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H3EM Faculty
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H3EM Founder & Co-Director

Kamna Balhara, MD, MA, is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Program Director of the emergency medicine residency program at Johns Hopkins. She directs the Health Humanities Curriculum for emergency medicine residents.

Prior to medical school and residency at Johns Hopkins, she completed her Master’s degree in French Cultural Studies from Columbia University, where her thesis explored the convergence of commerce, arts, and literature in 19th century representations of women. Before returning to Hopkins, she was previously the Assistant Residency Program Director at the University of Texas in San Antonio. While there, she was active at the Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics, serving as course director for “Art Rounds,” an interdisciplinary course for medical students and allied health professions students based at the McNay Museum, and an instructor for the “Medicine through Literature” course for medical students. Dr. Balhara is especially interested in further developing the role of the health humanities in resident education, with a specific focus on the roles of narrative medicine and the visual arts, and in the intersection of the humanities and social emergency medicine. 

She believes that the plurality of perspectives and diversity of disciplines inherent to the health humanities have the power to generate a more meaningful understanding of health, improve patients' experiences within the healthcare system, and allow medical practitioners to recognize and appreciate both their own humanity and that of the patients they serve.

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H3EM Faculty

Erica Shelton, MD, MPH, MHS, is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine. Her work focuses on optimization of health care access for vulnerable populations to decrease health disparities and enhance value and efficiency of emergency care. In particular, Dr. Shelton’s interests include enhancing patient-provider communication, especially among urban populations and communities of color, to overcome linkage barriers to follow-up care and self-management.  An advocate of community engagement to promote population health, she is also serving a four year term as a Commissioner for the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, appointed by Governor Larry Hogan.  She appreciates the intersection of these interests with the mission of Health Humanities at Hopkins Emergency Medicine (H3EM). Excited to be a part of H3EM, she recognizes that achieving health equity for vulnerable populations is fundamental to humanism in medicine.



H3EM Faculty

Eisha Chopra, MD is a clinical instructor in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Bayview Medical Center. She completed her residency training at Johns Hopkins after receiving her medical degree from Rutgers University - New Jersey Medical School. She believes that exploring the arts and humanities in medical education is necessary to develop empathy and real connection with our patients, to reflect on the privilege and burden of our profession, and to become more emotionally intelligent and self-aware caregivers.

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H3EM Faculty

Linda Regan, MD, M.Ed is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Program Director of the emergency medicine and combined emergency medicine-anesthesiology residency program at Johns Hopkins.  Her interests include graduate medical education, learner development and professional identify formation.

Dr. Regan completed medical school at Johns Hopkins, and residency at NYU/Bellevue Emergency Medicine, where she served as chief resident. She served as Assistant Program Director of the residency program at NYU, prior to returning to Hopkins as the Associate Program Director before taking over the program as the Program Director in 2010. She serves as the Vice Chair for Education for the Department of Emergency Medicine and runs the Medical Education fellowship. 

Dr. Regan’s interests include a range of topics within medical education.  While she has maintained a strong focus on teaching residents professionalism and communication skills, her current interests focus on resident assessment, and the development of independent learning skills within residency.  She is especially interested in how learners develop skills for independent learning, and why some learners excel, while others struggle. She is well known nationally as an educator, a leader in novel educational programs, and an expert in remediation. 

Why Health Humanities?  Where else is the intersection of health disparities for patients, stressors for physicians, and opportunities for improvement as obvious as in the Emergency Department.  Dr. Regan’s interests in literature and the arts developed as a child, growing up dancing ballet, reading, playing chess, and pursuing a liberal arts degree.  The importance of perspective taking, thinking outside the box, and keen analytical skill that still allows room for “feeling” is of utmost importance in our job.  Her interests in using humanities to foster these essential skills is tied to her interest in developing learners with strong professional identifies, and self-directed skills as learners.

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H3EM Faculty

Julie Rice, MD, MSMS is an Assistant Professor and the Director of Simulation Education for the residency program in the Department of Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital.   After receiving degrees in Humanities and Biochemistry from Seattle University in 2007 she attended New York Medical College  and completed her MD.  Dr. Rice has been an enthusiastic participant in medical education and physician wellness initiatives throughout her residency training and during her years as a faculty member at Johns Hopkins.  Her interests include interprofessional training, physician resilience training and patient safety curricula.  Dr. Rice has developed and implemented multiple simulation-based, experiential educational curricula and novel applications of simulation-based learning.  She is currently supported by the American University of Beirut Medical Center where she designs interprofessional safety culture training for the Department of Emergency Medicine.  In 2019 she completed her Masters in Medical and Healthcare Simulation from Drexel University, where her thesis explored the need for cultural consideration when designing interprofessional curricula to strengthen hospital safety culture. 

Why humanities?  The exploration of art, architecture, history and philosophy connects us to what makes us human, deepening our connection with our patients, colleagues and the world around us. Her hope is that this exploration promotes humility and resilience in healthcare providers.



H3EM Founder & Co-Director

Nathan Irvin, MD is an assistant professor in the Department of Emergency Medicine. He earned a medical degree at Harvard in 2003. Following medical school, he completed a residency in emergency medicine at Alameda Health System’s Highland Hospital in Oakland, California, where he was a chief resident, prior to graduating in 2011.

Upon completion of residency, Dr. Irvin entered into the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Clinical Scholars Program at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 2013 with a master's degree in health policy research.

Dr. Irvin holds interests in social emergency medicine and addressing many of the health and behavioral problems that affect people living in urban communities including violence, HIV/AIDs and substance abuse. He is the director of the 4th year social emergency medicine Focused Advanced Specialty Training (FAST) opportunity for the Johns Hopkins residency and has worked on HIV/HCV screening in the ED, management of substance abuse disorders in the ED, as well as youth violence prevention and trauma while here at Johns Hopkins.  Dr. Irvin is thrilled to be involved in establishing H3EM. The health humanities have the ability to be transformative in helping physicians at all levels better understand the patient experience, be more empathetic listeners and observers and process the changes that happen to providers in the context of being physicians. Its focus on expanding our view from one focused on disease to one focused on health is critical for all providers seeking to improve the health and wellness of the patients we serve.

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H3EM Faculty

Andrew Stolbach MD, MPH is an Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and a medical toxicologist at Johns Hopkins. He enjoys reading fiction and nonfiction. (He has a read biography of every US president.) Andrew believes that  because empathy, like other skills, is improved through practice, engaging with the humanities strengthens our ability to relate to patients. 

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H3EM Faculty

Aaryn Hammond, MD is a clinical instructor of Emergency Medicine in the Emergency Department at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. She completed her residency in Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins after receiving her Doctor of Medicine degree from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta and her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Hampton University in Virginia.  She completed the Focused Advanced Specialty Training (FAST) at Johns Hopkins in the Science of Health Care Delivery with a focus on homelessness and emergency department care utilization. Her professional and research interests include social emergency medicine with focus on health disparities and the improvement of health care for indigent and underserved communities. Dr. Hammond believes an understanding of health humanities is critical to the development of a physician because it prepares them to care for patients as people beyond their illness. She believes that humanism in medicine, just like medical excellence, must be studied and practiced in order to achieve excellence. 



H3EM Faculty

Michael Ehmann MD, MPH, MS is an Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine and Assistant Program Director of the Emergency Medicine residency at Johns Hopkins. He completed his residency at Johns Hopkins after medical and graduate school in New Orleans, where he came to appreciate how a vibrant culture with complex social nuances can affect both health systems and individuals' health. His undergraduate degree at the University of Virginia focused on 20th century American political history during the administration of Lyndon Johnson and the advent of Medicare and Medicaid; he has a particular interest in how these historical precedents continue to affect U.S. healthcare over half a century later. Dr. Ehmann believes that H3EM is vital to ensuring that Hopkins EM residents are not only world-class emergency physicians but also well-rounded individuals who appreciate and value the intersection of traditional humanistic disciplines with their patients' health and well-being.

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H3EM Faculty

Michelle Patch, PhD, MSN, APRN-CNS, ACNS-BC, is a Patient Safety Innovation Coordinator for The Johns Hopkins Hospital and the JHM Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality.

Dr. Patch is an advanced practice registered nurse with board-certification as an Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist. Her 20-year nursing career has been dedicated to fostering inter-professional collaborations, improving health care processes and outcomes, and furthering violence prevention and response efforts. A former U.S. Navy Nurse Corps officer, she has held progressive clinical and operational leadership positions in various inpatient, outpatient, emergency and austere settings. She also served for 10 years as the JHH Department of Emergency Medicine’s inaugural Safety Officer.

 She is a graduate of Marquette University (BSN) in Milwaukee, WI, and the Johns Hopkins University (MSN, PhD) in Baltimore, MD. Dr. Patch holds a joint faculty appointment with the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. Her research interests include intimate partner violence, assault mechanisms, workplace violence, and violence-related health outcomes and healthcare experiences. Dr. Patch is an active member of the national Training Institute on Strangulation Prevention’s Medical Advisory Board, the Academy of Forensic Nursing’s research and certification workgroups, and the Baltimore City Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team. 

Integrating humanities and medicine allows us to go beyond our individual understanding of truth, more fully appreciating the social complexities of our world and the experiences of others. It informs both the art and the science of our ever evolving practice.



Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine

H3EM Faculty

Gabe Kelen, MD, FRCP(C), is Professor and Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine and is internationally renowned for his leadership in emergency medicine.   Dr. Kelen completed medical school at University of Toronto, and his residency in emergency medicine at Johns Hopkins.  Previously he served as the Residency Program Director, and Research Director in the department.  He is also the current Director of the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR).


Dr. Kelen interests encompass medical education, emerging infectious research, health care delivery, and disaster health.  His early work during the AIDS epidemic shed light on the extent of unrealized blood borne infections.  Through research and demonstration projects paved the way for HIV, Hepatitis and other blood borne infection screening in Emergency Department settings, allowing for early detection and lifesaving treatment.  As the CEPAR director, Dr. Kelen gave rise to the Hopkins Go Team which provides humanitarian medical care during national and international disaster crises.  The Go Team responded to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Haiti Earth Quake, and Hurricane Sandy among many others.  Dr. Kelen and CEPAR played a major role in the nation’s response to the Ebola threat in 2016.


Music has been a strong influence on Dr. Kelen.  He is a student of the influence of Rock and Folk Rock from the 60’s and 70’s on society.  He studied at the Toronto Conservatory of Music in his youth, and plays piano, guitar, (and previously) trombone.  


As the department chair and a practicing emergency physician, Dr. Kelen has long promoted health humanities.  He believes it should be an educational imperative in all disciplines of medicine and routinely incorporated into everyday practice.  In recognition of his humanitarian work in countering the AIDS/HIV epidemic, Dr. Kelen was elected to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.

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