Johns Hopkins Magazine -- April 1998
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APRIL 1998

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Medicine expands to Singapore... Asian students feel financial squeeze... the debut of Cafe Q... a mediating influence... Bluye Jays on tv... tuition takes a hike... Extra! Extra!

Medicine to export model to Singapore

Under a proposed deal signed recently with the Singapore government and its national university and hospital, Johns Hopkins Medicine will soon be extending its presence to Southeast Asia. When finalized, the enterprise--known as Johns Hopkins Singapore (JHS)--will result in Hopkins-led collaborative research, medical education, and clinical trials in the region. Ultimately, the plan is to open a jointly operated specialty hospital to treat diseases that are prevalent in the Pacific Rim.

While other U.S. hospital centers have forged connections with international facilities, the Hopkins-led effort will be the first-ever to replicate the traditional academic medical research and educational model for which Hopkins is so well-known, according to Edward Miller, dean and CEO of Johns Hopkins Medicine.

For medical investigators at Hopkins, squeezed by the managed care market here at home, the deal could represent welcome news: It is expected to generate millions of dollars and substantial new lab space for collaborative research. The first two phases of the agreement, in fact, call for the develoment of 40,000 square feet of research space.

The Singapore government has agreed to bear most of the costs for research, no doubt buoyed by the knowledge that researchers will be working on clinical trials for diseases prevalent in Southeast Asia, such as cancers of the nasopharynx and liver, and rheumatic heart disease. One major advantage for Hopkins investigators: with fewer regulatory burdens in Singapore, clinical trials can be completed much more quickly.

Says Miller, "We can learn so much by having access to large numbers of patients who need care. What we find out can then be used in the fewer, but equally sick, patients with these conditions in the United States. Patients in Singapore will get access to cutting-edge medical care, and American patients will benefit from faster results of studies." --SD

Asian students cope with financial crisis

When the financial crisis in Asia hit late fall semester, Hopkins freshman Janet Lee started getting nervous.

Back in Korea, the slam to the exchange rate meant Hopkins tuition would cost her parents double what it did before the devaluation. Some of her father's co-workers at his aerospace company were laid off and he has faced salary cuts. "I sure hope things get better," says Lee, a biology major, who is seeking a part-time job to help cover costs. "I want to stay here."

At several Hopkins campuses--mostly the Peabody Institute, the Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and at Homewood-- scores of Asian students and their parents have scrambled to cover costs, some seeking more financial aid or asking for tuition deferments for the spring semester. Korean students, one of the largest segments of Hopkins's Asian student population, have been especially affected.

At Peabody, 92 of the 632 students in the conservatory are native South Koreans. "We recognized back in mid-December that this was going to be a problem," says Peabody Director Robert Sirota. "We've had a 40-year relationship with Korean students. They represent some of our best talent, as well as an important source of income. We couldn't turn our backs on them. And you are talking about nearly a sixth of the student body. If you lost half of that, it poses a serious problem for performing ensembles."

Peabody sent letters via overnight mail to family members offering payment deferral for those with financial difficulties, Sirota says. "Almost half took us up on that. We feel we've averted an immediate crisis."

SAIS also saw a need. "When this hit, every single Korean student was in my office," says Ted Baker, an associate dean at SAIS. "There are stories about bankrupt businesses, and parents trying to scrape enough money together to pay their employees, let alone pay for an expensive American university."

Baker says 17 Korean students are enrolled at the graduate school, which has about 500 students total and costs $20,600 annually in tuition. In some cases, he said, grants were increased by a few thousand dollars or the school deferred tuition payments or helped students get loans. "We did not have to send anybody home," says Baker.

The Homewood campus has seen fewer cases among the 40 Korean national students in the 3,600-undergraduate student body. But officials also note repercussions among dozens more who are U.S. citizens but whose parents still have business ties to Korea. Students from Indonesia, Thailand, and other nations also have asked for help. "It hasn't been a large number," says Robert Massa, dean of enrollment for Homewood. "We are doing it on a case-by-case basis."

Hopkins and other university administrators, meanwhile, say they hope Korean and other Asian financial markets--and thus student sponsors and families--will recuperate in the next few months. They also are looking to next year's enrollment. Nearly 60 percent of the almost 500,000 foreign students in the U.S. are from Asia, bringing an estimated $76 billion into the American economy. --JPC

Charkoudian: training new volunteers
Photo by Stevem Rubin
Talking it out

On one side: an angry family, sick and tired of noisy neighbors. On the other side, the neighbors: a group of Hopkins students, sick and tired of being treated disrespectfully. A case for The Hopkins People's Court? No--another case for Lorig Charkoudian, graduate student in economics and founder of the Community Mediation Program.

The program started in 1995 when Charkoudian, an eight-year veteran of violence prevention programs, approached Hopkins's Office of Volunteer Services and Community Relations, looking to volunteer at a mediation center. When she found that one did not exist, she started the program to serve both Homewood and the surrounding community.

The program is a free, voluntary service provided for people embroiled in arguments with neighbors, roommates, friends, co-workers-- even spouses. Cases are referred by community organizations, as well as by the courts and police, sometimes after a threat of violence or an assault. In some cases, says Charkoudian, "a 30-day jail term isn't enough to resolve the argument," so instead the parties can request mediation.

During the session, two extensively trained volunteers meet with both parties for several hours. "Often the parties aren't in a position to communicate respectfully," says Charkoudian. "This service gives them a possibility to see each other as human beings and also to vent." At the end of the session, the mediators write up an agreement for both parties to sign. As a follow-up, they send postcards to see whether the disputes have been resolved.

Community organizer Michael Randolph has seen the results of many successful mediations. "One time, two families came to see the mediator, and they wouldn't talk or look at each other," recalls Randolph. "By the end they were smiling together and shaking hands. I thought it was going to be impossible to get them to talk, let alone shake hands."

The program is one of many based at the Safe and Smart Center, a neighborhood facility sponsored by Hopkins's offices of Volunteer Services and City and Community Relations; the Baltimore City Police; and several community organizations. The center also offers free or low-cost services such as tutoring, GED coaching, computer training, and classes in English as a Second Language.

The mediation program has grown to include three staff members, four interns, and 80 volunteer mediators. Charkoudian hopes to expand it to include additional centers throughout the city.

And what was the outcome of the student/neighbor dispute? "By the end of the mediation, my co-mediator and I were exhausted and wanted to go home," Charkoudian says, "but the two parties were just chatting away. One neighbor offered to help a student fix his motorcycle, and the students were planning a barbecue for their neighbors' kids."

Case closed. --KR

Photo by Jay Van Rennselaer
Curling up with a book...and a caffé latte

At the Milton S. Eisenhower Library these days, students are emerging from the depths of D-Level for a burst of sunlight, caffeine, and conversation at "Cafe Q"--a cheerful coffee bar tucked next to the Upper Quad entrance on Q-Level. Supported in part by a gift from the senior glass, Cafe Q offers a wide variety of '90s beverages and baked goods (from chai tea and Italian sodas to biscotti and scones). Soon to come: hardwood tables and chairs, in the area outside the Garrett Room. There are even plans for additional seating on the library's patio outside.

Blue Jays on TV

Baltimore-area viewers can follow Hopkins lacrosse action from the comfort of home this spring, thanks to agreements with Home Team Sports (HTS) and Baltimore's ABC affiliate, WMAR-TV, Channel 2. The Channel 2 games will air live, on April 11 (against Maryland), April 25 (against Towson), and May 2 (at Loyola). HTS aired the Blue Jays contests againt Princeton and Syracuse on tape delay in March, and will also be broadcasting NCAA tournament games.

Tuition takes a hike

Hopkins's benchmark tuition will increase 4.5 percent next fall to $22,680, the lowest percentage hike since1989-90. Besides Homewood undergraduates, the new tuition rate will also apply to all PhD candidates and many other full-time students.

Extra! Extra!

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Written by Joanne P. Cavanaugh, Sue De Pasquale, and Kari Rosenthal '00.