need across the region.

The impact of our work stretches to population health too. In Vietnam, for instance, hepatitis B is a major public health threat. Commonly transferred from parent to child, the disease infects between 10% and 40% of the population. Johns Hopkins physicians helped create a Center of Excellence for Liver Disease to focus on diagnosing and treating hepatitis B. Our team there has already screened more than 20,000 people — meaningful progress to ensure patients can manage the disease and prevent transmission to newborn infants.

“Our approach abroad mirrors our approach back home. It’s collaborative, patient-focused and driven by hands-on work. It’s also deeply rooted in the community.”

Through partnerships like these, we’ve seen tremendous patient outcomes worldwide. This effective and equitable care is the future of medicine all of us at the school of medicine aim to help create. That future will not be determined by one country, one institution or one physician. Rather, it will rise from collaboration. Because medicine — its research, findings and impact — is strongest when shared. The many international initiatives we continue to support make me proud of all we’ve accomplished — and hopeful for everything we will achieve.