Johns Hopkins School of Medicine alums Susan Cummings and Kris Jenner established the Rosemarie Hope Reid, M.D., Professorship to recognize Reid and to advance primary care education at Hopkins.

Image caption: Susan Cummings and Kris Jenner

Credit: Photograph courtesy of Susan Cummings and Kris Jenner


A professorship in primary care

Kris Jenner, Med '92 (MD), remembers his Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine classmate Rosemarie Hope Reid, Med '92 (MD), as someone who made an impression on everyone she encountered; her positive energy could alleviate the stress among the 20-somethings enduring the rigors of medical school with her.

"She was just a remarkable person who was destined to improve humanity and was tragically taken prematurely," Jenner says. "You can't undo the past. However, I'm grateful to do something in her memory that can have an important impact on the future."

That something is the Rosemarie Hope Reid, M.D., Professorship that Jenner and his wife and fellow School of Medicine graduate, Susan Cummings, Med '90 (MD), SPH '91 (MPH), established earlier this year to recognize Reid and advance primary care education at Hopkins. "This professorship is an embodiment of Rosemarie's commitment to primary care and to patient care," Jenner says.

Reid, 27, was a first-year pediatric resident at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Hospital in Dayton, Ohio, when she died in a car accident on May 7, 1993. She was a leader whose kindness, generosity, and enthusiasm were an inspiration to her classmates, many of whom contributed to a scholarship in her name following her death. The scholarship continues to support medical students at Hopkins.

Yet Jenner wanted to do more to elevate Reid's lasting impact. Conversations with Vice Dean of Education Roy Ziegelstein and the School of Medicine's development team led to the primary care professorship, "an amazing marriage of Hopkins' goals and Rosemarie's legacy," Jenner says.

Hopkins has a rich history of educating leaders in medicine, and the opportunity to fund this professorship in primary care demonstrated that the school was now making the field a priority.

"For Hopkins to be saying, 'This is important'—it's actually a maturation, in my opinion, of the school saying that you need frontline workers who are going to provide outstanding care and to lead in the field of primary care," Cummings says.

What's more, Hopkins already had an outstanding candidate—Colleen Christmas, Med '02 (PGF), director of the Primary Care Leadership Track (PCLT) at Hopkins—to receive the professorship.

Christmas came to Johns Hopkins in 1996 for fellowship training in geriatric medicine and has been a faculty member since 1999. She became the inaugural director of the PCLT in 2014 and has received many teaching accolades, including the Excellence in Teaching Award from the Johns Hopkins University Alumni Association in 2013.

"I am quite honestly overwhelmed to be the inaugural recipient of the Rosemarie Hope Reid, M.D., Professorship. This is validation for the work I and many others do in primary care education and offers exciting opportunities to innovate in that area," Christmas says. "I genuinely believe this funding will enable Johns Hopkins to lead in primary care education on par with its leadership in research and specialty care training."

Christmas says she's been trying to learn as much as she can about Reid. "Clearly, she made a tremendous impact on everyone she encountered," she says. "Having her name attached to mine is a constant motivator to strive to be worthy of that name. It feels both happy and heavy at the same time."

Because of the pandemic, Jenner and Cummings have been able to meet only virtually with Christmas, but they were taken immediately by her openness and warm personality.

"Rosemarie was a friend to many people. And I think Colleen Christmas is that way. The kind of person who is personable. When she speaks to individuals, they feel really important and that they're seen," Cummings says.

The PCLT focuses on providing comprehensive care of patients over the course of their lifetimes. Since its launch, 22 students have graduated and 41 are currently enrolled. The three-year program provides specialized training and mentorship in internal medicine, geriatrics, pediatrics, and family medicine. Students work with a single faculty member over the course of three years to help them experience both acute and chronic disease management and develop the relationships that draw people to primary care fields. Students participate in monthly workshops covering topics in primary care and leadership skills and complete primary care–focused research projects.

A dedicated leader in primary care education, supported in perpetuity through the Reid Professorship, is certain to attract more students to the field.

"It's just such a gift," Reid's sister Ellen Kiernan says. "Smart students going into primary care who really care—that's what Ro was all about. She was really brilliant. She thought she'd help more people if she went toward primary care. That's what really drove her."

This story was adapted from "Endowed Professorship Honors Beloved Classmate and Elevates Primary Care Education," published by Development and Alumni Relations in December 2021 as a Why I Give story.

Posted in Alumni

Tagged philanthropy, giving