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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University March 29, 2004 | Vol. 33 No. 28
A Room With a View

Janice Clements in the Carol Johns-Daniel Nathans Faculty Common Room.

School of Medicine gets its first faculty lounge, set in BRB's glass bridge

By Greg Rienzi
The Gazette

With space at a premium on the medical campus, after teaching, research and patient care needs are fulfilled, there is typically scant room left over for anything else, says Janice Clements, vice dean for faculty affairs at the School of Medicine. As a colleague once told Clements, the East Baltimore campus is an "amenity-free zone."

Well, not anymore for School of Medicine faculty. They now have a place to call their own.

On March 19, the school officially opened the doors to the Carol Johns-Daniel Nathans Faculty Common Room, the first dedicated space of its kind. The event attracted deans, department chairs, faculty and several members of Johns' and Nathans' families.

Clements, who led the effort to create the space, says that while modest in size, the square room fulfills a long-standing need.

At the dedication, Ron Peterson, James Johns and Richard Johns.

"There has always been a calling for a place like this, where faculty could meet, congregate and relax," says Clements, director of the Department of Comparative Medicine. "This campus is so constrained for space that it has always been very difficult to find an area not accounted for. When you plan a building, every dollar raised is typically earmarked for something, and here, patients and research come first."

The room resides on the second floor of the new Broadway Research Building, a stairway trip down from the Daily Grind cafe. Its all-glass walls provide views of Monument Street to the east and the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Broadway Research Building and the East Baltimore cityscape to the west. The space features comfy chairs and couches, floor cabinets and automatic blinds that, when open, let light flood in.

William Baumgartner and Alex Haller.

Faculty are welcome to bring in food and beverages, and to use the adjacent hall that will contain more seating and faculty portraits.

The entire area, both the room and spillover space, serves as a connector between the Broadway Research Building, which was completed last year, and the Ross Building.

Clements, who served on the building committee for the BRB, says that she and other senior administration, realizing a connector space had to be built, thought a single room that jutted out from the building could be added to the facility's design at a reasonable price.

"Everyone agreed this room would add tremendous value for a minimal amount of added cost to the building," she says. "We wanted to make it a place where faculty can just spontaneously come and sit and talk with other faculty or fellows, and do the collegial things that we really didn't have a place to do before."

The room is named for two faculty members who were not only dedicated to medicine and science but celebrated for their mentoring ability. Clements says that the School of Medicine also wanted to represent both the clinical and basic science fields.

Carol Johnson Johns, a leading expert in lung disease, died in 2000 at the age of 76. A member of the faculty for nearly 50 years, Johns served as assistant dean and director of continuing medical education from 1981 to 1993. She was known as a staunch advocate for women's careers in medicine.

Clements says that Johns' generosity knew no bounds.

Joanne Nathans and Patrick Walsh.

"Carol was renowned for her mentoring of junior faculty and fellows, making sure they progressed in their careers," she says. "She was also a model for colleagues and students. Here was a woman doctor who had a family and a very bright career. She showed women faculty, and male faculty, too, that you could have that balance."

An award-winning scientist, Daniel Nathans was University Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the School of Medicine for more than three decades. He served as interim president of the university from June 1995 until August 1996. In addition to being awarded the Nobel Prize in 1978, Nathans was a 1993 recipient of the National Medal of Science, the nation's highest scientific award. He died in 1999 at the age of 71.

Clements, who was a postdoc in Nathans' department, says that she fondly recalls the 4 p.m. teas that her mentor instituted.

"He was always there for the teas, and anyone could come in and sit and talk about things that were important to them in their learning or their scientific career," she says. "He was very instrumental in faculty careers and giving faculty a hand. For instance, when he had extra money in his budget, he went around to junior faculty and offered to buy them something for their lab."

Clements says that she hopes that faculty will use the Johns-Nathans room all hours of the day, whenever they want a private place to relax, socialize with colleagues or mentor someone. The room also can be used for small gatherings, such as talks by senior faculty or cultural events.

School of Medicine faculty must fill out a form to activate their ID cards for room access. Forms can be obtained at suite 115 in the Broadway Research Building.

For more information, contact Clements at, or phone Dawn Lundgren at 410-955-8401.


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