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Turnaround Tuesday Receives 2017 Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award


Program Helps Individuals Return To The Workforce

Turnaround Tuesday, a program that helps formerly incarcerated individuals and others looking for a fresh start to reenter the workforce, was awarded the 2017 Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award on Oct. 7 in Baltimore.

The program, part of the nonprofit Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development, is so named because staff members and volunteers meet Tuesday mornings  with unemployed and returning citizens to provide job readiness training and connect them with employers. To date, Turnaround Tuesday, which was founded in 2014, has helped over 300 people gain employment in the Baltimore area. 

The annual award was established by the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute (UHI), to honor the late Henrietta Lacks, the Johns Hopkins cancer patient and resident of Baltimore’s Turner Station neighborhood, whose cells helped advance groundbreaking medical research.

Each year, the award selection committee chooses a Baltimore-based community organization that is working in collaboration with Johns Hopkins University to improve the health and well-being of city residents to receive a $15,000 award. 

UHI director Bob Blum, MD, PhD, MPH, explained the significance of the award before presenting it to Turnaround Tuesday co-directors Terrell Williams and Melvin Wilson at the annual Henrietta Lacks Memorial Lecture held at the John Hopkins Medical Campus.

“This award is about recognizing excellence,” said Blum. “It is about recognizing efforts in the community that help sustain and advance not just the community but the people who live here.”

Said Williams: “We represent many people in Baltimore city who believe people deserve a second chance. We listened to people on Baltimore corners who told us over and over again that all they wanted was a chance to re-connect to true employment.”

Latish Walker, a Turnaround Tuesday program participant and now a Johns Hopkins employee, discussed her experience in a video about the program that was shown at the lecture. “I went through the six-week session and now I am able to be employed through Johns Hopkins Hospital. I’ve gone from being homeless to owning my own home and taking care of my children, and that is because of this movement.”

The $15,000 award will help Turnaround Tuesday continue to help Baltimore residents get back on their feet and enhance their well-being.


You can view Turn Around Tuesday's Henrietta Lacks Memorial Award video here

Media contact: Imani West at 410-502-0440 or