If We Won the Lottery

David B. Hellmann, M.D., M.A.C.P.

David B. Hellmann,
M.D., M.A.C.P.

What would you do if we won the lottery, and you got to pick how we spent the money? If you got to call the shots, how would you have us take ours?

This is the question I asked about 70 people at our CIM retreat in September. This was an audience well equipped to answer such a question – smart, creative physicians, nurses and scientists from all levels of Johns Hopkins, ranging in experience from hospital presidents to young house officers. We based the idea of “taking our shot” on the Broadway musical, Hamilton. What will our shot be? We got some great ideas (Page 20). Now we are working on making them happen.

Our mission begins and ends with people: helping our patients and neighbors, and helping our doctors provide world-class care for them. One important part of that is Precision Medicine. To anyone who has read Breakthrough or knows the CIM, this is not a new term; it has been one of our goals since the beginning. This is an idea that blends clinical excellence – diagnosing and treating the patient’s illness with discernment – and science that hasn’t been possible until recently (see Page 2). Basically, if you have 12 people in a waiting room, all with the same illness, precisely what are you dealing with? It’s not just one illness, in which cookie-cutter treatment works effectively for everyone. But it’s also not 12 individual illnesses requiring 12 different treatments. Instead, most likely, there are subgroups of people who have the same symptoms and perhaps the same things going on at the molecular level. This is how we need to be treating these people – based on their particular type of disease.

Because we believe in approaching our patients, and our practice of medicine, from many different angles, we are happy to share with you two stories involving art. Thinking like an artist (Page 14) may help doctors approach their patients’ illnesses in a different way, and art itself (Page 12) may give young doctors a new way to connect with their patients, to think about what it might be like for them, how their illness is affecting them.

Speaking of many different angles, that’s the key to our multidisciplinary research and treatment Cores. At the Amos Center for Food, Body & Mind, doctors and scientists are conducting research trying to figure out exactly why the Paleo diet helps; particularly, how it affects the microbiome in the gut (Page 6).

In other exciting news, our Miller-Coulson Academy is helping excellent clinicians achieve academic promotion (Page 10). We check in with one of our residents, Francoise Marvel, whose idea for an app to help heart attack patients recover caught the attention of Apple (Page 18). And finally, as committed as we are to thinking outside the box, sometimes we need to put the box away (Page 16), as one of our IAB members, Bo Shao, discussed with Nobel Laureate Adam Riess.

I hope you have a wonderful Holiday season.

Aliki Perroti Professor of Medicine;
Vice Dean, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center;
Chairman, Department of Medicine