Skip to main content

A Statement from the Leadership of the Institute of Human Virology on the Passing of The Honorable Elijah Cummings

October 17, 2019 | Nora Samaranayake

The Honorable Elijah Cummings speaks at last year’s IHV JACQUES Journey Center Grand Opening.

An Outstanding Public Servant, A Dedicated Humanitarian, A Fierce Social Justice Advocate, and A Great Friend

The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine mourns the passing of The Honorable Elijah Cummings, a lifelong Baltimorean, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing Maryland’s 7th District, and, among other prominent positions, a member of IHV’s Board of Advisors.

“We are heartbroken over the loss of a true American hero, and friend, U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings,” said Robert C. Gallo, MD, Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine, Director, Institute of Human Virology, University of Maryland School of Medicine and Co-Founder and Chairman, International Scientific Leadership Board, Global Virus Network. “We extend our deepest sympathies to the Congressman’s wife, children, extended family and friends, and his dedicated staff in Washington, D.C. and Maryland. Congressman Cummings was an active board member of our Institute, promoting the need for biomedical research funding, and particularly, supporting our community health programs that engage underserved communities. He was committed to educating and training the next generation, and inspired young, rising virologists at our annual Global Virus Network Short Course. His passing is not just a loss for the Institute, but indeed, for the nation.”

University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, added, “We have lost one of our dearest friends and most passionate advocates with the passing of Congressman Elijah Cummings.  He dedicated his entire life to serving his community.  He cared greatly and fought tirelessly for the things that mattered most --- healthcare, education, clean air and water, and a strong economy.  We will never forget the unwavering support he provided his entire career for biomedical research, and for providing access to health care for the neediest patients in our community.  On behalf of the entire University of Maryland School of Medicine community, we extend our deepest condolences to his wife and family. His legacy will forever be a part of the City of Baltimore, the State of Maryland, and the entire nation.”

On October 18 of last year, the Congressman spoke to a group of his constituents at the opening of IHV’s JACQUES Journey Center, which was established to provide a wide range of free services to the Baltimore community, including walk-in HIV and Hepatitis-C testing, peer support and navigation to HIV and Hepatitis-C prevention services, health education, support groups, LGBTQ+ community events, youth-friendly programming, computer and financial literacy courses, and community work space. During the Grand Opening, Congressman Cummings spoke about the importance of lifting up people of different races and gender, saying inclusion of people of all races, genders and differing backgrounds is important to healing, and that “diversity is not our problem, it is our promise.” He went on to inspire the audience by saying, “You will have people, who, through their pain, came their passion, to do their purpose. Pain, passion, purpose.”  

“Congressman Cummings was not only a true and dear, dear friend to the Institute of Human Virology and Global Virus Network, he was an inspiration to everyone he spoke with, mentored, and dealt with,” said Terry Lierman, Co-Chair, Board of Advisors, IHV. “His honesty, compassion, integrity and commitment to public service is a message to all that had the blessing of knowing him. He will be sorely missed for his leadership and priorities, which are necessary to our democracy that he worked a lifetime to make even better.”

Congressman Cummings was the consummate public servant, dedicating his life to serving those he represented and empowering the underserved. He began his career in public service in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for 14 years and became the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem. From 1996 to now, Congressman Cummings represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. He notably served as the Chairman of the U.S. Committee on Oversight and Reform and as a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, serving on both the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation and the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials. He was an early Board member on the Institute of Human Virology’s Board of Advisors.

Video of the full speech at IHV’s JACQUES Journey Center Grand Opening

About the Institute of Human Virology

Formed in 1996 as a partnership between the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, the University System of Maryland, and the University of Maryland Medical System, the IHV is an institute of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and is home to some of the most globally-recognized and world-renowned experts in all of virology. The IHV combines the disciplines of basic research, epidemiology, and clinical research in a concerted effort to speed the discovery of diagnostics and therapeutics for a wide variety of chronic and deadly viral and immune disorders - most notably, HIV the virus that causes AIDS. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @IHVmaryland.


Department of Anesthesiology
(410) 328-6120 (phone)
(410) 328-5531 (fax)

Nora Samaranayake

Related stories

    Monday, October 31, 2022

    NCI Grants Awarded to IHV to Prevent Cancer and Improve Screening in Sub-Saharan Africa

    Institute of Human Virology (IHV) researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) have received two five-year awards from the National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) for a total of $7.5 million. One award aims to reduce the incidence of lung cancer and other cancers associated with using tobacco in Botswana. The other is focusing on improving screening and treatment of anal precancer in Nigeria. Both grants will make use of existing HIV treatment and prevention infrastructure in low- and middle-income countries to reach people living with HIV who are most at risk for these particular types of cancers.

    Thursday, November 04, 2021

    University of Maryland School of Medicine Institute of Human Virology Researchers Receive $6.5M to Create African Big Data Hub Designed to Address Public Health and Pandemic Preparedness

    Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM)’s Institute of Human Virology (IHV), a Global Virus Network (GVN) Center of Excellence, have received $6.5 million from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to streamline big data collection in Nigeria and South Africa in addressing public health needs of the COVID-19 and HIV pandemics.

    Saturday, April 11, 2020

    Institute of Human Virology Honors Legacy of Maeve Kennedy McKean With Global Public Health Fellowship

    The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine announced today the Maeve Kennedy McKean Global Public Health Fellowship, named in honor of the public health activist, whose inspiring life ended tragically alongside her oldest son last week. The first fellow will arrive on July 1 and will work on the Institute’s efforts in ending the HIV epidemic in Africa within its Center for International Health, Education, and Biosecurity (CIHEB) and Division of Clinical Care and Research.

    Monday, June 24, 2019

    UM School of Medicine's Institute of Human Virology Awarded $40 Million Grant to Conduct HIV Population Surveys

    Man Charurat, MD, Professor of Medicine, Director, Center for International Health, Education, and Biosecurity (CIHEB), and Director, Division of Epidemiology and Prevention, Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), has been awarded a five-year grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct HIV population-based HIV impact assessments worldwide to measure the progress towards the control of the HIV epidemic

    Wednesday, March 06, 2019

    UMSOM Researcher Elected as Fellow to American Academy of Microbiology

    Richard Y. Zhao, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology and Associate Member of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), has been elected as a Fellow to the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM). AAM is an honorific leadership group within the American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

    Tuesday, December 11, 2018

    Institute of Human Virology's Shyam Kottilil to Receive National Award from American College of Physicians

    The American College of Physicians announced that Shyam Kottilil, MBBS, PhD, FACP, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Clinical Care and Research at the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) of the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases, was awarded the American College of Physicians (ACP) Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award #1 from the Rosenthal Family Foundation.

    Tuesday, December 04, 2018

    Institute of Human Virology Researchers Discover That a Bacterial Protein Promotes Cancer

    The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) announced today the discovery that DnaK, a protein of the bacterium mycoplasma, interferes with the mycoplasma-infected cell’s ability to respond to and repair DNA damage, a known origin of cancer.

    Tuesday, October 23, 2018

    Institute of Human Virology Hosts 20th Annual International Meeting of Top Medical Virus Researchers in Baltimore, Maryland

    The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine yesterday commenced IHV’s 20th Annual International Meeting, to be held through Thursday, October, 25 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Baltimore, Maryland. This year, among other viral and cancer related topics, the meeting is holding special sessions on the 40th anniversary of the first human retrovirus, Human T cell Leukemia Virus (HTLV), and the 15th anniversary of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). IHV’s Annual International Meeting attracts hundreds of elite scientists who descend upon Baltimore to share ideas and inspire medical virus research collaborations.

    Thursday, October 18, 2018

    Officials Gather for the Grand Opening of the JACQUES Initiative Journey Center; A Community Program to Help those in Need with HIV and Hepatitis-C

    U.S. Representative Elijah Cummings (D-MD) and other top officials highlighted the importance of supporting the Baltimore community at the Grand Opening of the JACQUES Initiative Journey Center. The center is part of the JACQUES Initiative , a program of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM).