2023 Community Champion Award

C. Nicholas Cuneo, Med ’15
C. Nicholas Cuneo, M.D., M.P.H., is the co-founder and medical director of the Johns Hopkins, Esperanza, Asylee Women Enterprise, and Loyola (HEAL) Refugee Health and Asylum Collaborative, which serves immigrant survivors of torture and trauma seeking refuge in the U.S. In addition to offering Maryland’s first and only asylum clinic, which provides pro bono forensic medicolegal evaluations for individuals applying for asylum, the HEAL Collaborative delivers responsive health care and supportive services to survivors and assists them in navigating social service agencies. Dr. Cuneo began working with refugees in Baltimore while a student at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. In 2011, he co-founded the Refugee Health Partnership, which pairs teams of medical students with recently resettled refugees to provide health care advocacy, mentorship, and navigation. After graduating from medical school in 2015, Dr. Cuneo completed a combined residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Boston Children's Hospital. He also earned a master's degree in public health from Harvard University in 2020. As global health equity chief resident there, he trained in forensic evaluation of asylum seekers at Massachusetts General Hospital and worked at the southern U.S. border in Tijuana, Mexico. In the summer of 2020, Dr. Cuneo returned to Johns Hopkins as an assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics and made starting Baltimore’s first comprehensive refugee health and asylum clinic a priority. The collective has since received an outpouring of philanthropic and community support to aid in providing vital care to our most vulnerable populations.

Lionel Foster, Jr., A&S ’02
Lionel Foster, Krieger School graduate and Writing Seminars major, is deeply committed to his hometown Baltimore community. In 2016 he returned to his high school, Baltimore City College, to found the Baldwin Prize. This writing contest has become an important annual institutional tradition, garnering more than 300 submissions last year. His work with the school and students to foster creativity, introspection, excellence in writing, and a desire for success has had a profound impact. He has inspired thousands of Baltimore students to develop their writing skills and to challenge their academic expectations. Lionel continues to work closely with Baltimore City College to improve and expand the impact of the program. After graduating from Hopkins, Lionel went on to be a Marshall Scholar and received several additional degrees, including a JD from Georgetown University. He is currently an investor at Camber Creek.

Tina Hike-Hubbard, Ed ’15
Tina Hike-Hubbard has a long history of community service. She is currently Chief Communications and Community Engagement Officer for Baltimore City Public Schools. She was the first to hold this position, which was newly created as part of the senior leadership team in 2019 to oversee family and community engagement, partnerships, internal and external communication, and enrollment. When the pandemic hit, her team acquired and delivered more than 55,000 laptops to families, and negotiated with Comcast and T-Mobile to expand broadband and hotspot service to approximately 40,000 students. They also implemented sending one-question text-message surveys, which yielded 68,000 responses when old methods gleaned a tiny fraction of that number. Prior to this role, she was senior director for the mid-Atlantic market at Enterprise Community Partners, where she was involved in initiatives in areas including service to the homeless, racial equity, sustainable building, and partnerships with governmental agencies and philanthropies. She is a current or past board member of the Maryland Family Network, Fund for Educational Excellence, Park Heights Renaissance Community Development Corporation, Jubilee Baltimore, and Baltimore Curriculum Project; chaired the mayor’s taskforce on homeless issues in Baltimore; and served as co-chair for the community investment workgroup for the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers. From 2010 to 2017, she served on the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners, including a two-year term as vice-chair. She began her career as a middle school teacher, coming to Baltimore in 1994 through Teach for America and received her Master’s Degree from Johns Hopkins in 2015.

Rob Kirkland, Bus ‘02
Rob Kirkland earned his undergraduate degree at Hampton University and his Master of Business Administration from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. From those foundations he has gone on to build an incredible career in business at brand-name companies such as Pepsi, Sysco and Stanley/Black & Decker. At every stop he has contributed to operational excellence for his firm. Beyond that impact, Rob has a natural talent for building networks, connecting people and lowering barriers to growth. Rob serves on the Deans Advisory Council for Carey Business School, advising the school leadership on all aspects of achieving excellence and meeting the needs of the market. Rob also co-chairs the Underrepresented Groups Advisory Board at Carey, which is the volunteer leadership built around our DEIB initiatives and Diversity Roadmap. Rob is a tireless advocate and mentor for underrepresented groups. He is highly adept at networking and bringing his vast network to bear on behalf of professionals and students who hope to move their careers forward. Carey Business School is proud of its leadership position in serving minority business leaders. Rob is a critical leader and catalyst in making that success possible.

Alysia Lee, Peab ‘06
Ms. Lee, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, positively contributes to her communities as an artist, educator, advocate, and policymaker. She has been recognized not only by the state of Maryland, but nationally for her work to advance access, equity, visibility, representation, and power-sharing between artists, communities, and organizations. Alysia is passionate about connecting youth and communities that are often overlooked to opportunities and resources. Her methods center on youth leadership, anti-racism, creativity, and justice. She currently serves as the President for Baltimore Children and Youth Fund Inc. (BCYF), a fund committed to authentic community engagement, and all strategy and grant decisions are shaped and led by Baltimore community members and youth leaders. In 2022, Ms. Lee was selected by the Transition Board of Directors of the Baltimore Children & Youth Fund Inc. to serve as BCYF’s inaugural President. BCYF strives to resource a future where children and youth programs have the resources they need to equitably serve all young Baltimoreans. Ms. Lee is the Founder and Artistic Director of Sister Cities Girlchoir (SCG), the El Sistema-inspired, girl empowerment choral academy in Philadelphia, Camden, and Baltimore in its 11th season. SCG is an award-winning and trendsetting choral education program with performance credits from Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and numerous school and community stages.

Kelly Lowensen, Nurs ‘11
Kelly Lowensen exemplifies a community champion not just in word, but in her actions. Born and raised in Baltimore, Kelly has dedicated her entire nursing career to caring for Baltimore's most marginalized communities. She has extensive experience in female and reproductive health services, AIDS Hospice, HIV and HIV prevention clinical care. She has also been a research nurse coordinating clinical trials to improve treatment outcomes in Baltimore and in South Africa. Most recently, she led the Center for Infection Disease and Nursing Innovation (CIDNI) efforts to implement 4 community-based COVID-19 research efforts in which CIDNI enrolled over 1,000 participants in a community-based COVID-19 prevalence study with over 90% African American participation thanks to her efforts. Once COVID-19 vaccines became available, she coordinated the Center for Infectious Disease and Nursing Innovation (CIDNI) in leading vaccination clinics co-located with syringe support service programs to ensure that people who inject drugs had equal access to COVID-19 vaccine. Finally, day after day, Kelly leads the CIDNI team in their efforts to end HIV in Baltimore. For example, she has coordinated the performance of more than 800 HIV tests in the last 3 years alone. As the CIDNI manager, she currently oversees 9 different projects – 7 of which are specifically dedicated to improving equitable access to treatment and prevention services to Baltimore residents. She is also the recipient of the Baltimore Magazine Best Nurse Award in the category of clinical care from 2010, after being nominated by one of her patients. Finally, she has been instrumental in supporting the JHU School of Nursing Community as well. She precepts students of all levels in our community outreach program. She previously served as the program coordinator for the HIV Primary Care Certificate Program and is currently servicing as the program coordinator for the DNP/PhD NSP II grant.

Mr. and Mrs. Walter Pinkard Jr., Friend/Emeritus Trustee
Wally and his wife, Mary-Ann, are deeply committed to the city of Baltimore. They work tirelessly to revitalize neighborhoods, strengthen schools and bolster the business community through professional and personal pursuits. Mary-Ann is a founding member of the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle, which invests in organizations that empower women and their families, and a founding board member of the Baltimore Design School, a middle/high school that integrates design throughout the academic curriculum Her past board experience includes the Maryland SPCA, and the Baltimore School for the Arts, as well as organizational affiliations with Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, and the Hippodrome Foundation. Wally gives his time to several organizations. For 25 years, he served as the Chair of the Johns Hopkins Nursing Advisory Board, where his leadership had a demonstrable impact on its success as the #1 ranked school of nursing. In addition, he has served as a Trustee at Johns Hopkins University and Medicine, lending his support across the enterprise in the spirit of One Hopkins. His community involvement is broad and meaningful- he is chair of the France-Merrick Foundation, which provides grants to nonprofit organizations across the state with a focus on the Greater Baltimore area. He is a trustee with the Leonard and Helen R. Stulman Charitable Foundation focusing on aiding the fields of mental wellness, aging and health. With a desire to introduce the arts to children, he is board chairman of the Hippodrome Foundation. Both Mary-Ann and Wally are on the board of the Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation where they share their passion for local sports.

Tanjala Purnell, SPH ‘12
Dr. Purnell is a trailblazing researcher, mentor, and national thought-leader in health equity and social justice. She is an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and Surgery at Johns Hopkins, where she also serves as Director of Education for the Brancati Center for the Advancement of Community Care, Executive Director of the Health Freedom Path to Wellness Community-Based Program, and Founding Director of the Faith-Based Alliance for Kidney Health Equity. She has over a decade of expertise focused on implementing patient- and community-engaged initiatives to promote health equity. Dr. Purnell has facilitated health equity mentoring opportunities for over 150 diverse scholars, organized novel seminars for over 7,000 academic and community members, and developed health equity research methods courses for over 6,000 learners at Johns Hopkins and other communities worldwide. She is a four-time recipient of the JHBSPH Teaching Excellence Award. Nationally, Dr. Purnell is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Minority Organ Tissue Transplant Education Program, a member of the Governing Board for the Living Legacy Foundation of Maryland, and a member of the National Kidney Foundation Transplant Advisory Committee. She is Immediate Past Chair of the American Society for Transplant Surgeons DEI Committee. Locally, she is a respected community leader who works closely with pastors and lay health ministry leaders at Baltimore churches to foster relationships between academic researchers and congregation members to advance health equality.