Skip to main content

SquashWise Youth Development Program


SquashWise provides academic support, college and career prep along with coaching in the sport of squash

The Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute, which is based at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health, announced Saturday, Oct. 1 that the winner of the sixth annual Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award is SquashWise. The program uses squash to develop scholar-athletes and also provides college and career preparation to Baltimore City youth. 

The Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award was established in honor of former Turner Station resident and Johns Hopkins cancer patient Henrietta Lacks, whose cells helped make groundbreaking advances in medical research and serves as an enduring reminder of her contribution to medical science and to her community.

The $15,000 award recognizes a Baltimore community-based organization that is collaborating with Johns Hopkins University to improve the health and well-being of Baltimore residents.

2016 HLMA winners

Robert Blum, MD, PhD, MPH, director of the Urban Health Institute, presented the award on Saturday at the 2016 Henrietta Lacks Memorial Lecture. Abby Markoe, MA, executive director of SquashWise, accepted the award. She was joined by board member, William Durden, PhD, and three current SquashWise students.

“SquashWise is a perfect example of how you can direct your passion—in this case, the sport of squash—to making a sustained, long-term impact on the lives of young people in Baltimore City,” says Blum, who is also chair of the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Bloomberg School.

2016 HLMA winners

 SquashWise has deep roots with Johns Hopkins University, beginning when Markoe co-founded the organization in 2007 when she was a graduate student in History of Medicine program at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. Since then, SquashWise has developed ties with Hopkins’ Ralph S. O’Connor Recreation Center, where SquashWise students practice squash and study, along with volunteer and internship partnerships with SOURCE, the community engagement and service-learning center for the Bloomberg School of Public Health, the School of Nursing and the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. SquashWise also works with the Center for Social Concern at Hopkins, the Johns Hopkins School of Education, the community-service co-ed fraternity Alpha Phi Omega and the Johns Hopkins squash teams.

SquashWise will use the $15,000 award to add a new class of 20 “rookies” this academic year and continue to support SquashWise students in middle school, high school and college.

You can view Squash Wise Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award Video here