By Lynn Schultz-Writsel
Pediatric nurse practitioner Helen Scannell Thomas knows well the barriers to health care services faced daily by uninsured and underinsured families in East Baltimore.
Through a public health nursing career spent in a variety of ambulatory pediatric settings—and most recently 11 years with the Comprehensive School Based Health Center Program of the Baltimore City Health Department—Thomas, the newly appointed director of the school’s Lillian D. Wald Community Nursing Center, has a hands-on working knowledge of the community and its health care needs.
Beginning this summer, Thomas will work with school faculty and staff at the center to address local health disparities and to deliver free or low-cost nursing care for families at risk, while at the same time offering a unique learning environment for students to acquire skills essential to effective community health nursing practice among urban populations. Thomas notes the opportunity is an honor “that is both professionally challenging and personally invigorating” and one that will allow her “to experience the scope and vitality of community health nursing practice with students.”
According to Dean Martha N. Hill, “Helen Thomas is the ideal catalyst to continue the legacy of quality and compassionate care established by our divine Miss M. [the late Marion D’Lugoff, founder of the center] and to carry forward the work that makes Hopkins a leader in community and public health nursing.”