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Inaugural Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award Winner Announced - 10/03/2011

Inaugural Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award Winner Announced

Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute Awards $15,000 to Newborn Holistic Ministries
Release Date: October 3, 2011
Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award
From left to right: President and founder of Newborn Holistic Ministries, Todd Marcus and Elder Harris, were presented with the inaugural Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award by Robert Blum, director of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute.
The Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute announced on Saturday that Newborn Holistic Ministries is the winner of the inaugural Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award. Named in honor of Henrietta Lacks, the award recognizes and supports Baltimore community organizations that are collaborating with The Johns Hopkins University to improve the health and well-being of the city of Baltimore.

The award was presented on October 1, 2011, at the second Henrietta Lacks Memorial Lecture at the university.

Newborn Holistic Ministries is one of nearly two dozen established community-university collaborations from across the city nominated for the inaugural award of $15,000. The organization was selected by a panel of leadership from community and city organizations and Johns Hopkins as a model collaboration for creating and sustaining healthier communities.

“Newborn Holistic Ministries represents the best of what community-initiated programs in partnership with Johns Hopkins and other institutions can accomplish,” says Dr. Robert Blum, director of the Urban Health Institute. “It is about the rebirth of a neighborhood and the rejuvenation of community residents at the same time.”

Newborn Holistic Ministries was founded in 1996 to preserve and enrich life in Baltimore’s Sandtown-Winchester and Upton communities by providing services to enable residents to meet their material, social and spiritual needs. Newborn has significantly revitalized the 1900 and 2000 blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue while also running Martha’s Place, a program for women overcoming drug addiction and homelessness, and Jubilee Arts, a program that offers arts classes and cultural opportunities as alternatives to violence and drugs. Johns Hopkins collaborates with Newborn through student internships and by providing resident physicians who serve clients of Martha’s Place.

Two finalists were also recognized at the event, the Incentive Mentoring Program and Catholic Charities’ Esperanza Center Health Services Program.

Henrietta Lacks was an East Baltimore resident and cervical cancer patient in the early 1950s at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, where cells taken from her tumor became the first “immortal” human cells grown in culture and led to breakthroughs in cell research related to cancer, AIDS, the effects of radiation and more. The Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award honors Mrs. Lacks and her family and is intended to be an enduring reminder of her contribution to medical science and to her community.

A video of the winning organization is available at

This mission of the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute is to serve as a catalyst that brings together the resources of Johns Hopkins Institutions with the city of Baltimore, and especially East Baltimore, to improve the community’s health and well-being.

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