BSHRC members come into our group with diverse backgrounds and broad academic and professional interests. While most of us are graduate students in the health and social services fields, anyone in the Baltimore area is welcome to join regardless of current educational status or knowledge of harm reduction.
During any given semester, BSHRC has around 30 active volunteer members. Below we highlight a few of them:
Keri Calkins, PhD Student
Keri, a PhD student in Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, has been involved in a wide range of BSHRC activities since 2012, such as volunteering with Transgender Action Group and helping plan many harm reduction seminars and events. Her professional interests include chronic disease epidemiology, epidemiology methods, and health disparities research. Prior to graduate school, Keri worked on public health research projects in Boston, Argentina, Rwanda, and Ghana. In her former spare time (before grad school), Keri could be found playing ultimate frisbee, binge-watching TV shows, baking, and hanging out with friends. She received an M.S. in Epidemiology in 2014 and B.A. in Public Health and Spanish in 2009 from Johns Hopkins University.
Ashan Veerakumar, MD Candidate 2016
Ashan is a third-year medical student at the University of Maryland born and raised in Canada. His interest in harm reduction began after transferring to Baltimore midway through college, and realizing that strong sex education, drug treatment and gender freedoms were things he took for granted. Ashan is interested in strengthening the application and conviction of harm reduction in policy and community service; he enjoys the incredibly unique company of BSHRC peers, and seeing how they draw from their own stories and missions to conduct an exciting meeting or carry out a successful outreach project. Activities outside BSHRC include volunteering as an HIV tester in the Jacques Initiative of the UMD’s Institute of Human Virology and leadership in the UM chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA).
Dinah Lewis, MD Candidate 2016
Dinah is a third year medical student at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine. Her love for harm reduction began years ago in Cleveland, when she worked on a mobile clinic providing services for LGBT youth. After joining BSHRC in 2012, Dinah co-founded Hopkins Med for Harm Reduction, a BSHRC chapter, which aims to incorporate harm reduction strategies into medical education and practice. To remain engaged in the topics she cares about, she volunteers for the Baltimore City Needle Exchange Wound Care Program and coordinates the Community Adolescent Sexual Education Program at Johns Hopkins. She has come to rely on BSHRC meetings to recharge her social-justice batteries and meet new and engaged people from across Baltimore!
BSHRC is proud of the experiences and accomplishments of our growing alumni network! Check back periodically as we feature those who have ‘graduated’ from our organization:
Desiree Madah-Amiri, MSN, FNP-C
Desiree is a family nurse practitioner and PhD student at the University of Oslo with the Norwegian Center for Addiction Research. She is currently working to implement Norway’s first naloxone distribution program, as part of the country’s national overdose prevention strategy. While pursuing her master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (c/o 2012), she was awarded a prestigious Schweitzer Fellowship and co-founded the Baltimore Student Harm Reduction Coalition. Her time spent in Baltimore providing reproductive health care to sex workers and working with the city health department’s needle exchange program contributed to her current aspirations in Oslo.
Zofia Klosowska, BS
Zofia graduated May 2012 summa cum laude from University of Maryland’s School of Public Health with a BS in Public Health Science. While an undergraduate, Zofia was president of the Public Health student organization, where she focused her efforts on increasing awareness around infant mortality in Montgomery County. Currently working as a post-baccalaureate research training fellow with the National Institutes of Health, Zofia also volunteers with HIPS, a DC-based nonprofit offering harm reduction supplies, micro-counseling and referrals for street based sex workers and people who inject drugs. Zofia loves traveling, Indian food, tenderly cultivating her green thumb, and of course, “Meeting folks where they’re at.”
BSHRC members have also gone on to work or study at the following:
- Baltimore City Health Department – Community Risk Reduction Services
- Drug Policy Alliance
- Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government
- Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
- Plan International
- Stanford Prevention Research Center
- Treatment Action Group (NYC)
- University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
- University of Washington/Harborview Medical Center
- …and more!