Johns Hopkins, Heal Thyself
From the Nominator
"Our fall 2020 magazine included a special section on racism as a public health crisis, but we knew the conversation about systemic racism could not end there. Working with the special section’s guest editor Keshia Pollack Porter, vice dean for faculty, we launched a monthly column devoted to elevating the voices of faculty of color at our school. The faculty were free to write about the topic they most wanted to address. Pollack Porter wrote the first essay in the series; this is the second. Our goals were to:
• Provide a regular platform for important perspectives that don’t get enough visibility
• Shine a clear light on racism’s impacts
• Challenge readers’ perceptions
This essay by Professor Darrell Gaskin is an unflinching examination of the glaring health disparities affecting people living in the neighborhoods closest to the Johns Hopkins Schools of Public Health, Nursing, and Medicine. Professor Gaskin worked closely with our editors to shape the piece, which achieves exactly the aim of this series: an argument that compels readers to see what the writer sees, doesn’t let them look away, and changes their ideas about racism’s impacts.
“Johns Hopkins, Heal Thyself” challenges our university community to acknowledge the health problems in our own backyard. It demands that we do more to translate our expertise into real improvements in our neighbors’ health. Only when we do that, Gaskin says, can we fulfill “our promise to improve the health of individuals and communities.”"
From the Judges
"Even weeks after first reading this piece, we are still thinking about its power, courage, and unflinching honesty. This submission is in a class by itself, and deserving of the Grand Gold honor since it is a model for what opinion writing in higher education can and should be.
Masterfully organized, the beautiful writing makes excellent use of research to craft a compelling argument. We applaud the author for his bravery in shedding light on this systemic issue, and the editorial team for publishing it, as well as recognizing the necessity of bringing more diverse perspectives to their publication."