Lois Eldred says her community service is inspired by the patients she sees as a physician assistant in The Johns Hopkins Hospital’s John G. Bartlett Specialty Practice. Most have HIV, live in Baltimore City, and are socially and economically disadvantaged.
“I watch how many of them overcome incredible odds to take care of themselves, take medication and remain substance abuse free,” says Eldred, who also works with the Center for AIDS Research. “It’s a huge challenge for them.”
Acknowledging that she has enjoyed “tremendous opportunity,” Eldred is always looking to help improve community members’ quality of life. On many Saturday mornings, she helps the Samaritan Community crisis center provide food to people and families in need. Earlier this year, she worked with two churches and a coalition to organize a city neighborhood cleanup and Take Back the Park Day after a series of violent events threatened a playground.
Since 2015, Eldred has chaired the Criminal Justice Committee at Memorial Episcopal Church in West Baltimore, advocating for issues such as bail reform, prison reform and support for returning citizens. She has testified for bail reform in front of the Maryland Court of Appeals and worked with Maryland Alliance for Justice Reform to advocate for state legislative reform.
“I see that the issue of bail and posting bond for bail disproportionately affects people of color and people who are poor. It’s very destabilizing for families and for communities when, for example, the breadwinner is unable to post bond and goes to jail,” Eldred says. “There are inherent injustices with that, and I can see what impact that has on people.”