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Sommer Scholars

Max Romano

Master of Public Health Student

Max Romano’s goal is clear: He wants to help improve primary health care. At the age of 13, he decided to become a doctor after reading Albert Schweitzer’s accounts of treating the poor in French Equatorial Africa. During college, he worked at a clinic in Honduras, a minority health policy organization in Washington, D.C., and a free clinic in suburban Virginia. At Hopkins, Romano has investigated racial and ethnic disparities in blood pressure control within a Baltimore primary care health system. Living just blocks away from both a free needle exchange site and some of the city’s wealthiest neighborhoods helps him understand the diversity of a community he wishes to serve. “An African-American child born in this country has several times higher the risk of dying before the age of 1 than a white child,” he says. “A lot of people agree that is a problem, but they are a little at a loss to say what needs to be done to fix it—or whose responsibility it is.” Romano intends to continue studying quality and disparities in primary care settings. He believes systems-level public health thinking is vital to assuring highquality medical care for each individual. “I’ve come to realize that there are plenty of problems with the system in which we deliver medical care,” he says. “Medicine alone only captures a small piece of what human health is.” 4,212.1: Number of miles Romano biked with his wife on a tandem bicycle in 114 days from Florida to Washington State