Some kids have race cars or teddy bears, but as “easily the youngest child ever to have an anatomical model for the human heart,” John Morrison seemed a likely candidate for a medical career early on. His mother was a critical care nurse and, as he puts it, “medicine was the only career where I could combine my passion for caring for others with my desire for scientific discovery.”
Morrison, M.D., Ph.D., is building a strong foundation for those pursuits as a hospitalist at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. He already has racked up some impressive achievements at the hospital where he spent his pediatric residency and hospitalist fellowship.
Morrison dove in as a resident and earned the inaugural Allen W. Root, M.D., Award for Continuous Excellence in Residency in 2017, the inaugural Janet G. Root Award for Outstanding Research by a Fellow in 2019 and the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Patient Safety & Quality Award in 2019.
“Our residency program has a vision for graduate medical education that you simply won’t find at other institutions,” Morrison explains, recalling his first visit. “From the moment I interviewed here for residency nearly six years ago I knew I wanted to be a part of the All Children’s family. Our program leadership has been and always will be dedicated to supporting residents along their individual academic journeys. For me, that was a journey enriched with translational and clinical research as well as patient safety and quality improvement efforts.”
Morrison quickly found his niche in the midst of mentors, experts and fellow residents, and became the hospital’s first chief resident, a role he shared with Jackie Crews, M.D., a fellow resident in the program’s inaugural graduating class. He knew he was home, and the feeling hasn’t changed.
In a single day, Morrison happily finds himself diagnosing and treating illness; teaching and mentoring medical students, residents and fellows; coordinating care as part of an inter-professional team and discovering and implementing change to improve care.
In fact, he beams and points at a photo of his wife and two smiling kids, adding that he’s not just a provider at Johns Hopkins All Children’s, he’s a customer. MJ was delivered and cared for by Johns Hopkins All Children’s providers, and MJ and Charlotte regularly visit the General Pediatric Clinic.
Pediatric Hospital Medicine is the newest of the board-certified pediatric subspecialties—and Morrison’s team specializes in a little bit of everything. “Our pediatric hospitalists are among the best in the entire country,” he explains with pride. “They share their research, quality improvement and medical education achievements on a national level while continuously striving to improve the care for all hospitalized children. As a fellow, I wanted to be trained by the best—staying here at Johns Hopkins All Children’s was an easy decision.”
In fact, Morrison likes to think of himself as a “lifer” at the hospital that trained him so well.
“I have unfinished business here,” Morrison explains. “Over the past five years I have worked closely with my mentors to establish research and quality improvement programs that, although successful in their early stages, have room for growth. There is a lot of discovery yet to be done in pediatric medicine, and the children and families at Johns Hopkins All Children’s deserve our institution being at the forefront of pediatric medical research. With that goal comes a lot of challenges—but as someone who just recently completed 12 years of medical training, I’m ready for that challenge.”
As a junior faculty member, Morrison is moving forward with efforts to improve care to children hospitalized with medical complexity and children assisted by technology. “I believe Johns Hopkins All Children’s can be at the forefront of discovery for these children that are typically underrepresented in medical research and thus lack a pipeline for clinical innovation,” Morrison concludes. “It’s something I’m proud of and you can bet if either of our children need surgery or subspecialty care throughout their childhood, we will bring them here.
“We are proud to be a Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital family.”