Archive for September, 2018

Global Medical Brigades Group Photo

Global Medical Bridages Applications Now Open

The application for Global Medical Brigades is open. Click here to apply. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and applicants will hear within a week if they have been selected. The deadline is Monday, Oct. 8.

Global Medical Brigades is the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Since 2004, Global Medical Brigades has mobilized tens of thousands of students and professionals through skill-based programs that work in partnership with community members to improve quality of life in under-resourced regions while respecting local culture.

Our chapter at the University of Maryland, Baltimore is one of hundreds of chapters around the globe. Each chapter brings students on one-week trips to areas in Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, or Ghana that have little access to health care. While there, students work together to set up makeshift clinics and can see anywhere from 500 to 1,000 patients per brigade.

This year, the UMB chapter will be going to Honduras from Jan 6-12.

Lewis LiuCollaboration, Education, People, University Life, USGASeptember 18, 20180 comments
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Promise Heights

Social Work’s Promise Heights Program Receives $30 Million Grant

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Promise Heights, an initiative led by the University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW), a five-year, $30 million grant to continue its efforts to improve the lives of children and families in the West Baltimore neighborhood of Upton/Druid Heights.

The grant award was announced by the Department of Education as part of the Promise Neighborhoods Implementation Grants Program. This is one of 24 Promise Neighborhood implementation awards announced since 2011, the only one in Maryland, and the only one hosted by a school of social work. Promise Neighborhoods support schools in high-poverty communities to become vibrant centers of opportunity and excellence.

“UMB’s work in the Southwest Baltimore community has been greatly influenced by the pioneering efforts of our School of Social Work and Promise Heights,” said Jay A. Perman, MD, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, (UMB), Promise Heights’ leading partner. “To a large extent, they showed us how to do engagement the right way, how to get input and buy-in from the community, how to grow resources, how to attract partners, and how to sustain meaningful activity, even when sustaining is difficult. This grant shows that hard, hard work pays off, and I couldn’t be happier.”

UMB’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, and pharmacy also participate in the initiative in Upton/Druid Heights, a neighborhood near UMB that includes parts of historic Pennsylvania Avenue and extends as far south as Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Eutaw Place to the east.

“This funding provides access to educational and enrichment opportunities that underfunded and under-resourced schools like the ones in Upton/Druid Heights so desperately need,” said Promise Heights Executive Director Bronwyn Mayden, MSW. “When we talk about the achievement gap for children of color, we should be more focused on the lack of equity which exists for schools in high-poverty neighborhoods.”

The implementation grant enables Promise Heights to continue its comprehensive plan for combating poverty and increasing academic achievement in the local community. This grant builds on the $500,000 planning grant awarded to Promise Heights in 2013 that generated the capacity to deliver and evaluate a full array of evidence-based services, from cradle to career, and matching funds from local foundations and local, state, and federal partners. The planning grant was used to collect data, convene focus groups, meet with school principals, and determine the needs of the neighborhood, Mayden said.

“Promise Heights endeavors, every day, to combine the best of community-based participatory program development and evidence-based practices,” said SSW Dean Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW. “We are providing research-informed parenting programs, multi-tiered systems of student support, trauma-informed interventions, and reading interventions. Matching community needs to effective programming has been a great learning lesson. We have also had to become exceptionally skilled grant writers, having scores of grant proposals (many to help support community partners) over the last decade to develop the capacity to justify this funding. Bronwyn Mayden’s innovative and indefatigable leadership of these efforts has been astounding.”

Money from the implementation grant will be used to bring additional supports to the five public schools in Upton/Druid Heights, such as early childhood mental health consultation, social-emotional support, academic support and enrichment, and college and career coaching to ensure pathways out of poverty for youth and their families, Mayden said. Targeted schools in the neighborhood include: Eutaw-Marshburn Elementary School; Furman L. Templeton Preparatory Academy; Historic Samuel Coleridge-Taylor Elementary; Booker T. Washington Middle School for the Arts; and Renaissance Academy High School.

Other benefits of the grant will include:

  • Increasing the number of community residents hired by Promise Heights to improve outcomes in their neighborhood. Examples include: expanding B’more for Healthy Babies to reach more pregnant and parenting families to reduce infant mortality and increase protective factors for newborns and infants; hiring parent leaders at each school to increase parent leadership and advocacy skills; and employing graduates of Parent University parent education classes to lead future cohorts and mentor other neighborhood parents.
  • Expanding work with neighborhood early childhood education providers to ensure children make age-appropriate progress toward literacy, numeracy, social-emotional development, and other skills that contribute to kindergarten readiness.
  • Providing early childhood mental health consultants to support families and provide professional development for teachers.
  • Expanding tutoring services at each of the three elementary schools.
  • Increasing after-school slots at each of the five schools to provide extended learning programming designed to support grade-level attainment in reading and math.
  • Expanding mentoring services to cover students in grades K-12.
  • Adding additional student services coordinators, AmeriCorps members, and masters of social work interns at each of the five community schools in the Upton/Druid Heights neighborhood.
  • Providing college and career coordinators at the middle and high schools to assist each student in creating a personalized path to postsecondary success.

Since 2009, the SSW has worked alongside community residents and local partners planning, creating, and implementing strategies to significantly improve the educational and developmental outcomes of children and families in the West Baltimore neighborhood of Upton/Druid Heights. The intention of Promise Heights is to offer services from cradle to college or career.

At the beginning, a small group of community residents, ministers, researchers, social workers, and educators met to review the educational and health data for students who attend the five public schools in the neighborhood. The data showed that Upton/Druid Heights was ranked 55th of Baltimore’s 55 neighborhoods for many of the indicators tracked by the Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD). The initial group agreed that one organization could not significantly improve the academic and developmental outcomes and agreed to create a sustained, coordinated commitment to a collective impact process to serve vulnerable children and their families.

There are more than 30 partners, including neighborhood resident associations; Office of the Mayor; UMB; Maryland State Department of Education; Baltimore City Public Schools; Baltimore City Health Department; Family League of Baltimore; United Way of Central Maryland; Druid Heights Community Development Corporation; Community Churches for Community Development; AARP Experience Corps; Baltimore Creating Assets, Savings, and Hope (CASH) Campaign; Reading Partners; and the Office of the Governor. Philanthropic support from many foundations and individuals also has built the capacity of Promise Heights to compete for this highly coveted award.

For more information about Promise Heights, please visit

— Mary Phelan

Mary PhelanFor B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 18, 20180 comments
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Teacher of the Year: Geoffrey Greif

Founders Week: Teacher of the Year-Geoffrey Greif

Every fall, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) dedicates one week to commemorating our rich history and celebrating the future we’re building together. Among the highlights of Founders Week is recognizing the extraordinary work of our faculty and staff. Four awards are given every year, each signifying outstanding accomplishment in one facet of our mission. Leading up to Founders Week, we will highlight the award winners every Tuesday on The Elm. For more information on UMB’s annual celebration, please check out the Founders Week website.

Today: Teacher of the Year

Geoffrey L. Greif, PhD, MSW
Professor, School of Social Work

Geoffrey Greif likens the ingredients of a skilled instructor to that of a good soup.

“The classroom is like a pot of soup,” he says. “To make it tastier, you have to add a pinch of salt, a dash of pepper, and turn the heat up a bit or lower it a tad to achieve the right meal. All classes are different and some students are hungrier and can consume more. Hopefully, by the end of the first class, they will catch the aroma and want to be nourished.”

Greif has been nourishing students at the School of Social Work (SSW) since 1984. Called by some the most popular and sought-after professor at the school, regularly graded 15 on a 15-point student evaluation scale, Greif says he is surprised to still be here.

“I expected to stay about a month, which is when I believed they would find out I didn’t know anything and would fire me,” he says in the humble manner that has attracted him to so many. Despite his longevity and many awards for his teaching, research, and community service, Greif still does the little extras.


“The context in which we practice social work changes,” Greif says. “I have to stay on my toes or the ‘context-train’ will pass me by and neither the students nor I will learn.”

Colleagues and students scoff at that possibility.

“Our graduate students are not the only beneficiaries of his teaching skills,” says professor Frederick A. DiBlasio, PhD, LCSW-C, a 32-year SSW veteran himself. “Many of us standing alongside Dr. Greif have gleaned from his numerous approaches to teaching that have served us well in the classroom and have withstood the test of time.”

Like calling the students by name, which Greif tries to do from day one. “Geoff knows and cares about his students,” says SSW Dean Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW. “And they know and care about him.”

Adds Megan Meyer, PhD, MSW, senior associate dean,Dr. Greif has been a mentor to many younger faculty, always willing to share his sage advice on topics ranging from navigating difficult conversations in the classroom to maintaining a steady rate of publishing while dedicating time to school leadership and community service.”

In fact, his work on difficult conversations grew into an in-service training video that is part of orientation for new SSW faculty.

Students mention how his risk-taking in the classroom — using demonstrations, role plays, observations, student projects, and more — promote active learning and enhance their interest.

“Ten years later, his teaching continues to impact my own engagement as an educator,” says Shari E. Miller, PhD ’08, associate dean at the University of Georgia School of Social Work. She remembers Greif approaching her in her first year as a PhD student and saying, “I hear you have an interest in social work education research. I’ve got this idea for a study, would you be interested in collaborating?”

Now Miller looks to pass on Greif’s insight to others. “I hope to mentor my students and give to them in the profound ways Geoff has given to me and to countless other students over the years.”

Through his voluminous writing (14 books and more than 125 journal articles and book chapters), Greif has provided guidance to many who never sat in his class. Parenting is a favorite topic, and not just because he and his wife of 42 years, Maureen, have two daughters of their own.

“It is hard to travel far in clinical social work and not run into family systems,” he says. “I was fortunate to do a yearlong training in the 1970s with one of the greatest 20th-century family therapists, Salvador Minuchin. That training solidified my clinical work and my research around the importance of understanding our interconnectedness.”

Books he’s written in recent years also revolve around relationships: understanding male friendships, couples friendships, and adult sibling relationships.

He’s not tied to the UMB campus either. He is coordinator of the Dual Degree Program in Jewish Leadership with Towson University and has collaborated with Freeman Hrabowski, PhD, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in writing about his Meyerhoff Scholars Program.

“Freeman is a fabulous role model in so many ways,” Greif says. “He has the uncanny ability to draw in people for a common cause — creating a world-class learning environment.”

Then there is the community service of Greif, who has offered pro bono clinical assistance to many groups, including patients with AIDS, low-income parents, and groups such as The Family Tree, Christopher’s Place, Jewish Family Services, the Chesapeake Detention Center in Baltimore, and more. He also was a founding co-leader of a parent support group “Help! My Kids Are Driving Me Crazy!” at various elementary schools in Baltimore.

What was his advice?

“There are so few ‘correct’ answers about how to parent given the amazing variability in people’s experiences,” he says. “You have to find a way, by connecting with and supporting your clients, to help them arrive at their own conclusions about how to make their relationships better.”

Greif’s caring nature has crossed from professional to personal on more than one occasion at the School of Social Work.

Sarah Wise, MSW ’18, associate director of development, recalls how she was taking Greif’s Family Therapy course when her father died. “When I returned from Colorado, Geoff immediately reached out to me. He was not worried about where my midterm paper was, he wanted to know what I needed. He asked me to tell him about my dad. Ironically they had common interests, in particular enjoying live music. Geoff has a gift for connecting with people.”

Tanya L. Sharpe, PhD, MSW, associate professor at SSW, calls Greif “my guy” who has been a faculty mentor for 11 years — never more so than shortly after Sharpe’s arrival when her mother in Connecticut became seriously ill.

“As an only child and a junior faculty member, my time was emotionally and physically split between caring for my mom and meeting the demands of being on the tenure track. At every turn, Geoff was there, checking in. This is the kind of person Geoff is. When my mother passed, his phone call was one of the first I received. He has been for me and so many the voice of reason and calm within the storm. I am forever grateful for that.”

A “ridiculous optimist” who “got lucky in getting into the right profession,” Greif humbly sees such support as part of the job. Teacher. Mentor. Writer. Community and diversity advocate. Committee member. Grandpop (“FaceTiming with the four grandkids” is his favorite hobby). And don’t forget his terms as associate dean and chair of the SSW faculty.

Despite receiving many honors, including the UM Board of Regents’ Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence in 2010, Greif was “thrilled” to learn he was UMB’s 2018 Teacher of the Year. “It is a tremendous honor to receive an award for something I love doing so much.”

 — Chris Zang

Chris ZangEducation, People, Research, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeSeptember 18, 20180 comments
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Orioles vs. Astros: USGA Bullpen on Sept. 28, 2018

USGA Fall Bullpen: Orioles vs. Astros on Sept. 28

The University Student Government Association Fall Bullpen event will be held Friday, Sept. 28, before the Orioles’ game against the Houston Astros.

Here are the details:

  • Time: 5:30 p.m.; game time is 7:05.
  • Price: $10 students, $20 guest (includes food and drink). There are 400 tickets, so buy today at this link.
  • Location: Banquet room of the B&O Warehouse
  • Game promotion: The first 20,000 fans will receive an Orioles coaster set.
  • More information: Go to USGA’s Facebook page.
Ray GergenBulletin Board, University Life, USGASeptember 17, 20180 comments
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How to Stop ‘Spear Phishing’

The Center for Information Technology Services has received reports of email messages sent to University of Maryland account holders that look very official and are created to get the account holder to give up personal information. The messages warn of a variety of account problems.

Suspicious Email Messages

  • Compromised accounts are being restricted
  • Account deletion is being conducted in preparation for a system upgrade
  • Unused accounts are being deleted
  • Mailbox storage limit has been reached
  • Accounts are being migrated to a new system
  • A maintenance process to fight spam is being conducted
  • An urgent request from a supervisor or manager to transfer a large sum of money immediately

These emails, themselves a type of spam, request that you visit a link to verify your account or reply to the message with your directory ID, password, as well as full name and contact information.


These emails are an attempt (called “phishing”) by someone to gain access to personal information, which they should not have. The “From” address is forged (or “spoofed”), and may or may not be an actual email address, but it is not where the email actually originated. Targeted versions of phishing have been termed “spear phishing.”

What to Do If You Receive a Phishing Message

First, do not respond to the phishing message for any reason, including trying to scold or taunt the sender.

Second, send the message to as an attachment (see instructions link below). With the entire phishing email in its original format, the administrators can get the information needed to adjust the IronPort filters to block future phishing messages from this sender.

Instructions on how to send an email as an attachment

What to Do If You Have Responded to a Phishing Message

If you responded to a phishing message with your password, please email or call the IT Help Desk and change your password immediately.

If you still have a copy of the original phishing message, send the message to as an attachment. With the entire phishing email in its original format, the administrators can get the information needed to adjust the IronPort filters to block future phishing messages from this sender.

Sarah SteinbergTechnology, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 17, 20180 comments
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Quarterly Q&A with Dr. Perman

Join Dr. Perman for His Quarterly Q&A on Sept. 18

The next President’s Q&A will be held Tuesday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Moot Courtroom at the Francis King Carey School of Law.

Join UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, as he answers questions from students, staff, and faculty. This session also will feature UMB Chief of Police Alice Cary, MS, and Jonathan Bratt, MS, executive director of emergency management, discussing public safety and emergency preparedness.
If you have a specific question you would like to ask but never had the opportunity, or if you would just like to know more about what’s happening around campus, please join us.

Please print your questions for Dr. Perman on this PDF and bring them with you.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

For recaps of previous Q&A sessions, go to the President’s Q&A webpage.

Communications and Public AffairsUMB News, University LifeSeptember 17, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: Julie Factor

UMB Champion of Excellence: Julie Factor

The Champions of Excellence campaign is a multi-year branding campaign at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) in which we highlight individuals and teams that exemplify extraordinary accomplishment and represent excellence at the University. During the next few months, The Elm will be featuring these UMB Champions, who are making Baltimore, our region, and in some cases the world a better place. (Read about all of the 2017-18 UMB Champions of Excellence.)

Today’s Champion:
Julie Factor
New Solutions to Fight Opioid Addiction

Every day, news networks are filled with stories about the opioid epidemic plaguing our nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the death toll from drug overdose in the U.S. was five times higher in 2016 than in 1999, totaling more than 42,000 deaths — a startling statistic.

In the search for solutions, a new generation is stepping up to tackle this issue. Among them is Julie Factor, a student at the University of Maryland School of Nursing who is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a focus on substance abuse.

She chose the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), she says, “because I knew that the nursing program was highly regarded, and there were a variety of resources at the school that could help me maximize my success.”

And success is certainly what she’s found at UMB. In her first year at the School of Nursing she’s already received major recognition, having been selected for the Conway Scholarship, accepted into the President’s Student Leadership Institute, receiving summer research grants, and getting involved in a variety organizations on and off campus.

In her undergraduate studies as a neuroscience major at Mount Holyoke College, Factor’s favorite courses were related to pharmacology and psychology. She was interested in how dynamic changes in the brain can influence a person’s motivation to continue to use drugs despite adverse consequences — and substance abuse became a natural research path.

But Factor understood that addiction couldn’t just be boiled down to a person’s mental health. She sought to know more about the many factors of addiction and overdose so she could better understand how to treat it.

“[Drug use] is multidimensional,” she says. “There is a biological and genetic aspect, but so much of what drives drug seeking is a person’s environment, support system, and access to different resources in their community including treatment, health care, education, and more.”

As she dives into her research, Factor will spend 10 weeks this summer working on an epidemiologic study with the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) through the UM Scholars Program, part of the strategic partnership between UMB and UMCP. The study will look at trends in drug-related hospital admissions to better understand patterns of synthetic cannabinoid, opioid, and other drug use. Revealing areas where there may be contaminated batches of drugs or increasing rates of use can inform intervention strategies.

The day after she completes this internship, Factor and two other students will travel to Rwanda for three weeks through UMB’s Center for Global Education Initiatives grant program. Working at a health clinic in the capital city of Kigali, the team will administer a survey to assess the prevalence of injection drug use and associated practices that increase a person’s chance of contracting HIV, including sharing syringes and having unprotected sex.

The team’s main goal is to make the first assessment of injection drug use and associated HIV risk behaviors in Kigali, which will inform the national HIV program in Rwanda and set the stage for incorporating injection drug use questions into the next national HIV/AIDS Behavioral Surveillance Survey. The data is important to the team, but the free HIV testing offered as a part of the survey will benefit all participants.

Outside of this research, Factor is an active member of Nurses for Justice Baltimore, a group promoting a vision of health and justice for all Baltimore residents. Members use their trusted status as nurses to advocate for progress in public health measures in the community.

Currently, they are focusing on harm reduction for substance users by advocating for safe consumption spaces, needle exchange programs, and overdose prevention training. Through panel discussions and informational events, nurses and members of the public learn how to be advocates for change.

Through her involvement in Nurses for Justice Baltimore, Factor has realized advocacy is one of her main passions.

“[Substance abuse] is so stigmatized. An important goal going forward is to challenge the bias associated with substance abuse, especially within health care professionals,” she says.

Factor believes changing the attitude of health care providers can significantly improve patient outcomes and help substance abuse be treated as a public health and social justice issue.

She emphasizes that patients with substance use disorders may be hesitant to seek help from medical professionals for fear of judgment and reprimand.

“You can’t scare an addiction out of somebody. And you can’t tell them that all it takes is willpower to recover,” she says. “It is more effective and therapeutic to have a productive conversation with the patient, ask about treatments they’ve tried in the past, what has worked for them, and present options on how the team will collaborate to move the patient forward.”

Encouraging treatment in a space where health counselors are nurturing and empathetic toward patients brings a human aspect to intervention and can lead to a better chance for recovery.

“People think [substance abuse] is a fault or character flaw of the individual person, but advocacy is about challenging that idea and encouraging medical professionals to provide high-quality care while treating the patient with dignity and respect,” she says.

The potential for change is endless, and when Factor completes her degree in May 2019 she is poised to be a real stigma changer in her community.

“I chose nursing because I can practice, I can travel, I can educate, and I can get into policy,” she says. “There are so many avenues to have an impact as a nurse, and we have a unique opportunity to change people’s perspectives and challenge their biases.”

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 17, 20180 comments
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It's time for flu shots

Flu Shot Clinic at HS/HSL on Oct. 4

It’s time to get your flu shot, and students from the School of Pharmacy are here to vaccinate you.

They will be hosting a Flu Shot Clinic with the Health Sciences and Human Services Library, sponsored by Walgreens, for the entire campus on Oct. 4 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the first-floor tower of the library.

Vaccinations are $35, may be covered by insurance, and can be paid by cash, check, or credit. Please remember to bring your insurance card.

Anyone who wishes to participate must RSVP by completing this online form.

Erin MerinoBulletin Board, People, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 14, 20180 comments
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President's Fellow

President’s Symposium Takes on Gun Violence

In the aftermath of a mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., on Feb. 14, 2018, that killed 17 people, University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Jay A. Perman, MD wrote a letter to the UMB Community expressing anger and sadness at yet another senseless school shooting. He wrote, “As a father, grandfather, and pediatrician, I am horrified by the ongoing slaughter of children — in schools nationwide and on the streets of Baltimore.”

In addition to inviting readers to use the “power of the purse” to influence state-level gun policy, Perman noted he was eager to hear ideas about how UMB might focus scholarship, research, and teaching on the fight against gun violence.

As a result of that rallying cry to action, the 2018-2019 President’s Symposium and White Paper Project will tackle the pervasive and controversial issue of gun violence. This interprofessional initiative engages students, faculty, and staff from all of UMB’s schools and academic programs in a year-long conversation on a topic of importance to the University community. This year, the Speakers Series and the White Paper will explore UMB’s role in addressing gun violence through education, research, clinical care, and service while using an interdisciplinary lens to examine the impact of trauma on communities.

At a kickoff event Sept. 6 at the SMC Campus Center, President Perman frankly admitted “we have little control over the gun violence that occurs routinely in our city, in our nation.” However, as he introduced this year’s group of President’s Fellows, he added, “If we absolve ourselves from studying it, then who can we expect to take up the issue?

“I know we have to find and an answer and I know we have to start somewhere,” Perman emphatically stated.

Keynote speaker Cassandra Crifasi, PhD, MPH, assistant professor and deputy director of the Center for Gun Policy and Research at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, agrees that scholarship is one way to push back against gun violence. In her work as an injury epidemiologist and gun policy researcher, she says she “strives to develop the strongest evidence base possible to promote policies that will reduce gun violence.” The goal is to improve public safety and “make everyone safer, regardless of where they live.”

Her talk, titled “Understanding Violence: Epidemiology and Evidence-based Policy,” outlined standards for legal gun ownership; regulation of gun purchasing and carrying; and public opinion on gun policy. As a public health researcher, Crifasi called gun violence a complex public health problem but explained, “It’s more than a public health problem. It’s law, it’s nursing, it’s social work. It’s all of these things together.”

This year’s fellows are an interdisciplinary team that will study the root causes of gun violence and use a team approach to examine its traumatic impact on communities. They will use this same team approach to develop recommendations and present a proposed Universitywide implementation strategy in spring 2019.

The 2018-2019 President’s Fellows are: Nicole Campion Dialo, University of Maryland School of Medicine; Zachary Lee, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law; Vibha Rao, University of  Maryland Graduate School; Basant Motawi, Graduate School; Jenny Afkinich, Graduate School; Lauren Highsmith, University of Maryland School of Social Work; and Jessica Egan, University of Maryland School of Nursing.

Campion Dialo is a third-year medical student interested in psychiatry and family medicine. She thinks these two medical specialties are uniquely suited to addressing communities affected by the trauma of gun violence, and she wants to deepen her knowledge about possible solutions. “I want to learn more about what has worked in other places to get at the problem and what we can do better right here in Baltimore,” she said.

Lee, the law student, also wants to help alleviate the issue of gun violence in Baltimore, “Given our geography, I think it’s important we focus on Baltimore and also more broadly in Maryland,” he noted.

But like his colleague Campion Dialo, Lee is looking at the issue through a wide lens. “This is an issue of national importance, so I’m looking at it from many angles and examining how it sits on our national conscience,” he said.

This is the eighth year of the President’s Symposium and White Paper Project, which is a joint initiative with the Office Interprofessional Student Learning and Service Initiatives. The most recent topic of study was global literacy. The topics before that were  entrepreneurial exploration, cultural competence, community engagement, interprofessional education, civility, and urban renewal.

— Laura Lee



Laura LeeEducation, For B'more, People, Research, UMB News, University Life, USGASeptember 14, 20180 comments
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Sign up for UMB Parking and Shuttle Social Media

Don’t Be Afraid to Sign Up for Social This Fall

We tweet and post about all things Parking and Transportation and UM shuttle, especially as it relates to UMB. Sign up today to be informed! Follow one or all of the social media accounts listed below.

Two followers will be randomly chosen to win a basket of goodies on or about Oct. 31. Enjoy winning some fun items such as a UMB blanket, lunchbox, cellphone holder, or phone wallet, as well as gift cards and extra surprises!

UM shuttle
Twitter: @umshuttle
Facebook: UM shuttle

Parking and Transportation
Twitter: @umb_parking
Facebook: UMB Parking and Transportation

Dana RampollaPeople, University LifeSeptember 14, 20180 comments
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School of Medicine logo

Oct. 5 Seminar: ‘From Mouse to Human: Atrial Super-Hub Calcium Signaling’

Stephan LenhartStephan Lehnart, MD, will  present “From Mouse to Human: Atrial Super-Hub Calcium Signaling” at a special seminar  Friday, Oct. 5, at noon at the Health Sciences Research Facility II Auditorium.

Lenhart is professor of translational cardiology, director of the research unit for cellular biophysics and translational cardiology, and coordinator of the heart research center at the University of Gottingen in Germany.

The seminar is sponsored by the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Technology (BioMET) and the Department of Medicine’s Cardiology Division at the School of Medicine.

BioMET is a collaborative effort between the School of Medicine and the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland College Park.

Refreshments will be available from 11:45 a.m. to noon.

For more information, contact Latasha Shoffner via email or at 410-706-4667.

Latasha ShoffnerCollaboration, ResearchSeptember 14, 20180 comments
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Older man throwing baseball to child with baseball bat

Oct. 4 Lunch & Learn Seminar: ‘Managing Shoulder Pain and Arthritis’

Syed Hasan, MD, from University of Maryland Orthopaedics will present a free Lunch & Learn seminar titled “Stay in Motion: Managing Shoulder Pain and Arthritis” on Oct. 4 in Columbia, Md. Hasan will answer questions and provide information about the latest treatments available.

Registration is required and lunch will be served.

Merideth MarrBulletin Board, Clinical Care, People, University LifeSeptember 13, 20180 comments
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Vincent Cancelli with co-workers and Dr. Perman

Multi-Trades, Multi-Talents: Cancelli Wins Employee of the Month Award

Vincent Cancelli might seem like an unassuming and humble guy, diligently doing his job as a multi-trades chief in the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Office of Facilities Maintenance. But give him a work order, and he just might turn into … MacGyver?

Yeah, that’s right, MacGyver.

Recently tasked with finding the source of a water leak in the Francis King Carey School of Law, Cancelli used his intelligence and improvisational skills to determine the cause, referencing the famed troubleshooting TV character as he described the mission. After busting three holes into a 6-inch cinderblock wall, Cancelli saw that there was moisture around a pipe but thought the cause of the leak was probably 10 to 15 feet higher through the chase that’s used to conceal piping.

“So I made what I’d call a 15-foot selfie stick,” Cancelli says with pride. “In the shop, I ripped a piece of wood down and took a piece of flexion and crimped it to fit my phone on one end. Then I put duct tape on it, because I didn’t want to lose my phone inside this cavity. I turned on the video on my phone, laid down on my back, and fished this stick up there and videotaped around the pipe. I brought it down, reviewed the video, and — boom! — there it was, a big crack causing the leak.

“My co-workers got a kick out of that, but I’m good at what I call MacGyver-type solutions: Putting something together to figure it out and get through the problem.”

It’s this type of creative thinking and job performance that earned Cancelli recognition as UMB’s Employee of the Month of September. University President Jay A. Perman, MD, surprised Cancelli with the award Sept. 7 in the President’s Boardroom at the Saratoga Building, where 15 of his co-workers gathered to join in the surprise and congratulate him on the honor.

After some good-natured banter with the maintenance crew, Perman informed Cancelli of his spoils as the award winner: a plaque, a letter of commendation, and an extra $250 in his next paycheck. Then Perman turned serious, telling the honoree how much he was respected and admired among his peers and supervisors.

“Your colleagues say that you embrace the University’s core values,” Perman said. “You’re accountable for your work, and you want to make sure it’s done right. You’re civil, collaborative, and ensure that things are done in an excellent fashion. And I’m here to tell you that you’re very much appreciated by your co-workers and by me.”

Michele Ondra, MS, MBA, associate director of administration and finance for the Thurgood Marshall Law Library at the Carey School of Law, seconded that notion, pointing out Cancelli’s stellar work in helping get the school’s facilities prepared for an accreditation visit last February.

“Vincent not only completed our long list of work orders on time, but he also was proactive in providing recommendations on how we could improve our facility,” Ondra said. “If we put in a work order that will be assigned to him, we know that it will be completed in a timely manner and with the utmost care. We have complete confidence that he will get it done and will communicate all of the important details back to us.”

Let There Be New Lights

Cancelli talked about one such Carey School of Law task in which his and his co-workers’ proactive and collaborative approach paid dividends.

“In the law school library, there were lights that had been out for a while, and they were very hard to reach,” he says. “So instead of just replacing them, we did an LED project, converting that entire area into LED lights, which will last for 15 or more years. The electrical shop and the multi-trades shop were involved in that, and that’s what I like to do, bring all the trade groups together.”

Cancelli says he’s always been handy and took carpentry and machinist courses during and after high school as well as courses on computer integrative manufacturing, which led him to a job with the old Lever Brothers manufacturing plant in Baltimore. He also worked for the Baltimore County Public Schools System doing roofing and repairs before joining UMB in the fall of 2017.

Asked to describe his job in a nutshell, Cancelli says, “If anything needs to be fixed, whether it’s something minor to major, we do it in a multi-trades shop. It could be a minor thing like fixing a leg on a chair that’s broken or needs adjusting. Or it could be a major water leak like what happened at the School of Law. We identify the problem, and we mitigate the issue.”

Cancelli says the multi-trades shop personnel is divided into four zones of responsibility around the UMB campus, and his area, Zone 3, includes buildings old and new such as the schools of law, dentistry, and social work; the Pine Street Police Station and Pine Street Annex; the Lexington and Saratoga buildings, and more.

“It’s a very big zone,” he says. “We stay within the footprint of our zone, but if manpower assistance is needed in other zones, we’ll venture out and go help them out. Because at the end of the day, we’re still one big unit.”

‘Go Do Your Thing and Get It Fixed’

Mark Ewing, assistant director, structural trades, says when he interviewed Cancelli for the multi-trades job last year, he could see quickly that he was a lifelong learner, and his instincts have proved correct.

“He is not comfortable with the status quo and will not settle for less than the best,” Ewing says. “The decision to hire him has been affirmed by his work ethic and the values he carries. Every day Vinnie brings great benefit to our customers and this University.”

Cancelli says he felt a bit awkward to be singled out as Employee of the Month because he’s not used to being in the spotlight, but he added that it was much appreciated. He says he’ll probably use the $250 to take his wife out to dinner, because such outings have decreased in the past year while they tend to their baby daughter. And he thanked his co-workers and supervisors for their support.

“I really like working at UMB. I really like the people I work with,” Cancelli says. “And my supervisors, they’ve let me fly with no restraints. They have the trust in me to get the job done and do it right. They will guide me down the path if I ask for assistance, but most definitely, they say, ‘Here you go. Here’s the keys, son. Go do your thing and get it fixed.’ ”

— Lou Cortina

To read about previous Employee of the Month winners, visit Human Resource Services’ employee recognition webpage.

Lou CortinaPeople, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 13, 20180 comments
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Sept. 27 Workshop: ‘Dealing with Non-Disclosure Agreements’

You’ve been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) — how should you respond?

In a Sept. 27 workshop titled “Dealing with Non-Disclosure Agreements” from the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network student group, the use of NDAs to protect confidential information that may be exchanged during discussions or negotiations between companies will be discussed.

The workshop will review standard terms in an NDA and highlight problematic provisions that you might want to avoid. It also will touch on confidentiality provisions in employment and independent contractor agreements and other types of contracts.

Here are the details:


Edwin OakBulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, For B'more, People, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGASeptember 13, 20180 comments
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Resnick to Present at PTRS Research Seminar on Sept. 20

Barbara ResnickBarbara Resnick, PhD, RN, CRNP, FAAN, FAANP, professor at the School of Nursing and adjunct professor at the School of Medicine, will deliver her presentation “Optimizing Function and Physical Activity Via Function Focused Care” on Sept. 20. The presentation is part of the School of Medicine’s Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science seminar series, which showcases research relating to the understanding of human movement and function in health and disease. All are welcome.

  • When: Thursday, Sept. 20
  • Where: Allied Health Building, 100 Penn St., Room 219
  • Time: Noon to 1 p.m.
  • Future seminar series dates: Please see the accompanying flyer.
Kelly WestlakeClinical Care, Research, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 13, 20180 comments
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