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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University April 2, 2007 | Vol. 36 No. 28
Public Health Shutterbugs Focus On Their Global Mission

Brad Gautney's entry is called simply 'Lagosette, Haiti, School.'

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

In the photograph, a smiling Togonese woman in her 20s dips a bowl into a basin. In the background, just under the woman's feet, is a large, craterous well with exposed roots at its rim and a small pool of sediment-filled water at its deep end. The photo's caption says it all: "Water for drinking, preparing food, bathing and cleaning — Boussoulou, Togo."

The image, taken by Johns Hopkins graduate student Sara Holtz, is just one of many striking photographs entered into the School of Public Health's first photo contest.

Initiated by the school's Office of Communications and Public Affairs, the contest seeks to promote and document the school's global public health mission. Every day, the school works to keep millions around the world safe from illness and injury by pioneering new research and deploying its knowledge and expertise in the field. Its faculty and students participate in hundreds of projects all over the world, from Baltimore to Bangladesh.

The contest entries, currently featured on the school's Web site, show the diversity of that work. Some are poignant, some beautiful, some grim and some hopeful.

Holtz, a student in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, said that she took her woman and water well photograph during her days in the Peace Corps in the late 1990s. She decided to enter this particular photo in the contest because she felt it eloquently captured the public health theme. In that village, like many others of its kind throughout Africa, the process of obtaining usable water is a constant hardship and one fraught with dangers, she said.

From Tom Neill: 'A'chi Woman from Rural Women's Weaving Co-op.'

"She dug that hole that she is using, and she then had to fill a metal basin with water and carry it back home to her family," said Holtz, who admired the ability of women to carry such water-filled basins great distances on their head. "But when you have an exposed well like this, you can never be sure what is in the water. Nomadic herders can travel by, and their cows drink from it. You can put your foot in the water and inadvertently transmit disease. There can be bacteria in there. The process is filled with health risks."

Thea Glidden, executive director of the school's Office of Communications and Public Affairs, said the inspiration for the contest was the wealth of professional-quality photos that her office has seen from faculty and students over the years.

"I knew we had a lot of talented photographers out there. They would show us photos when they returned from trips abroad, and we've always been amazed at the quality and the depth of the images, Glidden said. "We thought a contest like this could show just how many very talented photographers we have." Glidden said she anticipates the contest being an annual event.

The site received about 150 pictures during the submission period, which ran from Feb. 12 to March 30.

The photos could be from any period. The contest — open only to School of Public Health faculty, staff, students and alumni — allowed five photos per entrant.

Voting for the contest begins today and ends on Sunday, April 8. The public is encouraged to visit the site and vote for his or her favorite. Each person may vote only once per day.

The winning entries will be selected by a combination of votes from Dean Michael Klag, the Office of Communications and Public Affairs and online voting. The photos will be judged on their popularity (online vote), creativity, production quality and relevance to the school's mission.

Winners will be announced online on April 16 and included in the spring issue of Johns Hopkins Public Health Magazine.

Glidden said that she expects the winning photographs, and some nonwinning entries, will also find their way into other school publications, education materials and Web pages.

To see all the photos and to vote, go to:


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