Archive for January, 2018

‘Live Near Your Work’ Benefits Touted as Improved Program Kicks Off

Bill Joyner, MSW ’14, coordinator in UMB’s Office of Community Engagement, knows a thing or two about living and working in Baltimore, so he’s a compelling advocate for the University’s improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program.

Joyner, speaking as a panelist at the LNYW Program’s employee kickoff event Jan. 11 at the SMC Campus Center, extolled the virtues of owning a home in a neighborhood adjacent to campus, describing the commuting, community, and financial benefits he has experienced as a resident of first Hollins Market and now Union Square.

“I’ve been in the area a long time, and I highly recommend living there,” Joyner told a crowd of 60-plus UMB employees. “Your commute is minimized if not eliminated. I can be home in 10 minutes walking, and I don’t have to pay for monthly parking on campus. I also pay much less in housing now that I pay a mortgage instead of rent.

“There’s also something special about living on this side of MLK Boulevard near campus. You don’t just live close to work, you live in a real community where your neighbors actually know your name and you know their name. You get to know the people who own the businesses to and from work, and you stop in and say hello. And the time you had spent commuting, you get that back, and can spend it how you want, which is really important for work-life balance.”

Joining Joyner on the panel were Emily Kordish, benefits manager and LNYW Program coordinator, and representatives of three key community partners: Liz Koontz, employee outreach manager for Live Baltimore; Michael Seipp, executive director of the Southwest Partnership; and Matthew Gregory, program manager for GO Northwest Housing Center.

Before the panel took questions, UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, delivered opening remarks and Dawn M. Rhodes, MBA, chief business and finance officer and vice president, gave an overview of the revamped program, which they both see as a great opportunity for the University to help revitalize and stabilize Southwest Baltimore.

The program offers up to $18,500 in grants ($16,000 from UMB and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore) toward the purchase of a home in seven nearby neighborhoods: Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square. To qualify for the LNYW Program, one must be a regular full- or part-time (50 percent FTE or more) faculty or staff member who is in good standing, complete a homebuying counseling program, demonstrate creditworthiness, and contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the down payment.

Perman said he expects the University’s financial commitment will “change the game” compared with the former LNYW program’s $5,000 grant, which consisted of $2,500 apiece from UMB and the city.

“We’ve dramatically increased that number to $16,000,” Perman said. “I hope that these grants will help many of our employees who are first-time homebuyers and I hope it will make a difference in the community. It is a vibrant, shared community where there are multiple stakeholders. My dream would be to see many of you walking to and from work and to see you out at local restaurants and local shops.”

Perman introduced Rhodes, who walked the crowd through PowerPoint slides that detailed the program’s parameters and partnerships. She said the University’s initial $1.5 million commitment is expected to help 93 employees buy homes.

Rhodes said a requirement that an employee live in the house for at least five years was added to help fulfill the goal of community stabilization – “We don’t want employees flipping these homes; we want them living there,” Perman said — and she added that the onus was on employees to make sure their application is complete before submitting it to the city, which will disburse the grant funds.

Having said that, Rhodes explained that there will be many hands helping applicants navigate the road to homeownership.

“Do not at any point get overwhelmed,” she told the employees. “We have intentionally created partnerships with people who can provide you with answers to any question you have. This is an intricate process, but we’ve got the experts to help you get through it. We would not be here today without the collaboration of our community partners. These people are just as excited as we are about this program, because we’ve been working on this together for the last seven months.”

The panel fielded questions after Rhodes’ presentation, with Kordish describing UMB educational efforts such as Launch Your Life financial planning classes and the community partners discussing events they will be hosting in the coming months to support the LNYW Program.

Live Baltimore will host a trolley tour Jan. 27 that starts at the SMC Campus Center. The narrated tour (free to UMB employees) will take participants around local neighborhoods, including the ones that qualify for the LNYW Program, and features a lottery for an additional $5,000 incentive that can be stacked onto the UMB grant. “We’re really committed to the Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods,” Koontz said.

The Southwest Partnership, which organizes and promotes community-building and revitalization efforts, has scheduled a housing fair for March 24 at the UM BioPark. “We are going to bring together developers who are renovating houses, realtors, and brokers, and you will be able to walk through the door and basically be in the Macy’s of house shopping,” Seipp said. “You’ll be able to see between 50 and 70 houses — some already completed and others that are just shells.”

GO Northwest will host homebuying workshops at the SMC Campus Center on two upcoming Saturdays — Jan. 20 and Feb. 3. Completing the workshop is the first of a two-step process toward earning the homeownership counseling certificate required for program eligibility. The second step is a private homeownership counseling session, which you can sign up for during the workshop.

Ying Zou, PhD, associate professor and director of the Clinical Cytogenetics Lab at the School of Medicine, was gathering information at the kickoff event. She says she lives in Ellicott City, would like to cut down on her commute, and is intrigued by Hollins Market in particular.

“I always wanted to live close to my workplace to avoid traffic,” she said. “One of my best friends lives in Hollins Market. Sometimes we go there for pizza, sometimes we go to the market, sometimes they have art shows in the streets. It’s interesting, and there are a lot of activities in Southwest Baltimore.”

Jimmy Mszanski, MBA, assistant director at URecFit, also was soaking up the LNYW information, saying he was drawn by the idea of owning a home instead of renting and cutting down on his commute from Woodlawn.

“Living just outside of the city, there is traffic and things like that I don’t particularly like,” he said. “But living near work and living within the city, there are more things to do within walking distance, and that’s something that attracts me.”

— Lou Cortina

Learn more about the LNYW Program at its website, which includes application instructions, neighborhood testimonials, and more, and get a list of upcoming events here.

Click here for more coverage of the LNYW launch, and click here to watch a video of the Jan. 11 event.

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Lou CortinaCollaboration, Community Service, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeJanuary 16, 20180 comments
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Nursing’s Wiseman Leads Work Group in Revising State Nursing Articulation Plan

Rebecca Wiseman, PhD ’93, RN, associate professor and chair of the School of Nursing at the Universities at Shady Grove, served as project coordinator for the recently revised Maryland Nursing Articulation Plan. The original Maryland Nursing Articulation Plan, which dates back to 1985, set the stage for several other articulation plans in the state of Maryland.

“The articulation model serves as a road map for colleges and universities as they plan and provide academic progression models for registered nurses. It allows us to adequately address the barriers encountered by registered nurses as they continue their education, which is crucial as we strive to adhere to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) Future of Nursing recommended goal of 80 percent of registered nurses prepared at the Bachelor of Science level by 2020,” Wiseman said. “The revision to the Maryland articulation plan reflects the current practices in transfer of credits, prerequisite requirements, and dual admission/dual enrollment programs.”

Maryland is one of four states predicted to experience a shortage of 10,000 registered nurses or more by 2025. Through the Maryland Action Coalition (MDAC), formed in 2011 in response to the IOM report, the state has been promoting seamless academic progression to baccalaureate programs as a solution and top priority. In response, the dual-admission articulation model was created, allowing students to apply and be admitted to a Bachelor of Science (BSN) program while in an Associate Degree in Nursing program at a community college. These new approaches and commitments to academic progression models needed to be reflected in the articulation plan to assure consistency across colleges and universities.

In 2015, Wiseman solicited the Maryland Council of Deans and Directors of Nursing Programs (MCDDNP), currently chaired by Nina Trocky, DNP, RN, NE-BC, CNE, assistant professor and associate dean for the baccalaureate program at UMSON, to form a work group to review the articulation plan. Wiseman led the six-member group in discussing and revising the plan.

“Dr. Wiseman was instrumental in coordinating the Maryland Council of Deans and Directors of Nursing Programs to develop an articulation document that more accurately supports nursing education and, specifically, the attainment of the BSN,” Trocky said. “MCDDNP is committed to developing a competent nursing workforce who provides high-quality care to the citizens of Maryland. This revision minimizes barriers to academic progression, thereby supporting this goal.”

The work group presented a final draft of the revised articulation agreement to the MCDDNP in December 2016, and after review, a subgroup submitted recommendations to MCDDNP in February 2017. In May 2017, MCDDNP members voted on the revision, resulting in 100-percent acceptance. The Maryland Higher Education Commission endorsed the articulation agreement in November.

“Drs. Wiseman and Trocky are to be commended for their forward thinking and tireless efforts in actualizing the 2017 Maryland Nursing Education Articulation Agreement for the Maryland Higher Education Commission. MDAC has focused on ensuring that the state has a well-educated nursing workforce,” said MDAC co-lead Patricia Travis, PhD ’99, MS ’76, BSN ’69, RN, CCRP, senior associate director, clinical research, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “Although the newly released HRSA report for 2014-30 projects that Maryland is no longer in danger of experiencing a shortage of registered nurses, the future is still uncertain. Promoting seamless academic progression is one strategy to meet Maryland’s upcoming nursing demands.”

The effort to revise the Maryland Nursing Articulation Plan was funded through grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and AARP’s Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action State Implementation Plan IV and the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s Nurse Support Program II.

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Kevin Nash Bulletin Board, Education, People, UMB News, University Life, USGAJanuary 16, 20180 comments
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Next Caregivers Meeting Scheduled for Feb. 19

UMBrella hosts Caregivers, a support group for members of the UMB community who care for elderly loved ones. The group, which is open to all faculty, staff, and students, meets once a month to socialize, learn from one another, share resources and information, and hear from experts on a wide range of topics.

The next Caregivers meeting is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 19, noon to 1 p.m., at the SMC Campus Center, Room 203. This is a brown bag event, so feel free to bring your own lunch.

You can register at this link.

 

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Sonya Evans Clinical Care, Community Service, Education, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 16, 20180 comments
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Quantum Financials Town Hall Meeting to be Held Jan. 22

The Quantum Financials Project Team invites the University community to the first Quantum Town Hall Meeting on Monday, Jan. 22, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., in Elm Room A at the SMC Campus Center. Every UMB department will be affected by the transition to Quantum Financials. Plan to attend the town hall for the latest update on the system’s development.

Executive sponsors Dawn Rhodes, MBA, Peter Murray, PhD, and Scott Bitner, MBA, CPA, will describe benefits the University hopes to enjoy as a result of this system change. In addition, the sponsors will share their thoughts on what they’ve seen accomplished to date. Other team members will provide background on the project, update the audience on its progress, and take a peek at what’s coming next.

For those not familiar with Quantum Financials, it will become UMB’s new financial and reporting system, replacing eUMB Financials and RAVEN. The system’s rollout is targeted for late 2018. At that time, departments will begin using Quantum Financials to create, approve, process, and track financial transactions such as requisitions, purchase orders, and receiving goods and services. In addition, the system will include new tools for reporting and analytics.

Please plan to join the meeting and stay informed. And bring your questions so you – and others – will have the best information possible. See you there!

  
Robin Reid Technology, UMB NewsJanuary 16, 20180 comments
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Broadening My Pharmacy Horizons in Australia

Reflections from a University of Maryland School of Pharmacy fourth-year student on his renal transplant rotation at a public teaching hospital abroad.

My fourth-year rotations have been incredibly fulfilling, helping to prepare me to take on the role as one of the most trusted members of the health care team upon graduation this spring. I was even fortunate enough to complete an international rotation from Nov. 6 to Dec. 8, 2017, in a renal transplant ward at The Royal Melbourne Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. The Royal Melbourne Hospital is one of Australia’s leading public teaching hospitals and is heavily engaged in clinical research.

Diving In, Headfirst

As soon as I arrived in Australia, I delved into the professional responsibilities of a renal transplant pharmacist who makes clinical recommendations for kidney transplant patients to an interprofessional team composed of nurses, physicians, dietitians, social workers, and clinical assistants. My mentors provided me with hands-on experience in medication therapy management, patient education, and interprofessional teamwork. Adhering to renal transplant medications can be a daunting endeavor for patients due to the dramatic increase in new medications and subsequent array of adverse effects. I helped educate patients about their new medications by concisely verbalizing dosing instructions at a level that matched each patient’s understanding, while also employing images from the medication chart. I also periodically asked my patients questions to better engage with them.

Outside of direct patient care, I helped manage immunosuppressant drug-drug interactions and monitored therapeutic medication levels, such as the concentration of tacrolimus (an immunosuppressant) in patients’ blood. My preceptor then adjusted each patient’s pharmacotherapy based on our analyses.

Gaining a New Perspective

Something that immediately stuck out to me during my experience was that none of the health care professionals wore white coats in the hospital. I eventually learned that white coats are not typically worn in hospitals throughout Australia, which is notably different from the United States. I appreciated this change because, from my view, normalizing white coats among a select few team members creates social barriers among professionals and patients. Although I have participated in hospital rotations where nearly all health care professionals donned white coats, patients were visibly distinguished as the only stakeholders not wearing white coats, which might hinder their propensity to build rapport with the professionals overseeing their care. I felt that the ubiquitous lack of white coats helped empower teammates and, most importantly, patients by mitigating social barriers to transparent communication.

The rotation also oriented me to the health care system of Australia. Australia provides universal access to a comprehensive range of clinical services, primarily funded through general taxation. “Medicare” is the term used when referring to the universal access to public hospitals and subsidized medical care. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Australian life expectancy is ranked higher than that of the United States, which suggests that Australia’s health care indicators are robust.

Considering an International Rotation?

Students applying for international rotations should plan ahead to achieve a fulfilling experience. Applicants should highlight pertinent leadership, professional, and volunteer experiences in their application. Accepted students should complete site requirements, such as blood testing, immunization records, background check, visa application, and housing plan, several weeks in advance, as instructed by the preceptor. Lastly, I recommend they consult with the UMB Center for Global Education Initiatives for International SOS travel assistance registration and financial aid resources.

An Experience to Remember

I believe that all students can benefit from participating in an international rotation, as the experience will help them develop new, informed perspectives in global health. Through my experience, I learned a lot about how pharmacists can engage with patients and other health care professionals as part of a specialized interprofessional renal transplant team. Ultimately, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to represent the UM School of Pharmacy on an international rotation.

– Mudit Verma, fourth-tear student pharmacist

  
Mudit Verma Education, PeopleJanuary 12, 20180 comments
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Dance Group at Towson U. Offers Discounted Children’s Classes

Towson University Community Dance is offering a 10 percent tuition discount on single-class registrations for children of University of Maryland, Baltimore faculty and staff.

Classes are available for dancers from ages 3 to 18, and the spring semester begins Monday, Jan. 15.

For more information, please visit the group’s website or call 410-704-3495.

  
Bulletin Board, Community Service, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 12, 20180 comments
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A Fresh Look for 2018 – Your Email Signature

The Office of Communications and Public Affairs recommends that UMB email backgrounds contain no decorative imagery (including backgrounds or pictures). If you choose to include a logo with your signature, please be sure you are using the correct school, official center, or University of Maryland, Baltimore logo.

You can download your logo from the Communications and Public Affairs Toolbox at this link.

  
Dana Rampolla University LifeJanuary 11, 20180 comments
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The President’s Message

Check out the January issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on UM Ventures 2.0, an update on the Catalyst Campaign, the Snap! Photo Contest winners, the 2017 UMB crime report, a reminder about our Black History Month event on Feb. 1, and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements.

  
Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAJanuary 11, 20180 comments
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‘Ladies Who Lunch’ Women’s Health Seminar Scheduled for Jan. 24

Harry Johnson, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, will be the featured speaker at the first Ladies Who Lunch: Women’s Health Seminar on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the SMC Campus Center, Room 210.

Johnson will discuss the latest treatments relating to gynecology and pelvic health concerns.

Lunch will be served, registration is required, and space is limited. You can register to attend at this link.

 

  
Erin Rummel Bulletin Board, Education, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 9, 20180 comments
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Improved Live Near Your Work Program Offers up to $18,500 Grant

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is launching its improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program, which offers homebuying assistance to UMB employees while showing the University’s commitment to the community, with an informational kickoff event Thursday, Jan. 11, at 3 p.m. at the SMC Campus Center, Elm Ballroom A.

The LNYW Program is designed to open the door to homeownership and stabilize and revitalize targeted Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods, offering eligible UMB faculty and staff $16,000 in grants to use toward the down payment and closing costs for the purchase of homes in Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square. In addition, participants may be eligible to receive a matching grant of up to $2,500 from the city of Baltimore, and they may qualify for additional grants from programs outside of the University.

Purchasing a home in a qualifying neighborhood allows UMB employees to become involved in active and ever-growing communities; shorten lengthy commutes to work; live within walking distance of restaurants, stores, stadiums, and cultural centers; and choose from a variety of housing types, ranging from historic rowhouses to newly constructed condos.

To qualify, you must be a regular full- or part-time (50 percent FTE or more) faculty or staff employee who is in good standing, complete a homebuying counseling program, demonstrate creditworthiness, and contribute a minimum of $1,000 to the down payment.

You can find application instructions, program parameters, employee testimonials, neighborhood information, and more at the Live Near Your Work website. Applications open Jan. 29. Here is a list of upcoming events.

Program Kickoff

Thursday, Jan. 11, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., SMC Campus Center, Elm Ballroom A

This forum will provide an overview of the program’s parameters and qualification requirements and offer information about homebuying incentives from a panel of UMB officials and community partner organizations. Featured speakers include UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, and Chief Business and Finance Officer and Vice President Dawn M. Rhodes, MBA.

The panelists include Emily Kordish, LNYW Program coordinator, UMB Human Resource Services; Matthew Gregory, GO Northwest Housing Resource Center; Liz Koontz, Live Baltimore; and Michael Seipp, Southwest Partnership. In addition, information tables will be set up for more one-on-one discussion with Human Resources staff and community partner representatives. The kickoff event will feature light refreshments. To register for the event, click here.

Homebuying Workshops

Saturday, Jan. 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. SMC Campus Center, Room 351

Saturday, Feb. 3, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., SMC Campus Center, Room 351

Completing a homebuying workshop is the first of a two-step process toward earning a homeownership counseling certificate, which is required to qualify for the LNYW grants. The second step requires a private homeownership counseling session, which you can sign up for during this workshop, hosted by GO Northwest Housing Resource Center. Learn more about the counseling here.  Register for one of these homebuying sessions here. Employees only need to attend one session.

Live Baltimore Trolley Tour

Saturday, Jan. 27, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Starting at the SMC Campus Center and hosted by Live Baltimore, this narrated bus tour will take participants around local neighborhoods, including the ones that qualify for the LNYW Program. UMB employees can get a free ticket to this tour by registering and using the promo code umb1807. You can register for the tour here.

By attending the tour, you will have a chance to become eligible for a $5,000 grant toward the purchase of a home in the city through Live Baltimore’s Buying Into Baltimore incentive. Learn more about this incentive here and read a list of frequently asked questions.

Live Baltimore Education Sessions

TBA

Starting in March, Live Baltimore will be providing on-campus education sessions about homebuying incentives, living in the city of Baltimore, and more. Included in the schedule will be opportunities to meet one-on-one with Live Baltimore staff in an effort to customize the available homeownership programs to the buyer’s needs. Group sessions will offer a high-level overview of the homeownership programs and incentives available through the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland. A schedule and more information on these sessions will be available in the coming weeks.

Applications Open

Jan. 29

Go to the LNYW website for application instructions.

— Lou Cortina

 

 

  
Lou CortinaGlobal & Community Engagement, UMB News, University AdministrationJanuary 9, 20180 comments
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Leisure Reading Collection Available at HS/HSL

The Leisure Reading Collection offers an alternative to the Health Sciences and Human Services Library’s usual content.

The HS/HSL collection includes magazine subscriptions and a small, circulating collection of fiction and nonfiction material. The Leisure Reading Collection is located on the first floor of the library across from the Information Services Desk. The collection was generously donated by Dr. and Mrs. William J. Kinnard Jr.

If you have a suggestion for what you’d like to see in the Leisure Reading Collection, you can recommend a resource here.

  
Everly Brown Education, People, University LifeJanuary 8, 20180 comments
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Quantum Financials Chart of Accounts Discovery Session Set for Jan. 31

With the Quantum Financials team in the process of creating a new Chart of Accounts (COA), Susan McKechnie, assistant vice president and University controller, will lead a COA discovery session on Jan. 31 to explain what you need to do now to be ready.

The discovery session will run 10 a.m. to noon and be held at Pharmacy Hall, Room N103,

This session is the first step in preparing to convert data from eUMB Financials to UMB’s new financials system, Quantum Financials. The presentation will familiarize you with the proposed Chart of Accounts. Most important, it will lay out the actions your department needs to take now while there is time to revisit some decisions that have been made to date. The presentation also will set expectations for what will be required of departments over the next few months (including some clean-up in eUMB Financials).

This meeting is especially important for any departmental staff who prepare financial reports, analyze financial transactions, or create budgets for non-sponsored funding streams. However, anyone interested in the new Chart of Accounts is welcome to attend.

Plan to join us at this session to gain an understanding of where we are going with the Chart of Accounts changes and the steps your department needs to take now.

  
Robin ReidTechnology, UMB NewsJanuary 5, 20180 comments
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Jody Olsen Chosen to Lead Peace Corps

The White House announced Jan. 3 that President Trump will nominate Jody Olsen, PhD, MSW, a visiting professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW), senior faculty advisor of the Center for Global Education Initiatives, and senior lecturer at the Graduate School, to be director of the Peace Corps. A letter on the White House web page noted that Olsen was deputy and acting director of the Peace Corps from 2001 to 2009.

Olsen began her work at the agency as a volunteer in Tunisia and later became country director in the West African nation of Togo, the regional director for North Africa, the Near East, Asia, and the Pacific, and agency chief of staff.

Between tours of duty with the Peace Corps, Olsen was senior vice president of the Academy of Educational Development (AED), a large nonprofit focused on education and economic development in the United States and 150 countries around the world.

In 2015, UMB named Olsen a Champion of Excellence, honoring her global impact. “Jody Olsen is a tireless champion for developing the campus infrastructure and faculty and student competencies to ensure that we can effectively and safely deliver great global education,” said Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, UMSSW dean. “She is a terrific communicator, relentlessly optimistic and affirming, and exceptionally knowledgeable about all things international.”

A presidential appointment to director of the Peace Corps must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

  
Alex LikowskiCommunity Service, Education, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 5, 20180 comments
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Council Works to Spread Knowledge on Infectious Diseases

The Council of Infectious Diseases (CID) is an interest group within the UM School of Pharmacy’s chapter of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy – Student College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP-SCCP). Its goal is to increase awareness and educate the public about a variety of topics related to  infectious diseases (ID). The group was co-founded by two of this post’s authors — Andrew Wherley and Sumit Gandotra — through their mutual interest in infectious diseases, and it aims to help educate pharmacy students by hosting exam reviews, infectious diseases-specific tutoring events, and lectures on antimicrobial stewardship, and providing opportunities for students to shadow infectious disease pharmacists in the field.

Inspiring Future Generations

With the help of Meryam Gharbi, a fourth-year student pharmacist who previously served as president of the SCCP, and Kathleen Pincus, PharmD, BCPS, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) who serves as faculty advisor for ACCP-SCCP and mentor for the UMB  CURE Scholars Program, CID developed a fruitful relationship with the CURE Scholars. This relationship led to the creation of CURE-ID events at UMB’s Community Engagement Center.

Established in 2015, the UMB CURE Scholars Program strives to prepare sixth- to 12th-grade students in Baltimore for competitive, lucrative, and rewarding research and health care careers, with the specific goal of developing student interest in oncology research.

Our most recent CURE-ID event was held Nov. 19, 2017, and began with a pre-quiz led by Dijo Abraham, a third-year student pharmacist and webmaster for CID. The purpose of the pre-quiz was to introduce the activities that would take place during the event and assess the CURE Scholars’ basic knowledge of infectious diseases. After completing the pre-quiz, the 30 to 35 students in attendance were divided into groups and assigned to one of five stations, with all groups having the opportunity to rotate through each station.

All activities were led by student pharmacists from the School of Pharmacy and included:

  • First station: Led by Sumit Gandotra, this station introduced students to bacteria on agar medium, which helped them visualize the appearance of microorganisms and differentiate them based on color, colony morphology, and smell.
  • Second station: Led by second-year student pharmacist and CURE Scholars coordinator Alexis Zalewski, this station explored the topic of disease transmission. Students were given cups of water, unaware that one cup was filled with a “contaminated” solution that would turn pink when phenolphthalein — a harmless indicator often used in acid-base titrations, turning the sample pink when added to a basic solution or remaining colorless in an acidic solution — was added to the water. When students exchanged their samples and added the indicator to their cups, the person who received the basic solution (causing the water to take on a pink hue) was deemed to have a “contaminated” water sample.
  • Third station: Led by Andrew Wherley, this station assessed students’ hand-washing technique using germ glow lotion. Students applied the lotion to their hands and were encouraged to touch different surfaces, including tables and doorknobs, on their way to the restroom to wash their hands. Using a black light, the students were able verify whether they had adequately removed the “germs” from their skin and could observe how the “germs” were left behind on the surfaces they touched before washing their hands. This activity helped to reinforce the importance of hand hygiene.
  • Fourth station: Led by third-year student pharmacists and CID outreach coordinators Soeun Park and Lila Portman, this station introduced the concept of herd immunity. Students played a card game that instructed them to randomly draw a card from the deck. In the first round, the cards indicated whether a student was a “sick” or “non-vaccinated, healthy” person. The “sick” person was able to transmit his or her “disease” to the other healthy, non-vaccinated individuals. In the second round, the cards included “sick,” “vaccinated-healthy,” and “non-vaccinated healthy” individuals. Students who selected the “vaccinated-healthy” cards were able to stop the disease transmission, illustrating how individuals who are vaccinated can protect not only themselves but also others who are not vaccinated.
  • Fifth station: Led by second-year student pharmacist and CID shadowing coordinator Jordan Sachs, this station taught students about antibiotic resistance. Students learned that resistance to an antibiotic can be developed — among other causes — when patients do not complete an antibiotic course as prescribed.

To conclude the event, third-year student pharmacist and CID webmaster Waleed Khan administered a post-test to evaluate how much students learned from our activities.

Learning from the Learners

The CURE-ID events teach us, as student pharmacists and future health care providers, the importance of tailoring our communication styles to our target audience. Once we enter our profession, we will be conversing with people who span every level of the educational spectrum. However, regardless of a patient’s level of education, it is vital that our patients understand the information we convey. Working hands-on with middle-schoolers through the CURE Scholars Program presented a valuable lesson in this matter. We learned the importance of talking to the students in the same manner that we would address our adult patients, not using overly complicated terms to help keep their attention and remaining calm. These skills will be invaluable throughout our careers as pharmacists, especially when we recommend therapies to doctors, advocate for our profession to lawmakers, and, most important, when counseling our own patients.

Looking Toward the Future

The future of CID looks bright. We plan to expand our educational offerings to older adults in the near future through a new partnership with FutureCare, a nursing home and rehabilitation center in Baltimore’s Charles Village. Through this collaboration, we hope to educate the community and raise awareness about myriad topics, including:

  • Diabetic foot care
  • Hepatitis C
  • Vaccination
  • Tuberculosis
  • Hand washing, with emphasis on the prevention of difficile, a bacterium linked to a wide range of gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea and life-threatening inflammation of the colon.

Furthermore, we plan to collaborate with the Student Section of the Maryland Public Health Association (SMdPHA) to host an event focused on tuberculosis education specifically for refugees. Pharmacists have made great strides in implementing infectious disease prevention programs in health care practice, and we hope to continue this momentum moving forward through CID.

— Sumit Gandotra, Waleed Khan, Andrew Wherley, and Rachel Rowland

 

  
Sumit Gandotra Community Service, Education, University Life, USGAJanuary 5, 20180 comments
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