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Archives - Welcome to Hopkins. Here's a crab mallet!

Fall 2011

Welcome to Hopkins. Here's a crab mallet!

Date: October 3, 2011

Woman holding a crab

If spousal support groups can be gauged by their ability to help newcomers learn the local mores, then Jennifer Brezina’s group has most definitely arrived. Brezina, president of the Johns Hopkins Medical Auxiliary, recently helped guide yet another gathering of new arrivals through the internecine ways of how to perform that most Baltimore of rituals—prising away the delicate meat from within the mysterious orifices of the Maryland blue crab.

“We always have tutorials,” she says. “I’m still learning how to do it.”

The JHMA was formed in 1999 to help the spouses of new medical students, residents, and fellows learn their way around their new city while their loved ones get swept into the demanding clutches of medical training.

Through an information-packed orientation guide, available on the group’s robust website (, the JHMA provides newcomers with tips on where to find safe and affordable housing, who to trust with car repair, when the running club meets, the latest news on the toddler co-op, and much more. Throughout the year there are also opportunities for community service.

 “The auxiliary keeps growing,” says Brezina. “We’re up to 100 people now. Some of the first-year spouses stay on just for the support and camaraderie.”  

Ramsey Flynn