Tag: johns hopkins school of medicine

Let’s Hope This Guy Doesn’t Say Anything Controversial in the Next Month



As we previously reported, Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson voluntarily stepped down from serving as commencement speaker for the Johns Hopkins’ Schools of Medicine and Education after students objected to his widely-publicized comments equating homosexuality with bestiality. The School of Education announced last week that it would replace Carson with the ever-popular Wes Moore, and yesterday the School of Medicine announced its last-minute graduation speaker replacement:  biophysicist Jon Lorsch.

Escape Fire: Health Care Documentary to Screen at Johns Hopkins Wednesday, Sept. 19 at 6 p.m.


Baltimore couple and community dynamos Erwin Greenberg and Stephanie Cooper-Greenberg saw the above documentary about the American health care system at the Nantucket Film Festival in June and were moved to action. Now it’s screening at Hopkins tomorrow at 6 p.m.

Wacky Job Alert: Fake Patient


In the morning, Neva Krauss listened to medical students tell her she’s got an incurable disease. Then she went home, took some Tylenol (and a nap) before returning to Johns Hopkins to hear the bad news all over again. That’s because Krauss doesn’t actually have any terminal illnesses — she just gets paid to act like she does. Krauss is one of 150 standardized patients working at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Simulation Center, and charged with helping medical students get as-close-to-real-life-as-possible experience dealing with the emotionally fraught situations that doctors have to face on a daily basis.

In SP simulations, medical students practice some of the most awkward or uncomfortable situations they may have to someday face — admitting medical mistakes, asking distraught loved ones about organ donation, dealing with patients who appear to be physically abused. Faculty members observe the interactions through two-way mirrors, and discuss them with students afterward. And it’s hardly fun and games for those involved:  the SPs may have to fake horrible physical pain, or emotional devastation, or psychiatric issues, or drunkenness. “Not only do I have to constantly grimace and groan, but I have to remember what the med student is saying so I can grade how they do,” Tom Wyatt told the Johns Hopkins Magazine.

Baltimore Area Commencement Speech Rundown: Part II


The other day, we reported on some of the commencement speakers who’ll be gracing the dais at various local universities this month. As we reported, the main speaker for Johns Hopkins’ May 24 ceremony is IBM chairman Samuel Palmisano. Which will probably be… fine. But if you want the real quality speakers, you’ve got to look to Hopkins’ smaller divisions. These speakers might have less immediate name recognition, but they’re stars in their particular fields.

Our roundup of the best speakers at the smaller schools is below:

Carey Business School (May 21, 3 p.m., Meyerhoff Symphony Hall):  Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of General Electric. Probably the best way to watch this is to pretend that Immelt is Alec Baldwin’s character from 30 Rock.

Johns Hopkins’ Carey Business School Announces Major Shift


The Carey Business School, an offshoot of Johns Hopkins, has tended to be the institution’s least glamorous sister. Founded in 2007 (but with origins dating back a century before that) thanks to a $50 million donation from William Polk Carey, the freestanding school is too new to have established itself as an MBA powerhouse; instead of banking on a storied history, the program has opted to make its name through innovative programs. And now they’re revamping that system yet again.

The reorganization, announced this week, will shift the school’s focus to business as it relates to health care and the life sciences. The move seems like a smart one, both because Hopkins is such a medical powerhouse and because more and more business is happening in the health care arena.  “Health care is approaching 20 percent of the national gross domestic product, and it’s a key factor in the costs of any economic model, whether in manufacturing or services,” said the school’s interim Dean Phillip Phan. “Understanding the complexities of the modern health care industry is a crucial skill for any business manager. For those who manage in the health care sector, Johns Hopkins is the place to learn.”

The change-up is certainly an overhaul, but will build on previous programs and more closely tie the business school to the university’s other departments. Starting this fall, the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine will start offering a dual MBA/MD degree with Carey, and professors from other divisions are looking into joint research efforts with the school.

So what of the much-vaunted Global MBA program, designed to “reinvent” the traditional MBA, which was launched by Carey in 2010? Well, that’ll still be an option. “This new focus doesn’t mean we’re altering other, traditional areas where we’re strong,” Phan said. “We feel strongly that the best business schools have a mix of people representing various industries, sharing their views and experiences. The intention is not to have a school full of people from just one industry.” But by branding itself as the place to go to study the business of medicine, Carey might’ve just made a smart move.

The Most Important Envelope of Your Life


Match Day envelope

It was undoubtedly the tensest brunch ever.  Each of the 110 Johns Hopkins medical students had an envelope with their future inside. And they weren’t allowed to open it until noon. Until then, they drank champagne and stared at a breakfast they were too nervous to eat.

There’s nothing else quite like Match Day, the moment when all the nation’s medical students find out — at the exact same time! — where they’ll be doing their residencies, and in what specialty. Months before the big day, students rank their preferred programs, judging each by various criteria:  do they want to live in California? Do they want to work at a top-notch hospital? Where is the best endocrinology program in the country, anyway? After an anxious series of interviews, each program also ranks students. Then a mysteriously omniscient computer algorithm sorts it all out, placing students in programs that they asked for, but that also want them… thus determining a huge chunk of their future.

Medical Actor Melissa Daum Helps Doctors Perform More Compassionately


Name: Melissa Daum (the au pronounced like ou in ouch)
Occupation: Standardized Patient   
Neighborhood: Remington
Years in Baltimore: 8

Melissa Daum plays many roles: she’s a grad student, yoga teacher, therapist-in-training, seamstress, and mural painter, but perhaps her most intriguing part-time job is as “Standardized Patient,” for the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. In other words, the 28-year-old MICA graduate pretends to be a patient for trainee doctors, and not all of them know she’s acting.

According to Hopkins, a Standardized Patient is “a person carefully recruited and trained to take on the characteristics of a real patient, thereby affording the student an opportunity to learn and to be evaluated on learned skills in a simulated clinical environment.” Melissa, who’s currently completing a master’s in counseling at Pacifica Graduate Institute, won the role by passing an audition at the School of Medicine’s Simulation Center, where she competed for the job with professional actors. “They brought along headshots and resumes, but that’s not what the medical school needs,” she explained. “They need people who can be pretty real about it, who don’t turn it into a big performance.”

Beyond her relaxed attitude, Melissa has another advantage: She’s sophisticated but looks younger than her age, which means she can represent a wide range of characters from surly teenagers to overwrought moms. “One week I might be, say, a student who’s experimenting with drugs, and the next week I might be a 15-year-old girl who’s come down with a rash after a trip to the petting zoo. I get to wear my own clothes, but we’re supposed to dress the part, so if I’m playing a married woman, for example, I’m supposed to wear a wedding ring.” She’s given a case history peppered with details—some vital clues, others red herrings—but the facts can only be drawn out by the right kinds of questions, asked in a suitable context. It’s a way of helping young doctors practice their history-taking skills, their communication facility, and their all-important bedside manners.

The work doesn’t pay much—$17 an hour plus parking—but there are added benefits, like use of the Hopkins library and the chance to learn about the symptoms of different diseases and the stress impact they have. On top of that, it’s a lot of fun. “It satisfies my theater itch,” says Melissa, who worked as Elton John’s wardrobe mistress when he performed in Baltimore last March–and played lead in all of her high school productions. “There are these rows of doctors offices in the Simulation Center. Sometimes I go from room to room as a patient, and sometimes the doctor comes in to see me, surrounded by a group of medical students.”

She often works with the same male actor playing the wife in a married couple; they fit together well, and, like the stars of a sitcom, have developed a pattern of banter (though improvisation, they’re told, should be kept to a minimum). Recently, the pair took the stage at a pediatric dermatology conference, where they were asked to play the part of every doctor’s nightmare—entitled, wealthy parents, both attorneys, who think they know what’s best for their ailing kid. “I really got into it,” laughs Melissa. “I was looking up medical facts on my iPhone and telling them I thought my child’s condition was an embarrassment to the family. When I get into a character like that, I’ll start thinking about how that person will walk into the room and how she’ll put down her purse.”

But it’s not always easy. “You can’t be shy,” she says. “If you have to play a person who’s really depressed, or in pain, it can be a very uncomfortable situation, emotionally. You can’t meet the doctor’s eyes, you can’t smile at them. As medical students, they want to treat the symptoms of a disorder, but they’re dealing with a complex person, and that can be sometimes unpleasant.”

During her work as a Standardized Patient, Melissa has learned that, as medical students get further along in their studies, their people skills tend to get worse. “As they start to specialize, they get more interested in the technicalities,” she points out. “They want to try out new equipment and discover the pathology. They forget that they’re dealing with a real person with complex feelings. They tend to back away from emotions.”

After the simulation is over, she gets to wear headphones and listen in to the doctors’ critique of the students’ performance. She also listens to the students talk about the person she was portraying, as they attempt, as a group, to make sense of who and what they’re dealing with. Melissa gets to give feedback, too, which is where her therapy training comes in useful. She has to let the doctors know if they seemed awkward, nervous, or rigid, and whether she sensed them backing away from scary emotions.

As a Standardized Patient, Melissa’s learned a lot about medical training and how the young doctor’s mind develops. She’s learned something else, too. “Once I had to be a patient having my eyes examined,” she recalls, “and suddenly there was this whole group of students wanting to look down the ophthalmoscope. They kept sending their friends to see. I asked them what was so interesting, and they said it was the first time they’d seen eyes that were exactly like the ones in the anatomy manual. They said I had ‘textbook retinas.’”