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MARTIN LUTHER KING CELEBRATION FEATURING HOPKINS' OWN DRS. LEVI WATKINS AND BEN CARSON

January 14, 1998
Media Contact: Gary Stephenson
Phone: (410) 955-5384
E-mail:gstephenson@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu

Once again, Johns Hopkins will celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. with tributes, music and community service awards. This year's event will take place on Jan. 14 in Turner Auditorium from noon to 1:30 p.m., with two of Hopkins own celebrated physicians, Benjamin Carson and Levi Watkins, serving as keynote speakers.

In keeping with the tradition of recognizing employee service to the community, six employees, three from the Hospital and three from the University, will receive Hopkins' Martin Luther King Award for Community Service. (The list of winners is attached.)

Colene Daniel, vice president for corporate and community services, will preside over the event. Bill Cummings, from Coppin State College, and Unified Voices, a chorus composed of Hopkins employees and community members, will provide the music.

Levi Watkins, M.D., associate dean for the School of Medicine and a professor of cardiac surgery, was the first African American to achieve these posts at Hopkins. Benjamin S. Carson, M.D., has been director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins since 1984. Dr. Carson also serves as an associate professor of neurosurgery, oncology, plastic surgery and pediatrics at the School of Medicine.

While growing up in Alabama, Watkins was exposed to widespread prejudice and to the early civil rights movement, both of which would have lasting effects. He became the first black student admitted to Vanderbilt University Medical School in Tennessee and came to Hopkins for his surgical residency in 1970. Four years after he joined the admissions committee of the medical school in 1979, minority representation increased 400%. His interest in worldwide human rights led him to initiate the annual Martin Luther King commemoration.

During the last few years, Carson has developed, with Hopkins' plastic surgery division, a significant craniofacial program in which children with congenital deformities undergo combined neurosurgical and plastic surgical reconstruction. In addition, he has written two books. His first, Gifted Hands, chronicles his early struggle with a broken home, dire poverty, a pathological temper, poor self-esteem and horrible grades. His second book, Think Big, elaborates on his philosophy for success in life. He currently heads the Carson Scholars Fund, which encourages academic excellence in young Americans of all backgrounds.

Other distinguished speakers at this yearly celebration have included Coretta Scott King, Bishop Desmond Tutu, Rosa Parks, Harry Belafonte, Andrew Young, Stevie Wonder, Kweisi Mfume and Maya Angelou.

Maxine O. Johnson
Clerical Associate
The Johns Hopkins Hospital

For the past five years, Maxine Johnson has consistently volunteered at The House of Ruth. Her work supports women in a particularly traumatic time of their lives; many having been victims of verbal, sexual, and physical abuse. She works with these women by counseling them and supporting them, both over the telephone and in person. By supporting and encouraging these women, Maxine is responsible for insuring their safety and the safety of their children. Without dedicated volunteers like Maxine, shelters like The House of Ruth would need to close, and there would be no choice for these battered victims except to return to the abuser.

George R. Kim, M.D.
Instructor, Pediatrics
Bayview Medical Center

In addition to his obligations as a pediatrician and faculty member, in 1989 George Kim began volunteering two hours per week serving breakfast at Our Daily Bread, a facility which feeds and serves the poor and homeless in Baltimore. He also serves as a volunteer member of the board of directors of At Jacob's Well, an organization which provides housing and services for persons with mental illness. This important work is necessary for the group of people in our society who are the most needy.

Dr. David M. Levine
Associate Chair, Medicine
Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Levine has worked tirelessly to improve the health of east and west Baltimore while building bridges between Hopkins and its neighbors. His efforts include developing new programs and community-based interventions to improve access and use of health services. In collaboration with colleagues and community leaders, Dr. Levine has successfully obtained grant support to enhance health care and public health in East Baltimore. Currently, he is heading a program in Baltimore's Sandtown-Winchester area to improve control of high blood pressure, decrease smoking and excessive alcohol intake, improve dietary patterns and decrease the prevalence of cardiovascular disease. He has helped create church-based and sponsored community health centers, programs for the elderly and People United for Living in a Safe Environment.

Dr. Douglas MacIver
Associate Director, Center for Social Organization of Schools
Johns Hopkins University

Dr. MacIver is the dominant figure behind founding and developing the Baltimore Christian School. Thanks to his involvement in this volunteer-driven, interdenominational elementary school, minority children of the Pen Lucy neighborhood receive an excellent academic education regardless of their family's financial status. As School Board President, Dr. MacIver chairs board meetings, oversees curriculum decisions, spearheads fundraising and development, hires staff, is liaison between parents and the school and oversees decisions vital to the daily operations. Dr. MacIver strives to shop the importance of racial reconciliation through service to his neighbors in Baltimore City.

J. Courtand Robinson, M.D., M.P.H.
Associate Professor
Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Robinson has been a community and international health advocate since the 60's. He is both a direct-care provider and a spokesperson against racism, for the rights of women and children, gays and lesbians, and fair housing. He supports securing National Health Insurance for all Americans, assuring family planning options for under-insured community members and reducing domestic violence. Dr. Robinson helped set up the Rape Crisis Center and has treated and testified on behalf of numerous victims of sexual assault. In association with Physicians for Social Responsibility, he opposes international violence and domestic violence with no thought of compensation. He has lobbied tirelessly at both the state and national levels, both church and state, for funding to provide adequate and appropriate services to women and their children. He has dedicated his medical and personal career to the issues which impact many aspects of society.

Ernest A. Truax
Central Services Educator
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
Ernie Truax began as a volunteer firefighter in 1965, and over the past 32 years he has completed training through the University of Maryland Fire & Rescue Institute. In addition, he has obtained a Firefighter III and a Rescue Technician Certification, through the National Certification Institute. Ernie has served at many many levels within the organization, both at a local and county level. Also, he has been instrumental in the training and guidance of a number of youth within the community. His leadership and guidance have helped to develop several young men into fine leaders of the community, to say nothing of the countless property and job losses the community would have suffered without the direct leadership of Chief Truax.


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