July 6, 2023
Chase Cook, Acting Director, Office of Communications, 410-767-8649
PHOTO RELEASE: Maryland Department of Health Deputy Secretary Kalyanaraman and partners from University of Maryland Medical System and Johns Hopkins dedicate new Art with a Heart permanent student art exhibit at the Baltimore Convention Center commemorating their COVID-19 emergency response
Baltimore, MD – Maryland Department of Health Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman today joined Baltimore City officials, health partners, the Baltimore Convention Center and student artists from across the region to unveil and dedicate a new permanent art installation in the Baltimore Convention Center’s Pratt Street lobby. Dr. Kalyanaraman was joined by the Center’s team, partners from the University of Maryland Medical System and Johns Hopkins Medicine to celebrate the art, which was commissioned by the Convention Center from community organization Art with a Heart.
This installation from Art with a Heart honors the extraordinary COVID-19 emergency response at the Convention Center during the pandemic and also commemorates the historic, ongoing partnership between the Maryland Department of Health, the City of Baltimore, the University of Maryland Medical System, Johns Hopkins Medicine, and the facility’s team.
“This unique partnership, which began in March 2020, has helped thousands of Marylanders get tested, vaccinated, and treated for COVID-19,” said Dr. Kalyanaraman. “The dedicated men and women who answered the call to care for COVID patients deserve our recognition, and art is a wonderful way to both celebrate and heal from these past few, very difficult, years.”
Partners in the historic Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital effort included (pictured, left to right): Mac Campbell, Executive Director, Baltimore Convention Center; Dr. Mohan Suntha, President and CEO, University of Maryland Medical System; Nick Mosby, President, Baltimore City Council; Kevin Sowers, President, Johns Hopkins Health System; Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman, Deputy Secretary for Public Health Services, Maryland Department of Health; Dr. Charles Callahan, University of Maryland Medical Center, and Dr. Mindy Kantsiper, Johns Hopkins Medicine.
Student artists from Art with a Heart who worked on the project included (pictured, left to right): Mattie Dixon-Gilbert; Hassan Ayinde Hunt, Lily Mihok, and Shyne Carter.
The new lobby exhibit was created by Baltimore-area high school students as part of a year-long Art with a Heart leadership development program in collaboration with members of the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital community.
“This pandemic will be one of the defining factors of my generation,” said Shyne Carter, one of the 23 Baltimore region student artists who created the installation. “We wanted this art to reflect not only the tragedy, but also the strength and heroism of that time.”
The Baltimore Convention Center closed its doors to public events and transitioned into a field hospital that received its first patient in April 2020 and cared for 1,495 patients. Operations were moved to State Center after 14 months. The partnership between the department of health, the two health systems and the venue continued as the BCCFH State COVID-19 Task Force, conducting more than 180,000 COVID-19 tests across the State, 138,000 vaccinations and more than 10,000 courses of COVID treatments over the past three years before disbanding near the end of the public health emergency in April.
Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman spoke of the shared mission to provide equitable and accessible COVID-19 services at the Baltimore Convention Center Field Hospital.
“Our healthcare system was proud to be a part of a global and local response, and our clinicians worked alongside Johns Hopkins clinicians as colleagues and not competitors in the public health fight of our lives,” said Mohan Suntha, MD, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of the University of Maryland Medical System. “The dedication shown by the men and women on the front lines of care, in all capacities, was truly humbling in the face of tremendous uncertainty and stress. We are grateful to have been a part of it.”
“I know that the services we provided over three years saved thousands of lives in Maryland, and I consider this partnership and our work in the Field Hospital to be among the most important of my career ,” said Kevin W. Sowers, MSN, RN, FAAN, president of the Johns Hopkins Health System and executive vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “We were one team, working for one mission, together.”
The permanent art installation from Art with a Heart includes 1,495 hand-crafted beads representing the 1,495 patients served at the Baltimore Convention Field Hospital when it was operational.
The Maryland Department of Health is dedicated to protecting and improving the health and safety of all Marylanders through disease prevention, access to care, quality management and community engagement.
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