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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University May 17, 2004 | Vol. 33 No. 35
SPH Receives Major Commitments to Aid Scholars, Prevent Mom, Infant Mortality

By Tim Parsons
School of Public Health

The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has received two multimillion-dollar commitments. One is to support students studying at the school, and the second is to support research activities to prevent blindness and mother and infant mortality in the developing world. Both gifts were announced on April 23 during the school's rededication ceremony.

The scholar aid comes from an anonymous donor who has committed $22 million over the next 10 years to support the studies of master's and doctoral students. At the request of the donor, students who receive the funds will be known as Sommer Scholars in honor of Alfred Sommer, dean of the school, who is a longtime advocate for student financial support.

The school also will receive a multimillion-dollar gift from Zell and Emily Kravinsky. Zell Kravinsky is a scholar and real estate investment fund manager in Philadelphia; his wife, Emily, is a psychiatrist. The Kravinskys' gift will be used to support activities to prevent blindness and maternal mortality and to reduce by one-third infant mortality in the developing world. The couple supports the work of Sommer and his colleagues that has conclusively proven over two decades that correcting vitamin A deficiencies reduces child deaths in poorer countries by approximately that amount.

"The fact that millions die around the world for want of a treatment costing thousands of dollars a year is tragic; that millions die for want of two cents of vitamins is lunacy," Zell Kravinsky said. "Our country spends less on the economically feasible exportation of public health than on the economically ruinous importation of gourmet pet food, and until we invert that ratio, we will never be a great society. I believe the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is growing us towards greatness, and I'm grateful for the chance to grow along with it."


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