May 15, 2003

MEDIA CONTACT: Trent Stockton
PHONE: 410-955-8665

Accomplishments of Minority Doctors Showcased with New Visiting Professorship

The Johns Hopkins University Department of Medicine announces the first annual visiting professorship designed to showcase the talents of outstanding minority medical scientists and doctors. Each year, the Visiting Professorship will bring leading academic physicians and scientists to Johns Hopkins to lecture and mentor minority faculty, residents and fellows.

The first to fill the post is Juanita Merchant, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of internal medicine at the University of Michigan. Merchant, who earned both her medical and doctoral degrees from Yale, has won numerous scientific awards for her study of the mechanisms that control normal and cancerous cell growth in the gastrointestinal tract. She will be in residence May 22-23, 2003.

"Under-represented minorities make up less than 3 percent of faculties in America's leading medical institutions, yet their contributions to medical science and patient care are immense" says Gary Wand, M.D., professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins and chair of the Department of Medicine's Diversity Council.

The visiting professorship is seen as both a means for highlighting the work of minority leaders in medical science and for focusing efforts at Johns Hopkins to recruit and keep talented minority faculty members, says Wand.

"We believe the interactions of the visiting professor with junior faculty, fellows, residents, students and staff will foster role models for our clinician-scientists in training," says Wand.

As part of the visiting professorship, Merchant will deliver the prestigious Grand Rounds presentation at The Johns Hopkins Hospital on May 23. She will also meet with leadership, minority faculty, and residents and fellows to develop strategies to recruit and promote minority faculty.

The diversity council also is undertaking a three- to five-year study to determine how best to recruit and retain minority faculty. The council will soon launch a program to match minority residents and fellows at Johns Hopkins with mentors and another to recruit the best fourth-year minority medical school students from around the country for clerkships.

To interview Dr. Wand, contact Trent Stockton at 410-955-8665.