Skip Navigation


Admissions Blog

Tony Klam

The two things I love most when Alumni return to the Bloomberg School is how excited they are to recruit from their alma mater and when they share something from their experience. Both of these things happened in the first five minutes of Tony Kalm, MPH ’95’s presentation on the non-profit One Acre Fund.

After Dean Emeritus Al Sommer’s introduction, Kalm took a moment to share how his time at Bloomberg shaped him and his career. He spoke fondly of Edyth Schoenrich, a mentor for him, and how she always calmed him down when he came back from overseas feeling lost about what was next in his life and career. Kalm claimed he always felt unqualified for any job and that he was not making a difference in the world. He said she’d sit with him and talk through his most recent experience and help him discover his next step.

Not wanting to be sentimental too long, Kalm immediately launched into a plea for people. As President of One Acre Fund, he’s very aware of the needs of the non-profit. They currently have 5,000 full-time staff and are hiring for 60 positions, mostly in cities and countries in Africa, and some in the US and Europe.

What I found most interesting about Kalm’s discussion of One Acre Fund is that the individual parts of the organization are not innovated. They provide loans, deliver farming technology, train the small rural farmers and help these families increase their yield. However, what is innovative, is they provide all the services. Instead of attacking one challenge these small family farmers have, they attack all of them at one time. Prior to starting a location in Rwanda, there were only two places farmers could buy seed. Now, the country is blanketed with locations that the farmers can walk to for their purchases. In 2006 with its founding, One Acre Fund helped 38 families. In 2015, they partnered with 305,400 families. Some of their original farmers are now employed by One Acre Fund as site managers, teaching farming techniques and more. Others no longer need One Acre Fund to succeed, which is the celebrating point of the non-profit. As One Acre Fund continues to grow, they empower these rural farmers to be part of the environmental conversation as they are most affected by global warming. In addition to stopping hunger, One Acre Fund has a goal of being self-sustaining and not relying on donations. Kalm pointed out no non-profit serving the rural poor has ever broke even financially. In their strongest locations, Kalm reports a 94% sustainability.

If learning about One Acre Fund wasn’t inspiring enough, a current MPH student stood up to ask a question of Kalm near the end of the lecture. He is from Rwanda and was familiar with One Acre Fund from home. He asked Kalm about their approaches towards investment education, child labor and hiring farmers for those open positions with a point of view different from most in the room. Watching the two discuss the challenges and approaches was fascinating, but a special moment that isn’t rare at Bloomberg.

It’s taken me a year, but I finally had a Maryland right of initiation. I finally ate Steamed CrabsMaryland steamed crabs, also known as “picking crabs.” You see, there’s a big argument in the US about how to cook crabs. In 49 states, you boil them—just like you would a lobster. But in Maryland, you steam the crabs. Marylanders claim the meat is sweeter from the steaming. I must say, the blue crabs I ate did have some pretty sweet, delicious lumps of meat.

While most people will pick up crabs and take them home to eat in the back yard or on the deck with cold beer, I didn’t really want to deal with the mess in my apartment. I chose an eat-in crab house for my cousin and I to experience this rite of passage. And I’m so glad we did! When our dozen of crabs came to the table they were caked in Old Bay, also known as the salt of Maryland. (Marylanders also take Old Bay seriously. To all you Marylanders, I mean no offense.) While I grew up adding Old Bay to the water I boiled the shellfish in, steaming the crabs doesn’t allow for spicing the water to infuse flavor. By smearing the crabs with Old Bay, the spice is transferred to the meat via your fingers from cracking open the crabs and picking out the meat.

Crab PretzelWhile I would have preferred less Old Bay seasoning, I can see why Marylanders love their steamed crabs. A long, social activity filled with good fun, picking crabs is a must do for anyone living or visiting Maryland. And if you want to avoid the mess in your own home, I highly recommend Crackpot Seafood Restaurant in Towson if it’s too chilly to enjoy them outside at the harbor. (I also highly recommend their crab pretzel!)

The following departments have a December 1 deadline for their doctoral programs.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology*
Environmental Health and Engineering (formerly Environmental Health Sciences)*
Health, Behavior and Society
Health Policy and Management
International Health
Mental Health
Molecular Microbiology and Immunology*
Population, Family and Reproductive Health
Schoolwide DrPH

The following are masters’ programs with a December 1 deadline:

MSPH Online/Part-time in Environmental Health (January 2017 Start Term)
MSPH (Part-time) in Health, Behavior and Society (January 2017 Start Term)
MSPH/RD in International Health
Master of Arts in Public Health Biology (January 2017 Start Term)
MPH Full-time
MPH Online/Part-time (June 2017 Start Term)

*Remember the PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Immunology, and Environmental Health Sciences: Track in Toxicology, Physiology and Molecular Mechanisms utilize a joint application with separate, independent review committees. By selecting the Biomedical Sciences designation in SOPHAS, you can then apply to one or multiple programs at the same time.

Recently, Dr. Sabra Klein from the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology gave a talk at MIT on the sex differences related to vaccination and infectious disease. A rheumatologist there mentioned to her that female patients report more reactions to biologics. It turns out, while the health community is aware of differences between how men and women’s bodies react and work, most of the time this information is ignored.

In the latest edition of Hopkins Bloomberg Public Health Magazine, Dr. Klein shared this experience in the article “Sex Matters.” It goes on to show many differences between men and women on molecular levels and the impacts, not just on the immune system and vaccines, but in pharmaceutical matters.

As the nerd that I am, reading this article fascinated me. But as Dr. Klein points out, studies are not designed to look at how something is affecting the female verses the male, but rather both as the same. If you are as fascinated as I am by just this summary, read the full article. You’ll be even more amazed than you are now!

This week, Johns Hopkins University announced that the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation has awarded Johns Hopkins professors $10 million in grants to explore Lyme disease and develop potential new therapies to address the illness. It will be divided amongst two Bloomberg School of Public Health faculty members studying Lyme and the director of the Johns Hopkins Lyme Disease Research Center, John Aucott.

Ying Zhang, (from the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology) is looking for new ways of treating Lyme disease, particularly through new drug combinations for post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. His $2.5 million grant will provide stability to his research over the next five years.

The second professor, Brian Schwartz, is focusing his research on Pennsylvania, which has one of the highest populations of Lyme disease. From the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering (formally the Department of Environmental Health Sciences), Schwartz has a two phase study planned. Phase I examines the epidemiology of the Lyme disease population. From 2001 to present, there is data from over 500,000 patients. Phase II is a questionnaire-based study and will look at vulnerabilities within the population.

As the sixth most common infectious disease in the U.S., there is surprisingly little information on Lyme disease. For more information on the research funded by the grants, read the whole article.