Five. Point. Six!
The patient shot his fist into the air, and the room exploded into applause and cheers of encouragement.
Today I am observing a Life Balance and Weight Management Post-Core class. This is a course offered for patients at the clinic who are pre-diabetic and diabetic. It is a monthly follow-up to a previous weight loss nutrition program these patients were a part of.
The instructors started the class by asking the individuals to share their successes and worries. A common measure of how well a patient manages their diabetes is by recording their hemoglobin A1C levels (HbA1c). This reading tells physicians the individual's average blood sugar levels in the past couple of months by detecting how much sugar is coating your hemoglobin. A reading above 5.4% indicates pre-diabetes, while one above 6.4% indicates diabetes. The patient who spoke at the beginning of the session started the program because he had a HbA1c level of 6.2%, and he just received news that in a couple of months he has already brought it down to 5.6%. Yet despite being incredibly excited, he also recognized that he had more weight lose and more steps to take towards health.
My time at the clinic may not be focused purely upon large systemic changes for the city of Baltimore, but witnessing experiences like this makes me not only further appreciate what this center does for our residents, but it more importantly makes me feel confident that change starts at the individual level.


This week was the best yet! I got assigned a whole list of assignments and I am slowly making my way through them all. Although im still working from my cubicle in the office which I was not too excited about, it is great to have a change of pace and be able to keep busy with a variety of tasks. I feel like I;m beginning to find my place more in the office and am more comfortable being more independent and confident. The highlight of my week has been being trained to work the front desk and take phone calls and direct clients. I am incredibly excited to have the opportunity to finally interact with the patients and practice my personal skills. If I had the choice, I would love to work at the front desk more often; however the two full time front desk employees might not like that too much. In the mean time, I've been covering for them as much as I can and trying to help out by doing the little tasks and having some fun.

I can't wait to do my CTR training next week and potentially hit the clinic and move away from the office a little bit!


I finally feel like its home.

Those who come to Hopkins from distant places often begin their educational journey here incredibly disconnected from the city that they will call their home. We live in carefully marked cocoons, with certain streets and landmarks unfairly determined to be figurative boundaries for not only our physical being, but our psychological being as well. Closed off to the deep, sometimes hidden beauty that surrounds us, we tend to live as tourists, making the city only recognizable by a day trip to the harbor or an evening at Fells Point. Our hearts seem to remain in the places we came from, never making the journey to a city that so needs and deserves them. This summer, unlike any experience I had during my first year at Hopkins, burst the bubble of disconnection for me. Walking through the streets of Baltimore, I feel more and more at home, and more and more proud of the place I hope is my home for many years to come.

In the poignant, enduring words of the great Italian poet Dante Alighieri, “beauty awakens the soul to act.” This sentiment, profound through its striking candor, illustrates so succinctly the reason I have enjoyed this experience so much. I feel as though my soul is awakened to act every single day because of the beauty I see in the communities I am so blessed to work in. The beauty of McElderry Park community, its people, and it's incredibly inspiring history is what gives me passion, and what I believe is so deeply compelling about Baltimore. Throughout its history, this community has endured and fought back against systemic atrocities far removed from any understandable justification. Once deemed “crime-ridden,” and “undesirable,” this community has, through the work of its incredible residents, written a new story of progress and incredible change. McElderry Park is strong and getting stronger, with diverse and caring community members driven to make the places they call home safer, cleaner, and better every single day. One only has to attend a single community association meeting or block party to witness something truly special: the burning, infectious proclivity for positive change that thrives in the hearts of our community’s wonderful residents.

Throughout this experience, I have seen incredible inequities and incredible progress. I have seen loss and I have seen triumph. I, throughout these days, have been inspired by the people around me to continue to serve this city and its amazing people. Baltimore has accepted me and given me a home, and I can’t be more grateful.