From Johns Hopkins Public Health Magazine (Spring 2010)


Race vs. Place

Can an integrated neighborhood in Southwest Baltimore help overturn decades of race-based assumptions about the origins of health disparities?

From both terra firma and Google Earth's satellite view of the world, census tracts 1902 and 1903 are entirely bleak, drained of color and vitality. Street after street of this impoverished Southwest Baltimore neighborhood reeks of unrelenting hardscrabble existence, of teenage mothers, cigarettes and sodas in hand, walking the same cracked pavement as prostitutes and drug dealers, all within eyeshot of millionaires' homes and Baltimore's major league baseball and football stadiums.

"Half the people out here have guns," admits a 15-year-old of this area bordering on Washington Village, known to the locals as Pigtown for the 19th-century swine that used to be herded through its streets...

(Read the rest of the story here: http://magazine.jhsph.edu/2010/spring/features/race_vs_place/page_1/)


From Johns Hopkins Public Health Magazine (Special Malaria Edition: 2011)


Mission Man

Philip Thuma’s lifetime in rural Zambia makes him uniquely qualified to combat malaria. But can his wildly successful model work without the man himself?


The numbers are stark: what they represent, potentially incredible.

In a tiny corner of southern Zambia, more than a day’s walk from the nearest hint of a modern town, malaria has gone from a scourge to almost—but not quite—a memory. In fact, the figures coming out of this bush area known as Macha would be unbelievable if they hadn’t occurred elsewhere before. In the 1950s in Sri Lanka, and the 1990s in Zimbabwe, malaria was brought to its knees through massive government control programs. But the moment those efforts ceased, the disease rallied to pre-control heights and far beyond.

By contrast, Philip Thuma and his colleagues have taken malaria from the leading cause of infant mortality in Macha to a place where they've reduced its prevalence by 98 percent— and those numbers have held for nearly seven years.

Which begs the question: What's so special about Macha ... and can its success ever be defined, let alone duplicated?

(Read the Full Story at http://magazine.jhsph.edu/2011/malaria/features/mission_man/page_1



THE PROTECTORS...by Mat Edelson

Child abuse cases arrive in the pediatric emergency department with heartbreaking frequency. Meet the medical team that’s first on the scene.

The pre-schooler bouncing around Exam Room 3 of the pediatric emergency room is that iridescent combination of precociousness and politeness uniquely the domain of garrulous 4-year-old girls. “I need to wash my hands,” announces the child, gently peeling a pink butterfly sticker off her tiny right hand. Moments later, washed and dried with two towels (“Two at a time!” she squeals), her beaded, neat cornrows disappear under a window shade. “Look!” exclaims the slightly muffled voice, whose owner is now staring up into the dusk. “The Moon! It looks just like a cookie!”

The observers in the room laugh, but the girl’s mom is not among the smiling. In fact, mom’s not even in the room. She’s 50 feet away, on the other side of electronically secured double doors that she could not breach if she wanted to—and she most certainly does. For while she is known to the little girl as “Momma,” to the two security guards, one police officer, two social workers, crime lab photographer, nurse practitioner and pediatrician who stand between her and her baby, the woman now wears a far more ominous moniker: Alleged abuser...

(Read the full story at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/hmn/s08/feature2.cfm)




Eating the right foods and spices—and avoiding the wrong ones—could go a long way toward staving off everything from gut ailments to cancer, say Hopkins experts. They share their tips for stocking a health-promoting pantry.

By Mat Edelson

 "Let medicine be thy food and let food be thy medicine." — Hippocrates

Ever since man first climbed down from the trees (or, depending upon your view, plucked that apple off that tree), eating has never been far from his mind (survival has a way of prioritizing everything). Given that sustenance equals life, food and health have culturally ridden shotgun throughout the ages. "Good men eat and drink so they can live," noted Socrates. "Eat, drink, and be merry!" commanded Solomon. "You’re famished. I’ll make a plate!!" pleaded my mother.

And, most likely, yours.

In the days before medicine, food was medicine…or at least it was seen as such. A browned apple for an upset stomach, chicken soup for congestion, champagne for septicemia (Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Eudora Welty said her Mississippi father swore his use of the bubbly saved her ill mother’s life). It was sometimes hard to establish cause and effect (Garlic as an anti-vampiric? Hard to find test subjects), and yet generations of pantries held foods sworn to bind, purge, ameliorate, instigate, invigorate…in short, improve one’s well-being...

See the complete story at: