Part 1: An inspiring woman, doctor, and leader

The other day, as I walked through the hospital to my building in an effort to avoid the sub-freezing temperatures outside, I was “stuck” behind a slower moving elderly woman.  Having no way around, I slowed down and started to wonder about who she was.  She was well dressed and walked with a manner that spoke of achievement. I wondered about what her journey to this point in her life must have been like, what struggles she faced, what was her greatest accomplishment.  As I day dreamed about the lady before me, I was reminded of another octogenarian that I was curious about.

As I walk through the halls of my building, the walls are adorned with many portraits.  One has always stood out to me.  Unlike most of the other portraits, it is of a woman, late in life but still vibrant, with a smile that is welcoming and encouraging.  Curious, I had to know more about the woman who is immortalized on the wall of Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health.  She must have done great things to lay claim such an esteemed piece of real estate.  However, there was no placard under the portrait.  No name.  Nothing to follow up on.


The first time I held the door for her, I was surprised and doubtful at the same time.  Could this woman, that is escorted by security in a wheel chair, be the same as the one in the portrait? I was even more intrigued.  Since that first time, we often crossed paths, but I am too nervous and shy to introduce myself.

My Google searches proved fruitless, only having limited terms to search: “elderly lady portrait JHU Bloomberg”.  I finally admitted defeat and did some research the old-fashioned way.  I asked someone.  Approaching the security desk, I wasn’t sure how to phrase my question without sounding stalker-ish.  “I’m curious about the woman in the portrait.  I’ve seen her here and was wondering who she is.  She must be a very special lady to be honored this way.” The guard was a little skeptical at first, but she soon warmed up when she realized I was talking about Miss Edyth.  “Oh she is a special lady, all right!” Hang on, let me find out her last name for you.”  A couple of phone calls later, I was given a name.

I walked back to lab and sat at my desk.  My Google search was much more productive this time and I was quickly overwhelmed by the available information.  It was like opening Pandora’s Box!  At last, I could find out more about this woman who is so honored and revered.

Next post, find out who I am so enamoured with!

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