CIM in the News

Keep up to date with everything happening at CIM!


October 2019

Comprehensive Care Practice Celebrates Silver Anniversary

In 2011, Congress designated October as the first National Substance Abuse Prevention Month (NASPM).  For the past eight years, NASPM has given the nation a platform to openly discuss and distribute educational materials pertaining to preventing and combating addiction.  At Johns Hopkins Bayview, the Comprehensive Care Practice (CCP) team has been in the trenches doing this work every day for a quarter of a century.

Under the leadership of CIM Member Dr. Michael Fingerhood, the CCP was founded in 1994 on four core values:

  • Offer respect and hope
  • Maximize comfort and minimize stigma
  • Encourage patients to never lose dignity to diagnosis
  • Make tomorrow better than today

The CCP is an interdisciplinary and patient-centered primary care team.  The team includes experts in caring for patients with HIV, Hepatitis-C, and substance use disorders.  They emphasize building trust with each patient; Dr. Fingerhood’s philosophy is that the CCP must try hard to reach every patient with a workable treatment plan that provides hope and health, and he leads by example as he teaches the next generation of physicians to become clinically excellent.  

With a joint appointment within the Division of Addiction Medicine within the Department of Medicine at Bayview as well as in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Dr. Fingerhood knows clinical excellence well, and he is a significant thought leader on treating those struggling with substances with both compassion and good medicine.  He was an inaugural member of the Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence and an early blogger for the Academy.  He has devoted his life to a love of primary care and to being a passionate advocate for patients with substance use disorders. 

The CCP hosted a gathering to celebrate its silver anniversary on November 1. Here is a video with images from the celebration:

And to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the CCP’s great work, they will publish a special book, Celebrating 25 Years of Hope, Recovery and Success, that captures images and quotes from key players, including many patient testimonials.  Here are a few moving quotes from it.

“CCP is at the heart of true community engagement because it reaches into the depths of community trauma and despair and touches people at the point without blame, shame, anger or despair.  CCP reaches into the collective community heart, removes the stigma of substance use disorder and helps to transform one individual at a time.”  –Selwyn Ray, director of community relations, Johns Hopkins Health System

 “Dr. Fingerhood saved my life, and he taught me that everybody, no matter who they are, what color they are, how much money they have, has the right not just to health care, but to quality health care.  And that’s what I try to pass on to my clients.”  –Monaye Gethers, substance use counselor and lifelong Baltimore resident

The CCP certainly does put the Care in the CCP.  The CIM extends heart-felt appreciation for the life-changing medicine and care the CCP has given for a quarter of a century, and we extend our congratulations upon this special silver anniversary of your accomplishments!  Keep up the great work!

CIM International Advisory Board Update

On Monday, October 14th, the Center for Innovative Medicine’s International Advisory Board (IAB) met at Johns Hopkins Bayview to have a critical and insightful conversation about the center’s role, influence, and efficacy as we move forward with bold and courageous plans for the future.

IAB members are important to guiding and supporting CIM’s programs and initiatives. With abundant examples, the attendees heard about: the lasting change CIM has had on Hopkins’ culture and policies; the impact of CIM scholars—and the dramatic expansion in the number of scholars during the past 18 months; and the growing movement to launch at Johns Hopkins the human Aging Project, which aims to maximize the years of robust health and to minimize the impact of frailty on individuals, families and society. Throughout the day, IAB members heard from Johns Hopkins all-stars, many of the aforementioned are CIM Scholars or Endowed Professors.

We are grateful to them all for taking the time to speak about their research, programs and clinical excellence during the IAB meeting. We owe a debt of thanks to our IAB members and hope you enjoy this video that we created with our great appreciation!

September 2019

Annual CIM Retreat: Delivering the Promise of Medicine–A Long & Healthy Life

On August 29, 2019, the CIM held its annual summer retreat at Folly Farm, the home of CIM International Advisory Board Chair  Stephanie Cooper Greenberg.  Committed to making medicine a better public trust, and building upon the results of last year’s small group breakout sessions, this year’s entire retreat had laser-like focus on tapping into the broad talent at Hopkins to envision and design the world’s finest institute dedicated to providing a long and healthy life—for everyone.  The Greenbergs were fabulous hosts, the participants were brilliantly engaged, and the synergistic energy yielded promising results—we are moving together in the right direction.

From the outset of the meeting, CIM Director Dr. David Hellmann underscored Hopkins’ triple stranded DNA–caring, science, and justice—as we design and build an Institute for a Long & Healthy Life at Johns Hopkins.  This Institute will be able to address one of the most significant medical challenges in our society—an aging population. Given that the health consequences of aging will dominate every developed country for decades to come, we can think of nothing more important or purposeful than fortifying the future with innovation and the concept of Medicine as a Public Trust. 

Throughout the day, Dr. Nadia Hansel was a remarkable retreat leader who kept us focused and guided the day.  Geriatrician Dr. Jeremy Walston described what a robust, transformative, and trans-disciplinary institute could look like.  Many other physicians, nurses, educators, Hospital presidents and other bright minds came together to contribute how this institute could strengthen Hopkins’ vast potential to grow and build upon it’s already successful, world-class medical disciplines.

At the end of the day, it was a memorable event that harnessed the creative thinking of all the geniuses in the room. There is great synergy to establish an Institute on a Long & Healthy Life at Johns Hopkins. Many thanks to our hosts at Folly Farm for a renewing and invigorating retreat.  And many thanks to all the participants who contributed great ideas and helped build momentum and synergy.  On behalf of all of us at CIM, we are excited about where this may lead!

Please enjoy the following images and summary comments chronicling the productive day.

Olive the Dalmatian and Stephanie Cooper Greenberg, CIM IAB Chair and retreat host, greet participants Susan Magsamen, Dr. Rick Huganir, and Dr. Jimmy Potash upon arrival.

Drs. Jeanne Clark, Michelle Sharp, Sherita Golden, and Patricia Davidson gather inside and reconnect before the meeting convenes.

Everyone enjoyed Folly Farm’s gracious hospitality and lovely setting for lunch outside on a gorgeous day.

Leaders from across the university synergistically participated in the retreat, generating brilliant ideas.

From left to right: Dr. David Hellmann; Stephanie Cooper Greenberg; Dr. Nadia Hansel; Erwin Greenberg; and Dr. Jeremy Walston.

August 2019

MGG Symposium: Art & Medicine—Partners for Healthier Communities

Mark your calendars now and be sure not to miss MGG’s Symposium on November 5, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Bayview.

This year’s MGG Annual Symposium presents “Art & Medicine: Partners for Healthier Communities.”  The keynote speaker will be two-time Emmy, Peabody, and Dupont award-winner Marilyn Ness.  The most recent film she directed, Charm City, premiered at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival, was shortlisted for the 2019 Academy Awards, and launched a robust and data-driven pilot impact campaign in Baltimore.

Symposia panelists will also include important thought leaders on the matter of medicine and the humanities—many of whom have strong CIM ties.  Here is a small sample of confirmed panelists at this time:

  • Susan Magsamen, PhD, is a leader in behavioral translational health and learning through the arts with more than 35 years of experience bringing academic research to practice to maximize learning, health, and wellness through scalable initiatives. She has created social impact programs and products for the private and public sectors from early childhood to aging adults. Susan is an active member of the brain sciences research, arts, education, and social impact communities. In addition to her role at the IAM Lab, Susan is a senior advisor to the Science of Learning Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
  • Meg Chisolm, MD, has more than three decades of clinical experience in general psychiatry and addiction medicine, and has authored over 100 publications, including two books. She is currently Professor and Vice Chair for Education for the Johns Hopkins Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, where her educational research is focused on the use of the arts and humanities in medical education to explore what it means to be human, to be a physician, and to lead a good life (for doctors and patients).
  • Erica Wright, MD, is an associate professor of medicine and public health at the Johns Hopkins University. Additionally, she serves as a member of the Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence and Chief of the chemical dependence division. She was recently awarded the Baltimore City Health Department Equity Leadership Award (2017).

Dr. Galiatsatos believes “Community engagement is essential for population health strategies to succeed and impact public health.  Creative and novel strategies are warranted to achieve the meaningful engagement in the community. Art often times results in humanity displaying its best, reaffirming its identity, and establishing roots for a bright future.”

Details: Tuesday, November 5, 2019, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Grossi Auditorium, Asthma & Allergy Building, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Campus, 5200 Eastern Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland.

More Info:  Contact Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, E-mail mgg@jhmi.edu or call Tel. 443-303-4866.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Innovative Medicine.

July 2019

Summer Spotlight on Axel the MGG Intern

This Summer, CIM and Medicine for the Greater Good (MGG) have been working closely together to support an academic internship with Axel Perez from Berea College in Kentucky.  Axel will earn a Bachelor’s in Chemistry with a concentration in Biochemistry and a minor in Biology this December.  He intends to go into Osteopathic Medicine, and desires to become actively engaged in the community, which will likely be in a rural area. Consequently, he was inspired to intern with Dr. Panagis Galiatsatos, who takes a great interest in treating each patient as a whole person, and who leads MGG—which is all about community partnerships to address disparities in local health.  Axel worked from the CIM office when he wasn’t in the clinic shadowing Panagis or taking advantage of Bayview’s rich programing, such as Grand Rounds, Coloring Towards Mindfulness, and Out of the Lab.

Here’s what Dr. Galiatsatos had to say about Axel:   

Our last summer intern, Axel, was drawn to our group for many reasons.  One that stood out is his humble beginnings as an immigrant himself, with a strong appreciation for complementing science and medicine with community and compassion.  His own personal narrative is clearly a guiding light for him as he weaved into his own professional fabric the essence that defines MGG. 

Axel was amazing and at this stage of his career, he already exhibits traits that will make a great physician.  Axel took on all tasks presented to him and assisted in strengthening much of MGG’s core objectives: community engagement, equitable healthcare, and social justice.  Specifically, his work towards advancing a conversation on family history in susceptible populations has now helped launch “Genetics for the Greater Good,” coming to local schools this Fall and Winter 2019/2020.

Panagis is a superb mentor.  He is excited about having an individual intern work MGG because he knows it can be a powerful experience, one that he hopes impacts an intern’s professional identity “in a manner whereby they desire to weave community engagement into the fabric of medicine.”  

Axel was an excellent intern.  Axel brought with him a wealth of science-based information from his work in the chemistry lab at Berea; combined with his quick recall about biological chemical processes, this experience gave him facility at understanding how diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, progress; at an “Out of the Lab” with Dr. Frank Lin where he discussed his insightful research on this topic, Axel was able to keep pace with the presentation and talk about it on his way back to our office with confidence and ease in layman’s terms.  Also, Axel attended a conference on precision medicine, about which he gave a presentation to the Bayview Advisory Board. Below is an excerpt from Axel’s reflection for Berea College about his internship experience with MGG:

Often times after visiting a physician people are left with many unanswered questions, feeling like a burden when asking questions or voicing concerns, and at times being dismissed and put aside by those who we are seeking care from.  Events like these are the ones that often times lead to resentment and distrust of members in the medical field, they are also the ones that motivated me to begin my path in medicine.

During my senior year, I was able to join MGG for the summer of 2019, and I was exposed to a completely different culture of medical practice. While working with Medicine for the Greater Good, I was able to change my previous notions and definition of a physician, as a practitioner of medicine, to an understanding and a more refined and personal definition of physician as not only a practitioner of medicine but an advocate for their community’s health culture, who not only prescribes but provides resources and becomes a bridge between healthcare and community members and understands that a patient’s health issues do not disappear when they walk out of the hospital doors and neither do a physician’s duties to their community.

While in Baltimore, I realized that a physician, as well as a community advocate, must in a way be tailored for their community. I quickly realized the importance of having community organizations and physicians who understand and empathize with the community who truly want to help the community and who are consistent in their efforts. 

During my internship, I was able to attend and participate in meetings that exposed me to some of the community health issues Baltimore City and see how they impact and amplify socioeconomic and health disparities. These meetings were powerful as they often times revealed the limitations that community organizations and the medical field have all while finding a way to circumvent and, through partnership, overcome these limitations to ultimately elucidate the issues at hand and to strategize a plan to attenuate them.

Axel worked so hard at his internship that we at CIM gave him his favorite car as a parting gift—a Hot Wheels model Tesla!  Panagis gave him a copy of his book, Building Healthy Communities through Medical-Religious Partnerships, which will undoubtedly be more useful to Axel than the Hot Wheels Tesla. All in all, anyone who encountered Axel here this summer knows that the road ahead of him is paved with success.  We hope he’ll be driving a Tesla around Baltimore one day.

June 2019

The Center for Innovative Medicine:  Pursuing Medicine as a Public Trust”

From the left: Dr. Roy Ziegelstein; Dr. David Hellmann; and Mrs. Stephanie Cooper Greenberg during the Department of Medicine’s Medical Grand Rounds at the Johns Hopkins Hospital on May 31, 2019

first weekend in June was Reunion Weekend at Johns Hopkins University, and many School of Medicine alumni were in town on May 31st to attend Medical Grand Rounds at Johns Hopkins Hospital. On that day, the Dean and other high-profile Hopkins leaders packed into Hurd Hall to see Dr. David Hellmann’s presentation on the evolution of CIM entitled, “The Center for Innovative Medicine: Pursuing Medicine as a Public Trust.” On the topic of CIM’s mission, Dr. Hellmann referenced the influence of Kenneth M. Ludmerer’s  1999 Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, Time to Heal: American Medical Education from the Turn of the Century to the Era of Managed Care, which analyzed Johns Hopkins’ historic success, and which led Dr. Hellmann to shape a vision for CIM based on “Hopkins’ triple strand DNA” of caring, science, and justice related to health.

To comment on aspects of CIM’s role as an influential incubator and innovative think tank, Dr. Hellmann invited two guest speakers: acclaimed cardiologist and award-winning teacher, Dr. Roy Ziegelstein, Vice Dean for Education; and Mrs. Stephanie Cooper Greenberg, philanthropist and Chair of the Center for Innovative Medicine’s International Advisory Board. Dr. Ziegelstein described his involvement with CIM to develop a curriculum for the Aliki Initiative, an element of Johns Hopkins Bayview’s Internal Medicine Residency Program which focuses house officers, medical students and faculty to apply the science of medicine to each person. Also, Dr. Ziegelstein credits Dr. Hellmann for finding philanthropy from the Miller and Coulson families to specifically support the clinical care of patients, thus resulting in the establishment of the Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence, directed by Dr. Scott Wright.   The final guest speaker, Mrs. Stephanie Cooper Greenberg, focused her talk on two outstanding examples of ways philanthropists can make relatively small, affordable gifts to make big changes in medicine: CIM Scholars; and Medicine for the Greater Good. CIM Scholarships allow a philanthropist to fund a great idea and partner with physicians at the zenith of problem solving and discovery. Since the initiative began, there have been nearly forty CIM Scholars, and there have been nine new CIM Scholars in the last year alone. Also, Stephanie described how funding efforts through Medicine for the Greater Good appeal to philanthropists because it is a way of impacting the magnitude of vicissitudes in Baltimore through specific, targeted good works.

To watch the a video of the Ground Rounds talk, click here.  

New Clinical Excellence Promotion Track 

In May, the Advisory Board of the Medical Faculty (ABMF) approved an epochal change in the promotion process to include a separate promotional track to recognize and reward clinical excellence that is effective this summer!

Dr. Cindy Rand along with Drs. Scott Wright, David Eisele, and Janice Clements authored and championed the clinical excellence promotions track documents. Before the ABMF voted, Cindy noted how the work of the Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence, directed by Dr. Scott Wright, paved the way for the creation of the clinical track.  Drs. Colleen Christmas, Chris Durso, Steve Kravet, and Scott Wright created the Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence in 2006.

Having a clinical excellence pathway is a very big deal for Johns Hopkins, its patients, faculty, and students.  Clinical excellence is as important as research and education in making Medicine the best Public Trust.  You can read more about it here.

May 2019

16th Annual Miller Lecture

This year, Debra Ness, MS, President of the National Partnership for Women & Families presented “Changing the Culture of Health Care – Can We Do It?” for the 16th Annual Miller Lecture at Johns Hopkins Bayview on May 7, 2019.

For nearly 50 years, the National Partnership for Women and Families has advocated to make a better life for women and families by seeking local and national policy changes for equality, justice, economic security including fair pay as well as health care and reproductive rights. Founded in 1971 as the Women’s Legal Defense Fund, the National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization based in Washington, D.C., and Debra Ness has diligently moved forward to champion significant policy changes, such as the Family Medical Leave Act, among other things. She believes that achieving equity for all women is key to strong families, healthy communities, and a strong country.

Using data and anecdotal evidence of historical biases in access to quality patient- and family-centered health care, Debra Ness discussed opportunities clinicians may have to affect a culture change in whole-person care, coordination and communication, patient and family support, and timely access as well as meaningful care information. The bottom line to making institutional and industry change happen is that it must start as a result of individual providers committed to making an intentional effort to do it in their practice. You can learn more about Debra Ness’ call to change the culture of healthcare by watching a a recording of the lecture here.

Debra Ness’ presentation at the Miller Lecture was a meaningful contribution to what has become a wonderful tradition. The Miller Lecture was established in appreciation of the Anne G. and G. Thomas Miller family, whose deep and extensive support of Johns Hopkins Medicine has had a significant impact. We were honored to have in the audience Anne G. Miller and her daughter Sarah Miller Coulson. Their generosity, along with Leslie Miller and her husband Richard Worley, helped us establish the Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence as well as many other exceptional initiatives, including clinical coaching programs and endowed professorships. We are deeply grateful to the Miller family for their support of Hopkins and CIM.

April 2019

The 2019 Miller Coulson Academy Clinical Excellence Induction Ceremony  

The Johns Hopkins Center for Innovative Medicine (CIM) was proud to present the 11th Annual Miller Coulson Academy Excellence in Patient Care Symposium on Monday, April 15, 2019. Approximately 200 people gathered at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Chevy Chase Bank Auditorium for the Symposium and Miller Coulson Academy of Clinical Excellence (MCACE) induction ceremony.

The Academy received 225 nominations for 67 truly exemplary clinicians, about half of whom submitted extensive portfolios, inclusive of patient testimonials. Of these, only ten clinicians were inducted into the 2019 class, each of whom shared deeply insightful, deeply touching reflections on what shaped their practice and what clinical excellence means to them. And patient testimonials drove home how effectively these physicians practice medicine with care, compassion, and meaningful presence. Here are the members of the MCACE Class of 2019:

  • Dr. Susan W. Aucott is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology. She is the Medical Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Charlotte Bloomberg Children’s Hospital, and the Associate Division Director of Neonatology. She practices at the Bloomberg Children’s Hospital and at the Bayview Medical Center.
  • Dr. Melissa Camp is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery, Surgical Oncology, where she focuses on the multidisciplinary care of patients with breast cancer. She serves as an Associate Program Director for the Halstead General Surgery Residency Program.
  • Dr. Jessica L. Colburn is an Assistant Professor in the Divisions of Geriatric Medicine & General Internal Medicine in the Department of Medicine. She practices clinically as a geriatrician in the Johns Hopkins General Internal Medicine Clinic as well as with the Johns Hopkins Home-based Medicine Program. Dr. Colburn is the Director of the Johns Hopkins Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program.
  • Dr. David W. Cooke is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and the Clinical Director of the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology. Also, Dr. Cooke is a consultant for pediatric endocrine disorders for Johns Hopkins Children’s Center; a faculty member in the Colleges Advising Program in the School of Medicine; a Co-Director for the Endocrinology Section in the medical school GTS curriculum; and the Director of the Johns Hopkins Pediatric Endocrine Fellowship Training Program.
  • Dr. Sonye Danoff is an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, where she is the Co-Director of the Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) Program as well as the Associate Director of the Myositis Center.
  • Dr. Daniel Gold is an Assistant Professor of Neurology, Ophthalmology, Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery, Neurosurgery, and Emergency Medicine, and the Director of the Ocular Motor & Vestibular Oto-Neurology Fellowship within the Division of Neuro-Visual and Vestibular Disorders.
  • Dr. Christian F. Meyer is a Clinical Associate and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Oncology, and he practices in both a multidisciplinary sarcoma clinic and the general medical oncology sarcoma clinic. He serves as chair of the Safety Monitoring Committee in the Department of Oncology, as well as sits on the NCCN guideline panel for the development of soft tissue sarcoma care pathways. Additionally, he serves on the medical advisory board of the Desmoid Tumor Research Foundation and the Leiomyosarcoma Foundation.
  • Dr. John C. Probasco is an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurology, where he is the Vice Chair for Quality, Safety, and Service. He serves as the Director of the Division of Advanced Clinical Neurology and is the Medical Director of the Inpatient General Neurology Service at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
  • Dr. Scott Stephens is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, and he holds a secondary appointment as an Assistant Professor of Oncology. He serves as the Director of Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant Critical Care at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins. He is an executive member of both the Oncology Critical Care Research Network and the North American ECMO Research Network.
  • Dr. John H. Wilckens is an Associate Professor of Orthopaedic Surgery at the School of Medicine. He was recently appointed as the Chief of the Sports Medicine Division. Also, he serves as the Medical Director of the Johns Hopkins Orthopaedic Clinic at White Marsh, and the Surgical Director of the Johns Hopkins White Marsh Ambulatory Surgery Center. Dr. Wilckens sees patients at the Johns Hopkins satellite clinics in White Marsh, Columbia, Odenton, and Bowie. He has serves as the Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery for the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Additionally, he serves as Orthopaedic Consultant and Team Physician for the United States Naval Academy Football program. And he is the former Head Team Orthopaedic Surgeon for the Baltimore Orioles.

Additionally, 23 physicians received the Frank L. Coulson, Jr., Resident Award for Clinical Excellence, and 17 individuals received awards for their superlative roles as a Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant.

The 11th Annual MCACE Symposium was a resounding success. The CIM would like to congratulate all of these amazing members of the Johns Hopkins Medicine family, and the CIM would like to thank the Miller Coulson and Worley families for their gracious support to recognize these great clinicians.  The CIM recognizes and appreciates the efforts of the many faculty and staff who contributed to the event.

You can watch the recording of the full event here.

March 2019

Congressional Delegation Visits Bayview Experts on Opioid Crisis

Earlier this month, two US Members of Congress from the bipartisan Freshman Working Group on Addiction visited Johns Hopkins Bayview’s Comprehensive Care Practice and Emergency Department with Dr. Mike Fingerhood.  Reps. Dave Trone of Maryland’s 6th District and Susan Wild of Pennsylvania’s 7th District sit on the working group of over 40 newly elected lawmakers who are working to promote policies to end the addiction crises. Rep. David Trone, the chair of the working group, shared the following about his commitment to end substance abuse disorder:

“When my 24-year old nephew Ian died of an opioid overdose in 2016, my family experienced the heartbreak of losing a loved one to addiction firsthand. No family should have to wrestle with this kind of grief, yet over 70,000 people died of drug overdoses last year alone. With 192 deaths every day, my colleagues and I are ready to fight back.”

During the visit, the congressmen and their staff met with providers, peer recovery coaches and Health Leads volunteers and took away valuable insights about emergency care medicine and wrap around, ancillary support services for those struggling with treatment. They plan to use this information to introduce legislation making Narcan—the emergency medication to reverse overdoses—is available to all first responders. More footage from the visit can be found here.  

Shortly after the Congressional Delegation visited Johns Hopkins Bayview, two regional leaders from the DEA visited and made an expert presentation at our JHBMC Medical Grand Rounds: Ruth A. Carter, Diversion Program Manager from the Diversion Control Division; and Don A. Hibbert, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Baltimore District Office and the Drug Enforcement Task Force Strike Force.  Their eye-opening presentation focused on the extent of the opioid epidemic in the Baltimore region, and it led to a very interesting Q & A session with JHBMC providers.  Sixth on the DEA’s “top 10” list of problem drug areas, Mr. Hibbert believes “we are in the throes of the worst epidemic in 27 years” whereby Fentanyl is driving much of Baltimore’s violent crimes, and it is currently met by the well-known Baltimore Response Model (encompassing coordinated efforts between law enforcement, public health, and community and schools).

The Center for Innovative Medicine is committed to doing our part in fighting the opioid epidemic as we seek to make medicine a better public trust through efforts such good doctoring in addiction medicine (listen to the WYPR podcast mentioned below in the February blog), Medicine for the Greater Good, and “5 in 10”–an effort aimed at increasing life expectancy by five years over the course of a decade in Baltimore City neighborhoods with disproportionately short lifespans.

February 2019

On February 12, WYPR (our local NPR station) aired a segment of “Out of the Blocks” called, “300 E. Eager Street: I’m Fighting for Me.”  This series is an immersive listening experience that interviews people to learn about their stories and get to know Baltimore City one block at a time.  “I’m Fighting for Me” explores themes of hope, transformation, and wellness in an unlikely place—across the street from the Baltimore City Jail.  Yet it is precisely and strategically the right place according to Dr. Megan Buresh, a Johns Hopkins Bayview primary care and addictions medicine specialist; “We know being released from jail is one of the highest risk times for overdose.  It’s really hard for people to get into care, and there’s not as much care as we’d like within the system.  So we’re here trying to meet people where they are.”  Dr. Buresh explains what treatment is (i.e., medication to keep people from craving drugs), and what it is not (i.e., getting high).

On an otherwise abandoned city block, a mobile treatment clinic, the “PCARE” van, situates itself across from the jail, where those recently released prisoners battling addiction can walk from the detention center gates directly into the van.  In addition to providing treatment, the PCARE van staff serve as a resource for those seeking treatment and recovery and other support.

A PCARE client Travis Lamont Cook, Sr., tells how he became introduced to heroin behind bars.  Now 39, he has been in and out of jail about 20 times since he was 17 years old; he says, “Every time I look at that jail back there, it reminds me of every time I’ve been in and out of it and I’m tired of it.”  Moreover, people struggle with their past as they look to the future.  Brittany Kelly, a PCARE nurse, urges the audience to listen—not just to the broadcast—but also to the real people struggling with addiction issues.  Brittany reveals that she is the daughter of an addict, and she has lost several family members to the disease; “People who are addicted have backstories—things that have affected them throughout their lives that you may not have gone through.  Before you judge you have to understand their backstory.”  In addition to a difficult past, for many people the present is challenging as well as most clients are impacted by homelessness and being surrounded by drugs in their community. Yet, as long as a patient is compliant with their protocol, they deliver treatment—and with it, they deliver hope.  To listen to the full piece, please click here.

January 2019

Our hearts go out to those whose lives were touched by Dr. Nadia Morgan, a doctor in the Division of Rheumatology who was tragically killed in a hit and run crash in December at the young age of 35.  Dr. Morgan was a talented and enthusiastic physician-scientist where her robust efforts focused on the impact of race on rheumatic disease.  She was an investigator for a multi-center cohort GRASP—the largest study of African Americans living with scleroderma.  A promising investigator, a highly respected teacher, a beloved and admired colleague, Nadia was a rising star poised for promotion.  Her genuine connection with each person made them feel special.  Her sincere caring drove her passion for research.  Her gentle, engaging spirit combined with her warm Jamaican friendliness created an absolutely authentic, glowing charismatic persona.  Nadia was a truly good doctor committed to making medicine a better trust.

On January 16, 2019, the Johns Hopkins Bayview community honored her life with a fitting memorial service in the atrium of the Allergy & Asthma Center.  About 200 people gathered, including Dr. Morgan’s family and friends, to celebrate her life that was cut too short. Remembering Nadia prompted hugs, tears, songs, and laughter.  The simple atrium became a sacred space of loving care.  Through the heartbreak, the reflections on Nadia revealed a common thread: how impactful her care was to patients, to family, to friends, to colleagues. CIM Director Dr. David Hellmann, who also worked with Nadia in the Division of Rheumatology stated in a moving eulogy, “She had an unusual ability to light up a room…. She was the sun that radiated warmth to anyone lucky enough to enter her world. No wonder our world suddenly felt colder and looked darker on Dec. 15, the night the sun of her bright life was completely eclipsed by a horrific accident.” Dr. Hellmann continued to describe a testament to Dr. Nadia Morgan’s enduring impact a month after her death; Nadia’s office door was adorned with cards replete with heart-felt notes.  Several bouquets of fresh flowers respectfully graced the entrance in front of her door. The door still had a sign that Nadia had made about scleroderma awareness that said, “Hope Matters.”  Dr. Hellmann asserted that hope and love make us grateful for Nadia’s life.

The Bayview community is grateful to Nadia’s family, Dr. Antony Rosen, and the entire Division of Rheumatology faculty and staff for arranging the service, bringing us together for support to process the painful loss and to remember in joyful appreciation the enduring impact Dr. Nadia Morgan.  Let us continue to care for one another, and feel the inspiration of hope that Nadia’s light-filled memory brings.  To view a recording of the memorial service, or to contribute to the Dr. Nadia D. Morgan Fund, please click here.

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