A Season for Optimism

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

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

Reading the headlines and listening to the news these days, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenges facing our society. In the health care arena alone, the issues are significant and daunting. Among them: a growing opioid epidemic, health disparities that unfairly impact our most disadvantaged citizens and a health care insurance system that seems designed to prioritize efficiency over patient-centered doctoring.

Take heart! I’m here to assure you that these issues are not intractable, and to let you know that there are countless people across Johns Hopkins who are zeroed in on finding solutions to these problems. That’s the heartening reality I was reminded of when I looked around the room at our annual CIM retreat in August. As you’ll read in “Making Space for Big Ideas,” p. 12, more than 70 people from different “silos” across Johns Hopkins gathered to dream big and develop concrete action plans for moving forward. The energy in the room that day was palpable, and I left Folly Farm more excited than ever about the transformative role the Center for Innovative Medicine is playing.

In this issue of Breakthrough, you’ll read some of those transformation stories. In our cover article, for example, you’ll find out how Dr. Mike Fingerhood is making a big dent in the nation’s opioid addiction crisis right here in the neighborhoods surrounding Johns Hopkins Bayview (p. 2). He and his colleagues have developed a comprehensive new model of care – one that is already saving lives by combining better addiction screening with improved treatment and follow-up.

If that’s not enough to make you feel more optimistic, then be sure to check out “Celebrating 10 Years of the Aliki Initiative” on p. 6. Made possible by a visionary gift from philanthropist Aliki Perroti, this initiative – dedicated to advancing “good doctoring” and patient-centered care – has made an enormous impact at Johns Hopkins over the last decade. And its reach doesn’t stop at our walls. I’m pleased to let you know that elements of the Aliki model are now being adopted by hospitals and programs across the country and around the world.

In other good news, we will also soon be exporting important lessons learned through the CIM’s Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence. As you may recall, this academy was created nine years ago as a “working academy” to recognize and promote those at Johns Hopkins who exemplify what it means to be a great doctor. The academy now includes 70 of the institution’s top physicians, who daily serve as role models to medical students and trainees. Soon we’ll share their expertise with medical professionals around the globe with the launch of a new website: CLOSLER (a portmanteau of “Closer” and “Osler”). I invite you to read more about what the site will offer in “Getting Closer to Osler” on p. 18. And to be sure to visit CLOSLER once it goes live in early 2018.

Feeling more upbeat about the future of health care? I hope so. As we approach the holiday season, please be assured that thanks to your unflagging support, the Center for Innovative Medicine will continue its mission of transformation in the months to come.


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