In his speech during the 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration, Rep. Elijah Cummings told Johns Hopkins audience members that in order to get off the “sidelines of life and into the game,” they must have a vision and dare to act on it.
He did just that.
“Elijah Cummings was a fierce and tireless advocate for the people of the city of Baltimore, the state of Maryland and our nation,” says Paul B. Rothman, dean of the medical faculty, vice president for medicine of The Johns Hopkins University and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.
“He was a man of integrity and vision, and a friend to Johns Hopkins. His passing is a great loss for all of us.”
Following the congressman's death early Thursday, other members of the Johns Hopkins community shared examples of his integrity and dedication to improving the health and lives of his fellow Baltimoreans.
Panagis Galiatsatos — Assistant Professor, Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine; Co-Director, Medicine for the Greater Good
“Elijah Cummings was a true force and visionary for Baltimore City. My own personal interaction with him came at a time when he lent his support behind our Medicine for the Greater Good (MGG) initiative. He recognized that this city needed all community members, side-by-side, to promote health and wellness. His belief in MGG has continued to fuel me and my colleagues to reaffirm medicine as a public trust every day.”
Redonda Miller — President, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
“I will miss him. Johns Hopkins will miss him. We were so fortunate to count ourselves among those he expertly and passionately represented for more than two decades.
I remember traveling with him to the White House two years ago to discuss concerns about rising drug prices and their impact on our patients. He was both heartfelt and logical as he presented his ideas to the president. I was in awe of his drive and commitment to spark change that could help remove some of the financial burden on not just his constituents but on all Americans.
He was an incredible man who understood that the best solutions to any problem must be viewed through a lens of humanity. In many ways, that was his superpower.”
John Colmers —Senior Vice President, Health Care Transformation and Strategic Planning for Johns Hopkins Medicine
“I had a lot of interactions over the years with Congressman Cummings, who was also my congressman.
My most memorable was in 2007 at the start of my tenure as state health secretary. In January, a 12-year old boy, Deamonte Driver, died of dental sepsis for want of access to a dentist on the Medicaid program. Following that tragedy, we worked very closely with Congressman Cummings to change the Medicaid program to improve dental care. He held hearings and sponsored legislation, always reminding us, ‘We’re better than this.’
In a statement Congressman Cummings made on the 4th anniversary of Deamonte’s death, he said: 'This young man could not control where he was born, and into what circumstances, nor could he control the fact that his mother could not find healthcare. It was for Deamonte, and families like his, that I insisted on legislation in the Affordable Care Act to improve pediatric dentistry for those in underserved communities.'"
Robert Higgins — Surgeon-in-Chief, The Johns Hopkins Hospital
“Rep. Cummings was a great and impactful role model, mentor and friend. He was always willing to look out for young people, no matter how busy he was. When my son was an intern in his Baltimore office last summer, Rep. Cummings was a welcoming and extraordinary mentor who was generous with his time. My son is a junior at the University of Michigan studying social determinants of justice and disparities. He could not have had a better experience, thanks to Rep. Cummings and his staff.”
Ronald R. Peterson — President Emeritus, Johns Hopkins Health System
“I had the good fortune to know Congressman Cummings for three decades. He had the capacity to be absolutely fearless in his advocacy for the issues in which he believed, but most of the time he exhibited a graciousness that I believe was a reflection of his humble origins.
He took a great deal of pride in representing some of the finest institutions in Maryland, but never failed to devote time and attention to his constituents in West Baltimore, where he continued to reside.
We witnessed his proudest moment in the spring of 2015, when he was a real physical presence and displayed extraordinary leadership during the unrest resulting from the untimely death of Freddie Gray. The congressman often reminded us of the responsibility we have to provide opportunity to youth.
As his health was failing, he continued to work tirelessly to seek truth and justice, which will certainly be an integral part of his extraordinary legacy."
Ronald J. Daniels — President, The Johns Hopkins University
“A proud son of this great city, Elijah Cummings held all of us — individually and collectively — to the highest of standards. He confronted us with our failings and demanded of us our potential.
With a sharp wit, kind heart and towering wisdom, Elijah Cummings has been a singular force for justice and a fierce advocate for those whose voices he knew must be heard in order for our country to deliver on its promise.”
Barbara Mikulski — Senator (retired); Professor of Public Policy and Adviser to the President, The Johns Hopkins University
“The Maryland congressional delegation calls itself Team MD — Congressman Cummings certainly was our MVP. From distinguishing himself in the halls of Congress to working the streets and neighborhoods of the 7th Congressional District, it was always about jobs and justice.
We worked on many things together, from President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act to empowerment legislation — he was always there when you needed him. He could investigate, he could legislate, and if necessary, he could agitate.
Congressman Cummings always had a place in his heart for young people. He was always telling us not to worry about the next election but the next generation.”