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March 24, 2003

Message From Dean Sommer Regarding War In Iraq

Dear Faculty, Students, and Staff:

As you all know, Wednesday evening marked the beginning of our nation’s war with Iraq. It is undoubtedly a time of tension and uncertainty for many in the School, the University, the nation, and the world. I wish to inform you about the steps we have taken to secure everyone’s safety at the School.

The Department of Homeland Security has raised the national alert system to the “Orange” level, and the Johns Hopkins-wide Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) has set its own status at “Yellow,” which indicates a “potential threat, heightened concern for critical event.” This does not mean that we should change the normal course of our lives in East Baltimore. But it does mean we will all be more aware of our surroundings and familiar with procedures put in place to deal with the unlikely event a security concern may arise.

The University’s emergency telephone number is 410-516-7781 (or 1-800-548-9004). The webpage listing emergency information is Also, the Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR) maintains an updated website:

Many people may be feeling particularly anxious or upset by the events taking place; it is, indeed, a time of concern and unease for many of us. The Student Assistance Program (SAP) and the Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FASAP) both are available if you want to speak with someone confidentially about your feelings and concerns. To schedule an appointment, please call 410-955-1220 or 410-516-3800, or refer to for more information.

While everyone has their opinions about the war and the events that led up to it, we are confident that we will express them in the open-minded, civil, and constructive manner that has always marked the atmosphere of concern and learning here at the School.

We are a cosmopolitan community, and our perspectives on the current situation are no doubt as diverse as we are. As health professionals, our primary concern is ways in which we can best mitigate the human tragedies associated with war, in all their many forms.

Given the continuing tensions in the world around us, recall my email of February 11 and its advice that all plans for international travel be carefully considered and undertaken only if absolutely necessary; that you discuss travel plans with your immediate supervisor; and, should you travel, that you please leave contact information with your department, office, or relevant student coordinator.


Alfred Sommer, MD, MHS

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