Johns Hopkine Magazine The latest from Johns Hopkins Magazine. Johns Hopkine Magazine Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 New reality: Climate change will bring storm-related power outages <p>Until recently, residents of Northeastern cities like New York, Hartford, or Philadelphia could reasonably assume that chances were small that they'd lose power when a hurricane struck the Atlantic coast. Originating in the warm waters of the tropics, most hurricanes lost much of their potency by the time they'd churned as far north as New York or New England. This will not likely be the case much longer.</p> <p>A study conducted by Whiting School Associate Professor Seth Guikema indicates that as the climate continues to change, many cities that have considered themselves unlikely to face storm-related power outages need to prepare for a new reality. "As these storms become more intense, they penetrate further [north and] inland before dying out, and you have new areas getting storms that haven't experienced blackouts before," says Guikema, who teaches in the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering. "Utilities that haven't had to think about hurricane-induced outages now
have to think about them."</p> <p>Guikema developed his first blackout-forecasting tool, a short-term model, back in the mid-2000s and used it to predict power outages for Irene and Sandy days before those hurricanes came ashore. The latest version of the tool takes a longer-term look. While most climate change researchers agree that hurricanes will intensify as warmer sea surface temperatures give them more fuel, they disagree about whether storms will also become more frequent and whether the distribution of their landfall locations will be affected.</p> <p>As a result, Guikema and his
team strove to account for climate change with more of a scenario-based approach. They created a baseline case by applying Guikema's short-term model to a simulation of the storm variability observed over the last 112 years. Then, they altered the parameters of the baseline case to create 12 plausible climate-change scenarios, looking at what would happen if storm intensities were to decrease by 20 percent or increase by 20 and 40 percent. They also adjusted the model to account for potential changes in storm frequency and landfall locations and ran each scenario for the equivalent of 1,600 years' worth of hurricane activity.</p> <p>According to the model, the 10 cities most likely to experience more power failures due to intensifying hurricanes are, in order of likelihood: New York, Philadelphia, Jacksonville, Virginia Beach, Hartford, Orlando, Tampa, Providence, Miami, and New Orleans. Other metro areas that should expect increased sensitivity include (in the same order) Boston, Houston, Richmond, Birmingham, Austin, Baltimore, Washington, 
and Raleigh.</p> <p>The team was not surprised to find that hurricanes will continue to pummel areas like Miami and New Orleans. (These cities fall relatively low on the top-10 list, Guikema explains, because their sensitivity is already at such a high level it doesn't have much room for growth.) What did surprise them was that many cities that have avoided hurricane damage thus far—because they lie so far inland or so far north, or because they have other geographic protection—are likely to face threats in
the future. Guikema was especially shocked to realize that cities situated as far inland as the Appalachians may start seeing damage from hurricanes. "It stands out that the top five or so are cities you don't really think of as being target hurricane areas," says Andrea Staid, the Johns Hopkins doctoral student who authored the report. "If we choose to ignore climate change, our study shows the impacts could be quite severe going forward."</p> <p>The two most at-risk cities, New York and Philadelphia, will likely see a 50 percent increase in the number of people who lose power during a 100-year storm (that is, a storm
with a 1 percent chance of happening in any given year) due to climate change. "In historical hurricane environments, hurricanes tended
to be dying out or weaker by the time they reached New York," Guikema says. "But if hurricanes get even 20 percent more intense, you're going to get more intense, stronger storms surviving into the city, and it's such a densely populated area [that] the potential is there for worse impacts. The biggest message for the cities in the top 10 is they've got to be thinking about this."</p> <p>Guikema hopes his work will guide cities as they consider how to prepare their power grids for the future through methods that may include burying power lines, replacing wooden utility poles with cement, flood-proofing substations, and fine-tuning emergency response plans. Power outages have cascading effects on other infrastructure systems, like telecommunications and water networks, as well as on economics and human health. While the study will likely give some cities a wake-up call,
it may prevent others from overreacting. The data show, for instance,
 that Nashville, Memphis, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Atlanta will likely remain in relatively safe zones. "If places don't have good estimates of what might happen," Guikema says, "there's the risk of preparing for very bad cases that may not be the best use of their resources."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 SONAR Ensemble works out the music of tomorrow <p>Composer Robert Baker and members of the SONAR Ensemble are trying to synchronize their musical clocks. The ensemble commissioned Baker to write ". . . and wondrous strange snow," a response to the "Winter" concerto of Vivaldi's <em>Four Seasons</em>. Five days before its January premiere, he and the musicians gather in a Peabody Institute rehearsal studio to work out some of its more difficult segues, where the rhythm stays the same while the tempo changes or where the time notation changes between sections. Or those parts where time isn't conventionally notated in the score at all. Three violinists, two violists, two cellists, a pianist, and a percussionist fill the room, and after Baker leads them through a segment, one of the violinists asks, "Am I coming in too late?"</p> <p>Violinist Colin Sorgi, Peabody '09, '13 (GPD), and SONAR's artistic director and CEO, co-founded the ensemble in 2007 to perform contemporary music. What's happening tonight is a big part of its mission: to put young musicians in the same room with living composers to work out the music of tomorrow. SONAR went on a brief hiatus while Sorgi went to graduate school, but when he returned to Baltimore 

and in 2012 relaunched the ensemble, the group also began commissioning works and inaugurated its RADARlab program, which partners with four to six Peabody student composers for an academic year.</p> <p>"We want to push [composers]
to be experimental and give them an opportunity to try things that they wouldn't normally get to do," Sorgi says. In rehearsal, that push is part of a musical dialogue. Baker directs the players to parts in the score—"turn to section Q" or "start from measure 148"—and they run through a short segment. In between, the composer and players discuss how it sounds and how to fine-tune it. Sometimes they ask for clarity on the score; sometimes he makes requests: louder here, maybe a bit more robust there. After discussion, the musicians add notes to their sheet music in pencil.</p> <p>Baker, a Canadian composer and assistant professor of theory and composition at Catholic University in Washington, D.C., started conducting SONAR performances a few years back after working with Lauren Rausch, one of the ensemble's violinists. He was already thinking about writing a piece specifically for Sorgi when SONAR approached him last summer with this Vivaldi idea.</p> <p>Other than the starting point, SONAR didn't dictate stylistic terms, and Baker, for one, appreciates the commission's creative freedom. 
"I was excited and a little bit daunted," he says, given how well-known the Vivaldi is. "I was cautious at first, thinking I didn't want to make it a collage piece with direct quotations and other material. That's certainly one way to go. I opted to try to take a little more of a personal approach where I would have some of the essence of the Vivaldi but maybe not quite in as recognizable a form—not so much a direct quotation but more in the spirit of."</p> <blockquote> <p>Strings shudder behind Sorgi's solo violin line like a sharp gust of wind that cuts to the bones. Even in rehearsal, the piece sounds and feels fresh. Sorgi believes musicians crave the challenges of new music as much as audiences.</p> </blockquote> <p>His piece is a gorgeous gust of gentle intensity that updates the instrumental palette of Vivaldi's "Winter" to evoke a more contemporary feeling of the season's arctic chill: Strings shudder behind Sorgi's solo violin line like a sharp gust of wind that cuts to the bones. Even in rehearsal, the piece sounds and feels fresh, and Sorgi, who spends his days as the concertmaster of
 the National Philharmonic at the Strathmore concert hall in Bethesda, Maryland, believes musicians crave the challenges of new music as much as audiences.</p> <p>That sense of discovery is present in the rehearsal. After playing a section, one musician remarks that the score says the tempo is 3/4 but it feels more like 3/8, and Baker and the group talk about how to move from one place to another. Baker asks the violins and violas to swoop up at a certain point, clarifies the bowing technique he wants for a certain section of quarter-notes, and as they play and talk, play and talk, eventually heads start nodding in agreement.</p> <p>"So," Baker says, looking around, "can we start from the beginning?"</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 APL's Fifth Period comic targets the next gen of STEM talent <p><em>Frame one</em>: Meet Dwight Carr, a middle-aged African-American man with a shiny bald head and affable manner. He sits in his office in the Applied Physics Laboratory, wearing a short-sleeve white shirt and nondescript tie, staring upward, lost in thought. On his desk there's a small placard, STEM Outreach Manager, and a dusty black-and-white newspaper clipping with a photo of Sputnik and the headline, Race to Space. "It's been 50 years since teenagers really got excited about engineering and science," Carr muses. "We've got to find new ways to engage young people."</p> <p><em>Frame two</em>: Annie Marcotte, a young artist dressed all in black, with an asymmetrical short haircut and glasses perched halfway down her nose, sits sketching on a digital tablet in APL's communications offices. She's on deadline for her next installment of <a href=""><em>Fifth Period</em></a>, a comic strip that follows four appropriately diverse teenagers—Sophie (for science), Tomás (technology), Emma (engineering), and Marcus (math)—along with their enthusiastic (yet close to retirement age) science teacher, Mr. Kepler. At Carr's request, Marcotte, in collaboration with technical writer Anne King and art director Don Vislay, has been creating the strip for three years, drawing on the interests and experiences of her co-workers and her father, brother, and sister, who are all engineers. She hopes she's making science and scientists seem more fun than nerdy, the subject matter more appealing than challenging. Today she's sketching an adventure for Sophie, her favorite character (the two share a love of dinosaurs, <em>Jurassic Park</em>, and learning new things), and she's working to get the voice of the dialogue and accompanying lesson just right—friendly and lively but not dumbed-down.</p> <p><em>Frame three</em>: Back in Carr's office, where he's studying analytics on his computer. We see that the <em>Fifth Period</em> pages on APL's STEM website average about 400 unique views a month. It's not quite the thousands that Carr would love to see. "I have grandiose ideas," he says with a half smile. 
("I have a tiny following among my friends," says Marcotte with a laugh.) On a shelf behind him, we see a stack of <em>Fifth Period</em> compilations, like graphic novels, that he has distributed to schools and career fairs by the thousands. An engineer by training, he likes to measure. But he doesn't have a good way of knowing how many readers are trying the experiments attached to each comic strip, or how many teachers may be working those experiments into their lessons. The teachers who come to APL STEM Outreach programs are all hungry
 for real-life examples of science at work that they can bring back to their classrooms, he says. "The question that students are always asking is, 'How am I going to use this in the real world?'"</p> <p><em>Frame four</em>: Carr stands in APL's parking lot, watching colleagues head for their cars as the sun sets. He tells
a visitor that he has two focal points for outreach this year: helping teachers adjust to the problem-based learning style promoted by the national Common Core standards, and helping to fill corporate job needs in STEM fields. It's a numbers game, he says, thinking of all the baby boomers inspired by Sputnik who entered science and now are starting to retire. He sweeps one arm to take in a wide swath of the parking lot. "APL has some 5,000 employees, and more than two-thirds of them hold STEM-related degrees. We handle a lot of unique work for the Department of Defense. We can't continue to do those jobs if we can't keep filling the pipeline. So just from a self-preservation standpoint, we need to do something."</p> <p><em>Frame five</em>: The sun has set, but we see Annie Marcotte still in her office. Like Carr, she knows that if she can find ways to share the excitement and appeal of science and technology fields, she might just hook a few bright young minds. So she returns to her drawing board.</p> <p><a href="">To read <em>Fifth Period</em>, click here.</a></p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Hopkins team seeks to improve reconstructive surgeries <p>Justin Sacks, a plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins, has performed thousands of reconstructive surgeries. But he could not accept being unable to make a person whole again. For example, women in treatment for early-stage breast cancer often consider tissue-conserving lumpectomies or partial mastectomies, in which surgeons remove the tumor and some surrounding tissue. While therapeutically effective, such procedures can leave visible defects. Yes, the cancer has been removed. The patient has been healed. But part of her is missing. Similarly, soldiers wounded in battle may live out the rest of their lives with visible reminders of what was taken from them.</p> <p>Sacks envisioned a three-dimensional soft tissue—a polite term for fat—that physicians could cut to order to fill a cavity. In July 2013, he and like-minded surgical resident Sashank Reddy reached out to engineering colleague Hai-Quan Mao, who initially wondered whether the idea was feasible. Any doubts were short-lived, however, as Mao and his team embraced the challenge and made Sacks' vision a reality. A team of Johns Hopkins biomedical engineers, led by Mao, has developed a synthetic, implantable 3-D soft tissue scaffold, for which they've applied for a provisional patent. In rodent studies, the composite material has served as a framework for the body's native fatty tissue and blood vessels to grow and fill in the defect. Afterward, the implanted scaffolding naturally degrades, leaving the new tissue intact. "I like to think of the material as a conducive template, attracting both growth cues and cells from the surrounding tissue to regenerate," Mao says.</p> <p>Composites, both biological and synthetic, have become a prime target for tissue engineers. The Johns Hopkins team opted for a synthetic material made from degradable polymer nanofibers that look like a nest of sticklike filaments, suspended in a viscous and biodegradable hydrogel commonly used in injectable cosmetic fillers to erase wrinkles and plump up lips. The nanofiber substrate provides a framework that can hold the shape and size of the defect while cells grow in, and the hydrogel component promotes the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones. The nanofibers provide a sufficiently strong matrix for fat stem cells to "walk" along and differentiate, a bit like making rock candy along a piece of string. The nanofibers also have a predictable and slow rate of degradation, says lead researcher Georgia Yalanis, a doctoral student who has spent the past year testing the new material. Plus the biodegradable polymers used to generate the nanofibers have a strong track record of safety; they have been widely used in many FDA-approved devices such as degradable sutures. "You don't want the material to break down too quickly, as you're not giving the body enough time to regenerate and reproduce those nice, new, healthy fat cells," Yalanis says. "While [the composite] degrades, your body's own fat grows into it. [Eventually] it will shrink with you, enlarge with you, depending on how your weight fluctuates. That is all very appealing."</p> <blockquote> <p>The team wanted to give patients the best of both worlds, the immediate replacement shape that an implant provides and the natural feel of a tissue transfer—without any of the cons.</p> </blockquote> <p>Sacks and Yalanis said the team wanted to give patients the best of both worlds, the immediate replacement shape that an implant provides and the natural feel of a tissue transfer—without any of the cons. Current nondegradable implants may generate inflammation and scarring, Yalanis says, and tissue transfer is a long, invasive surgical process that essentially robs Peter
to pay Paul by taking tissue from one part of the body and planting it in another. In the rodent study, the procedure did not cause inflammation or fibrosis. Now, the team wants to conduct large-animal studies and work on an injectable model that would allow the gel to fill up a cavity and initiate fat growth in vivo. For off-the-shelf utility, the material can be poured into molds and dehydrated. Surgeons can later rehydrate the material and cut it into whatever shape is needed.</p> <p>For Yalanis, the research has been personal. She chose plastic surgery as a discipline following her time at the University of Southern California's Master of Science in Global Medicine program. At USC, she researched victims of acid violence—women who had been sprayed with sulfuric or nitric acid by a husband or boyfriend as punishment for a perceived transgression. "The disfiguring is horrific," she says. "That was one reason reconstruction became interesting to me. We place high value on our physical appearance, not just beauty but small things that people take for granted. How you present yourself to the world has value. That initial presentation is something you only get to do once and greatly impacts your confidence."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 The science behind 'going with your gut' <p>Ignorance may be bliss, but partial ignorance—or at least ignoring a glut of information and going instead with instinct—may be the best way to make certain vital decisions. So goes the argument put forth by Shabnam Mousavi, an assistant professor at the Carey Business School and a fellow at Berlin's Max Planck Institute for Human Development. Mousavi, who has studied classical decision-making theory, recently co-authored with Planck's Gerd Gigerenzer, a <em>Journal of Business Research</em> paper titled "Risk, Uncertainty, and Heuristics." The gist of the paper is that, in business at least, many decisions fall into a gray area of uncertainty. While it's tempting to do all that's possible to reduce that uncertainty by applying sophisticated computer models, opting instead for simple rules of thumb— known in Mousavi's field as heuristics—can produce decisions that outperform complex algorithms in real-world situations.</p> <p>It's clear that many business leaders believe there's a time to
put big data aside when thinking through a problem. Mousavi's paper cites 2012 research that found "almost half of the managers ([defined here as] subscribers to <em>Chief Executive</em> magazine, <em>CFO</em> magazine, <em>CFO Asia</em>, and <em>CFO Europe</em>) consider their
'gut feel' an important or very important factor in making capital allocation decisions."</p> <p>Whether data wonks or those who fly by the seat of their pants make better decisions may depend on
the problem's category. Traditional decision-making theory considers dilemmas that involve certainty and risk. "Under certainty each action is known to lead to a certain outcome. Under risk all outcomes as well as the probabilities of each outcome are known," writes Mousavi. For decisions that fall into either of these categories, taking the long route and applying extensive statistical analysis can bear fruit. But what about problems involving uncertainty, where the probabilities of outcomes are unknown? Here, Mousavi, who has
a PhD in statistics and economics, writes that "calculations can provide illusory certainty." The illusion, she says, is based on the fact that there's zero evidence that decision-making models involving certainty or risk translate to those pesky (and common) uncertainty problems. "To even use a risk model [in those situations] is absolutely useless," says Mousavi.</p> <p>Which brings us back to heuristics as a better way to solve problems of uncertainty. Some economists and others frown on heuristics, such 
as psychologist and Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman, who noted in his <em>New York Times</em> best-selling book <em>Thinking, Fast and Slow</em> that they lead to errors and biases in judgments. But Mousavi says that what heuristics need is more study rather than scorn. Her approach is to reverse-engineer 
an uncertainty problem, starting with the solution, noting whether it was effective, then seeing which heuristics were applied to come up with it. She focuses on so-called "fast-and-frugal heuristics" and lists a dozen that have received considerable study. These are more than shortcuts. They involve what she calls "tools from the adaptive toolbox," which in humans evolved as survival skills. These include "imitating the successful," "imitating the majority," and the "recognition" heuristic. For the latter, one exploits partial knowledge to make a decision from among alternatives of varying degrees of familiarity. In business, that might mean deciding to place a satellite office in a city you've repeatedly visited versus one you've never seen.</p> <p>"The study of fast-and-frugal heuristics has shown that less effort can lead to more accurate judgments. Heuristic strategies use learned and evolved core capacities such as memory and recall. This is why they are fast," Mousavi writes. The snap judgments that come from these core capacities may deliberately ignore other available information— "That's called irrational in standard decision-making theory," notes Mousavi—but these near-instantaneous judgments and decisions may nonetheless be correct.</p> <p>To better understand heuristics and why we use them, Mousavi is going places that statisticians usually fear to tread, delving into fields that include psychology, sociology, and anthropology for clues. "Now we're using psychological insights and foundations to see what people are thinking, what beliefs they are holding, and what kind of information they're drawing on when they make decisions," she says. The real question is whether she can parse the best time to use a heuristic and whether that information can be modeled and taught. Mousavi says she thinks this can be accomplished; she has a book in the works.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Relatives of horses & rhinos found in Indian mine <p>An active, open-pit coal mine is an unconventional place to conduct a paleontological dig. But for a team of Johns Hopkins researchers and native colleagues working in India, one such coal mine has been a gold mine of fossilized bones and teeth that have led to a breakthrough: the first concrete proof that the closest relatives of horses, rhinos, and other members of the mammalian order Perissodactyla were present on the Indian landmass more than 50 million years ago while it was an island and not yet joined to Asia.</p> <p>Fossilized remains of the order—also known as odd-toed ungulates owing to their unique foot structure—are found throughout North America, Europe, and Asia. Scientists have long understood much about their evolution, but the fossil remains
from the Indian pit (those that weren't pulverized by mining machinery) form the likeness of a forebear more primitive than anything yet discovered. The animal has been named <em>Cambaytherium thewissi</em> and probably weighed between 50 and 70 pounds. "We have more than half of the skeleton, and we can make a reasonable life restoration," says team member Ken Rose, a professor in
the School of Medicine's Center for Functional Anatomy and Evolution. "What we are speculating is that it
 is a descendant of the ancestral form that would have given rise to all Perissodactylas. It's never been found anywhere but India."</p> <p>Scientists date the remains to around 54.5 million years ago. While anatomically the least evolved of Perissodactylas, they are not the oldest. Older remains of more developed members of the order have
 been discovered as far from India as Wyoming. For a theoretical explanation of this seemingly odd dispersion, you have to go back much further in time, some 80 or 90 million years, when plate tectonics broke the Indian landmass away from the erstwhile supercontinent Gondwana and 
India began to drift northward
 as an island. Animals confined to
this orphaned landmass would have been subject to unique evolutionary forces. "It's often thought that when areas are isolated, new life forms evolve," Rose says. "Something was going on in India, something really interesting, and it could be related 
to the isolation."</p> <p>Rose and others further theorize that India's isolation might have had periodic interruptions during its 30– 40 million year migration northward. Before India slow-crashed into Asia (an event that produced the Himalayas), temporary land bridges might have periodically formed between it and Africa or the Arabian Peninsula to the west. These would have provided Indian animals with migratory contact with the wider world prior to the collision with Asia. "And so animals got on India, evolved to the forms that we recognize, and then got off again and repopulated the Northern Hemisphere," Rose says.</p> <p>While the large mine where these unique fossils were discovered has been closed and sealed over, Rose will be visiting smaller Indian mines nearby this spring to continue searching for clues. "It's noisy and hot, so we don't work there very long at a stretch because it's probably not very healthy," Rose says of their work, done on small patches of exposed earth to which mine operators grant them brief access amid the tumult of coal extraction. "There are occasional landslides of loose material, and probably each one of us has been hit by some falling debris. Fortunately, nothing too big."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Short of breath <p>For 50 years, public health experts have believed people living in cities were more likely to develop asthma. New research has found that in children, at least, there is no difference in the incidence of the disease in urban, suburban, and rural residents. Race, ethnicity, and income appear to play a bigger part. <a href="">Read more here.</a></p> <p>The vapors of e-cigarettes impair the immune responses in mice. Public health researchers found that the alternatives to tobacco compromised the immune systems of the lab animals' lungs and generated some of the same dangerous chemicals found in standard nicotine cigarettes. <a href="">Read more here.</a></p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Teacher, teacher: A tribute to John Barth <p><strong>Inventories & Imperatives</strong></p> <p>On the first day of their first seminar, John Barth would distribute to his graduate students a single sheet titled:
</p> <p>THE BARE BONES OF LITERATURE IN GENERAL (and fiction in particular).</p> <p>Prominent was a list:
</p> <p>NUMBERLESS CONTRADICTORIES (or aesthetic antinomies):
</p> <p>Windexed language.....versus.......stained glass language<br /> Realism...............".........irrealism<br /> Apollonianism....."....Dionysianism (etc. ad inf.)</p> <p>The sheet was organized in the spirit of the <em>Panchatantra</em>, divided into numbered subgroups, such as:
</p> <p>FIVE IMPERATIVES for apprentice writers of literature:</p> <ol> <li><em>observe</em> & study the material; "caress the details" 
 </li> <li><em>read</em>, no longer innocently, & preferably mas
 </li> <li><em>practice</em> both your specific genre & the general 
rendition of your observations into language 
 </li> <li><em>criticize</em> & be criticized, to sharpen your sense of the medium, the rudiments, and aesthetics 
 </li> <li><em>monitor</em> your observations, reading, practice, 
& criticism, in order to identify & build upon your particular strengths and to strengthen or minimize your particular weaknesses 
</li> </ol> <p>JB had a second pamphlet for his graduate 
students, this one sprawling by comparison at three closely typed pages, called DRAMATIC ACTION (praxis) & PLOT (mythos), wherein is found, early on, perhaps JB's most famous literary definition:</p> <p><em>Plot = "the incremental perturbation of an unstable homeostatic system and its catastrophic restoration to a complexified equilibrium."</em></p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Maximalists & Minimalists</strong></p> <p>Most of JB's literary descendants, those he influenced but did not teach, trend in a maximalist direction. David Foster Wallace and Jonathan Franzen come to mind. The best of his students, however, trend toward the minimalist. In one graduate seminar, JB had at the table both Mary Robison and Frederick Barthelme, two of the purest of the High Minimalists. And after studying with JB, it became clear why. There didn't seem to be a subject—from particle physics to county fairs—that escaped his close attention. "With 20 minutes of close study, a writer can appear convincing on most any subject," he would say, particularly when he had come upon a deficiency of fact. "Unity of detail" required first "the good detail" itself, and the good detail had to be true. He had no patience for the slapdash or the broad stroke. And if that meant dealing in micromosaic or petit point, so be it.</p> <p>In the duple nature of all things with their source JB, Frederick Barthelme's younger brother Steven also attended the Writing Seminars and studied with JB. And of all of those two Barthelme brothers' books, the best is the one written in collaboration between the two of them, a narration of their misadventures riverboat gambling on the Biloxi coast. It is titled <em>Double Down</em>.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Jack & Jack</strong></p> <p>My introduction to JB came by way of John Hawkes, who held a deep admiration for him. One day I called Hawkes for advice about writing programs. After a long sigh, he directed me "down to Baltimore."</p> <p>I knew of the Johns Hopkins program mainly from Hawkes, who had put a dilemma to me the year before. He had been invited to read at Hopkins and had it from John Updike that JB lived on a "magnificent yacht at the Inner Harbor" and sometimes his guests stayed with him there. Hawkes did not want to be presumptuous by inviting himself to stay aboard JB's vessel, but he was intrigued by its rumored luxury. On the other hand, and worse—this being the way these conversations generally went with Hawkes—he feared that no matter how resplendent JB's "yacht" might be, there was still the matter of sleeping on the water and the rocking that could ensue and other doomsday issues associated with spending a night offshore. Hawkes ended up visiting, but staying onshore, as, of course, no such "magnificent yacht at the Inner Harbor" existed.</p> <p>After his suggestion, I asked Hawkes if he would write for me a recommendation. Again he sighed. "Can't I just <em>call</em>?" he asked. My hopes sagged. Based on my experience, I didn't gather that "phone call" was one of the preferred methods for academic recommendation. When I arrived in Baltimore the next fall, Stephen Dixon showed me my application file. On the top of the first page was scrawled in JB's inimitable hand: "Jack Hawkes called."</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Apollo & Dionysus</strong></p> <p>In the fall of 1986, JB published a love letter to his wife, Shelly, in <em>Harper's</em>. It was called "Teacher. The Making of a Good One." It is a twinned piece. One aspect concerns JB's thoughts on teaching, comparing his experiences with Shelly's, who by that point was a beloved English instructor at St. Timothy's School in Stevenson, Maryland. The second woven strand was the story of their affair, which began with JB still very much, if unhappily, married. Shelly, "bright eyes, bright smile, nifty orange wool miniskirted dress, beige boots," single and a decade-plus his junior, attended a Boston College reading that JB gave one snowy night. After reintroducing herself—she had been a student of his at Penn State—she slipped a boot into a closing elevator door as JB was being whisked to a private reception and invited herself on the ride upstairs. JB's host, a Jesuit priest, made no objection. After some major flirtation, JB, Shelly, and the aforementioned Jesuit went to a snowy dinner of champagne and oysters. Once the priest had excused himself, Shelly and JB retired to the Charterhouse Motel. The next morning, JB called his host: "No need to fetch me to the airport this morning, Father; I have a ride, thanks."</p> <p>A few months after publication of the <em>Harper's</em> piece I received a long envelope from my grandmother. Inside I found an article clipped carefully from her <em>Reader's Digest</em>. It was a reprint of the <em>Harper's</em> piece, helpfully retitled "Teacher, Teacher!" The piece was illustrated with a drawing of a young and professorial type standing at a chalkboard and noting a comely student, sweatersetted and wool-skirted, ardently raising her hand. In the interest of brevity, no doubt, all reference to miniskirts, champagne, oysters, the Charterhouse Motel, and a hitched ride upstairs with a Jesuit priest had been omitted.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Barth & Barthomania</strong></p> <p>At the beginning of the graduate semester, JB would arrive at the seminar room, Gilman 38, carrying his briefcase, which was sufficiently capacious to hold one manila folder, one sleeve of small plastic cups, and two bottles of sparkling wine. Before any business was done, JB uncorked the wine, poured it into the cups, and passed them around. There was just enough in the two bottles for 13 souls to raise a toast.</p> <p>The last class of our semester together was held at JB and Shelly's house on North Charles Street. Again there was sparkling wine for the 13 of us. In later years, JB would invite Stephen Dixon and me to a lunch at the Johns Hopkins Club at the end of each academic year, where he would start by ordering a bottle of fizz, the necessary way, he felt, to celebrate. The first time I was invited to one of these lunches, I met JB in the Gilman hallway outside his office. "Tris," he said to me, smiling benevolently. "You look like you're dressed for a tenure meeting." When Stephen Dixon arrived moments later, he yanked the carefully arranged white handkerchief from the breast pocket of my blazer and pretended to sneeze in it.</p> <p>Once I rode down to Washington, D.C., to hear JB give a reading. It was a packed house. At the back, a woman stood beside me holding a yellow bumper sticker:<br /> JOHN BARTH LOVES US<br /> MARYLAND SOCIETY FOR BARTHOMANIA</p> <p>They had a membership, she told me. They had meetings and they had a newsletter. JB had invited me to have a drink at a hotel across the street after he'd finished signing books. When I got there, I found him seated at a low table in the lounge, surrounded by six or seven other admiring Barthomaniacs, including the woman I'd met at the reading. Like good graduate students, they all had their books out. There was a bottle of champagne, bought by JB in gratitude, standing on the table.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Teacher & Writer</strong></p> <p>JB wears, and to my knowledge has always worn, eyeglasses. In an early high school photo of him performing with his jazz combo, which included his sister, Jill, on piano, he sits elevated behind his drum kit wearing a heavy pair. There are the jacket photos and the publicity photos, always bespectacled. The lens sizes grow and the lens sizes shrink, but they never shift fundamentally from horned rim. I cannot remember a single instance when I ever saw him without them. He didn't push them up to his forehead for a better glance at a manuscript or, more likely, to squeeze his eye sockets in frustration.</p> <p>Once, in a meeting with him in his office, the old Gilman 137, I sat in something like a captain's chair, aside the desk JB sat behind. As we talked, my own glasses slipped down my nose. Unthinking, I raised the middle finger of my right hand to scoot them back to their seat, realizing immediately but too late, such was JB's attention during these meetings, the error I had made. Only a moment later, JB raised his own right hand and extended a long index finger, then pressed it to the bridge of his own eyeglasses. It was rebuke and instruction, consolation and kidding. Rarely to this day do I forefinger my glasses back up my nose without remembering it.</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Typewriters & Drum Kits</strong></p> <p>Occasionally, a departmental half-letter would appear taped to the door of JB's office. Once, it advertised a manual typewriter for sale. Lacking one, I purchased it. When I opened it, I realized that it had belonged to Shelly, as it had her name and a Philadelphia address written in thick indelible marker inside the lid. It was in immaculate condition with a fresh ribbon. Another time, there was an advertisement for a bed frame. That, I believe, was free. Finally, there appeared one day, as always in JB's unmistakable hand, an advertisement for the sale of a drum kit.</p> <p>I later asked Shelly about the final disposition of the drums, and she told me that a nice young kid, just learning to play, had purchased them. I don't know for certain, but I think I can imagine the sort of kit it would have been: a jazz kit and very simple, with, of course, a high hat and a snare; two cymbals, crash and ride; two hanging tom-toms; a bass drum and a floor tom. That kit might very well be the one JB hauled with him to Juilliard, maybe even the one he played onstage with his combo in high school. If so, it seems a terrible loss that it not be part of the John and Shelly Barth collection at the Eisenhower Library. I'd have it on permanent display somewhere central in the Brody Learning Commons, preferably in a clear Perspex box. The title would be: <em>Follow Your Dreams/Don't Let Your Dreams Mislead You.</em></p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Teacher & Writer 2</strong></p> <p>Once, I had the chance to introduce a reading by JB. I did a little counterfactual conditional and proposed that, in some parallel world, had JB not been a writer of such fame, he'd be known equally well for his teaching. I was wrong, of course. JB's fiction will be read and admired long after we are all gone. A teacher's career is written on water. "As a student, for better or worse, I was never personally close to my teachers; as a teacher, I've never been personally close to my students," he wrote in the <em>Harper's</em> piece about Shelly. He eulogized John Hawkes "as an intense, convivial, time-generous, impassioned mentor-coach," almost suggesting the sharp contrast. Though he gladly spent the majority of his life involved in academia, when, at age 60, he retired (for the first time), he registered little regret to be leaving the seminar room. Though, of course, he did return.</p> <p>One of those seminar days, JB entered Gilman 38 to find three slate chalkboards covered with cochlear swirls and amateurish stick figures. In that time, Contemporary American Letters read the works of the faculty, and <em>Chimera</em> was on the syllabus. Earlier in the day one of the TAs had taken it on himself to graphically explain the book for his class. JB paused by the board for a long moment. He turned to us and, raising a finger, said, "So <em>that's</em> what it means!"</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Fiction & Fact</strong></p> <p>One afternoon, I shuttled over to East Baltimore to hear JB give a reading in the Turner Auditorium. I don't recall exactly the occasion, except that it was a full house and most likely organized by Richard Macksey, the colleague of JB's whose shared Hopkins experience stretched from graduate work to the faculty. After his reading, JB invited questions. One came from an older woman wearing a tweed suit. She observed that the novels often came in pairs, that JB himself was a twin, and that much of his writing had to do with the Chesapeake Bay, where he came from and by way of similar circumstances to those he wrote of often. What she wanted to know, putting a final point to it, was: Wasn't this all a little autobiographical?</p> <p>After the last of the well-wishers and book-signees had departed, JB and I met at the back of the auditorium and headed out together.</p> <p>"Doesn't that drive you <em>mad</em>?!" I offered helpfully. "Those naïve questions about autobiography?" He patted my shoulder and smiled. "Tris, I find it best not to bite the hand that feeds me."</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Mason & Dixon</strong></p> <p>In 1997, Thomas Pynchon, a writer often mentioned in the same breath as JB but one who practices in a different orbit altogether, published <em>Mason & Dixon</em>. The novel was noted for its pastiche of 18th-century literary diction, ground covered long before in JB's masterly novel <em>The Sot-Weed Factor</em>. Further, the Mason-Dixon Line, boxing as it does on two sides JB's Tidewater, has forever been an object of fascination for JB. "The Mason-Dixon Line," he has often observed, "runs east and west, but also north and south." Around the time of the publication of Pynchon's novel, I remember heading to a dinner at the Hopkins Club with JB and our guest that evening, fellow alum Russell Baker. As we walked along the President's Garden, I asked JB, "Doesn't Pynchon's book and all its attention bother you, as if this were the first time an American novelist had considered this particular geography or ventured to write an entire novel within its idiom?" "No, Tris, not at all," he replied. "In fact, just recently Pynchon was kind enough to send me an inscribed copy. He wrote: 'To John Barth: Been there, done that.'"</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Coda</strong></p> <p>For the Writing Seminars 40th anniversary celebration, among the invited readers was JB's student Mary Robison, for whom JB gave a warm and celebratory introduction. "I love that man," she said when she climbed the stage. "But I've never been able to tell him that I pronounce my name <em>Rah-bi-son</em>, not <em>Robe-i-son</em>." The crowd laughed and JB smiled kindly, corrected. And we thought: We love him, too. Still do.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Does the militarization of American police help them serve and protect? <p>Kara Dansky spent the better part of the fall of 2014 talking about assault rifles, armored vehicles, and forced-entry tools. As senior counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union Center for Justice, Dansky, A&S '94, is the primary author of <em>War Comes Home: The Excessive Militarization of American Policing</em>, an ACLU report released last summer. It provides a succinct introduction to how the federal government has supplied American police forces with military weaponry for the past 30 years and how that equipment is being used today. She talked about the report online and in television and radio news programs. She wrote about its findings in op-eds for <em>The New York Times</em> and She discussed it in a series of posts on the ACLU's <em>Blog of Rights</em>.</p> <p>But it took a major news event for the report to get noticed. It came out last June, but it wasn't until Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, on August 9, 2014, that mainstream media started calling. The police response to the peaceful protests that followed Brown's shooting shoved the militarization of American police forces into the national spotlight thanks to images of officers in full battle dress pointing assault rifles at unarmed citizens.</p> <p>"People wanted to know how this could happen in America," Dansky says during an interview at her Washington office in December. Prior to Ferguson, Dansky says initial press interest was about police forces having, say, mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles, aka MRAPs. "We were very careful to explain that, from our perspective, the militarization of policing has been happening in black communities to fight the war on drugs for decades. It's a systemic problem, it's not just a handful of MRAPs. And then Ferguson happened, and everybody was like, <em>Oh, that's what you mean</em>. So the conversation shifted from MRAPs to, <em>How can this happen in America?</em>"</p> <p><em>War Comes Home</em> provides a brief outline that answers that question. The ACLU has long examined incidents of excessive force and discriminatory policing tactics, and during her 2012–14 
tenure at the ACLU, Dansky says the organization kept hearing anecdotal stories of SWAT raids gone wrong—pets killed, children injured, people killed—and decided to seek raw data about such deployments. In March 2013, the ACLU submitted public records requests to more than 260 law enforcement agencies in 25 states and the District of Columbia for incident reports and supplemental records documenting SWAT deployments for 2011 and 2012; by September 2013, the ACLU had received 3,844 records.</p> <p>As background to understanding that data, Dansky and her ACLU colleagues researched the growth of SWAT teams in U.S. police forces, from the first one created in late 1960s Los Angeles, and looked into the federal programs that provide military equipment and in some cases incentivize its use by law enforcement agencies. In 1981, President Ronald Reagan's administration prompted Congress to pass the Military Cooperation with Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies Act. The legislation permitted U.S. military collaboration with civilian law enforcement in the growing war on drugs, including the sharing of information and facilities and training on and use of military equipment.</p> <p>The National Defense Authorization Act of 1990 authorized the Department of Defense to transfer military equipment to law enforcement agencies "for use in counterdrug activities." This program led to the Department of Defense Excess Property Program (aka the 1033 Program). That one was created under President Bill Clinton by the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 1997, and it authorized surplus military equipment to be sent to law enforcement agencies for, as the act states, "use in counternarcotics and counterterrorism operations, and to enhance officer safety."</p> <p>These pipelines put military weapons into the hands of civilian cops. The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program, authorized by the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 and reorganized in 2005, provided a monetary incentive for their use in anti-drug policing. Funding, which comes out of the Department of Justice, may incentivize arrests for low-level drug offenses and other ineffective crime-reduction strategies. Byrne funds can be used for a variety of services, but a 2014 AlterNet report documents an overwhelming majority going toward anti-drug policing.</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <p>The number of federal agencies, offices, or departments that gather incident report data about SWAT deployments is zero.</p> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p>All these programs and acts were expanded following 9/11, a development that is discussed in the background of the ACLU report. The ACLU looked specifically at two years of data about SWAT deployments from about 255 law enforcement agencies. The graphics on the accompanying pages spotlight some of the report's findings—for example, that an overwhelming majority of SWAT deployments are to serve search warrants, a scenario for which SWAT teams were not created nor intended, and the majority of those warrants are drug search warrants served to people of color. This provides a snapshot of how SWAT teams use federal criminal justice money and the weaponry obtained from the Department of Defense. But the stat that should provide the most pause is but an estimate: There are more than 17,000 autonomous law enforcement agencies in the United States. Of those, an estimated 80 percent have SWAT teams. Collectively, those SWAT teams are estimated to be deployed between 50,000 and 80,000 times per year. And the reason those stats are qualified as "estimated" is that the number of federal agencies, offices, or departments that gather incident report data about SWAT deployments is zero.</p> <p>"People are really shocked by the lack of data," Dansky says, pointing out that the data the ACLU received varied in consistency and depth, revealing that even at the local level there is no standard protocol for documenting deployment. "I think the events of Ferguson and the non-indictments in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases have shone a light on a problem that has deep roots and goes far back," she continues. "People in the [criminal justice] field have been complaining for a very long time about overpolicing in mainly black neighborhoods—particularly aggressive policing, specifically to wage the failed and wasteful war on drugs—and mass incarceration, which is basically our nation's addiction to locking up people in jails and prisons instead of providing constructive solutions. But those issues have not been on the radar of mainstream America for decades. Now, people are talking about these issues in a really constructive way."</p> <p>She mentions a lawmaker in Pittsburgh who introduced legislation to prohibit the Pittsburgh police department from applying to the Pentagon for military equipment, some North Carolina counties that held public forums to talk about how citizens want policing performed in their communities, and a few communities that have sent their MRAPs back to the Pentagon. The federal government has started to address the oversight of these programs as well. In September, Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri addressed the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs about these federal programs. A Senate Armed Services Hearing that month that reviewed these programs revealed that DOD, DOJ, and the Department of Homeland Security don't talk to one another about the money and equipment that go to police departments, which is ostensibly being addressed. And in December, President Barack Obama's office issued a report about these programs and gave his administration 120 days to develop an executive order that includes substantive reforms.</p> <p>Obama's report was the first top-down evaluation of the 1033 Program in 20 years; Americans who are poor and/or of color have lived on the frontlines of America's drug wars since the 1980s, and the ACLU report presents a correlation between the militarized police forces—which a small cadre of academic researchers has been documenting since the 1980s—and the preventive policing of the drug war as de facto urban policy driving how law enforcement agencies interact with and consider themselves in the communities in which they operate. Both are in need of radical reassessment and reform.</p> <p>"I think a lot of the public doesn't even know we're still fighting the war on drugs," says Dansky, who is now special adviser to the director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. "I think the public is weary of it and is tired of spending money on it. And I think people are really tired of seeing drugs as an evil that needs to be combated with the criminal justice system and specifically with weapons made for combat.</p> <p>"People don't want their neighborhoods to be treated like war zones," she continues. "And the people are already demanding change."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Personalizing health care through big data <p>Ask biostatistician Scott Zeger about the revolutionary changes he sees on the horizon for medicine, and the first thing he does is rewind to the 1600s. Medicine then was mostly a primitive matter of luck and guesswork. Every doctor had his own theories about what worked and why, and none of those theories was based on anything we would call science. "What they did back then was closer to the barbering profession than what we think of today as medicine," Zeger says. Then came the microscope. As the 17th and 18th centuries progressed, scientists in the fields of microbiology, immunology, and other emerging fields could observe biological processes in greater and greater detail. For the first time, they could develop and disseminate observation-derived knowledge about the inner workings of the human body. Discoveries piled one atop another—red blood cells, spermatozoa, microorganisms, and many more. In Zeger's telling, these discoveries gave birth to modern medicine. By the mid-1800s, doctoring had left its barbering days behind and become a recognizably modern endeavor. What had been all luck and guesswork now was built on a foundation of biological science.</p> <p>What Zeger, who served as Johns Hopkins' vice provost for research from 2008 to 2014, sees on the horizon today are onrushing changes that will add up to a second revolution as dramatic and encompassing as the first. "What we're talking about here is the transformation of medicine," he says. "The biomedical sciences have been the pillar of the health care system for a long time now. The new system will have two equal pillars—the biomedical sciences and the data sciences."</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <p>"What we're talking about here is the transformation of medicine." – Scott Zeger</p> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p>By the latter, Zeger means "big data." Big data, it seems, is going to be a big deal. Especially at Hopkins, where Zeger directs the Johns Hopkins Individualized Health Initiative, meant to ensure that the institution plays a major role in this coming revolution, if that is what it proves to be. Known in institutional (and typographical) shorthand as <em>in</em>Health, the effort is one of five signature initiatives in the seven-year, $4.5 billion Rising to the Challenge capital campaign that began in 2010. In a May 2013 news release, the university described <em>in</em>Health: "Physicians, scientists, engineers, and information experts will help doctors customize treatment for each patient by connecting and analyzing huge databases of clinical information, plus new data sources such as DNA sequences, methylation analyses, RNA expression levels, protein structures, and high-tech images." A survey of its website reveals <em>in</em>Health participants from Johns Hopkins Medicine; the Hopkins schools of Medicine, Public Health, Engineering, Arts and Sciences, and Nursing; Carey Business School; the Berman Institute of Bioethics; the Applied Physics Laboratory; and Johns Hopkins HealthCare.</p> <p>Hopkins researchers have already launched multidisciplinary <em>in</em>Health pilot projects to test concepts in several areas of medicine. Zeger is not much interested in running an enterprise that contributes mostly theories and predictions. "You can talk about big ideas until you're blue in the face and not really get anywhere," he says. "This initiative is all about us getting out there and doing these demo projects. Then we'll be able to point to actual results and say, 'See, this is the sort of thing that can happen when the data sciences and the biomedical sciences work more closely together.'"</p> <p>To qualify as "big" in the sense that information scientists use the term, a dataset must reach a level of size and complexity that it becomes a challenge to store, process, and analyze by standard computational methods. This threshold changes constantly. Researchers Martin Hilbert and Priscila López estimated in 2011 that per capita computing capacity has been doubling every 40 months since the 1980s. The first time a human genome was decoded, processing the 3 billion "letters" of genetic code took a decade. That was in 2000. Fifteen years later, a human genome can be decoded in less than a day. Some of today's big datasets will no longer qualify as big a few years down the road. However one defines it, big data has been slow to arrive in medicine. One problem has been a lack of <em>functional</em> data. Clunky, old-fashioned ways of keeping records have hung around as standard practice. Paper charts have survived into the 21st century. When records have made it onto computers, they've often done so in formats that information sciences cannot do much with—audio dictation of patient exam notes or lab results stored as PDFs made from barely legible faxes, for example.</p> <p>Three things have catalyzed the embrace of big data by medicine. First was the 2009 American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, which created financial incentives for physicians to adopt electronic health records. By mid-2014, 75 percent of eligible doctors and 92 percent of eligible hospitals had signed on for the incentives. Second, complex new sources of data, such as the aforementioned protein structures and RNA expression levels, along with an array of advanced imaging technologies, have come into play. To use them requires sophisticated new biotechnology capabilities. Finally, there is the changing nature of health care as a business. To keep costs down and improve patient outcomes, health care reformers are looking to transform the business model of medicine into one where the bottom line is based not on volume of services but on efficiency and health outcomes. Looking ahead, Zeger says, this change will place a premium in medical practice on the type of intensive, outcomes-oriented database mining that has been so successful in the world of online commerce, where the data-tracking practices of Amazon and Google are the most-cited examples.</p> <p>"There are going to be new financial realities in our health care system," Zeger says. "The days when we all could get by without being 'Google-esque' in our analytics are just about gone."</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div> Back in 1991, a prescient Johns Hopkins rheumatologist named Fred Wigley decided to play a little long ball. As he and co-founder Robert Wise developed a vision for the fledgling Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center, they found themselves pondering the uselessness of so much data kept on this rare autoimmune disease. "Different doctors might have 20 patients here or 50 patients there or 100 patients somewhere else," Wigley recalls. Different doctors were "collecting their own individual kinds of data, and they were storing it in their own individual ways." Almost no data were being collected with prospective and longitudinal approaches, he adds.</p> <p>One of the many ways scleroderma can make life miserable is by a painful tightening of the skin. In the early 1990s, one physician might be tracking that phenomenon by its location in the body—is the tightening in the fingers, the forearms, or both? Another physician might focus not on location but on severity, with no record of where the tightness occurred. Wigley and Wise decided to take a different approach at their new center. They set a protocol in which the same clinical measurements would be taken and the same biological samples collected from every patient. They wanted the Scleroderma Center to pioneer the development of a useful longitudinal database that would allow them to make the most of new technologies and discoveries as they arrived in the years to come. Wigley expected that, at a minimum, it would help future researchers take retrospective looks through the data in search of the natural course and distinct patterns of the disease. "At a place like Hopkins, you're always looking at the history of medicine and seeing discoveries and how things are always changing," Wigley says. "When we started collecting this information, we definitely had the idea that in the future we'd probably run into some new things to do with it."</p> <p>Twenty-four years later, Wigley's longitudinal database encompasses more than 3,200 patients and 18,000 individual visits to the center. "For a rare disease like this—it only affects about 300,000 people in the country—those are big numbers," says Laura Hummers, a rheumatologist and co-director of the center. "That's really what put us in a position to be a part of <em>in</em>Health—we have this rare, complicated disease, but we have really good longitudinal data. That's the sort of situation where maybe we can create a model for how this might work in other rare diseases."</p> <p>The database is at the heart of an <em>in</em>Health pilot program that recently won National Science Foundation backing to the tune of four years and $1.4 million. The goal of the project (branded as <em>in</em>ADM for "individualized autoimmune disease management") is to find in that database a better understanding of which patients are headed along which of scleroderma's trajectories. Autoimmune diseases tend to be unpredictable disorders that can take a variety of different trajectories, from mild and slow to devastating and fast. Scleroderma is just such an illness, presenting differently across different patients. Some develop pulmonary hypertension; others don't. Some show active skin disease throughout; others don't. It can cause trouble with a patient's esophagus, blood vessels, kidneys, and bowels. But there is generally no way to predict which troubles will arise in which cases and how serious they will be. "It can be hard for a physician, even one who sees as many cases as we do here, to decide how to proceed with any individual patient," Hummers says.</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <p>Back in 1991, a prescient Johns Hopkins rheumatologist named Fred Wigley decided to play a little long ball.</p> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Consider just one effect: decline of lung function. For most scleroderma patients, pulmonary function is relatively stable and becomes an issue only during significant physical exertion. But one in 10 patients suffers from a rapid buildup of scar tissue in the lungs, causing intense shortness of breath that makes the simplest of day-to-day activities a challenge. "We have medicines that can help in preventing the progression of lung decline," Hummers says. "But those medicines are toxic and we don't want to give them to everyone, just to the people who need them. But right now what we have are lots of people who start out looking the same. We can't pick out the ones who are headed for rapid lung decline until it happens."</p> <p>Suchi Saria, an assistant professor of computer science in the Whiting School who also holds an appointment in health policy at the Bloomberg School, will be looking to solve that conundrum—and others like it—once she loads all of the Wigley data, cleans it up as best she can, and commences trying to find ways to use it for more reliable predictions. She is collaborating with Wigley and other investigators at the Scleroderma Center to study how to identify scleroderma subtypes or homogeneous patient subgroups. Then, they will study whether we can predict an individual's disease course as early as possible by inferring their subtype. "Our early results have uncovered that there is not one but many different subtypes," she says. "When looking at lung function alone, we see that some patients stay stable, others decline throughout their course, and yet others show rapid early decline but stabilize. We also see some patients who are stable for the most part but then surprisingly show rapid decline late in their course. These patterns allow us to ask why different individuals show these different disease trajectories."</p> <p>Saria notes that working to develop models means "doing a deep dive to really understand all the ways in which the data are messy. To build robust models, we must deeply understand the data and how they were collected. If you aren't careful with data like this, it can be highly dangerous. It can lead you to conclusions that just aren't right." Her team has realized they need to carefully understand protocols that guide what data get recorded, and the ways in which errors can occur. "For example, we noticed from our analysis that many patients seemed to not be receiving adequate therapeutic interventions prior to 2003. Well, turns out, they'd switched to a new computerized physician order entry system in 2003, so medication data prior to that were recorded in paper charts and only selectively uploaded to the database." More danger spots: Because of improvements in technology, are data from 1997 less precise or reliable than comparable data from 2014? Can a predictive model account for the possibility that some patients made six clinical visits over 10 years while others came in 40 times over six years? What about the fact that different patients received different treatments over the course of their visits? Will it be possible to unconfound those treatment effects and drill down to the point where researchers are confident they can see what the innate course of the disease would have been in the absence of treatment? "There are some things we are looking at here where we will need to develop new methods," Saria says. "We just don't have some of the tools to do some of these things now. There is a gap in terms of current computational and statistical approaches and what is needed to fully embrace the messiness of electronic health records data. We think we're at a stage where we can really make progress on these goals, and in our scleroderma work we're already starting to see early promising results."</p> <p>As useful as new predictive tools might be for physicians at the Johns Hopkins Scleroderma Center, they could be even more beneficial in the field, where scleroderma patients are rare and physicians never have a chance to gain significant experience in treating them. Says Zeger, "What we're looking to do is take that special brand of experience and intuition that the best doctors have and turn it into something that has a scientific foundation based in data and can eventually form useful, effective practice tools that we can put in the hands of clinicians here and around the country and the world." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> In 2013, the American Urological Association revised its guidelines for prostate cancer screening, taking aim at two problems associated with prostate-specific antigen tests. One is false positives that put families through unnecessary cancer scares. The other is a phenomenon doctors call overdiagnosis. Counterintuitive as it might seem amid so much emphasis on early detection across all types of cancer, there are times when people would be better off not knowing. Between 20 and 50 percent of the tumors diagnosed under the old prostate-specific antigen test guidelines would never have grown big enough to be a problem during a patient's lifetime. But at this point, doctors are unable to predict which tumors will turn out to be slow-growing—and the result is a good number of men are receiving treatments with significant side effects for tumors that would never have caused problems. Previously, the American Urological Association recommended that prostate-specific antigen testing be a routine part of annual physicals for men over age 40. The new guidelines call for no testing for men younger than 55 or older than 70 and at a normal level of risk. For those at normal risk in between those ages, prostate-specific antigen testing is an option for patients to consider, but not one that comes recommended as routine. For those who decide to get tested, the American Urological Association also recommends a two-year interval between tests, as opposed to the previous one-year interval.</p> <p>These changes caused quite a bit of confusion in the primary care community, and that confusion soon drew the attention of the <em>in</em>Health team working to develop pilot projects that aim to optimize cancer screening for the 275,000 people covered by insurance through Johns Hopkins. (Their project has been dubbed <em>in</em>CAS—individualized cancer screening.) They began looking at whether and how experts at the Kimmel Cancer Center might reach out to the network of Hopkins primary care doctors and help with prostate-cancer screening decisions—and, perhaps, screening decisions for other cancers as well.</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <p>In surveying the landscape ahead they soon realized that they were at square one.</p> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p>To understand the scope of the prostate confusion, cancer researcher Craig Pollack surveyed providers in the Johns Hopkins Community Physicians network. Responses to the new screening recommendations ranged from, "It's about time," to, "How dare they!" to, "Yay on this but nay on that." A good number of doctors basically said they planned to ignore the new guidelines. "The results were eye-opening," says Johns Hopkins epidemiologist Elizabeth Platz. "The resistance to guidelines that were based on a review of all the available evidence—essentially, some of these doctors seemed to be saying that they don't believe the research."</p> <p>Platz leads the <em>in</em>CAS team, which includes epidemiologists, biostatisticians and other cancer researchers, practicing physicians, and health care executives. In surveying the landscape ahead as the initiative got off the ground, they soon realized that they were at square one in the effort to bring big data to bear on cancer-screening decisions. Reliable data weren't available to answer some rather fundamental questions: How many Hopkins-insured persons follow current recommendations for cancer screening? How many are getting screened at all? Which cancers are they getting screened for, and at what intervals?</p> <p>The <em>in</em>CAS team is working toward a day when longitudinal data exists on every cancer-screening step taken in those quarter of a million Hopkins-insured lives, from the first screening straight through to whether patients ever receive a cancer diagnosis and, if so, their outcomes. They are looking not just at prostate cancer but at colorectal, breast, lung, and cervical cancers as well. "There is a need to do better, and that need is all across the spectrum of cancers," says Johns Hopkins urologist H. Ballentine Carter. "But until we know where we are, it's going to be hard to know where to go next."</p> <p>A second survey of Johns Hopkins Community Physicians is underway, this one for colon cancer screenings. In addition, <em>in</em>CAS researchers are working with Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute researchers as they conduct a series of focus groups with people in East Baltimore who should have had a colonoscopy by now but have not. What's stopping them? Is it fear of the procedure? Is it logistical problems, like not having access to a ride home afterward? Is it more complicated, like being homeless and having nowhere to do the bowel-emptying prep work? (One focus group is specifically reserved for the homeless.) "We need to figure out what we're doing in cancer screening and then we need to think about how to do it better and more consistently," Platz says.</p> <p>Looking ahead, Platz says the <em>in</em>CAS team hopes to develop new clinical tools that help physicians and patients make cancer-screening decisions. Pollack recently submitted a grant application with the nonprofit Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute that would allow him to work with software experts on the design of a preliminary prototype for just such a practice aid.</p> <p>Over at the Brady Urological Institute, Carter is looking forward to the day when all this work of constructing a big data infrastructure in cancer screening is complete. He is hopeful that the database will hold the key that helps solve the problem of overdiagnosis in prostate cancer once and for all. "I think that this data-driven approach that is constantly looking at outcomes will really help us, over time, understand which prostate cancer patients can be safely monitored and when patients need to be treated," Carter says. "This is where we should be headed, toward a process where we learn more about the population as a whole from studying individuals, and then we learn more about the individual from studying the populations. That's a process that can continuously renourish itself in terms of knowledge." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> The Institute of Medicine began to publish papers a few years ago that argued the time had come for health care to embrace systems engineering to manage ever-increasing complexity and change. In 2012, Alan Ravitz took charge of a team from the Applied Physics Laboratory that collaborated with the Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality to take a systems approach to reducing medical errors in intensive care units. The Armstrong group defined the "as-is" state of patient safety in the ICU and worked with the APL team to develop concepts for a "to-be" ICU where medical errors would be reduced through the integration of technology and workflows. The team set about employing the hallmarks of systems engineering, an array of brainstorming, planning, and decision-making processes that have been used to help a number of other industries take steps forward in the areas of efficiency, safety, and quality. Ravitz, a health care program area manager at APL, soon realized the processes that were so familiar and time-tested to engineers came as a surprise to health care professionals. "On numerous occasions we heard comments such as, 'We normally do not get asked what we want our new systems to do, how they should function, and what they shouldn't do,'" he wrote in a 2013 essay about the project in <em>APL Technical Digest</em>.</p> <p>Nevertheless, says Zeger, "systems engineering is going to play a really key role in what we do with <em>in</em>Health. These engineers are going to help us make sure that innovations end up producing the desired outcomes in the wards and in the labs. Too often in medicine, new things mainly succeed in just adding another layer of complexity to a workplace." APL engineers have begun work on <em>in</em>CAR, which aims to re-engineer the way things are done in the cardiac catheterization lab. The cath lab can be a pressure-packed place. Clinicians performing a catheterization guide a tube through an artery from a patient's groin to the heart, gauging their progress on a video screen that shows all the major blood vessels to the heart. At the same time, instruments at the tip of the catheter measure the blood pressure in each of the heart's chambers and connecting vessels, inspect the interior of the blood vessels, and take blood and tissue samples from various places inside the heart.</p> <p>Systems engineer John Benson took part in initial meetings last summer between the APL team and some cardiac clinicians. "The first step is to work with clinicians to understand the problem space," Benson says. "How, exactly, are they doing things today? And how, exactly, do they want to be doing things tomorrow?" Benson points out that many cath lab decisions must be made under pressure during the procedure, and the data that doctors need to make good decisions can be spread out in different parts of the system, a complication that means they don't always have ready access to everything they need. What systems engineers do in such a case is unwrap a problem like that in great detail. What is the workflow in the lab? Who takes in which pieces of information and where do they put them? Can that system be improved, and if so, how?</p> <p>"John and I have seen up close over the years how this approach has been a remarkable success in the aviation industry, in ground transportation, and in defense systems," Ravitz says. "The notion of constantly learning from real world experience in order to improve future performance is a routine thing now in those industries. We believe that there are going to be numerous opportunities to take these approaches and use them to improve outcomes and efficiencies in health care." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> If there is one place at Johns Hopkins where big data medicine is close to up and running, it's radiation oncology. A pilot project there called Oncospace is on the way to demonstrating what <em>in</em>Health advocates call a "learning health system." The brainchild of radiation oncology physicist Todd McNutt, Oncospace is a database of diagnostic 3-D images of tumors from thousands of past patients with head and neck, prostate, or pancreatic cancers. These images are matched to a wide range of data about those patients—anatomy, comorbidities, radiation dose distribution, treatment side effects, case outcomes, and more.</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <p>The database is more accurate and comprehensive than anyone's individual memory.</p> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Traditionally, a radiation oncologist studies images from a cancer and then fashions a plan of attack based on his or her experience with and memory of similar cases. With Oncospace, that's only the first step. The second step is tapping the database to test-drive a draft treatment plan. As described by Zeger, Oncospace allows oncologists to study documented outcomes of similar treatment plans with similar patients in the past. They can also explore the efficacy of potential alternatives. The database is more accurate and comprehensive than anyone's individual memory. Early tests in both head and neck and pancreatic cancers have found that using Oncospace boosts the effectiveness and safety of radiation regimens. "Todd's work on this is really one of the first demonstrations of how we can develop large data warehouses of patient information and use it to make individualized treatment decisions for new patients," says Theodore deWeese, chair of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences at Johns Hopkins.</p> <p>Zeger says the vision is for Oncospace to grow in exponential fashion. McNutt and his colleagues are now putting a new database together for lung cancer, a disease where radiation planning tends to be much more complicated than in other cancers. Zeger anticipates that Oncospace will eventually extend its reach to any cancer where radiation is commonly used in therapy. Growth will also come through the development of outside partnerships. Hopkins oncologists see only about 250 head-and-neck cancers a year, McNutt says, but the Oncospace initiative is now partnering with the University of Washington and the University of Toronto so that cases from those institutions are added to the database. The more patients in the system, the stronger the database will perform. Zeger says that he expects to see more of these partnerships take shape in the years ahead.</p> <p>Amazon and Google learn about people's likes and habits from each new keystroke they make on a computer. So, too, physicians can learn from each treatment's outcome as recorded in a database. "That's a big principle in this project—the idea of embedding scientific inquiry into clinical care in ways that are systematized and powerful," Zeger says. "We want to be in a position where we are constantly capturing data about which decisions are producing the best outcomes for which subsets of patients."</p> <p>The analogy Zeger and other big data proponents turn to most often in talking about the future is that of an air traffic controller. The idea is to picture each patient as a plane flying through the various ups and downs of life. The information sciences promise to give clinicians powerful new tools akin to the radar used by traffic controllers to see where any one plane is headed and then help that plane steer clear of traffic, turbulence, storms, and other dangers. There is a lot of talk about "health trajectories" in <em>in</em>Health circles. Providers using big-data tools in the decades ahead may have better answers to questions that are often unanswerable today. Is a particular cancer dangerous, or will it likely be slow growing and thus safe to monitor without treatment? Is a newly diagnosed case of lupus one that will eventually present life-threatening kidney problems? Which is the best intervention for a specific cardiac patient? Carter says, "What we're trying to do here is learn more and more about where our patients are headed—their individual trajectories. We want to understand more clearly the risks they face and see, on that individual level, how and why one person's risks are different from another's."</p> <p>In talking up <em>in</em>Health, Zeger likes to point out that this notion of human disease as an individualized phenomenon is not a new concept. He makes regular use of a quote that dates back to the early days of academic medicine in this country. It's from a speech that Sir William Osler, the founding physician-in-chief of Johns Hopkins Hospital, gave to the New Haven Medical Association in 1903. "Variability is the law of life," Osler said. "As no two faces are the same, so no two bodies are alike, and no two individuals react alike and behave alike under the abnormal conditions which we know as disease." The big data future is all about turning Osler's observation into a scientific discipline—one capable of utilizing information sciences and putting powerful new tools in the hands of physicians.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Thousands of American prisoners spend 23 hours a day in solitary confinement <p>Gabriel Eber has no shortage of macabre tales of life inside the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, a notoriously violent and chaotic men's prison on the outskirts of Meridian. Assaults (staff on inmate, inmate on inmate) are frequent. According to accounts, cells are infested with rats that crawl over prisoners; some inmates tie leashes to the rodents and sell them to the mentally ill as pets. Men are kept in small, unsanitary isolation cells with scant human attention for months and years. Self-mutilation and suicide attempts are not uncommon.</p> <p>But words alone, Eber says, can't bring home the facility's gruesome conditions. "I can show you a video of what I'm talking about, and I have some pictures," says Eber, dressed in a loose-fitting dark suit as he sits in his cramped Washington office at the American Civil Liberties Union. He clicks open a file to show footage shot by the private corporation that now manages the prison. Two corrections officers stand outside a cell in one of the EMCF's isolation units. (One such unit is known to inmates as the "dead zone" or "dead man's zone.") The officers are here for an unknown reason, perhaps to respond to a medical emergency, but if so, Eber says, they are already too late. One hears garbled shouts from other unit inmates, intermixed with a rhythmic, buzzing cacophony of machinery. The man inside, Eber says, suffers from asthma, which has likely worsened due to pepper spray in the air. Corrections officers routinely spray through a cell door's tray slot if the inmate refuses to close it. Inmates often leave the slots open as a cry for help to receive medical attention, food, or a shower, and such defiant acts are common. Some inmates flood their cells by cramming whatever they can into a toilet, or use damaged electrical sockets to set fire to their mattresses. Some cut themselves.</p> <p>Eventually the door opens, revealing a tall, thin 40-year-old African-American man, hunched over with one hand on a wall splattered with blood. Eber conjectures the blood might be a symptom of forceful or long-term coughing. On the floor lie "fishing lines," a rudimentary mechanism for prisoners to pass messages or contraband—matches, a razor, a piece of glass—back and forth. Out of the cell now, the man coughs and shows signs of wheezing. After a few wobbly steps, he collapses. A sliver of pink phlegm shoots from his mouth. A small cadre of prison medical staff, yards away, looks on.</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <p>He tells people to ask themselves this: What kind of person do you want leaving prison?</p> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Cell visits in isolation units don't have to be so cruel, says Eber, SPH '02, a senior staff counsel with the ACLU's National Prison Project. The project investigates the nation's prisons and jails and advocates for compliance with the U.S. Constitution, domestic law, and international human rights principles. The investigators assert that prison inmates should be guaranteed proper medical and mental health care and basic human decency. There's no justification, Eber says, for intentional abandonment so that medical symptoms or pre-existing conditions go untreated or receive only rudimentary attention.</p> <p>He details other cases at the East Mississippi Correctional Facility, all part of a class action lawsuit filed in May 2013 in a U.S. District Court on behalf of the 1,170 prisoners there. According to reports filed by the plaintiffs and expert witnesses involved in the case, a 25-year-old inmate was not granted timely access to a urologist following an abnormal ultrasound that showed a testicular mass, which later swelled to the size of a softball and metastasized to his abdomen. A 64-year-old patient with untreated diabetes reported losing his vision and has not, as far as Eber knows, received an ophthalmological evaluation or referral to a retinal specialist. A 43-year-old black male with a severe heart condition recently died in an isolation cell. His symptoms, as documented by an expert witness, indicated that his cardiac function was deteriorating. He spent several months in the medical observation unit but was then discharged back to isolation, where he died a month later. Two days before his death, he set fire to his cell, apparently in a desperate effort to get help. He had earlier been found putting a rope around his neck, and he'd been cutting himself. In a dated and time-stamped note in his chart, a registered nurse listed his vital signs as stable and said he was in no acute distress. At that point, however, the man had been dead for 10 hours. "That's indicative of the quality of care prisoners sometimes receive," Eber says. "I've seen a case where a nurse will document 'normal' exams a week or two after a patient has died, because they're being made up."</p> <p>Eber talks slowly and pauses often. He recounts these cases matter-of-factly, but his indignation simmers just under his stony expression. "I've never seen people treated quite the way they are in Mississippi prisons. The conditions there are horrific—the worst I've ever seen or heard of." Eber, an associate faculty member in the Department of Epidemiology at the Bloomberg School, is no neophyte. Since 2007, he has investigated large-scale class action lawsuits in five states, representing thousands of prisoners. He guesses he currently has somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 clients, probably more. His work at the National Prison Project focuses on cases alleging inadequate medical and mental health care, with a particular interest in solitary confinement.</p> <p>Colleagues describe him as persistent and detail-oriented. Margaret Winter, the associate director of the project, says, "He bores in and gives a brilliant overview of what is broken and what needs to be done to fix it. He has an incredibly scientific mind combined with his passion for justice. It's not easy what he does. It takes a level of patience that not many have." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> Eber, now 40 with a beard flecked with gray, grew up in Chappaqua, New York, an upscale hamlet in northern Westchester County. The son of an attorney, he occasionally visited his dad in court. He first toured the inside of a jail cell at age 5. He thinks the jail was in Yonkers, but all he can remember today was the unexpected sight of women behind bars. He attended Harvard, where he graduated in 1997 cum laude with a degree in social anthropology. For the next three years, he took course work in epidemiology and biostatistics at Harvard's school of public health, and then switched to the Bloomberg School, where he earned his MPH. He next enrolled at Georgetown University Law Center. After passing the bar, his interest in public health drew him to the National Prison Project, where he first served as a litigation fellow before becoming a staff counsel.</p> <p>A sentiment that Eber and others in the same fight sometimes hear is: Why should we care about the health and well-being of inmates? These are convicted criminals. Some are serial rapists, murderers. They sell drugs to our children. They concoct fraud to steal money from our grandparents. Prison should be rough. That's what deters people from breaking the law, right?</p> <p>Eber argues that we all should care what goes on inside prison walls. The system, he says, is built on a rehabilitation model, not a torture model. He tells people to ask themselves this: What kind of person do you want leaving prison? Someone who is healthy and rehabilitated? Or someone so damaged as to likely be a burden to society? The issue, he says, is clear and serious. In far too many U.S. prison systems, inmates who have serious medical needs are either ignored or get substandard care. The result, he says, can lead to unnecessary amputations, the spread of disease, suicides, and the exacerbation of pre-existing psychiatric disorders. Even basic care for treatable conditions, like diabetes, can be a challenge in prison. "We hear it all," he says. "It's heartbreaking. The system is sick."</p> <p>Leonard Rubenstein, a senior scientist in the Bloomberg School's Center for Public Health and Human Rights, says the treatment that some inmates receive is unconstitutional and perverse. For the past 30 years, Rubenstein has been involved in the investigation and analysis of medical complicity in torture, medical ethics and human rights, and war crimes. Prior to joining Johns Hopkins, he served as a senior fellow at the United States Institute for Peace and executive director and president of Physicians for Human Rights. "There is a system of punishment in this country based on locking them up and taking away their freedom. That's it," says Rubenstein, who co-teaches with Eber a course on health in prisons at the Bloomberg School. "Your freedom is taken away. There is nothing in our system of law that authorizes harm, no matter how terrible a person you are. That is not part of constitutionalized civil order. And quite frankly, it's barbaric." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> Eber's first ACLU case was from a women's prison in Wisconsin, where there were reports of medications administered by correctional officers, not nurses; in some instances, inmates were given the wrong medications or the wrong dosages. "It was a disaster. In fairness, the corrections officers wanted no part of this. It was just a practice that was allowed to continue. And it took a lawsuit to change," he says. "We eventually reached a settlement. I still go out there periodically to monitor conditions and make sure that what we asked for is being done."</p> <p>He first traveled to Mississippi five years ago to conduct routine monitoring. He volunteered to spend three days at the Mississippi State Penitentiary, also known as Parchman Farm, reading medical records. Nationwide, he says, substandard care is too often the norm, and the level of violence in prisons is disquieting. But the real horror, Eber says, can occur in the isolation units, where inmates are confined 23 hours a day—24 hours in many cases—to a cell the size of a small bathroom, behind a solid metal door with a small and narrow glass window and a narrow port for passing food trays. Human contact is limited to the few times during the day that staff come to the front of the cell to deliver a food tray or for brief mental health or medical rounds. At times, he says, the level of care borders on the absurd. He mentions a case of an inmate at East Mississippi who complained of chest pains and wouldn't close his tray slot until seen by a medical professional. A nurse had the inmate reach his hand through the door to take his blood pressure. "That was the extent of the exam," Eber says. "No other vitals checked. No questions asked. It's ludicrous."</p> <p>Out-of-cell time for exercise occurs at best an hour a day a few times a week. Conversations with inmates in other cells are possible only by shouting. Prisoners might be deprived of the opportunity to shower for days at a time. A television is mounted on a wall at a distance across the dayroom, and it is often impossible to see or hear. Access to the telephone is almost nonexistent. Toilets frequently back up, so inmates are forced to defecate on their food trays and slide them through slots. One of the ACLUs experts in the Mississippi case, a sanitarian and dietitian from the Dallas County Jail, took photographs of various parts of the prison and found broken lights, dirty showers, congealed blood, rodent droppings, filthy kitchens, burned-out cells, and pills scattered on floors. In one isolation cell, she stood in a pool of blood left by an inmate who had gashed himself the day before.</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <p>Hanson balks at a ban on segregation practices. "I think it's a valuable tool for me and others in the correctional system."</p> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Eber says the response from the Mississippi Department of Corrections and many in the prison system is, "It's not a problem." "They are fighting this lawsuit tooth and nail," Eber says of the Mississippi case. Many corrections officials, he adds, accuse his clients of lying, no matter how much evidence they present. "That is when we end up in litigation. And that is why we review medical records and conduct site inspections. We want to know the truth, and we want the public and the courts to know the truth."</p> <p>Leonard Vincent, general counsel for the Mississippi Department of Corrections, says that although the East Mississippi Correctional Facility is not a state-run prison (it's operated by the private, Utah-based Management & Training Corporation), the state is the defendant in the case and has denied the allegations. Vincent also notes that EMCF has been accredited by the American Correctional Association in the past three years and received a "high score," although he admits that the level of health care is just one component of the accreditation. When asked about the significant gap between the state's and the ACLU's assessments, Vincent cites divergent philosophies. The standards and viewpoint of how a prison should be run are clearly not the same, he says. "These two sides come from different backgrounds and differ in their opinions for how this should be done." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> For the better part of the 20th century, stays in solitary confinement were relatively short—days or weeks at a time. That changed in the 1980s and early 1990s when the U.S. prison population began to swell and so-called "supermax" prisons were built, facilities where thousands of inmates now spend years locked in small cells. America's prison population is the largest in the world and currently stands at around 2.3 million people—about one in every 100 American adults—incarcerated across federal, state, and local levels. The number denotes a fourfold increase from 1973. The tally of inmates held in some form of segregated housing is harder to come by because the definition varies from state to state and figures are often underreported. A 2005 report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics used a figure of 25,000 in isolation, but that only applied to those in supermax prisons. The real number, Eber and others assert, is likely closer to 81,000.</p> <p>The prison system prefers terms such as "isolation" or "administrative segregation" or "restricted housing" to the more colloquial "solitary confinement" or "in the hole." Inmates are placed in wings called Special Housing Units or Special Management Units to maintain order. The most violent prisoners can be sequestered. Isolation can be used for discipline when an inmate disobeys prison rules. Eber says high-ranking gang members are often put in segregation. Corrections officials first turned to this strategy in response to growing gang violence inside prisons. Once gang members are placed in solitary, however, they rarely get out. "You're going to be deemed a threat forever," Eber says. Prisoners can be put into isolation units for an indefinite period, from days to decades. A 2012 report from the Colorado Department of Corrections found that prisoners spent a mean of 19.5 months in isolation. The federal Bureau of Prisons system currently confines about 7 percent of its 217,000 prisoners in isolation units for roughly 23 hours a day, according to a 2013 U.S. Government Accountability Office report. When they do get out, for exercise or a shower, prisoners are typically escorted by two or more high security officers. "But if there's a staffing shortage or unrest in another part of the prison that is demanding resources, then those prisoners are not going to be let out," Eber says. "That happens too frequently, so inmates might go weeks without getting out." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> Twenty years ago, when Annette Hanson began working in the Maryland correctional system, she expected to encounter reams of evidence in the medical literature about the bad effects of solitary confinement. Hanson, a clinical professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the School of Medicine, has worked extensively in the Maryland correctional system as a psychiatrist, directly treating prisoners. "It was shocking how little evidence there was to the statement that segregation was damaging to a person's health," she says. "In my experience, the general claims and reports of the detrimental effects of incarceration on the physical and mental health of inmates has been somewhat overstated. I simply did not see what I've been reading in the news. Even in terms of medical isolation, in my experience their health did not deteriorate. In fact, some were relieved to have some peace and quiet, and be separated from the rest of the prison population where they might be harmed."</p> <p>Segregation can be useful for medical purposes, Hanson says. An inmate might have tuberculosis or chickenpox and need to be isolated to protect the rest of the prison population. "It's not solely for disciplinary purposes," Hanson says. She balks at a ban on segregation practices. "I think it's a valuable tool for me and others in the correctional system," she says. "It can restore order. And it's a safe place. Let's say you are grieving for the loss of a family member. In prison, if you cry, you might as well paint a target on your chest."</p> <p>A study published in 2013 in the <em>Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law</em> examined administrative segregation involving Colorado prison inmates with and without mental illness. In the longitudinal study, researchers examined whether inmates in segregation showed greater psychological deterioration over time compared to those nonsegregated. The subjects, male inmates in both administrative segregation and the general population, completed a brief symptom inventory at regular intervals for one year. Results showed some differentiation between groups at the outset and small but statistically significant positive change over time across all groups. The study's findings were inconsistent with the hypothesis that inmates, with or without mental illness, experience significant psychological decline in solitary confinement. This study, however, has since been attacked on methodological grounds. Some critics say it relied too heavily on self-reports by inmates, with only marginal use of records and professional assessments, in circumstances where prisoners have disincentives to report psychiatric symptoms. Reports of psychiatric emergencies and medication changes were apparently not considered and, according to some critics, would have dramatically changed results.</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <p>Decreased social network size is known to be a huge risk factor for mortality, bigger than alcohol, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, or air pollution.</p> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p>A 2014 study published in the <em>American Journal of Public Health</em>, "Solitary Confinement and the Risk of Self-Harm Among Jail Inmates," analyzed the medical records of more than 134,000 New York City jail prisoners from 2010 to 2013. The study found that solitary confinement was strongly associated with increased risk of self-harm, which ranged from self-inflicted lacerations to headbanging on walls to suicide attempts. Of the 7 percent of inmates in solitary confinement, 53 percent committed acts of self-harm, and 45 percent committed acts of potentially fatal self-harm. For the total population studied, the absolute risk for self-harm during incarceration was 0.5 percent and for potentially fatal self-harm, .03 percent. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> So what does happen to people deprived of social contact for months or years on end?</p> <p>Gul Dolen, an assistant professor of neuroscience at the School of Medicine and an expert on social cognition in health and disease, has studied the impact of isolation-induced changes in the brain. Dolen says social isolation of animals causes all kinds of physical changes. Even after just one to three days, her research indicates that the plasticity of the brain and how it encodes memory are altered. A number of studies in rats and monkeys have shown that early-life social isolation leads to heightened aggression. Dolen also points out that in human studies of the general population, decreased social network size is known to be a huge risk factor for mortality, bigger than alcohol, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, or air pollution. Although it's unclear how social isolation is causally related to increased mortality, studies have shown that the brain processes associated with social pain use the same circuitry that encodes physical pain. "Social pain is not only caused by isolation but also physical bullying, exclusion, and humiliation; these latter types of social pain induce a massive stress response, called social-defeat stress, which reorganizes the brain's response to pleasure, pain, and fear, and has been used in animal studies to model depression."</p> <p>Eber points out that prison populations differ greatly from the general population in prevalence of psychiatric illnesses. "People in prisons have a higher risk of psychiatric disease to begin with. Then you insert them into an environment that has the potential of bringing out those conditions. It's bad mix," he says. Experts say that American prisons are full, in part, because of the fallout from the underfunding and closing of psychiatric institutions. Prisons around the country have seen the numbers of mentally ill inmates increase as state hospitals have closed and community mental health services have been reduced by budget cuts. In California, more than 27 percent of male prisoners and almost 38 percent of female prisoners suffer from mental illness, according to state corrections department statistics. "What are these people doing in prison?" Dolen asks. "Even if you can show me evidence that this was necessary and good for our society, which has the largest prison population in the world, I'd be hesitant."</p> <p>Dolen says social interaction is a good thing. We learn how to be tolerant. How to be compassionate. How to live in a society. People have to relearn how to be social after extended isolation. Dolen likens placing someone with an anti-social personality disorder into isolation to feeding only cheeseburgers to an obese person. Eber asks why solitary confinement has become the mental institution of last resort. "If you're seriously mentally ill and placed in solitary confinement, chances are you're going to be in there for a long time. Chances are you're not going to get quality care, and chances are you're not going to get better. In fact, you're going to get worse. Why do we consider this rehabilitation? What purpose are we serving? We need to make a decision as to how we're going to treat prisoners and how we want them to come out when it's time for them to be released. If we take a population that is sick to begin with, then throw them in a system not equipped to take care of them, they are going to get sicker. And they're going to die." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> There is little oversight of American prisons compared to what occurs internationally. American prisons, Eber says, tend to be closed worlds where abuse is tolerated. "And it's only by shedding some light that we're even able to begin talking about change." Jean Casella, co-director of Solitary Watch, an advocacy group focused on human rights violations in the prison system, says that for years problems went unaddressed because prison systems generally are unregulated, unmonitored, and invisible, with no independent monitoring. She calls prisoner abuse the crisis that nobody has heard of. Correctional facilities have explained away any practice as necessary for safety and security. The National Commission on Correctional Health Care has since the 1970s offered a health services accreditation program and technical services to improve health practices in correctional facilities. But seeking such accreditation is voluntary unless the prison has been directed by law or a court. (The East Mississippi Correctional Facility is not an NCCHC-accredited facility.)</p> <p>Prison reform, Eber says, is a painfully slow process. To build cases for change, advocates need detailed, rigorous assessments of the harm done, and they must demonstrate successful alternatives for maintaining order in prisons. Then there must be a change to the mindset inside the system. "They have gotten used to operating like this," he says. "It takes a lot of work to make sure things are actually improving, and that is why we don't bring legal cases lightly. If we win, it's huge. Enforcing the victory—that is another story."</p> <p>Today, solitary confinement and prison health have become more mainstream issues. A coordinated hunger strike at California's maximum-security Pelican Bay State Prison in summer 2013 attracted national attention. The strike, started by four gang members in isolation units, protested indefinite long-term incarceration in solitary confinement and sought other demands like adequate food and expanded privileges like calendars and exercise equipment. One prisoner, Todd Ashker, had been held in the prison's Security Housing Unit for 23 years, devoid of any normal face-to-face human contact. On the first day of the strike, 30,000 prisoners across the state's prison system refused their meals. The strike lasted 60 days and resulted in some modest reforms, including the implementation of a "step-down" program that at least in theory makes it possible for inmates to leave segregation provided they follow a formal process and demonstrate good behavior.</p> <p>Casella says her organization gets hundreds of letters from inmates about conditions inside prisons. She admits her group tends to hear the horror stories: suicide attempts, inmates throwing bodily fluids, teams of corrections officers donning riot gear to extract one inmate. "One of the things that is chilling for me to think of is that we are probably only hearing from a small representative sample," she says. "One-third of inmates are illiterate or have serious mental conditions, so they're not writing us. From what we observe, isolation never changes behavior for the better." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div> Solitary confinement, says the Bloomberg School's Rubenstein, who also on the faculty of the Berman Institute of Bioethics, creates an ethical dilemma for health professionals in prisons. If they are truly looking after an inmate's mental health, then solitary is never good. He testified last year before a Maryland Senate Committee on a solitary confinement bill that didn't pass. He started a review of state policies on the role of health professionals in solitary confinement. Some states say that if an inmate has a serious mental illness, that inmate should be excluded from solitary. Rubenstein says that although this policy keeps some inmates out of segregation, the involvement of mental health professionals—psychologists, nurses, and doctors—in this "gatekeeping" process raises serious ethical concerns. "The practice amounts to a tacit medical endorsement of the use of solitary confinement for the nonexcluded prisoner, thus involving health professionals in punishment," he says. "It also forces the health professional to ignore evidence that many mentally healthy prisoners placed in solitary confinement suffer serious psychological harm from the experience."</p> <blockquote> <blockquote> <p>"The people on the inside are not villains. There are many good, very well-intentioned people working under impossible conditions and circumstances. They long for people to come in and clean it up." –Margaret Winter</p> </blockquote> </blockquote> <p>Rubenstein has initiated a dialogue with the Maryland Department of Corrections to better understand how the Bloomberg School could contribute to the improvement of inmate health. "The people in the corrections world are not evil," he says. "They are dealing with problems that they are concerned about— assaults on officers and staff, assaults on other prisoners. But once you have a system of punishment in place it perpetuates itself and takes on a life of its own. We need people to step back and look at this." To achieve some limitations on the use of solitary and the use of force in prisons, Rubenstein says, interested parties have to come up with alternatives. He was part of a group leading the American Public Health Association's resolution titled "Solitary Confinement as a Public Health Issue." The document recommends changes to federal, state, and local correctional policies on solitary confinement, including exclusion of prisoners with serious mental illnesses and those under 18. Prisoners also should be closely monitored and removed from solitary confinement if their health deteriorates or necessary medical or mental health services cannot be provided. They also want to ban solitary confinement for disciplinary purposes and create alternative means of discipline.</p> <p>Eber does believe conditions will improve. As states begin to re-evaluate their criminal justice policies and make smarter decisions about who does and does not need to be in prison, the population will drop and take some of the pressure off the system. He says there is an increasing realization that the prison population has reached an untenable level, and recognition of the health impact on both the individual and communities when an inmate is denied adequate care. He notes that the ACLU just settled a statewide case in Arizona and has hopes for some reform there. New York City recently removed juveniles and people with mental disabilities from the list of those who can be placed in isolation. Corrections officials in California have announced significant changes in the use of solitary for mentally ill prisoners, revising decades-old policies.</p> <p>Colorado Corrections Department Director Rick Raemisch has promised to reform solitary confinement policies in his state after he spent 20 hours in an isolation cell. The experience left him "feeling twitchy and paranoid" after just one night. In a newspaper editorial, Raemisch admitted that many prisoners who get thrown into solitary confinement already have mental problems, and isolating them only makes those problems worse. He wrote: "For a sound mind, those are daunting circumstances. But every prison in America has become a dumping ground for the mentally ill, and often the 'worst of the worst'—some of society's most unsound minds—are dumped in Ad Seg. If an inmate acts up, we slam a steel door on him. Ad Seg allows a prison to run more efficiently for a period of time, but by placing a difficult offender in isolation you have not solved the problem — only delayed or more likely exacerbated it, not only for the prison but ultimately for the public. Our job in corrections is to protect the community, not to release people who are worse than they were when they came in." Colorado has since begun to review its policies regarding administrative segregation.</p> <p>Margaret Winter says now other prison systems need to engage in reform. "It's natural to be resistant when you're being criticized," she says. "But we do see change. There's been a dialogue. Now there needs to be more monitoring. There are people inside the system saying, 'Finally!' and who are glad to see changes. The people on the inside are not villains. There are many good, very well-intentioned people working under impossible conditions and circumstances. They long for people to come in and clean it up."</p> <p>Eber envisions real movement on an issue that seemed hopeless a decade ago. "What we have is a system that can be quite cruel, and reforms are needed," he says. "We just need to make sure that those reforms go far enough. There is a lot of suffering."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Tactile science <p>Linden convincingly argues that our tactile ability is the one sense we couldn't live without in his new book <em>Touch</em> (Viking, 2015). And he does it by navigating two gardens of forking paths. One is the neural highway that sensation travels along from skin to the brain. The other is the library of scholarship that has studied that pathway: research that looks at touch both biologically and socially. "Why are emotions called <em>feelings</em> and not <em>sightings</em> or <em>smellings</em>?" he asks in the prologue. Linden doesn't want to explicitly answer that question as much as demonstrate how intertwined emotion and touch are.</p> <p>A School of Medicine professor of neuroscience, Linden is an ideal Virgil for this adventure. He conveys in clear prose both scientific research and basic human biology, such as a cellular account of how the two skin types—glabrous (aka hairless, as found on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, for example) and hairy—transmit sensation to the brain from various nerve endings. It's an episodic book, allowing for brief tangents—if both fingertips and genital skin have similar touch sensors, can both read Braille? (anecdotal tests suggest no)—en route to charting the sophisticated way the brain uses skin to orient and protect the body. Plus, he's conversational; his expertise is fun to read. He's willing to discuss sexual sensation in lab-coated language <em>and</em> attempt humor: "In addition, [the clitoris and the penis] have a specialized type of nerve ending consisting of a coiled axon wrapped by a few non-neuronal encapsulating cells. These have been called genital end bulbs (or, in the wonderful original German term, <em>Genitalnervenkörperchen</em>)."</p> <p>This accessibility is <em>Touch</em>'s sneaky power. Linden is most curious about how so much of our emotional life uses metaphors for tactile sensations. Warm and cool describe impressions about people and subject matter as much as temperature registering on the skin. The clumsy are tactless (lacking touch). Social rejection hurts (a pain response). He notes that scientific research has proved how important touch is to successful human development, though it's less assured about why. As he notes, much of everyday language is a reflection of tactile processes, and in <em>Touch</em> Linden presents enough data to wonder how much of our emotional landscape might be wired into our neural pathways.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 How does one live? <p>In which the best-selling author follows up his realization of how different his life could have been with a reflection on what he plans to do with it. This time around, Moore, A&S '01, whose 2010 <em>The Other Wes Moore</em> chronicled the parallel journey of another young African-American Baltimore man of the same name, continues his life story, touching on his military experience in Afghanistan and his Wall Street career before he decided he wanted more from his time on this planet. <em>The Work</em> (Spiegel & Grau, 2015) is the sort of book that, when described, sounds like a TED talk or prelude to a political career, but when read is much more generous. And the sections in which Moore profiles people who work in mentorship programs and engage in humanitarian efforts document the same kind of everyday human tenacity found in Studs Terkel's books.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Grand exception <p>Locker, A&S '08 (PhD), a Portland State University assistant professor of art history, calls Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi art history's "grand exception": the 17th century's rare successful woman. Her story is popularly understood through the challenges she faced—a woman in a man's profession, her rape by a teacher when she was young, the illiteracy she alludes to in the rape trial transcripts. In <em>Artemisia Gentileschi: The Language of Painting</em> (Yale University Press, 2015), Locker, using more recent literary scholarship, focuses on Gentileschi's later life in Naples to argue that she eventually earned a better education and is a much more thoughtful artist in dialogue with her contemporaries, less a product of her biography than a fully engaged mind. It's a compelling argument for re-examining her later works.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Peabody Dance celebrates 100 years <p>When Peabody Dance celebrates its centennial March 26 to 29, it's not only marking 100 years of offering dance instruction at Peabody Preparatory, the community school for the performing arts housed at the Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University. It's advancing its unique ability to provide young dancers with the tools to become creative artists.</p> <p>Collaborations have been part of Peabody Dance's process since its inception, and last summer students and faculty worked out ideas that will debut during the centennial weekend, which includes a conference, historical exhibition, films, and a pair of performances.</p> <p>The collaborative piece <em>Dear Mother</em> premieres that weekend, and some of its choreography grew out of Constance Dinapoli's intensive classes. Dinapoli, the artistic coordinator of contemporary dance at the Preparatory, asked her students to recall their earliest memory. She invited those students to consider how that memory made them feel, and how they might express that emotion with their bodies. "I looked at their movement, and I helped them arrange it into more of a dance phrase," Dinapoli says.</p> <p>Peabody Dance is one of the oldest dance training centers in the country, offering technical training in classical ballet and modern dance. Today, it also strives to give its students opportunities to work with other artists, not just learn from them. Melissa Stafford, its director, says that the first dance class that the Peabody Institute offered, in December 1914, was eurythmics, a way to teach musicians and music teachers about music through movement. That first class "put us on an innovative path and led to a collaborative production of <em>Orpheus and Eurydice</em> in 1922 that had 200 dancers, musicians, and singers," Stafford says.</p> <p>Ever since, Peabody Dance has embraced collaborative projects that bring student dancers into creative contact with not only dance professionals but musicians and visual artists—and the occasional scientist. Stafford mentions <em>The Chemical Ballet</em>, a 1939 collaboration between dancer and educator Carol Lynn, who later served as Peabody Dance chair from 1947 to 1970, and a Johns Hopkins University chemistry professor, Donald H. Andrews, in which dancers portrayed different chemicals and their reactions. The dance was performed at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Baltimore.</p> <p>Collaborative opportunities make Peabody Dance unique among training centers, Stafford says. "My brother and sister have professional dance careers, and we had world-class ballet training, but we never had the opportunity to become part of the collaborative process while still students," Stafford says. "Our students work with choreographers, répétiteurs, visual artists, composers, and musicians, and learn how artists negotiate the creative process. And that's something that's happened at Peabody from the very beginning."</p> <p>For a full schedule of Peabody Dance centennial events, <a href="">click here</a>.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Catalyst and Discovery awards to fund faculty-led research <p>Johns Hopkins University has announced two new award programs that together will provide an additional $15 million to advance innovative faculty-led research over the next three years. The new funding programs, called Catalyst and Discovery awards, are aimed at early-career scholars and at organizers of ambitious research projects proposed by teams that involve more than one Johns Hopkins division or affiliate. These new internal financial awards are urgently needed to make up for declining research funds from traditional government sources, such as the National Institutes of Health, university officials say.</p> <p>"The academic leadership at the university wants our faculty to know how inspired by and supportive we are of the work they do to expand the horizons of knowledge," says Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels.</p> <p>The awards were created as Johns Hopkins leaders' response to the increasing difficulty that faculty members face in finding research funding. Daniels recently called attention to this problem in an article he contributed to the journal <em>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</em>.</p> <p>The Catalyst Awards program provides up to $75,000 to early-career faculty members who are undertaking exceptional research or creative endeavors. The awards will help these individuals launch their careers during the crucial years when startup funds are depleted and external funding or other support may be elusive.</p> <p>The Discovery Awards program is designed to foster faculty-led cross-university research, encouraging new interaction among scholars from various university schools or affiliates. Some of these awards will be reserved for faculty teams that need startup support while they look for outside funding, a large-scale grant, or a cooperative agreement.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 O'Malley joins Carey <p>Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has joined the Carey Business School as a visiting professor focusing on government, business, and urban issues. O'Malley will participate in classes on such topics as leadership, infrastructure, entrepreneurship, and ethics. He also will work with other faculty members and students on their studies of management in the government sector.</p> <p>The former Baltimore mayor and City Council member will also be a part of Johns Hopkins' 21st Century Cities Initiative, involving faculty members from disciplines across the university brought together to study and propose approaches to issues affecting cities, including economic growth, urban education, violence, urban health, and support for arts and culture.</p> <p>O'Malley, who began at Johns Hopkins in February, is known as an innovator in management for the public sector. As mayor of Baltimore and governor, he developed several data-driven management systems to track and report data on city and state government and the Chesapeake Bay.</p> <p>"I am honored to join Johns Hopkins University, a world-class institution that has done so much for Baltimore and Maryland," O'Malley says. "As both a mayor and governor, I've worked to make government work better for all of our citizens through a relentless focus on data and transparency. Our efforts got results—driving violent crime down to record lows, recovering 100 percent of the jobs lost during the recession, and restoring the health of the Chesapeake Bay for generations to come. I look forward to sharing management insights from these past two decades with the next generation of leaders at Johns Hopkins."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Beverly Wendland named Krieger School dean <p>Beverly Wendland, a professor of biology, has been named dean of the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences after serving as interim dean for seven months. She succeeds Katherine Newman, who left Johns Hopkins to become provost of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. A university search committee considered a list of more than 900 potential candidates before concluding that the best option was to inform Wendland that she could remove the "interim" from her title.</p> <p>President Ronald J. Daniels said in a press release, "Beverly Wendland is the leader that the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences needs and deserves at this moment. Her deep passion and high aspirations for the school, her commitment to the institutional goals we all share, and her warm and collegial spirit will serve the Krieger School and our entire university enormously well in the years to come."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Krieger School announces new medicine, science, and humanities major <p>The Krieger School of Arts and Sciences has launched the new medicine, science, and humanities major for students who want to examine medical and scientific issues through the lens of humanities studies.</p> <p>Beverly Wendland, the new dean of the Krieger School, says the major was created in part to help close the gap between the sciences and the humanities. "Interdisciplinary approaches are needed to promote intellectual innovations and will forge productive connections between scientific and humanistic cultures," she says.</p> <p>The new major is expected to attract students who plan to pursue careers in health professions as well as those interested in issues of importance to science and medicine, and students who plan to pursue graduate work in a range of disciplines. More than a dozen incoming freshmen and several current freshmen have expressed interest in the major.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 FastForward innovation hub expands to East Baltimore <p>Building on the success of Johns Hopkins University's first business accelerator, FastForward, in demand since it opened in the Stieff Silver building two years ago, the university is expanding its innovation program to East Baltimore.</p> <p>Called FastForward East, the new innovation hub has an interim office and laboratory space located in the Rangos Building in the 800 block of North Wolfe Street, just north of the university's East Baltimore medical campus. The university is working to secure 30,000 square feet of space at 1812 Ashland Street for a long-term home for FastForward East.</p> <p>The university is expanding FastForward to drive more economic development in Baltimore by supporting local startups as they head to market. "Space that is affordable and turnkey for startups is a part of our overall effort to help these early ventures realize their potential and bring innovation and life-changing technologies to market," says Christy Wyskiel, senior adviser to the university's president for enterprise development.</p> <p>The Rangos Building hub has a shared co-working space that can seat 28, six dedicated offices, and additional features, including a shared conference room, common room, kitchen, and two wet labs.</p> <p>Gemstone Biotherapeutics LLC, a stem cell therapeutics firm making novel treatments for wound healing, is among the first companies moving into FastForward East. One of the founders, Sharon Gerecht, an associate professor in Johns Hopkins' Whiting School of Engineering, says the complex in the shadow of the Johns Hopkins Hospital is the perfect location for a medical startup. "Hopkins labs have always produced world-class innovations that have the potential to impact millions of lives," says Gerecht. "With FastForward, we now have infrastructure in place that improves the chances of getting these innovations to market."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Abbreviated <p><strong>Sharon Gerecht</strong>, winner of the $250,000 President's Frontier Award (see <a href="">Message</a>), recently received two other honors. She was named the first Kent Gordon Croft Investment Management Faculty Scholar, an appointment that provides three years of flexible financial support for her lab, and she received an American Heart Association Established Investigator Award, a five-year grant supporting investigators with "unusual promise."</p> <p><div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Three finalists for the Frontier Award were each awarded $50,000 to support their research and advance their academic pursuits. They are <strong>Scott Bailey</strong>, an associate professor in the <strong>Bloomberg School of Public Health</strong>; <strong>Samer Hattar</strong>, an associate professor in the <strong>Krieger School of Arts and Sciences</strong>; and <strong>Sean Sun</strong>, an associate professor in the <strong>Whiting School of Engineering</strong>. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Adam Riess</strong>, professor of physics and astronomy in the <strong>Krieger School</strong> and a Nobel laureate, has been named a recipient of the Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics for the discovery of the acceleration of the universe. Two research teams will share the award of $3 million: one led by Saul Permutter, of UC Berkeley, the other co-led by Riess and Brian Schmidt, of the Australian National University. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Elizabeth Jaffee</strong>, professor of oncology in the <strong>School of Medicine</strong> and a pioneer in the field of vaccine therapy for pancreatic cancer, has been appointed deputy director of the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center. She succeeds Stephen Baylin, who will return to his position as director of the Division of Cancer Biology. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Two Krieger School seniors are heading to England in the fall with prestigious scholarships. <strong>Peter Kalugin</strong> received a Rhodes Scholarship and will enter the University of Oxford to pursue a two-year MSc in oncology degree. <strong>Sandya Subramanian</strong> was named a Churchill Scholar and will enter the University of Cambridge, where she will conduct research in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Henry Brem</strong>, director of the Department of Neurosurgery in the <strong>School of Medicine</strong>, was honored with a Castle Connolly National Physician of the Year Award for Clinical Excellence. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Ben Schafer</strong>, chair of the Department of Civil Engineering in the <strong>Whiting School</strong>, was chosen by the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Structural Engineering Institute to receive the 2015 Shortridge Hardesty Award, recognizing his contributions to the field of structural stability. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Johns Hopkins led the United States in higher education research spending for the 35th straight year in fiscal 2013, with $2.2 billion for medical, science, and engineering research, according to the National Science Foundation. The university also ranked first on the NSF's separate list of federally funded research and development. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Laura Gitlin</strong>, professor in Community-Public Health in the <strong>School of Nursing</strong>, is the recipient of the M. Powell Lawton Award from the Gerontological Society of America. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>The three-part PBS documentary series <em>Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies</em>, set to premiere March 30, filmed the segments that focused on patients' stories primarily at the Kimmel Cancer Center and the Charleston (West Virginia) Area Medical Center. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Pamela Paulk</strong> started in her new position as president of Johns Hopkins Medicine International on March 1. She most recently served as senior vice president of human resources for Johns Hopkins Medicine. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>The Middle States Commission on Higher Education reaffirmed in November Johns Hopkins University's accreditation. Former Vice Provost <strong>Jonathan Bagger</strong> and Assistant Vice Provost <strong>Philip Tang</strong> chaired the 25-member steering committee of faculty, staff, and students that led the reaccreditation process and produced the 229-page report. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Three Johns Hopkins online graduate programs are among the best in the nation, according to rankings released in January by <em>U.S. News & World Report</em>. JHU's graduate nursing programs rank No. 3, up from No. 24 a year ago. Two programs administered by the Whiting School's Engineering for Professionals were also recognized. Computer Information Technology is listed at No. 5 (up from No. 13), and Engineering is at No. 12 (up from No. 14). <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Daniel Markey</strong> has been appointed academic director of the new Master of Arts in Global Policy Program at SAIS. Markey was formerly the senior fellow for India, Pakistan, and South Asia at the Council on Foreign Relations. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Theoretical physicist <strong>Marc Kamionkowski</strong>, professor in the <strong>Krieger School</strong>'s Department of Physics and Astronomy, is a winner of the 2015 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, awarded by the American Astronomical Society and the American Institute of Physics. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><em>All the Things You Are</em>, a solo album by <strong>Peabody</strong> faculty artist <strong>Leon Fleisher</strong>, was named one of NPR's 50 Favorite Albums of 2014. And two albums featuring faculty artist <strong>Michael Formanek</strong>, <em>Thumbscrew</em> and <em>Palo Colorado Dream</em>, were on's Best of 2014 list of Favorite Jazz Albums. The Thumbscrew trio's self-titled album was also on <em>The Wire</em>'s list of Top 50 Albums of 2014. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Robert W. Blum</strong>, professor and chair of the <strong>Bloomberg School</strong>'s Department of Population, Family, and Reproductive Health, received the Martha May Eliot Award at the American Public Health Association's 142nd Annual Meeting & Exposition. The award "honors extraordinary health service to mothers and children." <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Lisa Feigenson</strong>, professor of psychological and brain sciences in the <strong>Krieger School</strong>, is a recipient of the National Academy of Sciences' 2015 Troland Research Award, which recognizes unusual achievement by young investigators in experimental psychology. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>James Segars</strong> has joined the <strong>School of Medicine</strong> as the inaugural professor and director of Reproductive Science and Women's Health Research, a newly established division of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Joanne Katz</strong>, professor and associate chair of International Health in the <strong>Bloomberg School</strong>, was awarded one of two $50,000 Data for Life Prizes from CappSci. The funds will support her research in the use of portable ultrasound for expectant mothers in rural Nepal. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p><strong>Marikki Laiho</strong>, chief of the Division of Molecular Radiation Sciences in the <strong>School of Medicine</strong>, is one of 11 physician/scientists in the nation to receive a 2015 Harrington Scholar- Innovator Grant worth at least $100,000 annually over two years. The grant will support her research in the relevance and implications of cellular DNA damage from cancer. <div class='magazine-section-break'></div></p> <p>Theoretical particle physicist <strong>David Kaplan</strong>, professor of physics and astronomy in the <strong>Krieger School</strong>, received a 2015 Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award in Journalism for his con­tributions to the production of <em>Particle Fever</em>, a documentary about the identification of the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider near Geneva in 2012.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 SAIS staff ride program brings students to historic battlegrounds <p>Prior to her arrival at the School of Advanced International Studies, Kitty Harvey, SAIS '11, had served as a U.S. Navy intelligence officer in Bahrain, monitoring Somali pirates. She had graduated from Yale magna cum laude with a bachelor's degree in history and international studies. The New York native had never, however, played the role of Madame de Staël, a writer and critic of Napoleon Bonaparte—until Harvey joined her SAIS colleagues on a unique expedition to Spain to study the Peninsular War.</p> <p>"She was very outspoken against Napoleon at a time when he had intimidated most other critics into silence, so she was very impressive for that," says Harvey. "I tried to play her as outspoken as she was in life."</p> <p>The unusual assignment came about thanks to the SAIS staff ride program. Staff rides give students the opportunity to visit significant battlegrounds in the United States and abroad, where they role-play the experiences of politicians, generals, and civilians who were involved in the conflict. The expeditions help students understand strategic decision making by getting them into the mindset of historical figures.</p> <p>Harvey has since donated $100,000 to an endowment set up specifically for the staff ride program. The founder of the program is hoping the fund will ensure that staff rides continue for years to come.</p> <p>"Each year we think it can't get better, and each year it does," says Eliot Cohen, program founder and professor of strategic studies at SAIS. "Everyone has a role, and you're learning by throwing yourself into someone else's shoes, looking at their decisions through their eyes, and having collective discussions about what it all means."</p> <p>Cohen organized the school's first staff ride 24 years ago. Originally, staff rides were a training technique used by the Prussian army in which army strategists—known then as the general staff—learned how to make operational decisions by studying historical battlefields, as well as some potential ones. This was, for the most part, done on horseback.</p> <p>"We've really evolved it in a pretty remarkable way," Cohen says. Since the program's inception in 1991, students have undertaken some 60 staff rides. Every year, they organize three: two domestic and one abroad. Students have visited national battlegrounds like Antietam as well as more distant sites like Jerusalem (the 1948 Battle for Jerusalem) and Vietnam (the 1968 Tet Offensive). The SAIS students handle all the planning, from arranging buses and meals to publishing a 60-page guide that details the trip and includes a map collection. Students research the historical roles they'll assume and give presentations—at times decked out in period hats or other costume accessories—on their characters.</p> <p>"I've had a number of general officers, former three- and four-star generals, go along with us and they will say unequivocally, 'This is much better than anything the military does,'" Cohen says.</p> <p>Harvey, who is now studying for her doctorate at the Institute of Middle Eastern Studies at King's College London, warmly recalls her staff ride experiences. For the 2010 staff ride to study the Revolutionary War's Philadelphia campaign, she was one of two quartermasters, a military rank Cohen uses to designate a staff ride's lead organizers. She had already played Andrew Johnson for the Battle of Appomattox Court House, an earlier staff ride that examined the Appomattox campaign and post-war Reconstruction.</p> <p>Harvey says she enjoyed the discus­sions that took place in her regular SAIS classes, "but the staff rides, of course, made it a lot more fun."</p> <p>A two-day expedition of about 65 students to a local battleground like Gettysburg costs about $15,000, including research and prior-planning trips. Trips to international destinations cost roughly $100,000. Usually, students cover about 20 percent of a ride's expenses while SAIS benefactors make up the rest. "We ask for a student contribution, but that's really only a small fraction of what it costs," Cohen says.</p> <p>In 2012, Cohen launched a campaign to raise $2 million for an endowment fund to ensure the future of SAIS staff rides. That fund has now reached roughly $500,000, thanks in part to Harvey's donation. "Philanthropy is something that my family values very highly, particularly giving back to our educational institutions," she says.</p> <p>The next staff ride will be in March, when students will travel to Colombia to study that government's war against the leftist FARC guerrillas. Colombia's current minister of national defense, Juan Carlos Pinzón Bueno, is one of Cohen's former students.</p> <p>"I like to say to my students as they leave, 'You get a lifetime warranty,'" says Cohen. "I think they reciprocate that. I think it's fair to say that when they leave, they really feel that they got something special at SAIS."</p> <p>As for Harvey, she hopes her contribution will ensure the students of tomorrow enjoy a similar experience: walking some of the world's most important battlegrounds and examining the characters who helped shape our history. "I wanted this to be a high-impact gift, recognizing how important the staff ride is to the identity and cohesiveness of the Strategic Studies Department," says Harvey. "Professor Cohen won't be around forever, and everybody wants this to outlast him."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Husband and wife alums run, a stuffed animal startup <p>When Zoe Fraade-Blanar, Engr '02, and Aaron Glazer, A&S '02 (BA/MA), told their friends they'd started a business selling giant, round stuffed animals, they were met with looks of bewilderment—followed by a chorus of, "Can I have one?" Founded in 2007, Squishable offers hundreds of unconventional plush toys, from cinnamon buns to three-headed dogs, in its online store. Fans on social networks help Squishable develop new products; many submit designs online, and the company later brings those ideas to life. The company's founders link much of their success to this open-source platform—dubbed Project Open Squish—that allows users to play a role in generating ideas.</p> <p><strong>How did you get the idea for Squishable?</strong></p> <p><strong>Zoe</strong> After the big tsunami in 2004, we were in Asia volunteering and we happened to find this factory we liked. When we got back to the States, we decided to try importing stuffed animals and designing our own. Lo and behold, it actually took off.</p> <p><strong>Aaron</strong> We ran it as a side business for a couple of years when we both were doing IT consulting. We were packing boxes, setting up the website, and walking down to FedEx every afternoon. After a couple of years, it got to the point where it was taking a lot of time but not making any money. So we decided it was time to go full force.</p> <p><strong>What makes Squishable different from other businesses you've run?</strong></p> <p><strong>A</strong> I think this is the best product we've worked with. People love Squishables. We were able to tap into the combination of having this amazing product with an amazing design team, coupled with being able to sell directly to consumers on a website. They were cute, they were adorable, they made people happy, and customers could buy them on a website and have them delivered to their door.</p> <p><strong>Z</strong> So many of our designs are crowdsourced from those same fans. Once we outgrew my design abilities, and the number of items that we were supplying outgrew the entire art department's abilities, we started building off of what the fans were telling us to make. Probably two-thirds of our new designs these days are crowdsourced from the fans.</p> <p><strong>How does Project Open Squish work?</strong></p> <p><strong>Z</strong> Fans send in designs—hundreds and hundreds of designs—that they drew. We have templates they can download to make sure they're using our proper formatting. We give people general guidelines and then we say, 'Go ahead, run free, let's see what you do with it.' We get all these submissions, and the ones that we think would make good Squishables, we put up for vote on our website. We have 20 items go up every two weeks. Any design that makes it above a certain threshold of votes we will put into prototype. The winners get a cash payment, a gift certificate, their prototype, and they get their name on the hangtag if it gets made into a final Squishable.</p> <p><strong>How does Squishable differ from other toy companies?</strong></p> <p><strong>Z</strong> We've often said one of our biggest advantages in the toy industry is that we had no idea what we were doing when we first started. We ended up doing things any way we could find to do them, which means we stayed away from a lot of the ongoing issues that toy manufacturers can fall into. We started out entirely retail, which is very unusual for the toy industry, a heavily wholesale market. If we'd started off wholesale, I doubt we could have gotten the toehold we did. But because we sell directly to buyers, we could manufacture Squishables in small enough numbers that we could build up slowly.</p> <p><strong>A</strong> We were able to build out our line through direct contact with fans, which replaced market research in a lot of ways. We didn't have to put together market research panels and figure out what our fans want. We knew what our fans wanted. We talked to them. And since we were able to make and sell directly to our consumers and make smaller amounts of plush, we could be a little more creative with what we did.</p> <p><strong>Did you have a single success that has stuck with you?</strong></p> <p><strong>A</strong> I think it was two years ago. We launched a Squishable Corgi, which is an absolutely beautiful dog. We got a bunch of them in right before Christmas and we told everyone we would send an email out when the next batch came in. We sent the email out and broke the website for about six hours because we had several thousand people hitting refresh on their computer screen at exactly the same time to try to buy the Corgis. That was one of those "nice-to-have" problems.</p> <p><strong>What is your all-time favorite Squishable?</strong></p> <p><strong>Z</strong> I'm going to say narwhal. It was the first time we did a design I honestly had never seen anywhere before. We did it and people loved it. It was one of those aha moments where we realized we should continue doing these designs that are very unusual instead of just a cow and a sheep.</p> <p><strong>A</strong> I'm going to have to say Cerberus. It is one of the most complex designs we'd ever done.</p> <p><strong>You got married in 2013. What is it like running a business with your spouse?</strong></p> <p><strong>Z</strong> We've been doing it for so long on so many projects, it's lost a lot of the weirdness. You do have to know when to put down the work and when to start talking about what we're going to have for dinner instead.</p> <p><strong>A</strong> Like any personal and working relationship, it has its ups and downs. But I can't think of a better way to spend my days. We've done this for so long, it's kind of like this is natural. I don't know what we would do if we didn't.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 On and off the court <p>Simeon Margolis, Med '57, and John Boitnott, Med '57, were classmates at the School of Medicine—but it was their love of basketball that cemented their nascent friendship. After class on weekdays and on Saturdays, they headed to a church-turned-gymnasium on Washington Street to clear their heads with a game of basketball.</p> <p>They weren't just throwing the ball around. Former college players, they took the game seriously. Boitnott had played at Bridgewater College in Virginia, and Margolis—whose childhood nickname "Moan" has stuck with him—was a starting player as a Johns Hopkins undergraduate. (Margolis still holds the single-game scoring record: 44 points, achieved in 1953 against Randolph-Macon College. In 1997, he was inducted into the Hopkins Hall of Fame for both basketball and baseball.) With some other med school classmates, they scrimmaged—and often won—against local teams, including the Johns Hopkins varsity squad.</p> <p>"[Basketball] certainly was the thing that really pulled us together," Boitnott says. "There were some other things that kept us there." Among those other things was a deep and broad interest in science and medicine that wasn't limited to their respective specialties—biochemistry for Margolis, pathology for Boitnott. "Moan was a very good student and a thoughtful person who was basically interested in medicine and science. He was really, at his very core, deeply interested in this stuff. And I was too," Boitnott says.</p> <p>Both ended up spending their careers at Johns Hopkins. Margolis is professor emeritus of medicine and biological chemistry at the School of Medicine; he has also written about consumer health for Johns Hopkins publications, <em>The Baltimore Sun</em>, and Yahoo! Health. Boitnott is the former pathologist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital and a professor of pathology at the School of Medicine. On his walks around the East Baltimore campus, Margolis would sometimes spy Boitnott puffing on his pipe outside the Pathology Building, and the two would consult on medical issues and share family news.</p> <p>Their wives and children—three daughters for Margolis and a son and daughter for Boitnott—grew close as well. Both families attended the Unitarian Universalist Church in Towson for a time. In 1969, they also took a joint family camping trip to Maine's Acadia National Park, during which they watched the lunar landing. And when Margolis' wife, Mary Alice, passed away from cancer in 2011, Boitnott spoke at the memorial service.</p> <p>In each other, Margolis and Boitnott have found a true intellectual partner. "We're on the same wavelength no matter what we're discussing," Boitnott says. "We're coming from the same place."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Affinity group members get a lesson in negotiation tactics <p>Leisurely shopping trips are ideal times to practice negotiating, says Valerie O'Malley, A&S '10. "Ask for something more so that when you get to those really defining moments in your career, you're ready for it," she explains.</p> <p>O'Malley, an assistant marketing manager with L'Oréal, picked up that tidbit along with other hard-bargaining strategies from the Women in Business affinity group's October business negotiation event in New York. The event came just a few months after a similar event by the city's Law affinity group, which focused on creating win-win deals for all parties involved in negotiations.</p> <p>O'Malley says she put her newfound knowledge to work last fall at Bloomingdale's. Having missed the store's sale because of Yom Kippur, she asked a sales associate if she could still get the deal. After an initial "No," O'Malley was friendly but firm. She held her ground and got the discount. In part because she had practiced negotiating and being more assertive, she says she was more confident going into her year-end review, where she asked her boss what she had to do to get promoted in early 2015. O'Malley was persistent until she learned specific actions that could get her to the next level.</p> <p>From Stacey Lee, the workshop's presenter and an assistant professor at Carey Business School, O'Malley also learned that women negotiate differently than men. Women tend to apologize for even minor mistakes that aren't their fault, which "makes us look weaker," O'Malley says. Instead, she now actively tries not to automatically say she's sorry. Also, when asking for something such as a raise, women often go into too much detail right away instead of waiting for a response. A better idea: "Put your position out there, own it, and shut up," O'Malley says.</p> <p>When taking a confident stance, researching the other side helps, says Ana Zampino, A&S '01, president of the Johns Hopkins Alumni New York Chapter and a board member of New York's Law affinity group (as well as its Women in Business group), which held its business negotiation event in April. Zampino, a general practitioner at a law firm, uses her real estate clients as an example. Before making an offer on a house, condo, or co-op, she studies the market to get an idea of what price would be a good deal for her clients while also satisfying the seller. Then, in negotiation, Zampino stays calm. "People who raise their voices don't tend to get what they want," she says.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Meet Jay Lenrow, the new president of the Alumni Association <p>Living in Baltimore, Jay Lenrow, A&S '73, never imagined his daughter would want to stay in town and attend Johns Hopkins University. While looking at colleges, Liz, Engr '10, nixed schools in Pennsylvania and Virginia because they were "too close" to home. When she decided Johns Hopkins was the place for her, dad was proud but surprised—though not entirely.</p> <p>After all, Lenrow has such fond memories of his time here. He arrived in the fall of '69, during the Vietnam War. From war protests on campus to Johns Hopkins' admitting women, seismic changes were happening here and across the country. In 1971, Milton S. Eisenhower returned as interim university president. Lenrow recalls Eisenhower's open-door policy and long discussions with the youngest brother of the U.S. president in his living room. It was an exciting time to be at Johns Hopkins.</p> <p>Nearly 30 years later, Lenrow saw the school from another perspective—his daughter's. "It was a different experience than I expected," says the new president of the Johns Hopkins Alumni Council. Hopkins had been coed for years and was now 2.5 times the size. Programs like the Spring Fair and Milton S. Eisenhower Symposium, which both began when Lenrow was a student, were now can't-miss events.</p> <p>Much of Lenrow's mission as president stems from observing Liz's student and alumni years, how Hopkins has evolved since he attended college, and how it can keep getting better.</p> <p>Johns Hopkins has always been an integral part of Lenrow's life. An attorney in private practice in Baltimore, Lenrow was a founding member of the Second Decade Society (the Krieger School's leadership development organization) and currently serves on the university's board of trustees. He has served on the Alumni Council's Steering Committee and has attended every five-year class reunion since his first one in 1978.</p> <p>In the two years ahead, Lenrow plans to encourage other alumni to become just as active in the Johns Hopkins community. "We're going to bring a lot more alumni to the point where they feel we truly represent them," he says. Already, Lenrow is boosting communication on social media platforms and through one-on-one meetings with student and alumni organizations from all divisions—a "listening tour," as he calls it, similar to his college chats with Eisenhower. The feedback he receives will inspire new programming and goals for the association, which will strengthen the bonds alumni have with one another—important because alumni mentors "give grads a tremendous leg up when entering the work world"—as well as with Hopkins administrators and future students.</p> <p>"Nobody does everything completely on their own," Lenrow says. "We all stand on the shoulders of those who come before us. Whether a student, a young alum, or an older alum, we are all Hopkins."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Class notes <h4>1939</h4> <p><strong>Morris A. Wessel, A&S '39</strong>, continues his efforts to make New Haven, Connecticut, a better place to live through the Morris & Irmgard Wessel Fund. The fund was established by friends of Wessel, a retired pediatrician, and his late wife. The fund's 2014 prize recipients include Dan Kinsman, music instructor at Fair Haven School; Raymond Wallace, founder of the Guns Down, Books Up organization; and Music Haven, which brings music to the community's youth.</p> <h4>1953</h4> <p><strong>James V. Aquavella, A&S '53</strong>, has been recognized as the University of Rochester's Catherine E. Aquavella Distinguished Professor in Ophthalmology, an honorary position Aquavella established in memory of his late wife.</p> <h4>1959</h4> <p><strong>Bernard F. Armstrong Jr., A&S '59</strong>, has retired after more than 50 years in information technology and investing. He currently serves on the board of the Yacht Racing Association of Long Island Sound and on the Greenwich Harbor Management Commission. He and his wife, Mitzi, live in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Vero Beach, Florida.</p> <h4>1965</h4> <p><strong>Carl D. Rosenblum, A&S '65</strong>, is a proud grandfather of six. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.</p> <h4>1966</h4> <p><strong>Mary E. Murphy, A&S '66 (MAT)</strong>, received a 2014 Sherrerd Prize for Distinguished Teaching at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, where she is a senior lecturer in mathematics and statistics.</p> <h4>1969</h4> <p><strong>Judith G. Hall, Med '69 (PGF), HS '71, Med '72 (PGF)</strong>, a pediatrician, geneticist, and professor emerita at the University of British Columbia, was selected as a 2015 inductee of the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.</p> <p><strong>A. Everette James Jr., Med '69 (PGF), SPH '71, HS '75</strong>, was named the M. Allen Pond Chair in Health Policy and Management at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health in September 2014. He directs the University of Pittsburgh Health Policy Institute and also serves as associate vice chancellor for health policy and planning at the university's Schools of the Health Sciences.</p> <h4>1970</h4> <p><strong>David H. Levien, A&S '70</strong>, retired as chairman of surgery at Saint Agnes Hospital in Baltimore. Now living in the San Francisco Bay Area, the MBA graduate serves as president and CEO of the American College of Healthcare Trustees and as a financial adviser for Prudential.</p> <h4>1971</h4> <p><strong>Barbara J. Becker, A&S '71 (MLA), '94 (PhD)</strong>, has been awarded the 2015 Donald E. Osterbrock Book Prize by the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society for <em>Unravelling</em> <em>Starlight: William and Margaret Huggins and the Rise of the New Astronomy</em>. She taught the history of science at the University of California, Irvine, before retiring to North Carolina.</p> <h4>1974</h4> <p><strong>Ann M. Roberts, A&S '74</strong>, a professor of the history of art at Lake Forest College in Illinois, assumed the position of associate dean of the faculty and director of the first-year studies program in 2014.</p> <h4>1977</h4> <p><strong>Michael B. Dick, A&S '77 (PhD)</strong>, has retired as a professor of religious studies at Siena College in Albany, New York. He plans to continue researching and writing and looks forward to traveling with his wife, Donna Bedard.</p> <p><strong>Elayne Kornblatt Phillips, SPH '77, '82 (PhD)</strong>, was initiated as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in October 2014. She is an associate clinical professor at the University of Virginia School of Nursing.</p> <h4>1979</h4> <p><strong>Elliot L. Chaikof, A&S '79, Med '82</strong>, surgeon-in-chief and chair of the Robert and Stephen R. Weiner Department of Surgery at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Johnson & Johnson Professor of Surgery at Harvard Medical School, has been elected to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.</p> <p><strong>Les W. Field, A&S '79</strong>, is a professor and chair of the Anthropology Department at the University of New Mexico.</p> <h4>1980</h4> <p><strong>Leonard L. Lucchi, A&S '80</strong>, a registered lobbyist, is serving as president of the Maryland Government Relations Association, which provides networking and educational opportunities to government relations professionals.</p> <h4>1981</h4> <p><strong>Paul C. Avgerinos, Peab '81</strong>, was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album for his latest CD, <em>Bhakti</em>, which is an exploration of yoga and Christian themes.</p> <h4>1982</h4> <p><strong>Selwyn M. Vickers, A&S '82, Med '86</strong>, was named senior vice president for medicine and dean of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine in 2013. A surgeon, cancer researcher, and pioneer in health disparities research, Vickers is the first African-American dean of the university's medical school.</p> <h4>1983</h4> <p><strong>Wesley Stites, A&S '83 (BA/MA), Med '91 (PGF)</strong>, a professor and researcher studying the structure of proteins, is now chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Arkansas.</p> <h4>1985</h4> <p><strong>David S. Biderman, A&S '85</strong>, is proud to report that his daughter, Rachel, is a first-year student at Johns Hopkins.</p> <h4>1986</h4> <p><strong>Stacy F. Jones, Engr '86 (MS), '91 (MS)</strong>, began serving as chancellor of Elizabeth City State University in North Carolina on October 1, 2014. Since 2011, Jones has been a senior consultant on executive management, technology partnerships, and corporate development.</p> <p><strong>Thomas D. Kirsch, SPH '86, HS '87</strong>, an associate professor and the director of the Center for Refugee and Disaster Response in the Bloomberg School of Public Health, was among a dozen Ebola experts who joined President Barack Obama at a news conference on October 29, 2014.</p> <h4>1987</h4> <p><strong>R. Craig Postlewaite, SPH '87</strong>, received the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences Honor Alumnus award from the Colorado State University Alumni Association on October 16, 2014. He is chief of the Public Health Division in the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs, where he provides direction for all aspects of military public health. 1988 <strong>Oneeka Williams, A&S '88</strong>, a practicing surgeon, is also working to inspire children—especially girls and underrepresented minorities—to engage in science. Combining her love of medicine and writing, Williams has published a series of children's books, for which she was honored by the Science Club for Girls with a 2014 Catalyst Award.</p> <h4>1989</h4> <p><strong>Gary J. Elson, Engr '89 (MS)</strong>, retired from Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Colorado, where he lives with his wife, Laura. He plans to spend time with his children and grandchild and to travel.</p> <p><strong>David H. Peters, SPH '89, '93 (PhD), HS '91</strong>, a Bloomberg School of Public Health faculty member, was among a dozen Ebola experts who joined President Barack Obama at a news conference on October 29, 2014.</p> <h4>1991</h4> <p><strong>Nels A. Dumin, Engr '91</strong>, a software engineer and data scientist, has been named a senior member of the technical staff at Texas Instruments for his contributions to the company's Analog Technology Development group. He also placed second in the District 50 Toastmasters Humorous Speech Contest, held in Shreveport, Louisiana, in November 2014.</p> <p><strong>Allison Charney Epstein, Peab '91 (MM), '94 (AD)</strong>, an opera singer, began her fifth season of PREformances with Allison Charney in October 2014 at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan. The New York venue offers composers the opportunity to hear their works performed in anticipation of big premieres.</p> <p><strong>Paul Jan Zdunek, Peab '91</strong>, was hired in December 2014 as chief capital development officer for Singpoli Capital Corporation, a commercial real estate investment company.</p> <h4>1993</h4> <p><strong>Andrew B. Ackerman, A&S '93</strong>, became managing director of DreamIt Ventures' New York technology startup accelerator in 2014.</p> <h4>1994</h4> <p><strong>Lisa A. Cooper, Med '94 (PGF)</strong>, director of the Johns Hopkins Center to Eliminate Cardiovascular Health Disparities, was awarded a 2014 Herbert W. Nickens Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges for promoting justice in U.S. medical education and health care.</p> <p><strong>John J.B. Peller, A&S '94</strong>, was named president and CEO of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago in September 2014.</p> <h4>1996</h4> <p><strong>Ilise Feitshans, SPH '96</strong>, received her doctorate from the Geneva School of Diplomacy at the University of Lausanne and won the university's social and preventive medicine foundation prize in 2014.</p> <p><strong>Matt Gross, A&S '96, '98 (MA)</strong>, was named editor of in September 2014. The former editor of, Gross relocated to Boston from Brooklyn with his wife, Jean, and two young children.</p> <p><strong>Frederick P. Halperin, Engr '96</strong>, and Sarah Herr Halperin celebrated the birth of their son, William Leor, on August 30, 2014.</p> <p><strong>Luis F. Ruiz, A&S '96</strong>, and Meagan A. Wisner welcomed their son, Charles Alexander Gray Ruiz, on March 27, 2014. The family resides in Richmond, Virginia.</p> <h4>1997</h4> <p><strong>Michele Bradford, A&S '97</strong>, owner of Bionic Bodies Pilates, reports that she launched a pilates studio in Afghanistan while leading a U.S. government-funded contract there last year.</p> <p><strong>Shireen D. Donaldson-Ramos, A&S '97</strong>, received the 2014 Dr. Melville G. Magida Award, presented annually by the Fairfield County Medical Association and the Rosenthal Family Foundation to a young physician who has shown a notable capacity for patient care. Donaldson-Ramos works in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Bridgeport Hospital in Fairfield County, Connecticut.</p> <h4>1998</h4> <p><strong>Elizabeth M. Chow, A&S '98</strong>, is medical director of Forbes Hospice and program director of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine Fellowship in Pittsburgh's Allegheny Health Network.</p> <p><strong>James Zabora, SPH '98 (ScD)</strong>, director of research and professional development at Inova Life with Cancer, was appointed a fellow and president-elect by the American Psychosocial Oncology Society in July 2014. He previously had a 20-year career at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.</p> <h4>1999</h4> <p><strong>Jorge A. Ferrer, Bus '99 (Cert), HS '00, Bus '02 (MBA)</strong>, has been appointed adjunct assistant professor at the University of Texas Health School of Biomedical Informatics. His focus is documentation, user experience, terminologies, and health data dictionary requirements for electronic health records.</p> <h4>2000</h4> <p><strong>Dan K. Ahdoot, A&S '00</strong>, is a comedian, actor, writer, and producer who has written a feature film based on the Janoskians, Australian YouTube pranksters. He has also sold a TV series based on his standup comedy called <em>Dan Derailed</em>.</p> <p><strong>Cyndie Chang, A&S '00</strong>, and<strong>Philip Cheng, Engr '98</strong>, welcomed their second child, Landon James Cheng, on August 5, 2014. Chang, the managing partner of the Los Angeles law office of Duane Morris, was recognized by the <em>Daily Journal</em> as one of the Top 100 Women Lawyers in California and was a 2014 Super Lawyer.</p> <p><strong>Isabella Pei-Ying Lee, A&S '00</strong>, has joined Mohawk Industries as assistant general counsel. She resides in Atlanta.</p> <h4>2001</h4> <p><strong>Nettie Owens, Engr '01</strong>, a professional organizer, produc-tivity coach, and president of Sappari Solutions, has earned her Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization designation from the Institute for Challenging Disorganization.</p> <p><strong>Daniel L. Petrilli, A&S '01</strong>, has joined the new Insurance Industry Group of Timoney Knox law firm, based in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>Ian M. Wasser, A&S '01 (MA), '05 (PhD)</strong>, joined Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn in September 2014 as an attorney in the law firm's intellectual property department, located in Kalamazoo, Michigan.</p> <h4>2004</h4> <p><strong>Martin J. "Marty" Rochlin, Ed '04 (Cert)</strong>, assumed directorship in September 2014 of Camp Airy, a Jewish overnight camp for boys in Thurmont, Maryland. He is a former assistant director and programming director for the camp and returns after spending 10 years as assistant principal of middle and high schools in Frederick and Baltimore counties.</p> <h4>2005</h4> <p><strong>David Byeff, A&S '05</strong>, married Jill Larson on August 9, 2014, in Minneapolis, where they celebrated with former Johns Hopkins classmates.</p> <p><strong>Andres Zapata, Bus '05 (MBA)</strong>, was named one of the 4 Under 40 Marketing Emerging Leaders by the American Marketing Association's Marketing Insights Council. He serves as a partner and executive vice president of strategy at idfive, an advertising, Web design, and brand consulting agency in Baltimore.</p> <h4>2007</h4> <p><strong>James P. Barker, Engr '07</strong>, joined the Seattle office of Kilpatrick Townsend and Stockton as an associate on the firm's Medical & Mechanical Devices Team. He was previously a researcher at the Cattolico Laboratory at the University of Washington.</p> <p><strong>Drake Dodson, Bus '07 (MBA)</strong>, has been appointed vice president of information technology for the combined technology functions of the First Service Networks and FM Facility Maintenance companies.</p> <h4>2008</h4> <p><strong>Adam J. Milam, A&S '08, SPH '09, '12 (PhD)</strong>, a medical student at Wayne State University School of Medicine, was awarded a 2014 Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship from the Association of American Medical Colleges.</p> <h4>2009</h4> <p><strong>Kwame Kuadey, Bus '09 (MBA)</strong>, founder and CEO of, a business that lets people sell gift cards online, was named one of last year's 40 Under 40 by <em>Baltimore Business Journal</em>.</p> <h4>2010</h4> <p><strong>Evan M. Lazerowitz, A&S '10</strong>, has joined the New Jersey office of Day Pitney as an associate attorney specializing in complex commercial litigation. He previously clerked at the Superior Court of New Jersey.</p> <p><strong>Luke P. Plotica, A&S '10 (PhD)</strong>, joined the Virginia Tech faculty as an assistant professor of political science in the fall of 2014.</p> <h4>2011</h4> <p><strong>Ami Kumordzie, Engr '11</strong>, a medical student at Stanford University School of Medicine, was awarded a 2014 Herbert W. Nickens Medical Student Scholarship from the Association of American Medical Colleges.</p> <h4>2012</h4> <p><strong>Olga Maltseva Brillman, Bus '12 (MBA)</strong>, executive director of the Warnock Foundation, which supports social innovations in Baltimore with investments, was named one of last year's 40 Under 40 by <em>Baltimore Business Journal</em>.</p> <p><strong>Alexander A. Kopicki, Bus '12 (MS)</strong>, is the CEO of Kinglet, a real estate startup providing on-demand office rentals, as well as a principal at Solstice Partners, a real estate development company. In December 2014, he was named one of 40 Under 40 by <em>Baltimore Business Journal</em>.</p> <p><strong>Danielle Lohan, A&S '12</strong>, educates and trains groups on the issue of human trafficking for the Maryland Rescue and Restore Coalition and the Samaritan Women, a national Christian organization that works to end domestic human trafficking and offers restorative care to survivors.</p> <h4>2013</h4> <p><strong>Jean Fan, Engr '13</strong>, has launched cusSTEMized, a nonprofit initiative aimed at increasing young girls' interest in science, technology, engineering, and math by providing them with personalized books. The co-writer and illustrator of <em>______'s Little Book of Big Dreams</em>, Fan is also pursuing a doctorate in bioinformatics and integrative genomics at Harvard.</p> <p><strong>Peter C. Li, Engr '13 (BS/MSE)</strong>, is a co-founder and CEO of Atlas Wearables, a startup that produces the Atlas fitness-tracking device. In November 2014, the company raised another $1 million after previously raising more than $1 million from crowdfunding sites and angel investors.</p> <h4>2014</h4> <p><strong>André J. "AJ" Bahou, Engr '14 (MS)</strong>, was elected to serve as president of the Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association in 2013. A registered patent attorney who practices in the area of intellectual property law, he has been a leader in the statewide professional organization for several years.</p> <p><strong>Jennifer Nicole Campbell, Peab '14</strong>, pianist and composer, won first place in the 2014 Newark Symphony Orchestra Concerto Competition on November 9, 2014. The prize includes a cash award and a performance with the Newark Symphony Orchestra to be held this spring.</p> <p><strong>Sarah Lynn Horton, A&S '14</strong>, was named a fellow of Princeton in Latin America, a nonprofit that partners with other nonprofits throughout Latin America to match them with young professionals seeking fellowships in development work. Since June 2014, Horton has been working with Instiglio, which aims to improve the impact of social programs in developing countries.</p> <p><strong>Benjamin Russell Panico, A&S '14</strong>, was appointed a Victory Congressional Fellow for the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus in August 2014. Panico is the only openly transgender person working in the U.S. House of Representatives and is the first openly transgender person to serve as a Victory Congressional Fellow. In his role, he will support the caucus's executive director and learn about the legislative process and careers in policymaking.</p> <p><strong>Catherine Rinaldo, A&S '14</strong>, has joined Himmelrich PR in Baltimore as an account associate. In her role, she supports media relations, promotions, and marketing activities for client accounts. She is also pursuing her master's degree in communications from Johns Hopkins.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Alum Dalia Ganz leads ABC Family's social media team <p>Dalia Ganz, A&S '05, moved to Los Angeles after graduation with hopes of finding a marketing job in television. She landed at ABC Family, where over the last nine years she has played a pivotal role in developing the network's social media strategy. As director of digital and partnership marketing, Ganz devises innovative ways to connect with fans of ABC Family's shows through Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, and other platforms. The results have been impressive: ABC Family boasts 49 million fans on Facebook alone, and its popular high-school drama <em>Pretty Little Liars</em> is the No. 1 scripted TV series on Twitter. Ganz and her team have a number of industry firsts under their belts, including releasing the first three minutes of <em>Pretty Little Liars</em>' winter 2015 premiere in segments via Snapchat. "We don't want to just have a basic presence," she says. "We want to do things that no network is doing."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Alum's nonprofit helps veterans find jobs <p>You leave the Army at age 34. You've never interviewed for a job in the private sector. You have no corporate skills. How do you find a place in the civilian workforce?</p> <p>Enter American Corporate Partners, a nonprofit founded by Sidney "Sid" Goodfriend, A&S '82. After nearly 25 years as a Wall Street investment banker, Goodfriend decided to use his connections to create a one-on-one mentoring program modeled loosely after Big Brothers Big Sisters, "except in this case, the 'little brother' might be a 34-year-old Marine," he says.</p> <p>Since 2008, ACP has grown to include more than 60 companies—whose corporate mentors have included Rupert Murdoch—and 2,100 veterans nationwide. During one memorable connection, a wounded vet spent six months perfecting his interview skills with his IBM mentor. Two years later, he's a financial professional with more than $500 million in sales for his company. "It shows the power of what people can do … and we can introduce them," Goodfriend says.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 In memoriam <p><strong>Margaret Walker Hamsher, Nurs '40 (Dipl)</strong>, September 2, 2014, Memphis, Tennessee.</p> <p><strong>Alfred E. Rosenthal, A&S '40</strong>, October 11, 2014, Bayonne, New Jersey.</p> <p><strong>Stella B. Simpson, Nurs '42 (Dipl)</strong>, July 28, 2014, San Diego.</p> <p><strong>Virginia M. Smith, Nurs '42 (Cert)</strong>, July 30, 2014, Sarasota, Florida.</p> <p><strong>Winslow K. Abbott, Engr '43</strong>, September 20, 2014, West Chester, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>Norman R. Freeman Jr., Med '43, HS '44</strong>, October 10, 2014, Towson, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Bernard I.H. Kramer, Bus '43</strong>, August 14, 2014, Pikesville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Elizabeth J. Weller, Nurs '46 (Dipl)</strong>, October 19, 2014, San Jose, California.</p> <p><strong>Elizabeth Gahagan Baker, Nurs '48 (Dipl)</strong>, September 1, 2014, Marshall, North Carolina.</p> <p><strong>Simon E. Ehrlich, A&S '48</strong>, October 19, 2014, Huntington Beach, California.</p> <p><strong>Rashi Fein, A&S '48, '56 (PhD), Med '52 (PGF)</strong>, September 8, 2014, Boston.</p> <p><strong>Joseph V. Ridgely, A&S '48 (MA), '56 (PhD)</strong>, September 27, 2014, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>Stuart L. Brown Jr., Engr '49</strong>, September 4, 2014, Staunton, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>Henry E. "Hank" Kulwicki, Engr '49</strong>, August 17, 2014, York, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>James S. McGeehan, Med '49, HS '50</strong>, October 14, 2014, Owosso, Michigan.</p> <p><strong>Gilbert B. Lessenco, A&S '50</strong>, July 30, 2014, Bethesda, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Lois E. Paul, Peab '50 (Cert), Bus '51</strong>, August 29, 2014, Sea Girt, New Jersey.</p> <p><strong>William F. Railing, A&S '50</strong>, August 14, 2014, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>D. Dean Cunningham, Med '51</strong>, June 8, 2014, Springfield, Missouri.</p> <p><strong>Ralph C. Hersh Jr., Engr '51</strong>, September 16, 2014, Hobart, Indiana.</p> <p><strong>Harry L. Hoffman III, A&S '51</strong>, August 1, 2014, Sykesville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Helen C. Johns, Bus '51</strong>, August 4, 2014, Richmond, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>George E. Schubert, Engr '51</strong>, August 27, 2014, Hudson, Florida.</p> <p><strong>Sophia A. Burkey, Peab '52 (Cert/BS)</strong>, September 30, 2104, Loretto, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>David W. Steinhaus, A&S '52 (PhD)</strong>, July 9, 2014, Albuquerque, New Mexico.</p> <p><strong>Robert S. Byron, A&S '53</strong>, July 14, 2014, Asheville, North Carolina.</p> <p><strong>Herbert S. Alterman, A&S '54</strong>, July 26, 2014, Passaic, New Jersey.</p> <p><strong>Sidney O. Hills, A&S '54 (PhD)</strong>, July 17, 2014, Portland, Oregon.</p> <p><strong>Ray F. Garman, A&S '57</strong>, September 20, 2014, Lexington, Kentucky.</p> <p><strong>Fumio A. Saito, A&S '57</strong>, August 14, 2014, Los Altos, California.</p> <p><strong>H. Howard Wisch, Engr '57</strong>, May 6, 2014, Malvern, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>George F. Edmonds, A&S '59</strong>, July 28, 2014, St. Michaels, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Philip Filner, A&S '60</strong>, September 6, 2014, Lutherville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>T. Richard Fishbein, SAIS Bol '61 (Dipl)</strong>, October 14, 2014, New York.</p> <p><strong>Lawrence P. Gunshol, Engr '61</strong>, September 13, 2014, Glen Burnie, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Louis W. Venza, A&S '61</strong>, August 30, 2014, Livingston, New Jersey.</p> <p><strong>Charles R. Backus, A&S '63</strong>, July 12, 2014, Warrenton, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>Bill H. Giles, Bus '64</strong>, August 5, 2014, Atlanta.</p> <p><strong>Edward R. Fisher, Engr '65 (PhD)</strong>, August 2, 2014, Lake Linden, Michigan.</p> <p><strong>Peter O. Kwiterovich Jr., Med '66, HS '72</strong>, August 15, 2014, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>David M. Benson, A&S '69, Ed '72 (MEd)</strong>, October 24, 2014, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>Alan J. Greenfield, Med '69</strong>, October 9, 2014, Boston.</p> <p><strong>Frederick C. Jurgens, Engr '69</strong>, September 8, 2014, Ellicott City, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>William W. Vondersmith Jr., Engr '69</strong>, July 25, 2014, Snellville, Georgia.</p> <p><strong>Jorge A. Lawton, SAIS '70, '86 (PhD)</strong>, September 21, 2014, Atlanta.</p> <p><strong>Paul H. Patterson, A&S '70 (PhD)</strong>, June 25, 2014, Altadena, California.</p> <p><strong>Edward H. Scott, SPH '71</strong>, September 21, 2014, Dubuque, Iowa.</p> <p><strong>Harris Matthew Dolan, Bus '72</strong>, July 24, 2014, Perry Hall, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Albert D. Potter, Ed '72 (Cert)</strong>, September 2, 2014, Delmar, New York.</p> <p><strong>Ethne F. Higginbotham, Med '73 (MS)</strong>, July 30, 2014, Annapolis, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>J. Wayne Cowens, Med '76</strong>, August 24, 2014, Seattle.</p> <p><strong>Francis L. Ptak, Bus '77</strong>, September 21, 2014, Baltimore.</p> <p><strong>Paul L. Knight, Med '78 (PGF)</strong>, October 17, 2014, Fremont, California.</p> <p><strong>Kwok-Leung Li, Engr '79</strong>, June 28, 2014, Bethesda, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Joseph E. Campana, Med '80 (PGF)</strong>, August 10, 2014, Madison, Wisconsin.</p> <p><strong>Robert J. Lyden Jr., A&S '81 (MLA)</strong>, August 29, 2014, Dundalk, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Robert M. Vukovich, Engr '83 (MS)</strong>, August 9, 2014, Odenton, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Richard G. Black, HS '84</strong>, August 30, 2014, Sugar Land, Texas.</p> <p><strong>Randall S. Evans, Peab '86</strong>, September 5, 2014, Thornton, Pennsylvania.</p> <p><strong>James Taylor Lanier, Engr '87 (MS), '99 (MS)</strong>, September 21, 2014, Columbia, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Robert W. Cifers, Med '89 (PGF), HS '89</strong>, August 21, 2014, Ocean View, New Jersey.</p> <p><strong>Carol Ann Witt-MacPhail, Ed '89 (MS)</strong>, September 24, 2014, Lutherville, Maryland.</p> <p><strong>Kathleen M. Happ, Bus '93 (MAS)</strong>, September 19, 2014, The Villages, Florida.</p> <p><strong>Michael J. Renga, Engr '98 (MSE)</strong>, October 9, 2014, Arlington, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>James A. Radmore, Bus '03 (MS)</strong>, October 11, 2014, Herndon, Virginia.</p> <p><strong>Richard A. Chase, HS '07</strong>, September 2, 2014, New York.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 "Hello, world!" <p>Two days into my new job as New York City program manager at Girls Who Code, I sat around the table with my eight colleagues faced with a problem I had not dealt with in any of my previous positions. My challenge was to build a "bug bot," an animated digital bug that could sense a black line on a computer screen and follow it, no matter the size or shape.</p> <p>As our fearless instructor bounded around the room, she encouraged us to break the problem down into the smallest steps imaginable. There we were, walking around the conference room pretending to be a bug bot following a line, all the while jotting down notes about our movements and thought processes. After three hours of brainstorming, I had to write just six lines of code to make my bug follow the line—any line, infinitely.</p> <p>I joined Girls Who Code not as a coder but as a feminist from a background in STEM and education nonprofits. In my role, I face challenges daily—managing a team, monitoring budgets, running operations, and building partnerships, but before that day my brain had never been forced to consider a problem in a new way, with rigorous logic and no room for interpretation or ambiguity.</p> <p>Since building my bug bot, I've built everything from email parsers to a fully functioning Asteroids video game. I spend hours debugging my programs, participating in online forums, and working with fellow students to become a better programmer.</p> <p>Hundreds of high school girls across the country are on this journey with me. Their participation in coding courses like Girls Who Code's after-school clubs and summer immersion programs is crucial to ensuring the economic prosperity of women. Software engineers are some of the highest paid professionals coming out of college, and women are missing out on a huge economic opportunity because of factors like outdated curricula, social stigma, a lack of female role models, and the overwhelming portrayal of coders as masculine and geeky.</p> <p>Today, women fill less than 20 percent of software engineering positions at the country's top technology firms. What's more, the U.S. Department of Labor estimates there will be 1.4 million job openings for computer specialists by the year 2020, yet U.S.-educated women are projected to fill only 3 percent of these jobs at current graduation rates. It is imperative that we encourage young women to pursue computer science education and careers in the tech sector.</p> <p>But for me to embark on that mission, I had to start with myself.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Message <p>Some people don't love a surprise.</p> <p>Luckily, the first winner of our President's Frontier Award isn't one of them. On the morning of the award announcement, Provost Robert C. Lieberman and I led a phalanx of faculty and university leaders to Croft Hall on the Homewood campus. We surprised Dr. Sharon Gerecht in her regularly scheduled lab meeting to break the news that we were awarding her $250,000 to support her pioneering research at the nexus of materials science, engineering, and stem cell biology. We toasted Sharon in the presence of her jubilant lab members, who celebrated and then got back to work.</p> <p>Such dedication represents precisely the restless pursuit of discovery that defines us. It's that passion and creativity that inspired Johns Hopkins trustee Lou Forster A&S '82, SAIS '83, and Kathy Pike, SAIS Bol '81 (Dipl), A&S '82, '83 (MA), to create the President's Frontier Award, which will be given each year for five years to support a Hopkins faculty member poised to make significant contributions to his or her field. In short, someone exactly like Sharon.</p> <p>It's the kind of investment that is crucial right now as our faculty continue to pursue groundbreaking work against the backdrop of a steady decline in federal research funding support. The statistics paint a damning picture. Since 2003, the real value of National Institutes of Health funding has contracted by 20 percent. Humanists have fared no better: National Endowment for the Humanities discretionary funding declined by 25 percent in constant dollars over the last decade.</p> <p>These declines can be particularly daunting for our young faculty members launching careers. In the sciences, the data is arresting. The number of principal investigators for R01s, the premier NIH research grant, who are 36 years old or younger has declined from 18 percent in 1983 to 3 percent in 2010. This persistent downward trend has serious implications for a generation of scientists and the future of American science.</p> <p>We are responding in our usual entrepreneurial fashion. In addition to the Frontier Award, we recently announced two more programs to mitigate current funding challenges. The Johns Hopkins Catalyst and Discovery awards represent a collaborative investment on the part of our divisions of $15 million over the next three years to support the extraordinary promise of young faculty and innovative, cross-university research projects.</p> <p>These efforts cannot replace robust federal support for the essential creative and investigative work of the university's scholars and researchers.</p> <p>Yet looking across the room at Sharon Gerecht—and the young members of her lab who are on the journey with her—I was elated. At Johns Hopkins, we know that when it comes to sparking discovery, we just can't wait.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Contributors <p><strong>Christina Cooke</strong> (<a href="">"Lights Out"</a>) is a North Carolina– based writer who has written for publications including <em>The New Yorker</em>, <em>The Atlantic</em>, <em>High Country News</em> and <em>Our State</em> magazine. She teaches at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University.</p> <p><strong>Pop Chart Lab</strong> (<a href="">"Serve & Protect?"</a> infographics) is a Brooklyn-based company that arranges massive amounts of data into meaningful charts. Launched in 2010 by book editor Patrick Mulligan and graphic designer Ben Gibson, Pop Chart Lab is known for infographics on topics like the many varieties of beer.</p> <p><strong>Jim Duffy</strong> (<a href="">"Sickness and <em>in</em>Health"</a>) lives in Cambridge, on Maryland's Eastern Shore, with his wife, photographer Jill Jasuta. He has been a self-employed writer for most of the last 20 years.</p> <p><strong>Andy Martin</strong> (<a href="">"Sickness and <em>in</em>Health,"</a> illustration) is a self-described "imagemaker" whose artistic style involves deconstructing and remodeling images. Past clients include <em>New York</em> magazine, <em>The Guardian</em>, <em>Esquire</em>, <em>Time</em> magazine, and others.</p> <p><strong>Tony Richards</strong> (<a href="">"Heart of Darkness</a>," photography) is a portrait and lifestyle photographer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. Past clients include the <em>Detroit Free Press</em>, <em>Michigan Sports</em>, and <em>Fitness Magazine</em>.</p> <p><strong>Greg Rienzi</strong> (<a href="">"Heart of Darkness"</a>), A&S '02 (MA), is a Baltimore-based writer and editor. He writes for several Johns Hopkins publications as well as <em>Urbanite</em> and <em>Boss</em> magazine. He teaches undergraduate journalism courses part time at Towson University.</p> <p><strong>On the cover</strong><br /> Jeffrey Alan Love's minimalist cover illustration, which accompanies the story ["Heart of Darkness,"}( seeks to evoke the type of desolation prisoners experience when held in solitary confinement for extended periods of time. "By not showing the face on the cover, I hoped that viewers would be able to imagine themselves in that position, to put themselves in the prisoner's shoes for a second and experience that bleakness," he says. Love's art has also appeared in <em>Time</em> magazine, <em>The New York Times</em>, <em>The New Yorker</em>, and other publications.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Note <p>I am struck by the power of questions to disturb.</p> <p>Inquisitive children of my generation, and I was one, became used to the admonishment, usually delivered by the mother, "Don't ask so many questions." As an adult, I understand how often that reply must have been prompted by exhaustion and the desperate wish for just
10 minutes—is that too much to ask, dear Lord?—free of our jibber-jabber. But after 40 years as a journalist and more than 20 years at Johns Hopkins, I also understand the extraordinary capacity of questions to unsettle and challenge.</p> <p>Last August, when photos of Ferguson, Missouri, police officers confronting demonstrators with weaponry suitable for a battlefield appeared in the press, many of us asked, Why does a suburban police force have combat weaponry? What I didn't know at the time was that Kara Dansky, A&S '94, had been asking the same question and more on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union. Some of the answers that her questions produced are disturbing (<a href="">"Serve & Protect?"</a>). Though they're probably not as disturbing as what Bloomberg School researcher Gabriel Eber, SPH '02, found when he asked what happens when a prison inmate is subjected to long-term solitary confinement (<a href="">"Heart of Darkness"</a>).</p> <p>So much Johns Hopkins research leaves me optimistic—we are making progress understanding cancer, Alzheimer's disease, the structure of the universe, how to stop an epidemic from becoming a pandemic, and what's enduring about Mozart or Cicero. But sometimes, the answers produced by hard questions pierce the soul. Don't ask so many questions? No. Ask more.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Dialogue <h4>Too Karl-centric</h4> <p>Thank you to Gabriel Popkin for
his wonderful article <a href="">["The Long Shadow of a Poor Start," Winter 2014]</a> on Doris Entwisle's and my project, The Beginning School Study, and our recent book—the project's capstone publication—<em>The Long Shadow: Family Background, Disadvantaged Urban Youth, and the Transition to Adulthood</em>.</p> <p>It is hard to find fault with such glowing coverage, which was meticulously researched and fact-checked by Gabriel. However, the write-up is a bit too Karl-centric for my taste. I did not see the final copy before it went to press, but if I had had the opportunity, I would have asked Gabriel to say a bit more about Doris, her contributions to our work, and the very special nature of our collaboration, which spanned more than three decades. The article notes that Doris died of cancer while <em>The Long Shadow</em> was in final production. She was not available to Gabriel, which I suspect is the "why" of it.</p> <p>Doris was my senior mentor and a scholar of extraordinary accomplishment. We worked together long, hard, and well on The Beginning School Study and its many publications. It would be unforgivable were I to let all that go by unremarked.</p> <p><strong>Karl Alexander</strong><br /> <em>Johns Hopkins research professor of sociology</em><br /> Baltimore</p> <h4>Eye-Opener</h4> <p><a href="">"The Long Shadow of a Poor Start" [Winter 2014]</a> was quite an eye-opener for me. I came to this country from France in the early 1960s and studied the equality of educational opportunity in France vs. the U.S. in the early '70s. At that time, a child from low socioeconomic background in France had far less chance to have access to higher education than his or her counterpart in the U.S., even though France's educational system is free from cradle to grave with an outstanding preschool program from age 2 to 5.</p> <p>Recently, I had a feeling that the advantage the low socioeconomic U.S. student had in the '60s had eroded. Yet, I was quite shocked to see the results of the Alexander/Entwisle research. I guess it might be one of the explanations for the exponential increase of income disparity in our society.</p> <p><strong>Isabelle Halley des Fontaines</strong><br /> Charlottesville, Virginia</p> <h4>Clichéd and Smarmy</h4> <p>It's sad and predictable, but whenever I read an excellent article about astrobiology like <a href="">"Are We Flying Solo?" [Winter 2014]</a>, I wait for the inevitable joking reference to UFOs. And there it is—a silly aside about Area 51 and conspiracy theories in the fifth paragraph from the bottom. It's apparently impossible for writers to tackle this subject without inserting a clichéd and smarmy dismissal of what is actually a serious, and potentially very important, scientific subject.</p> <p>Maybe next time consider reaching out to Richard C. Henry, another Hopkins professor and noted astronomer, who happens to be on the board of directors of the Fund for UFO Research, an organization dedicated to the scientific study of UFOs. He has addressed the subject of UFOs, which may or may not be alien spacecraft, not with sneers and mockery but in an admirably skeptical and nonbiased way. He's only a Google search away.</p> <p>Not all space scientists are eager to dismiss the enormous number of people who have seen anomalous objects in Earth's skies—objects that may be evidence of extraterrestrial life visiting our planet.</p> <p><strong>Michael M. Hughes</strong><br /> <em>Communications manager, Johns Hopkins Center for Alternatives to Animal Testing</em><br /> Baltimore</p> <h4>Looking Back</h4> <p>My thanks for the article on Earl Wasserman <a href="">["The Earl of Homewood," Winter 2014]</a>. I took courses with him in the early 1960s, and the force of his personality and intellect is still vivid to me. Later on, when I went to graduate school and my own thoughts about literature matured, I found that his critical orientation was very distant from my own. But the power of his thought, the intensity of his teaching, and the model he was of a man devoted to his discipline and his students are unforgettable. Looking back, I realize how privileged I was to study with him and with some of his colleagues— Charles Singleton, D.C. Allen, Dick Macksey, and René Girard, among others. That was a special time at Hopkins.</p> <p><strong>David Chanoff, A&S '65</strong><br /> Marlborough, Massachusetts</p> <h4>Glaring Omission</h4> <p>I write regarding Bret McCabe's admiring profile of alumnus Dwight Watkins <a href="">["Writing His Way," Fall 2014]</a>. Unfortunately, Watkins' personal narrative, as McCabe tells it, is devoid of two crucial themes: remorse and redemption. Although McCabe cursorily—but crucially—observes that Watkins "sold death to his own people," nowhere does McCabe explore that deep personal culpability. Far from being forced into the drug trade, Watkins cast aside his college opportunity and the cautionary tale of his murdered, drug-dealing stepbrother, and he readily chose to distribute poison to the community. At no time does Watkins express remorse for the harm he caused to those he sold heroin and cocaine, <em>his</em> victims, or to their loved ones who watched them suffer through an addiction Watkins encouraged. Nor does Watkins express remorse for his role in perpetuating the cycle of crime and violence in East Baltimore that goes hand in hand with the drug trade. The article's startling omission of remorse is matched by its failure to address how (if at all) Watkins is making amends. He apparently escaped the incarceration that he was due for his crimes. Nonetheless, McCabe— wittingly or not—presents a false equivalency as Watkins' redemption: By seeking to publish a "cult classic," Watkins atones for the harm he inflicted for five years on his Baltimore community. Nowhere does McCabe describe any efforts to reach out and make amends to those individual Baltimore kids who watched Watkins sell drugs and emulated his disastrous path, nor to his victims or their families, nor to his neighbors. If this magazine is going to tackle difficult contemporary issues, it should be prepared to ask its subjects the tough questions necessary to present a complete story. Anything short of that sells the imprimatur of Johns Hopkins too cheaply.</p> <p><strong>James Harlow, A&S '07</strong><br /> Arlington, Virginia</p> <h4>Corrections:</h4> <p>Dumbest things we did last issue: The article <a href="">"Plantibodies v. Ebola" [Forefront, Winter 2014]</a>, about the experimental drug ZMapp, suggests that Mapp Biopharmaceutical founders Kevin Whaley and Larry Zeitlin discovered how to make antibodies in plants. In fact, they built on existing research to develop their plant-based treatment for Ebola.</p> <p><a href="">"Lane Improvements" [Forefront, Winter 2014]</a>, misstated the year in which Jamie Flerlage and Branden Engorn were asked to become co-chief residents. They were tapped at the end of their first year, 2009–2010. The article also neglected to mention that three pharmacists assisted with updating the <em>Harriet Lane Handbook</em>.</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Forthcoming book addresses disparities between the ruling and the ruled <p><em>After 20 years in Washington, Johns Hopkins political scientist Benjamin Ginsberg came to believe that American policymakers assume the American public is stupid. So in 2013, he and Jennifer Bachner, director of the Johns Hopkins master's program in government analytics, decided to find out in a more rigorous scholarly way what Washington's bureaucrats think of the Americans they represent. The researchers sought the opinions of 850 civil servants, congressional and White House staffers, and consultants and contractors.</em></p> <p><em>The forthcoming book</em> What the Government Thinks of the People <em>(W.W. Norton, 2016) addresses disparities between the ruling and the ruled. It also offers suggestions that Ginsberg and Bachner believe could lessen the polarity between the two.</em></p> <h4>Context</h4> <p>Ginsberg, who is chair of the Center for Advanced Governmental Studies in D.C., wanted to survey unelected U.S. policymakers because while elected officials pass legislation, the unelected write the rules. "Much of what we think of as the law is written not by elected officials but by government agencies," he says. "That's why it's important to find out how they view us—they aren't elected, and much
of what they do is not overseen."</p> <p>This issue is possibly the most important Ginsberg has addressed in book form, he says. "The creators of the Constitution created a very nice framework, but much of our government is in the hands of bureaucrats, who on a day-to-day basis march to their own drummers."</p> <h4>Data</h4> <p>Ginsberg and Bachner made a point
of surveying individuals who had
been hired or appointed—that is,
 the unelected who make policy. They gathered directories of government offices, think tanks, and Capitol Hill offices, then emailed individuals.
 They reached respondents in person and online. Ultimately, they gathered about 1,000 responses, which Ginsberg says is about the same response rate used by the average national survey intended to represent the views of 350 million Americans.
Findings included that 46.5 percent of respondents believed the percentage of the U.S. population that is 65 or older is 22 percent, when in reality it is 13 percent; 43.1 percent of respondents believed the median income in the United States to be $47,000, when it is actually $52,000; and 47.6 percent of respondents believed African-Americans make up 17 percent of the population of the United States, when in fact it's closer to 13 percent.</p> <h4>Upshot</h4> <p>Moving forward, Ginsberg thinks bureaucrats must receive more education about the nation's citizens: "Number one, we need to expect officials to have a fiduciary responsibility [toward those they represent], like a doctor or a lawyer. I don't need a good understanding of the criminal code to hire a lawyer—they're trained in that. Civil servants aren't good servants to us, [in part because] they have no training in how to understand the American public."</p> <p>He also thinks mass media mistakenly concentrate on how little citizens know about government. 
"I got tired of reading those articles about what people know about government and how they couldn't pass the citizenship quiz, which is a very silly quiz, by the way. There's this entire area of literature disparaging the people." We should be more concerned about how little government knows about its citizens, he says.</p> <h4>Conclusion</h4> <p>Ginsberg believes government officials should be taken out of Washington and rotated through field offices. "Every study shows that public officials working in the field offices develop more sympathy for the American people," he says.</p> <p>Americans' civic education could stand some change, too, he says: "There should be less about George Washington and the cherry tree—more about how to be a little cynical and understand politics as it's seen in Washington." He adds, "Officials' lack of concern or even knowledge of the views of the general public does not leave us with much confidence that the interests of ordinary citizens will carry much weight in the process of administrative rule making."</p> Thu, 05 Mar 2015 09:00:00 -0500 Got DIBs? <p>Ninety-three years ago, astronomer Mary Lea Heger discovered diffuse interstellar bands, DIBs, in the spectra of stars. Some sort of mysterious molecules in the interstellar space between stars and Earth were causing lines to appear
in the stars' spectra. Scientists still are not sure what produces the bands, but now they have a map of where the enigmatic molecules are in space. By analyzing massive amounts of data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, a team of Johns Hopkins astronomers produced this map. Red indicates areas with the most abundant DIB molecules, blue the least.</p>