As I write this, the tulips outside my window are in full bloom and millions of people across the country and around the world are getting vaccinated against COVID-19. There’s a palpable feeling of hope in the air — hope for a post-pandemic future that promises relief from our long months of isolation, sacrifice and grief. And this issue of CIM Breakthrough reflects that spirit of hope.
I’m pleased to share, for example, that several of our faculty members are engaged in improving the quality of life of our rapidly aging population. For example, neurologist Alex Pantelyat, the Alafouzos Family CIM Human Aging Project Scholar, is tapping into the healing power of music to help patients with Parkinson’s disease improve their gait and speaking capacity — work that has now continued with community-based music programs. Cultivating community support for older adults is crucial for good health, as gerontologist Thomas Cudjoe — the Caryl and George Bernstein CIM Human Aging Project Scholar — has found, through his research and his house calls to aged patients. You’ll want to read about his efforts to combat social isolation (p. 8). And looking longer term, I’m exceedingly optimistic about the potential to dramatically reduce the negative health impacts of aging, thanks to the promising bench science of Qinchuan Wang, the Karen and Ethan Leder CIM Human Aging Project Scholar, who is collaborating with Mark Anderson, director of Medicine (p. 13).
Another cause for optimism: This spring, we inducted a new crop of exemplary doctors into our Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence (p. 16). And I was delighted to welcome Suzanne Koven to the (virtual) podium on May 4 to deliver the 18th Annual Miller Lecture. Dr. Koven spent her formative training years here at Hopkins, and now is the first writer-in-residence at Harvard’s Massachusetts General Hospital. Her new book, Letter to a Young Female Physician, offers hard-earned wisdom and insights that, I am confident, will help galvanize today’s trainees to become tomorrow’s great doctors.
Of course, the scourge of COVID-19 is not behind us yet, as Emily Brigham and Ann Parker can attest. They are among the co-directors of the Johns Hopkins Post-Acute COVID-19 Team (p. 2), a group committed to finding answers and treatments for the millions of COVID-19 “long-haulers” who continue to cope with debilitating health effects. The energy and expertise they bring to this daunting task is nothing short of extraordinary.
I am awed by all of these achievements and am most grateful to you, our generous supporters, for making this hope possible.
Aliki Perroti Professor of Medicine;
Vice Dean, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center;
Chairman, Department of Medicine