Joon Soo Kim, Liam Cheng, and Tihitina Aytenfisu

Image caption: From left, Joon Soo Kim, Liam Cheng, and Tihitina Aytenfisu

Credit: Will Kirk / Johns Hopkins University

University News

Johns Hopkins community celebrates transformative financial aid gift for medical and graduate students

Hopkins faculty and students share their excitement about Bloomberg Philanthropies' landmark $1 billion investment in future generations of doctors, nurses, and research pioneers

This story will be updated throughout the day as members of the Hopkins community share additional reactions to the momentous gift.

The $1 billion gift announced today from Bloomberg Philanthropies to support medical and graduate education at Johns Hopkins University is eliciting great joy and deep appreciation from faculty, students, and alumni.

The transformative gift will make the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine tuition-free for medical students from families that earn up to $300,000 and will cover living expenses and fees for medical students from families that earn up to $175,000, a threshold that includes the vast majority of families in the U.S. Nearly two-thirds of current and entering medical students at Johns Hopkins will immediately qualify for either free tuition or free tuition plus living expenses.

Video credit: Roy Henry and Aubrey Morse / Johns Hopkins University

In addition to investing in future generations of doctors, the $1 billion endowment from Bloomberg Philanthropies will support leaders in other critical health-related fields through increased graduate financial aid in the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Nursing, and it will expand aid for graduate degrees offered by the Johns Hopkins schools of Education, Engineering, Business, Arts and Sciences, and Advanced International Studies; the Peabody Institute; and the newly announced School of Government and Policy. The gift also will support the development of a new program to draw impact-focused interdisciplinary leaders into the worlds of research, industry, and government through innovations in PhD education and training.

In a message sent to the Hopkins community, JHU President Ron Daniels celebrated the gift's impact on reducing financial barriers to advanced degrees.

"Extraordinary talent resides in every community and with people of all socioeconomic backgrounds, yet the destructive burden of debt has long been a barrier to pursuing a medical education," Daniels wrote. "This barrier is particularly daunting for students from low-income and middle-class families, who are too often dissuaded from even considering a career in medicine or research. By reducing financial obstacles to individual opportunity, we can open our doors more widely than ever and fuel the excellence, innovation, and discoveries that redound to the benefit not only of the students but of society as a whole."

Below are additional reactions from around Johns Hopkins.

A true gift to support the future of medicine

Katherine Chretien, associate dean for medical student affairs and director of medical student wellness, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

The impact that this tremendous gift will have on our medical students and their trajectories cannot be overstated. Financial strain is a huge stressor for students, and we know from studies that medical students who are financially underresourced experience greater rates of burnout and loneliness and are both academically and socially disadvantaged compared to those with greater financial resources. As we have worked steadfastly as a school to improve equity and resources to support socioeconomic diversity over the past years, this gift will propel us toward reaching that goal. Our students are incredible! In my role, I have the immense privilege to know their inspiring stories, help them navigate challenges along their journeys, and improve their student experience, and I am overjoyed to know that we can alleviate financial burdens that weigh on so many. Financial well-being is well-being—this is a true gift to support the future of medicine!

New opportunities for future leaders

Joshua Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and communication engagement at the Bloomberg School of Public Health

This gift will have an enormous impact at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, supporting students pursuing the Master of Science in Public Health. By offering new need-based scholarships, the school can broaden opportunities for future leaders who want to improve life expectancy and health in the U.S. and around the world.

Albert Holler

Image caption: Albert Holler

Image credit: Mike Ciesielski for Johns Hopkins University

Relief from the burden of student loans

Albert Holler, BSPH '22 (MPH), Med '24 (MD), internal medicine resident at the Osler Medical Residency

I got an incredible full cost-of-attendance scholarship [Holler received a full cost-of-attendance scholarship thanks to another donor]. It allowed me to choose the best school, purely on its merit alone. I think it's really important to have socioeconomic diversity in medical schools. I don't have anyone in my family who is a physician, and my family doesn't have a lot of money, which is not a typical case in terms of medical students. Recruiting students who don't have those kinds of typical advantages is extremely important for patient care. Especially training in Baltimore, I've been able to be a big asset to patients who are undocumented. Just this morning I was able to speak to a patient in my clinic face to face, without a translator or interruptions. It's important for the patient-provider connection. Speaking in their native language seems to let them take a deep breath and relax, removing one of the many barriers that already exist for these patients.

Freedom for grad students to concentrate on their studies

Jennifer Lee-Summers, senior associate dean for Women in Science and Medicine in the Office of Faculty at the School of Medicine

I worked extra jobs while I was a medical student at Johns Hopkins to help pay for expenses. When my clinical rotation schedule became too demanding, I had to sign out additional loans to pay my rent and buy groceries. I remember the stress of knowing I would have to somehow pay these loans back. I wanted to be a pediatrician for low-income families, but I knew that I would struggle for decades to pay back these loans unless I instead took a job with higher salary. This gift will take these worries away for our future Johns Hopkins medical students. We become physicians and scientists to serve society and make people's lives better. With this incredible gift, students will be able to concentrate on their studies. They can choose their jobs based on their desire and motivation to care for specific patient populations. This gift will move us toward equity in medicine and support students from all socioeconomic backgrounds in reaching their full potential.

A boost for classrooms around the world

Christopher Morphew, dean of the School of Education

This gift is a game-changer for the School of Education and our flagship Doctor of Education (EdD) program. It will enable more of our students to benefit from our unique curriculum, to graduate with less debt, and to move more quickly into impactful roles in learning environments across the country and around the world.

Opening doors for a new generation of business leaders

Alexander Triantis, dean of the Carey Business School

At Carey Business School, we train our graduates to build for what's next whether it is transforming the business of health or converting discoveries into innovative products and services. The generosity of Bloomberg Philanthropies will help us make business education even more accessible to a new generation of bold leaders.

Making dreams come true for first-gen students

Mohammad E. Allaf, Med '00 (MD), director of the Department of Urology and the Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins

As a first-generation American and the first in my family to attend medical school, I know firsthand the immense financial burden that medical education can place on families. Without the financial aid I received at Johns Hopkins, pursuing my dream of becoming a physician would have been impossible. This transformational gift will ease this burden for many families and empower future medical students to reach their full potential. Freed from resource insecurity, students can now focus on their education and go on to advance medical science, education, and patient care, just as I have been able to do in my role as director of Urology here at Johns Hopkins.

An appreciation for diverse perspectives

Risha Irvin, director of the Health Equity Program at Johns Hopkins Health System and an associate professor, in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Medicine

This gift is not only transformative for the student but also transformative in our pursuit of health equity. It will allow students from all socioeconomic backgrounds to choose Johns Hopkins School of Medicine for their medical training without worrying about how they will finance their education. Enriching our class further with a full spectrum of socioeconomic backgrounds provides a space where diverse perspectives can be shared and appreciated. This translates into empathy for the lived experiences of both colleagues and patients. When we can increase our empathy for the lived experience of others, we can create solutions to improve barriers to care.

Drawing bright minds and fresh perspectives to public health

David Dowdy, BSPH '02 (ScM), Med '06 (MD), BSPH '08 (PhD), executive vice dean for Academic Affairs, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

The future of public health depends on our ability to recruit the brightest minds into the field, at an early stage of their careers—and give those students real-world experience in public health practice. The MSPH program at the Bloomberg School is ideally positioned to fill this need, and this forward-thinking scholarship program will enable us to recruit a diverse, talented group of scholars who can contribute to improve life expectancy trends in the United States and worldwide.

@simplyyynancy In honor of Hopkins' $1 billion donation from the Bloomberg Philanthropies that will allow me to attend medical school without worrying about student loans🤩heres a little video from before this. As someone came from a low income immigrant family, I was already ecstatic with the amount previously offered but this donation is the cherry on top. #medstudent #premed #premedadvice #medicine #medicalstudent #medschool #happynews #fyp @Johns Hopkins Medicine ♬ Beautiful Things - Benson Boone

Improved health outcomes for socially marginalized groups

Lisa Cooper, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and founder of the Center for Health Equity

The new gift to Hopkins from Bloomberg Philanthropies not only invests in the next generations of doctors, it also helps efforts to close enormous health disparities by race, income, and geography in our country. Extensive research, including my own, shows that when there is a more diverse medical workforce, patients overall, but especially those from socially marginalized groups, have better access to care and are more likely to participate in decisions about their care, take their medications as prescribed, and have lower death rates.

A student body that mirrors patient diversity

Nathan Irvin, assistant professor of emergency medicine, who was a first-generation student

This gift will be transformational in eliminating barriers to accessing a world-class education at Johns Hopkins. It will enable us to welcome students from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and geographic areas, creating a student body that mirrors the diversity of the patients we serve daily. The gift will help us matriculate future leaders of medicine who will advance our health equity goals and enrich our learning community with varied perspectives and lived experiences. I hope it will inspire students to pursue a career in medicine based on their passions and aspirations, granting them the freedom to commit their talents to addressing health care needs in diverse communities across the nation and world, free from the burden of student debt that often influences career decisions.

New opportunities in public health for innovative thinkers

Ellen J. MacKenzie, BSPH '75 (ScM), '79 (PhD), dean, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Today's public health problems are complex, and we need ambitious, well-trained professionals who are committed to thinking big as they work to help their communities and create positive change around the world. This need-based scholarship program will expand access to the Master of Science in Public Health, broadening opportunities for students who are poised to be among the next generation of public health leaders.

A more inclusive medical workforce

Deidra C. Crews, a health equity expert and professor of Medicine in the Division of Nephrology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

In my work with students pursuing medical education who are from socioeconomically under-resourced backgrounds, I have always been struck by the tough decisions they have to make about their futures, all heavily dictated by their own and their family's financial status. These tough decisions, often to delay or forego a career in medicine due to the costs of education, undoubtedly have led us to a physician workforce that is not reflective of the socioeconomically diverse communities we serve which hinders our ability to innovate and tackle profound health inequities. This incredibly generous gift will mean that more of our students can dream bigger about their futures, unencumbered by financial burden, and we can move closer to an inclusive medical workforce.

Charting the future of the PhD

Sabine Stanley, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences and the Applied Physics Lab; vice provost for graduate and professional education

In addition to supporting graduate students across all our academic divisions, this gift will significantly boost PhD education at Hopkins, allowing us to recruit, support, and train interdisciplinary research leaders who can make major impacts in research, industry, and government. As the first modern American research university and one of the birthplaces of the modern PhD, Hopkins is ideally positioned to lead doctoral education for another 150 years and beyond.

Omar Stefano Montalvo

Image caption: Omar Stefano Montalvo

Image credit: Larry Canner for Johns Hopkins University

Gratitude for the vision of Michael Bloomberg

Omar Stefano Montalvo, A&S '23 (Neuroscience and Spanish Language and Literature), who benefited from four years of undergraduate financial aid at Hopkins and is now starting at the School of Medicine on a full cost-of-attendance scholarship

The aid is really important in giving hope to people from backgrounds without a lot of money. Accepting those students is critical for progressing medicine and health care. Most of the patients we will see one day are not wealthy. If anything, they are middle class or lower on the economic spectrum. So having students who have themselves seen economic challenges adds to the learning environment. They can correct misconceptions and lower barriers to care. This gift will help create an environment where more physicians will mirror the type of patient they'll see one day.

I want to thank Mike Bloomberg and his foundation. I couldn't have gone to college [as a Hopkins undergraduate] without their aid. That his foundation is supporting me and my education—that's something I don't think I could ever repay, and I want to express my gratitude for that.