Johns Hopkins Magazine
Johns Hopkins Magazine Current Issue Past Issues Search Get In Touch
Wholly Hopkins
Bottom Line
Here and Abroad
Up and Comer
Forever Altered
Vital Signs

Bottom Line

When members of the class of 2008 show up at Homewood with their laptops, flip flops, and bean bag chairs, the student housing office makes sure they have a place on campus to call home. And thanks to the annual freshman roommate questionnaire, available online for the first time this year, new students can make their roommate preferences known. Here's a look at what freshmen are looking for in a roomie.

53: Percent of the 2,050 students housed on campus who are freshmen.

18: Percent of this year's freshmen who requested "substance-free" housing, in which students agree not to smoke, drink, or use drugs on or off campus.

3: Percent of incoming freshmen who requested single-sex housing. Homewood has two single-sex dorms — Hollander House for men, Royce House for women.

74: Percent of freshmen who wanted double rooms. Single rooms were requested by 22 percent of students. Only 4 percent requested a triple.

205: Freshmen who say they clean their rooms daily. About half as many — 110 — clean their rooms monthly. The rest of those surveyed — 770 students — clean their rooms weekly.

4: Percent of freshmen who say they stay up past 2 a.m.

16: Percent who get up before 8 a.m.

80: Percent who believe they will use their rooms for "light study." Some 20 percent said they will use their rooms for "intensive study." Only 7 percent believe they'll use their rooms for socializing.
—Maria Blackburn
Source: Johns Hopkins University Housing Office

Here and Abroad

Short-term academic trips to Cuba are on hold indefinitely. New U.S. travel restrictions, aimed at tightening economic sanctions against Fidel Castro's government, state that U.S. study programs in Cuba must be at least 10 weeks long. "The new measures are violations of academic freedom. There is no real rational purpose behind them," says Wayne Smith, former U.S. chief diplomat in Cuba who organizes annual trips to Cuba for Johns Hopkins students. Smith says he expects the restrictions will be lifted after the U.S. presidential elections in November. Until then, plans remain tentative for such excursions as Arts and Sciences' January intersession course in Cuba and a spring trip to study Cuba's health care system by students in the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The Johns Hopkins Medical Campus is now offering courses to help medical professionals communicate with their Spanish-speaking patients. The 10-week courses include evening classes, plus one-on-one online help from a mentor. Beginners learn basic reading, writing, and speaking skills with an emphasis on vocabulary and grammar related to health and medical administration. Advanced students delve more deeply into the culture of the Spanish-speaking world, especially as it relates to issues of health and medicine.

Research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the World Health Organization suggests that improved nutrition could prevent more than half of child deaths worldwide. In a study published in the July 1 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the researchers found that undernutrition is the underlying cause of 53 percent of child deaths, including those from diarrhea, measles, and malaria. The analysis showed that the risk of dying due to being underweight varies by cause of death, and that more child deaths related to malaria are caused by undernutrition than was previously known.


Aspiring doctors in Johns Hopkins' residency programs face long hours, little sleep, learning the trade while practicing it. So it's not surprising that when the going gets tough for residents, they have their own short-hand way to describe it. Third-year Osler resident Martin Britos polled his fellow residents to help us come up with these terms:

Toxic: A word in vogue among residents long before the Britney Spears song, toxic means tired, stressed out, overworked, and likely to snap, as in, "Better stay away from him today — he's toxic."

Malignant: Really tough. When the term is used to describe a particular rotation, says Britos, "It means you're going to work your butt off that month."

Cheeched Out: Asked by a superior to perform a long list of lab tests on a patient. This is different from being scutted out, which refers to menial tasks like photocopying journals or retrieving X-rays from the vault.

Winning the Game: For a resident, discharging a patient is good; discharging all of your patients is great, because it means you get to go home. The game is won when a resident discharges all of her patients and doesn't have to come in until the next call day.

O-Ring Failure: Applying only to Osler Service, it's when a resident thinks he is about to discharge the last patient, then something unforeseeable keeps the patient in the hospital. Says Britos, "It's Friday afternoon, and you're going to discharge your patient — they're out the door — and suddenly, they're 80 years old, they live alone, and they don't have keys to their apartment — that's an O-Ring failure."

White Cloud/Black Cloud: A resident with a white cloud may win the game a couple of times in a year. A resident with a black cloud has many patients admitted.
—Catherine Pierre

Up & Comer

Name: Hae-ra Han
Age: 35

Position: Assistant professor of nursing

Stats: BSN '91 and MSN '94 from Seoul National University, PhD '00 in family nursing from the University of Maryland

Scouting Report: Says Miyong Kim, associate professor at Hopkins' School of Nursing, "Dr. Han is an exceptionally promising clinical researcher who has made significant progress in building a lasting community/academic partnership-based research program to enhance the quality of life of an underserved ethnic minority group."

Research: Han has concentrated on developing outreach programs in cancer prevention and cardiovascular health for ethnic communities. She's especially interested in Baltimore's population of Korean-Americans, who are predominantly first-generation adult immigrants. More than 70 percent speak little or no English, few have health insurance, and cancer screening is not a priority for this group, says Han: "Korean-American women report the lowest rate of mammographic screening compared to other ethnic groups. This is an immigrant population. They spend more money on educating their kids than taking care of their health."

Mentors: Kim, a first-generation Korean-American herself, who brought Han to Hopkins as a postdoctoral fellow. And Martha Hill, dean of nursing, who introduced Han to community-based intervention research for underserved ethnic minorities.

Alternative Career: Han, who just had her second child last June, laughs and says, "Probably I would do something about baby-sitting." She's joking about that as an alternative profession, but not about the difficulty of maintaining a career and raising young children. "Wow, baby-sitting is really an issue at this stage of the game," she says. "If possible, I'd like to save all those other working moms from this agony."

The Baltimore Collegetown Network, a consortium of 14 colleges and universities that includes Johns Hopkins, has won a 2004 gold medal from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) for its Web site. A bright and user-friendly site, baltimorecollegetown gives prospectives (and their parents) links, contact information, and directions to all of the schools, plus advice on how to get there, where to stay, and what to do once they've arrived. For students, the site is an everything-you-need-to-know guide to getting around Baltimore, with insider tips on restaurants (Alonso's: "Burgers as big as your head! No kidding!"), clubs, shopping (Atomic Books: "Literary finds for mutated minds, in Hampden"), attractions, sports, the arts (14 Karat Cabaret: "Delightfully whacked-out mixed bag of live performance art"), neighborhoods, and even internship opportunities. —CP


Course: Introduction to Popular Music

Instructor: Mark Katz, chairman, department of musicology, Peabody Conservatory

Course description: The purpose of this course is to explore the stylistic traits, historical context, and social significance of a variety of popular music styles that have flourished since the early 1950s. An initial unit will focus on the forms, timbres, textures, and technologies characteristic of much popular music. The course will then proceed chronologically, with class sessions devoted to various trends and styles from the 1950s to today.

Musical styles to be studied: The blues roots of rock and roll, the British invasion, Motown, folk and protest songs, psychedelia, heavy metal, funk and disco, punk, new wave, rap, grunge, electronica, hip-hop

On the juke box (a sampler): Beatles, "Strawberry Fields Forever"; Little Richard, "Tutti Frutti"; Elvis Presley, "Hound Dog"; The Rolling Stones, "Satisfaction"; Jimi Hendrix, "Purple Haze"; Black Sabbath, "Paranoid"; The Bee Gees, "Stayin' Alive"; The Clash, "White Riot"; Talking Heads, "Once in a Lifetime"; Queen Latifah, "Ladies First"; Nirvana, "Smells Like Teen Spirit"; Moby, "Go"; Tupac Shakur, "California Love"

Assignments (a sampler): Concert report: In a typed, double-spaced paper of about three pages, describe and discuss the musical and social aspects of a concert. In terms of music, describe characteristic aspects of the instrumentation, timbre, melody, rhythm, harmony, form, etc. Assuming the stance of a detached, but open-minded observer (you may imagine yourself as, say, an English-speaking anthropologist from another planet), describe the appearance and behavior of the performers and audience.

Short paper: Write your own song! Specifically, write two (or more) verses of lyrics on the subject of your choice. The verses may be in any pattern or form.

Forever Altered

Mentor, hero, inspiration: Hopkins teachers who have left their mark

"Although I had very little background in German history, only the vaguest of ideas about what I wanted to study in graduate school, and he had never met me, Hopkins history professor Vernon L. Lidtke took a chance and accepted me as one of his doctoral students in 1970.

"Many of my colleagues remember their graduate school experience as a grueling, anxiety-ridden time working with eccentric and often unreasonable teachers. Because of Vernon, my experience was quite the opposite: He was caring, patient, and supportive, but also an intellectually demanding teacher and mentor who expected (and therefore usually got) our best work. Because he took great pleasure in learning and teaching, he created an environment where we could do the same.

"It was from watching Vernon teach his undergraduate courses that I learned many of the skills, and the joys, of effective teaching. I still remember the lecture in which he read to the class a Dadaist poem consisting of nonsense words, grunts, and elephant noises. His tongue-in-cheek delivery provoked peals of laughter from the class and earned him a rousing ovation. I was so impressed by his performance that when I started teaching, I tried to create that same joyous learning environment for my students. And I must admit, I read that same poem in my classes. Vernon's teaching has inspired my own."

Gary D. Stark, A&S '72 (MA), '74 (PhD), teaches European history at Grand Valley State University and has published several books and articles about German history. He is the co-editor with Lawrence D. Stokes, A&S '64 (MA), '72 (PhD), of a special issue of the journal Central European History dedicated to Lidtke.


Hurricanes Found to Fight Global Warming

Hurricanes are rightly feared for their destructive capacities, but they seem to have an unforeseen beneficial effect on aquatic vegetation. APL meteorologist Steven M. Babin has discovered that in the wake of 13 North Atlantic hurricanes between 1998 and 2001, phytoplankton flourished in a greening of the ocean. The minute floating organisms, which produce about half the oxygen we breathe, contain most of the sea's chlorophyll. They absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and draw it down to the ocean floor when they die. This process locks up quantities of the greenhouse gas under the sea for hundreds of years, which helps counteract global warming. Says Babin, "Hurricanes stir up the colder deep ocean water, bringing nutrients to the surface to feed the phytoplankton and push it toward the sunlight, causing it to bloom." Babin's research appeared in the March issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans.

Ancient Folk Remedy Yields Promising New Treatment

Hopkins scientists have synthesized new compounds that, in early testing, have demonstrated greater efficacy than standard drugs in treatment of malaria and prostate cancer. A research team headed by Gary H. Posner, professor of chemistry in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, and Theresa A. Shapiro, professor of clinical pharmacology in the Hopkins School of Medicine, developed several compounds called trioxanes that mimic the action of arteminisin, the active agent in an herbal folk remedy that for thousands of years has been used to treat malaria in China. Tests on rodents found that two of the new trioxanes were substantially more effective than the current standard drugs at killing malarial parasites in the blood, in one case six to seven times more effective. Additional rodent tests indicate that two more of the new compounds were up to three times as effective as Adriamycin, a standard chemotherapy drug, in treatment of prostate cancer. The results were presented by the Hopkins scientists last month at the annual summer meeting of the American Chemical Society.

Galaxies in Place, Before Their Time

The standard theoretical model for the formation of galaxies has been upended by Hopkins' Karl Glazebrook and a team of astronomers working with the Gillett Gemini North Telescope at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. By the standard hierarchical model, when the universe was young, stars coalesced to form small galaxies, which required billions of years to grow into the massive, mature galaxies that can be observed now. Glazebrook, associate professor of physics and astronomy, has reported in the July 8 issue of Nature that analysis of the spectra of 300 galaxies in the so-called "Redshift Desert," the youthful universe of 8 billion to 11 billion years ago, has found big galaxies already in place, billions of years before the theoretical model predicts their existence. —DK

Vital Signs

Cancer Detection with Just a Few Cells

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center have developed a process for breast cancer screening that allows testing in very small fluid samples. Ductal lavage — which uses a tiny catheter to flush cells from the lining of the breast ducts, where researchers believe most breast cancers originate — has been used to test high-risk women for several years. However, the problem has been that individual tests are necessary to screen for several different DNA markers for cancer, and the samples are often too small to accommodate the multiple tests. In a study published in the July 1 issue of Cancer Researcher, the researchers were able to combine existing technologies in a way that minimizes the amount of sample needed. According to Sara Sukumar, a professor of oncology at Hopkins and the co-director of the Breast Cancer Research Program, the new method may help detect breast cancer in its early stage and may also eventually be applied to the analysis of other cancers in which tissue samples are typically small, such as oral lavage in head and neck cancer or sputum for lung cancer.

Income, Race, and Cardiac Rehabilitation

A study by the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing has found that low-income and African-American women are referred to outpatient cardiac rehabilitation by health care professionals less often than higher-income and white women, and subsequently have a lower enrollment rate. Published in the July issue of The Journal of General Internal Medicine, it was the largest women-only study of its kind and found that lack of referral was one of the most common reasons reported for not enrolling in rehabilitation. The researchers point out, though, that of patients referred, a high rate — 80 percent — did enroll. "When we understand the reasons why low-income and African-American women seem to receive less aggressive referral and participate less often in programs, we can propose solutions," says Jerilyn K. Allen, associate dean for research at the School of Nursing and the study's lead researcher.

Scar-Free Abdominal Surgery

A group of Johns Hopkins scientists has developed a surgical procedure that may make some abdominal incisions and scars things of the past. As reported in the July issue of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, flexible transgastric peritoneoscopy (FTP) uses a flexible mini-telescope and surgical tools that are inserted through the mouth and into the stomach. By puncturing the stomach wall and the membrane that surrounds the stomach, doctors can repair any of the abdominal organs, including the intestines, liver, pancreas, gall bladder, and uterus — all without cutting through the skin and muscle of the abdomen. The technique, which is less invasive even than laparoscopy, should mean quicker recovery and fewer complications. So far, the technique has only been tested on pigs. Researchers are creating specialized tools before they begin clinical trials. Says Anthony Kalloo, director of gastrointestinal endoscopy at Johns Hopkins and lead author of the report, "FTP may dramatically change the way we practice surgery." —CP


Founded in 1999, the Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellowship Program offers students in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences up to $10,000 over several years to research topics of their choosing. Here are two current projects:

Neil Shah '05, international studies and computer science major; project: "Sociological Human Adaptation to Economic Trends in Tokyo; Male Youths in Tokyo Affected by Recession"

For generations Japanese businessmen worked 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., staying with the same company their entire careers. "It used to be your company would take care of you no matter what," says Shah. When the recession began in the early 1990s, workers began to be laid off. "I wanted to see how education might be changing because of this," says Shah. Would internships become more common? Would students be driven to focus more on self-fulfillment instead of job fulfillment? Through dozens of interviews with students from Tokyo's top universities, he is pursuing answers to those questions.

Laura Towbin '05, sociology major; project: "Examining Treatment of Juvenile and Adolescent Drug Users; A Comparative Study: U.S. & The Netherlands"

"I initially got interested in juvenile drug users and the rehabilitation options open to them in high school because I knew people who had been sent to 'therapeutic boarding schools,' or treatment centers for kids with drug problems," says Towbin. In reading about the topic, she found that many programs, such as prescription heroin programs in the Netherlands and lock-down coercive treatment for adults in Sweden, were not available in the United States. "I decided to expand my project to compare the drug policies of the U.S., Sweden, and the Netherlands and how these policies have impacted not only treatment options but enforcement of drug laws." —MB


If you've ever walked across Homewood's Upper Quad at dusk, you've undoubtedly noticed a neon sign glowing brightly from Gilman Hall's second floor. The red-and-blue hand-shaped sign advertising a "Reader & Advisor" may look out of place among the quad's stately brick buildings. In fact it belongs to a man who is the quintessence of the Johns Hopkins academic tradition: history professor Lou Galambos.

During his three-decade-long career on the Hopkins faculty, the historian has developed quite a reputation among students for his consummate thoroughness. "I tend to read things in great detail, and I mark them very carefully," he says. "I sometimes read them seven or eight times because I don't accept them until they're done."

His dedication to teaching is equally intense — which is why he is perhaps the only professor ever to have taught a class in Baltimore's Penn Station. He was on the faculty of Rutgers at the time, and for one year, he commuted regularly from New Jersey to cover classes for a Hopkins colleague, Alfred Chandler. "Al was then visiting at Harvard Business School," says Galambos, "so I took care of his graduate students while he was gone. They wanted to have a seminar, but I frequently had to go back on the train. Since we didn't have much time, we held the seminar in the train station."

Galambos' students clearly appreciate his devotion as a teacher. Two years ago, they gave him the palm-reader sign at a conference, called "Organizing for Innovation," they had held in his honor.

Of course, as thoughtful an academic adviser as Galambos may be, he's no psychic. But that hasn't stopped students from dropping by his office to have their palms read. "I always tell them that they have a very long lifeline," he says. "I have no idea how to read a palm, but I figure they would be pleased to learn that they had a long lifeline." —Kay Downer

Return to September 2004 Table of Contents

  The Johns Hopkins Magazine | 901 S. Bond St. | Suite 540 | Baltimore, MD 21231
Phone 443-287-9900 | Fax 443-287-9898 | E-mail