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UMB Champion of Excellence: Danielle Citron, JD

UMB Champion of Excellence: Danielle Citron, JD

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:
Danielle Citron, JD
Protecting Privacy in the Digital Age

We live in a digital world, there’s no denying that. But as our personal sense of space extends into the digital realm, individual privacy concerns arise.

This privacy, and its relation to free expression and civil rights, is the box that Danielle Citron, JD, has dedicated her career to unpacking.

Take, for example, the 2015 case in which the U.S. government’s Office of Personal Management database was hacked, affecting 22.1 million people. Or the same year when an employee at the U.S. Embassy in London was charged with stealing passwords and sexually explicit photos of more than 250 women as part of a blackmail scheme. And, most recently, in the 2018 Facebook-Cambridge Analytica investigation, when Cambridge Analytica obtained personal data of more than 250 million Facebook users to help spread political propaganda.

Each and every one of these cases relates to individual expectations of privacy in the digital age.

As a respected 14-year faculty member at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and a renowned author, Citron defends the defenseless as they try to protect their rights to privacy online.

Since 2004, Citron has been exploring the ways that we voluntarily and involuntarily expose our personal information online, and in turn, how government and companies track that exposure.

“Information privacy concerns the collection, use, and sharing of our personal data and the essential protections — in law or norms — that enable each and every one of us to develop ourselves, maintain relationships, and have fair opportunities out in the world,” she says.

Consider the way artificial intelligence programs analyze personal data. Companies and governments increasingly use machine-learning technologies to make decisions about individuals that impact fair treatment. For example, insurance companies could analyze our online behaviors and information as a way of assessing if we should be insured and even at what rates.

And this is not just hypothetical. In October 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security actually began using personal information collected from social media platforms to screen immigrants arriving in the U.S.

Or, as another example, the recent publication by The State Council of China about utilizing a “Citizen Score” gathered from online data and habits. This score would function as a national trust score, telling the rest of the world your level of trustworthiness, determining your eligibility for a mortgage or a job or where you can go to school.

“Automated systems are making predictions about who we are and what we will do,” Citron says. “When government does that without meaningful oversight and guarantees of due process, the consequences will be significant.”

So how much of our online information can we control? Are there any limits to the way that public and private organizations can use our personal data? What civil rights does a person have online? How does information privacy affect our free speech?

These are the questions Citron is exploring. She emphasizes how information privacy, free expression, and civil rights are bound together. When our privacy is breached we often withdraw, and simply go offline and lose our sense of power.

“Privacy enables speech,” she says, “and speech is essential to our own autonomy and democracy. The absence of privacy interferes with that.”

Information privacy not only relates on the level of citizen against big corporations, but also in our interactions with one another. For instance, cyber-stalking and cyber-exploitation, such as exposing nude images of an individual without their consent, are issues related to Citron’s fight for information privacy. In her book Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, she showed that those largely affected by these privacy violations are women, and even more so women of color.

“Cyber-stalking is often experienced by the vulnerable, specifically women, women of color, and LGBTQ individuals,” she says. “I have been developing a cyber civil rights agenda for protecting the speech and privacy of the vulnerable.”

Currently, in addition to teaching classes at Maryland Carey Law, she travels the country working with lawmakers on the federal and state levels to create policy that benefits digital citizens.

A major case was won in California this April when a man was ordered to pay $6.45 million in damages after posting explicit pictures and videos of his ex-girlfriend online without her consent. In Citron’s words, this case was “groundbreaking” for the message that it sent to individuals inclined to invade another’s sexual privacy.

In 2011, Citron testified about online hate speech before the Inter-Parliamentary Committee on Anti-Semitism at the House of Commons in England— a testament to her legislative influence across the globe.

She also works with major internet powerhouses such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google to create safety measures to protect the company and their platform users. Her work as a part of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council has helped the company create strategies to assist users to express themselves online without fear. By updating their security initiatives, companies avoid the consequences of leaked or potentially harmful information appearing on their sites.

Citron’s global efforts warranted her recognition as part of Cosmopolitan’s “20 Best Moments for Women in 2014” when the magazine included her book Hate Crimes in Cyberspace as part of the lineup. She’s even shared commentary in Netizens, a documentary about women and online harassment, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018.

Though Citron’s success is a testimony to her hard work and dedication, she knows she could not have achieved it without the support of her colleagues at Maryland Carey Law.

Citron’s information privacy work aligns perfectly with the school’s commitment to the public good. Having a community to encourage and promote that mission is exactly what Citron needs to make change in the world.

But above all, her time spent at the law school is most inspired by the work she does with her students.

“Teaching is essential to how I see myself,” she says. “I have these generations of students who are running the world. I’m so proud, and I get to vicariously enjoy all the incredible work they’re doing. They are the real change makers.”

The future for Citron looks much like the present, just a little more global. With both of her daughters now in college, she can do the one thing she’s always wanted to do: give lectures abroad. In fall 2018, she will have her first keynote-speaking event abroad at the Privacy Law Scholars Conference in Amsterdam.

As she spreads her influence beyond U.S. borders, she hopes to extend her work in information privacy and civil liberties to include inquiry into international privacy systems, helping global digital citizens understand their rights to their data, too.

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 16, 20180 comments
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University of Maryland Center for Interprofessional Education

Call for Proposals: IPE Faculty Award – July 2018

From the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Center for Interprofessional Education (IPE):

All UMB faculty are eligible to apply for an IPE Faculty Award. Please see the IPE web page for additional information. Submit your two-page proposal, including budget, to Patricia Danielewicz

Deadline for priority decision: Tuesday, July 31. Additional applications will be considered on a bi-monthly basis (September 2018, November 2018) pending availability of funds. Please visit our website for additional information and to download a proposed template.

Purpose: The purpose of the Faculty Award in Support of Interprofessional Education is to encourage and build a community of faculty members across the schools of UMB and throughout the University System of Maryland (USM) who have interest and expertise in interprofessional education. This includes, potentially, IPE activities nationally and internationally.

Activities: Faculty Awards may be used for a variety of endeavors that can include, but are not limited to, travel to other institutions to study IPE; regional and national meetings focused on IPE, including poster and podium presentations; educational products focused on IPE and other faculty development activities that are inclusive of UMB students from two or more schools. The funds must be used within a one-year window and any individual is limited to one award per year. Faculty Awards may provide a one-time salary enhancement stipend, if allowed by the UMB school and appropriate for the proposed activity.

Award management: All UMB faculty members are eligible to apply for a Faculty Award of up to $2,000 annually. Other faculty from USM require a partner from the UMB faculty and are eligible for up to a $1,000 award. A two-page proposal, including a budget, should be submitted via email to the Center for Interprofessional Education. Please include a title for the award, along with a description of the proposed activity and its potential to further IPE at UMB.

If you plan to use standardized patients through the Standardized Patient Program, please contact the director, Nancy Budd Culpepper, at nculpepper@umaryland.edu. The co-directors of the Center for Interprofessional Education serve as the award committee.

For questions or to submit an application, please contact:

Patricia Danielewicz
Center for Interprofessional Education
University of Maryland, Baltimore
Phone: 410-706-4224
Email: pdanielewicz@umaryland.edu

Template for IPE Faculty Award Proposals

Title of Faculty Award

 

Date Submitted

 

Primary and Contributor Contact Information

Full name

Credentials

Institution/School

Email address

Telephone number

Description of Proposed Activity

 

Background

 

Purpose and Objectives

 

Potential to Further IPE at UMB

 

Outcomes

 

Budget (not to exceed $2,000 per faculty member)

 

 

 

Patricia DanielewiczCollaboration, Education, UMB NewsJuly 12, 20180 comments
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School of Nursing Dual-Admission Partnerships

School of Nursing, Chesapeake College Sign Dual-Admission Agreement

The School of Nursing and Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Md., recently signed an agreement of dual admission that will ensure students’ seamless transition from Chesapeake’s Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program to UMSON’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Chesapeake becomes the 10th community college in Maryland to sign such an agreement with UMSON.

Through the agreement, students can apply and be admitted to UMSON’s BSN program while in Chesapeake’s ADN program. Students will receive transfer credits from UMSON for completed coursework at Chesapeake and will be granted special student status, allowing them to take UMSON courses while still working on their associate’s degree, thereby saving them time and money in completing their BSN degree.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for students in our nursing program to continue their education in nursing, said Judith Stetson, PhD, RN, director, Chesapeake College/MGW Nursing Program. “Creating a highly educated nursing workforce significantly benefits the individuals, the nursing profession, and the local and global communities we serve.”

An effort to increase qualified nursing candidates, the agreement is helping further the mission of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the AARP to advance comprehensive health care change. The campaign uses as its framework the landmark 2010 Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Additionally, the partnership program specifically addresses one of the eight goals set forth in the report: to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020.

“We are excited to begin this new partnership with Chesapeake College. It will provide the opportunity for those nurses and nursing students living on the Eastern Shore to seamlessly transition to the program at UMSON to complete their BSN,” said Linda Murray, DNP, CPNP-Ped, assistant professor and director, RN-to-BSN Program, UMSON.

To matriculate to UMSON’s BSN program, students must graduate with an ADN from Chesapeake and satisfy UMSON’s progression criteria.

Kevin NashBulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, For B'more, UMB News, University Life, USGAJuly 10, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: Nadine M. Finnigan-Carr

UMB Champion of Excellence: Nadine M. Finigan-Carr, PhD, MS

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:
Nadine M. Finigan-Carr, PhD, MS
Mobilizing Professionals to Prevent Child Trafficking

Nadine M. Finigan-Carr, PhD, MS, is a research assistant professor, director of the Prevention of Adolescent Risks Initiative, and assistant director of the Ruth H. Young Center for Families and Children at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. But if you ask her, she studies “sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll.”

Her research among youth and adolescents focuses on sexual reproductive health risk behaviors (sex), substance use and abuse (drugs), and aggression and violence (rock ’n’ roll). She’s a passionate advocate for children and youth in pretty dire situations. She’s devoted her career to research that identifies youth at risk for violence and victimization and, ultimately, works to prevent them from becoming victims. She’s currently looking at human trafficking within the child welfare system.

According to the International Labour Organization, there are nearly 21 million victims of human trafficking globally. Of this number, about 26 percent (nearly 5.5 million) are children. In Maryland, between July 2013 and June 2017, local social services departments reported more than 350 cases of suspected child sex trafficking statewide.

“These kids are hidden in plain sight,” Finigan-Carr says. She went on to say people don’t realize it’s happening, or they don’t know what to look for. “When folks hear ‘trafficking,’ they think of children smuggled from city to city in vans or boats, or Liam Neeson fighting for his daughter in Taken.”

But often that’s not what trafficking looks like, Finigan-Carr says. “It’s the kid whose parents are behind on their rent so the landlord sleeps with the young girl in the house to let the parents slide,” she says. “It’s the young LGBTQ male whose family abandons him and forces him to move out when he comes out. Living on the streets, he’s forced to sleep with multiple men for a place to stay.”

Traffickers relentlessly target and take advantage of children and adolescents like these who face extreme adversity, violence, discrimination, economic vulnerability, or dependence. Communities hit hard by these adversities, like Baltimore, may be particularly vulnerable to human trafficking.

Often, child trafficking victims are misidentified or not identified at all. Finigan-Carr is trying to change that by helping state and local officials to build the infrastructure to address child sex trafficking.

Based on their research, Finigan-Carr and her team have created an algorithm to help identify youth already in child welfare who are at high risk for trafficking using data from the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment administered by caseworkers every three months. They’re working directly with the Maryland Department of Human Services to identify these youth and provide proper preventive services.

“If we can identify and intervene at younger ages and look for those risk factors,” Finigan-Carr says, “then we can prevent it from happening and prepare professionals to intervene with specialized services for victims.”

With a grant funded in 2014 by the Children’s Bureau, an office of the federal Administration for Children & Families, the half-dozen workers in Finigan-Carr’s Child Sex Trafficking Victims Initiative began training all child welfare workers in the state, starting with the five jurisdictions with the highest rates of child sex trafficking. These professionals are learning the risk factors and signs, and the appropriate course of action. Once the five-year grant is complete in 2019, this training will become a part of future onboarding for all child welfare workers, helping ensure that no trafficked child in Maryland’s child welfare system will slip through the cracks.

Another study, the Maryland Human Trafficking Initiative (MHTI), funded by the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, brings together multidisciplinary teams from all over the state — including law enforcement, local departments of juvenile services, state’s attorneys, and victim services providers — for similar training.

In September 2017, MHTI held its first Maryland Child Trafficking Awareness Conference, a free statewide gathering to mobilize communities and individuals in response to human trafficking. More than 300 people — from legal professionals to caseworkers, to medical professionals and the general public — gathered for a full-day training blitz on how to work together to truly address the issue of human trafficking.

On a state level, Finigan-Carr has worked with legislators to change the laws of human trafficking. Previously, the law’s definition of “sex trafficking” meant that child welfare caseworkers could intervene only if the parent or guardian was responsible for trafficking the child.

Today, thanks in part to Finigan-Carr’s advocacy, the law has been altered to include the sexual molestation or exploitation of a child by a “parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child, or by any household or family member.” Now, child welfare can intervene and engage, regardless of the perpetrator responsible.

Finigan-Carr equates working with trafficking victims today to working with domestic violence victims 30-plus years ago — society at large needs to recognize what’s going on and how to deal with it. What keeps her motivated is seeing a day where, similar to domestic violence, there is less victim blaming and more support for survivors.

“Human trafficking victims are already marginalized and abused and stigmatized for being who they are,” she says. “People often overlook them as victims and instead see them as ‘players in their own mess.’ That’s far from the case in most situations.”

Finigan-Carr is quick to point out that she’s not a social worker. In fact, she first moved to Baltimore 26 years ago as a classroom teacher with Teach For America Corps. There, she saw firsthand the impact on education and development of children who faced severe circumstances. One case stuck with her — a second-grader, whose mother had HIV/AIDS and whose third-grade sister was HIV-positive, and didn’t understand “why he couldn’t be sick” like his family.

No one talked to him about what was happening. He didn’t understand their health issues and no one supported him in any way. Finigan-Carr was compelled to take action and work with him when he entered the foster care system. “He needed therapy,” she says. “He needed someone.”

Inspired by this young boy, Finigan-Carr, her husband, Sylvester, and their 18-year-old son, Jahid, now foster children in need.

“I have to be a part of the solution,” she says. “I can’t tell people to do X, Y, and Z if I don’t know what they’re going through. It gives me a different perspective being a foster parent.”

Finigan-Carr has dedicated not only her career but also her personal and family life to this cause. And she won’t quit until her job is obsolete.

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 9, 20180 comments
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20-Color Panel Blue Laser Dyes Emission Spectra

A New Age of Spectral Flow Cytometry

The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) Flow Cytometry Shared Services has acquired the Cytek Aurora, Spectral Cytometer. A seminar scheduled for July 19 will to help you gain more understanding of spectral flow and its capabilities. Lunch is included, but you need to reserve a spot.

  • When: Thursday, July 19
  • Time: Noon
  • Site: Room 600, Health Sciences Facility II, 20 N. Penn St.
  • Sign up to attend at this link.
Karen UnderwoodCollaboration, Community Service, Education, Research, UMB NewsJuly 5, 20180 comments
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William F. Regine, MD, FACR, FACRO

UMB Champion of Excellence: William F. Regine, MD, FACR, FACRO

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:
William F. Regine, MD, FACR, FACRO
Pioneering Targeted Treatments to Fight Cancer

William F. Regine, MD, FACR, FACRO, is a pioneer in cancer-fighting innovation. A decade ago, Regine had a vision for a center of proton therapy excellence — one that would cross all academic missions and serve as a regional resource for health care providers in the Mid-Atlantic region. That vision came to life in February 2016 when the $200 million Maryland Proton Treatment Center (MPTC) opened its doors.

The proton therapy at MPTC, of which Regine is executive director, is delivered as a pencil-thin beam of radiation that goes directly to the cancerous tumor with no extension beyond the targeted site. The precision of the treatment allows for a shorter duration of therapy — welcome news for patients battling cancer. It also doesn’t affect the surrounding tissue, something that happens all too often with traditional radiation.

The 110,000-square-foot facility is the first and most advanced of its kind in the Baltimore-Washington region. Two years after opening, MPTC is celebrating another impressive milestone — it just treated its 1,000th patient.

“With our unique model and vision, we set out to make the center a regional resource for cancer treatment, not just for University patients to have access,” says Regine. “We’ve really done that — made it a regional center.”

In addition to his MPTC duties, Regine is the Isadore & Fannie Schneider Foxman Chair of the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Maryland (UM) School of Medicine. He’s developed a partnership with Maryland Proton Treatment Holdings to bolster funding; engaged Varian Medical Systems of Palo Alto, Calif., a world leader in radiation oncology technology, to provide the most advanced form of proton therapy; and enabled the School of Medicine’s Department of Radiation Oncology to lead the project. He also integrated MPTC with the UM Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center and UM Medical Center/System by locating the center within the BioPark at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

Regine was chosen as UMB’s 2016 Entrepreneur of the Year for spearheading the state-of-the art center that saves lives while producing revenue. “MPTC is creating 175 local jobs and it is also bringing patients from around the world to Baltimore for up to six weeks of treatment,” says James L. Hughes, MBA, chief enterprise and economic development officer and vice president at UMB and head of UM Ventures. “It’s an amazing win-win for the University and the public it serves. Dr. Regine should be justifiably proud.”

Under Regine’s directorship, MPTC has been recognized by the Institute for Natural Medicine as one of the 28 leading medical institutions in the nation to begin implementing naturopathic care in standard oncologic treatment. During the past two years, MPTC and Varian together have trained more than 160 medical professionals from across the U.S. and 14 other countries to deliver proton therapy, part of a larger plan to ensure that MPTC continues to be a world leader in the proton therapy community.

“By opening this training to the widest spectrum of U.S. and international participants, we are seeing new collaborative research opportunities and establishing long-term joint efforts,” says Regine. “Many physicians who have come to MPTC for this training have sent us their most challenging patients to care for while their own centers are being built.”

MPTC has been awarded more than $3 million in research funding. In addition, in 2018, it is planning a new dosimetry training program, preparing specialists who work with physicians in developing the safest and most accurate proton treatment plans for patients. Soon, MPTC also will offer deep-tissue external thermal therapy.

The external thermal therapy, or hyperthermia — in the range of 104 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit — sensitizes tumor cells to chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Studies show that adding thermal therapy to standard treatments can significantly shrink tumors and improve survival for some patients. In another pioneering initiative, MPTC is the only center in the world to offer both proton therapy and external thermal therapy treatments at the same facility.

“Within the Department of Radiation Oncology and throughout our cancer center, we strive to make every available tool in the cancer-fighting toolbox available to our patients,” Regine says. “By continuing to develop a comprehensive thermal oncology program, we are giving patients more effective treatment options and therefore another reason to hope for better outcomes.”

Not one to rest on his laurels, Regine already is looking ahead. In 10 years, he sees MPTC as not just a national leader but “a world leader in bringing and defining the best use of proton therapy in the care of cancer patients.” He also predicts proton therapy, along with other advances in cancer therapy, eventually will eliminate the need for a scalpel in the treatment of cancer in many patients.

Regine has a history of innovation. He is co-inventor of the GammaPod, the first radiation treatment system in the world completely dedicated to early-stage breast cancer. GammaPod recently received 510(k) clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, meaning the system will soon make its way to market for the treatment of breast cancer patients.

Regine is confident it will allow patients in the near future to be able to have their breast cancer treated in one to three outpatient treatment sessions of less than 30 minutes without ever needing breast surgery. “We’ll be able to deliver high-dose radiation to a tumor while minimizing damage to normal breast tissue and, even more importantly, to major organs such as the heart and lungs,” he says.

As a department chair, principal investigator of four National Cancer Institute clinical trials, inventor, research author, and editor of textbooks like Principles and Practices of Stereotactic Radiosurgery, Regine has made an enormous impact. What is the most satisfying aspect of his work?

“Being fortunate enough to have had great partners and being surrounded by amazing staff — and family — all dedicated to making a difference in the lives of not only the cancer patients we directly see and care for, but for cancer patients around the world,” he says. “Nothing I have done would have been possible without them and their support.”

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 2, 20180 comments
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M.J. Bondy, Transforming the Future of Education at UMB

UMB Champion of Excellence: Mary Jo ‘M.J.’ Bondy, DHEd, MHS, PA-C

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:
Mary Jo “M.J.” Bondy, DHEd, MHS, PA-C
Transforming the Future of Education at UMB

Mary Jo “M.J.” Bondy’s official title is assistant dean of academic programs at the University of Maryland Graduate School. But like most people at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), she wears more hats than her title suggests.

As an award-winning teacher, certified physician assistant (PA), PA program director, leader within the Office of Academic Innovation Distance Education, and self-proclaimed “beach girl,” Bondy has been instrumental in transforming the future of education at UMB.

When she began her role as assistant dean in 2016, she was tasked with making sure all instruction delivered online met the quality expectations of the University — the same rigorous and evidence-based best practices and curriculum delivered in the classroom should also apply to online learning at the Graduate School.

“I have this wonderful opportunity to work with some of the most talented people — leadership, faculty, instructional designers, and media specialists,” she says, “and there’s this palpable can-do attitude that allows us to take risks that are rare in higher education these days.”

A perfect example? The massive open online course (MOOC) that UMB and the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) piloted, working with EdX and the University System of Maryland, which has reached more than 1,000 learners across the globe.

“The amazing thing about the MOOC is you’re putting up graduate-level content by world-class UMB and UMUC faculty for consumption by anyone worldwide on this celebrated EdX platform,” she says. “By just doing that, we’re advancing the mission of the institution to be a beacon to the world as an environment for learning and discovery by showing our commitment to health and advancing knowledge wherever and however we can.”

The first free online course centered on global health lessons on Ebola, with input from UMB’s Center for Global Education Initiatives. The next global health course, launching in summer 2018, will focus on violence and disaster relief. People from all over the world viewed the first course — from inner city Baltimore to parts of South America and Africa, where Bondy, who was head of the Graduate School’s Master of Science in Public Health program from 2014 to 2016, says lessons learned about global health system issues and the Ebola response could be applied to the Zika outbreak and other epidemics plaguing these regions.

With access-to-care issues worldwide, Bondy hopes that expanding education — using technologies like MOOC — will not only improve quality of care delivery, but also reduce health disparities, especially in underserved populations. Throughout her career as a PA, she’s worked to do just that, helping underserved patients in urban and rural areas. Now, in her role at the Graduate School, she’s doing the same through higher education.

“I see the Graduate School reinventing itself every day, by being more entrepreneurial and getting more involved in online education,” she says. “I applaud the leadership for being open to evolving, because we know the way students learn is impacted by technology, and leadership has been instrumental and proactive in putting the resources behind that.”

As described in UMB’s Catalyst campaign to fund endowments, scholarships, research, and programs at the University, the future of UMB will be driven by Big Ideas — key strategic priorities and outcomes that leverage the unique interdisciplinary expertise of UMB’s seven schools and organizations worldwide to be catalysts of change. One of those Universitywide Big Ideas that Bondy is championing is ending the cycle of opioid addiction through interprofessional education.

Last year, she and faculty from across UMB, in partnership with the Baltimore Area Health Education Center, piloted a training program that brought together faculty and students from all seven schools for training on Narcan, a revolutionary drug that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. A 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study reported nearly 26,000 overdose reversals nationwide through use of the drug.

“Knowing how West Baltimore has been struck really tragically by opioid addiction — and how the death rate has increased significantly — I’m so proud that we’ve led the first initiative to bring all schools together to fight this epidemic,” Bondy says. “The Graduate School is uniquely prepared to do that because we’re the nexus where all schools come together.”

The first event in April 2017 saw faculty generously volunteering their time and working with a community health worker to train UMB students on how to recognize and assess someone for potential overdose, and how to deliver the lifesaving drug when desperately needed. It was so successful they held another training event in the fall 2017 semester and received ongoing funding from the UMB Center for Interprofessional Education for a spring training session that was held in April 2018.

It’s a shining example of how UMB leverages its resources in local neighborhoods to make a difference, to combat the opioid addiction that has a stronghold on some of Baltimore’s most vulnerable communities.

“It’s completely aligned with President Perman’s mission and vision and interprofessional education charge,” Bondy says. “At the same time, we’re giving our students a voice in how to move forward, and how UMB can extend its resources to make a real, meaningful impact on our communities.”

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJune 25, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: Randi Barclay, SHRM-CP, PHR

UMB Champion of Excellence: Randi Barclay, SHRM-CP, PHR

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 the 2017-18 UMB Champions of Excellence.)

Today’s Champion:
Randi Barclay, SHRM-CP, PHR
Value-Based Approach to Human Resources

Accountability. Civility. Collaboration. Diversity. Excellence. Knowledge. Leadership.

These aren’t just the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) core values — they’re how Randi Barclay, SHRM-CP, PHR, approaches every day as human resources manager at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

“The core values align with my own personal values,” she says, “and being able to use them as a foundation is very important to me.

“They’re one of the things that attracted me to the School of Nursing and UMB,” she adds. “Sometimes core values are just ‘wallpaper’ — they look or sound good, but that’s where it ends. Not here. We really do live ours. You can feel it. They’re in the energy on the campus.”

They’re also captured in job listings for the School of Nursing. When recruiting new talent, Barclay says she wants applicants to know what UMB’s core values are and what UMB is committed to.

“We strive to identify candidates whose values align with ours,” she says. “We want all candidates to know from the beginning exactly what the core values are and that we take them seriously. We look for individuals who are able to define those values and demonstrate them here.”

It’s clear why Barclay’s the perfect fit for her position. She’s a spark of positive energy; her warmth and passion make her a strong advocate for UMB and a calming presence for job prospects — faculty and staff alike.

Since she began her position at the school in 2015, her can-do attitude and infectious philosophy to her work, grounded in the University’s and school’s core values, permeate everything she does — from staffing and recruitment to employee growth and retention, to helping the school achieve its strategic planning goals.

“Randi creates an environment that motivates our team to make changes to improve ourselves, both professionally and personally,” says Monica Williams, MSL, HR program specialist at the School of Nursing. “She’s very friendly and has such a compassionate approach to her work. Her care and concern for others really pushes her to be diplomatic in her approach to dealing with HR matters.”

For more than 20 years, Barclay has worked as a human resources specialist in a number of industries, from investment banking to nonprofit, from health care to the public defender’s office.

“I love being a resource to employees as well as the organization,” Barclay says. “Dealing with people every day, it’s not like working with this BIC pen, for example. I know exactly how this pen will perform when I need it, but when dealing with people, it’s not always that simple. I never know what I’ll walk into the next day.”

In a past job, she spent five years as director of human resources at Health Care for the Homeless, an organization that works to end homelessness in Baltimore and beyond. She longed to return to health care — when her position at the School of Nursing became available, she knew that was it.

“Health care is one of those sectors where something is always new or cutting edge,” she says. “It’s exciting to know that you’re part of something that’s helping people and contributing to the greater good. I feel privileged to be a part of that. There’s always a new advancement or innovation happening at UMB — take the BioPark, for example. I feel like I’m part of that energy now, too.”

Barclay loves that no two days are the same in HR — or at the School of Nursing. In her three years at the school, one of the oldest and largest nursing schools in the United States, Barclay’s increased the size of her small HR team, worked in collaboration with other UMB schools on various HR initiatives, and advocated for a strong, diverse school alongside Jeffrey Ash, EdD, associate dean for diversity and inclusion.

The School of Nursing is the first school at UMB to devote a full-time, associate dean position to diversity and inclusion. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion is the school’s hub for service and community outreach, collaborative and innovative thinking about diversity, and inclusive excellence among students, faculty, and staff.

Barclay recalls during her own interview process when Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the School of Nursing, shared her vision for adding a dean for diversity and inclusion. That vision became reality not long after Barclay joined the school and she began the recruitment process for the position.

Barclay has worked collaboratively with Ash to support diversity and inclusion initiatives at the School of Nursing. For example, she helped to facilitate a breakout professional development workshop session on tools for resolving conflict. Barclay has helped to grow and expand the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s professional development programs and initiatives, strengthening a working and learning environment where all are welcome.

In her quest for excellence, Barclay utilizes another core value (collaboration) regularly with her UMB peers. Just recently, she brainstormed with another UMB human resources manager to implement a successful staff hiring strategy.

“It truly does take a village to do everything that we do from an HR perspective,” she says.

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJune 18, 20180 comments
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Dr. Abraham Schneider

UMB Champion of Excellence: Abraham Schneider, DDS, PhD

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 the 2017-18 UMB Champions of Excellence.)

Today’s Champion:
Abraham Schneider, DDS, PhD
Preventing the Progression of Oral Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, about 51,540 people will get oral and oropharyngeal cancer in 2018. Of these, an estimated 10,030 — more than one person per hour each day — will die from the disease.

Numbers like these are sobering, but they inspire researchers like Abraham Schneider, DDS, PhD, at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry to search for ways to stop cancer before it strikes.

Schneider grew up in Lima, Peru, where he received his dental degree before coming to the United States in 1991 for advanced training and specialization in periodontics.

After being in clinical practice for a few years, he decided to pursue a PhD in oral health sciences at the University of Michigan. There, he met a group of scientists at the dental school who were collaborating with the medical school’s cancer center to study prostate cancer and bone metastasis.

Prostate cancer had personally touched Schneider’s life when one of his close family members died from the disease, motivating him to join his colleagues in hopes of finding a solution.

In 2005, he came to the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) with his wife, Monica, also a faculty member, to continue to teach and conduct research at the School of Dentistry while also working with the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR). It was working with the NIDCR that first exposed him to the study of oral cancer.

Today, he is an associate professor in the Department of Oncology and Diagnostic Sciences, where he is studying the drug metformin and its relation to reducing the risk of developing cancer.

Metformin is a relatively inexpensive, nontoxic, and well-tolerated drug currently used by more than 120 million people worldwide. Most who use metformin do so to lower their blood sugar in relation to diabetes. After research revealed that those diabetic patients taking metformin had a lower risk of cancer, Schneider became interested in learning more about the non-diabetic effects of the drug.

Originally, Schneider, with collaborators at the NIDCR, researched oral cancer development in mice. The results? About 90 percent of the mice given metformin never acquired fully formed cancer.

Schneider studies metformin’s effects at the cellular level: how metformin gets into the cells and how his team can develop the drug to work more efficiently. So far, metformin appears to be most successful when used in the early stages of cancer development.

Yet, Schneider isn’t limiting himself to just cancer prevention. He is also addressing the potential aftereffects of cancer treatment by applying these strategies to regenerating oral and craniofacial bone tissue. To do so, he combines metformin with specific stem cells. If successful, the findings of this research could create new approaches to enhance skeletal regeneration after the consequences of tumor resection, trauma or infection.

Not only is Schneider interested in metformin because of its unexpected positive effects, but also because it is so affordable.

“Metformin could be great for people who can’t afford costly treatment because it is an inexpensive and well-received drug,” he says.

He has used his five-year, $1.25 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to explore the impact of metformin in the chemoprevention and treatment of oral cancer.

“Results emerging from these studies may ultimately contribute to the implementation of novel personalized approaches to control the development and progression of oral cancer,” he says.

For Schneider, the most effective research is conducted through interdisciplinary collaboration, which abounds at UMB.

“Being proactive in reaching out to other experts at UMB who complement my own research studies has been key, I believe, to advance my research program,” he says. “A cross-disciplinary, team-based research approach that is based on the diversity of opinion generated from different scientific backgrounds broadens, by many folds, the possibility of answering specific research questions.”

The collaboration he has found at UMB is unlike any other he has been a part of. Specifically, Schneider has worked with faculty from the schools of pharmacy, medicine, and dentistry on this project and others. The access to a diverse and accomplished faculty for interdisciplinary research, along with the proximity of UMB to NIH and major hospitals, has been extremely helpful for advancing his studies.

Outside of his research, Schneider says the most gratifying part of his job is seeing his students in the School of Dentistry grow professionally and personally.

“They start off knowing very little, but in just a few years they are much more knowledgeable and confident,” he says. “It truly makes my life much nicer to see how our students and postdoctoral fellows grow at UMB.”

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJune 14, 20180 comments
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The President's Message-June

The President’s Message

Check out the June issue of The President’s Message.

It includes:

  • Dr. Perman’s column on last month’s State of the University Address
  • A recap of commencement, UMB’s Neighborhood Spring Festival, Glendening and Ehrlich’s political discussion, and the CURE Scholars’ end-of-year celebration
  • A look ahead to Dr. Perman’s June 19 Q&A
  • Stories on philanthropic gifts to the schools of medicine and nursing
  • Two more employees benefit from the Live Near Your Work Program
  • UMB police start active shooter response training
  • A roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements
Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAJune 11, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: James Polli, PhD

UMB Champion of Excellence: James Polli, PhD

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 the 2017-18 UMB Champions of Excellence.)

Today’s Champion:
James Polli, MD
Ensuring Prescription Drug Quality for All Patients

Growing up, James Polli, PhD, thought everyone worked in pharmaceuticals. After all, his father was a longtime researcher who developed medications, and the young Polli spent his summers working on research projects at Pfizer and Merck. “To me, that was pretty normal,” he says with a shrug.

Professor and Ralph F. Shangraw/Noxell Endowed Chair in Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics, Polli has been part of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy faculty for 25 years. In that time, he’s devoted his career to two main research interests — maximizing oral drug availability, and developing public quality standards for oral dosage forms.

“The Food and Drug Administration [FDA] talks about safety, efficacy, and quality. I’m interested in quality — quality medicine,” Polli says.

How medications are designed and manufactured isn’t something the public fully appreciates, he says. “I make sure a drug is designed to be absorbed not only on a chemical level but also from a tablet and capsule point of view,” Polli says. “There are lots of challenges to maintaining drug product quality over time.”

Ranked in the top 10 nationally, the School of Pharmacy partners with numerous organizations to enhance product quality. For instance, Polli and his team collaborate with the FDA on research initiatives to help understand how to maintain drug product quality for complex formulations.

“We’re interested in drug product quality,” Polli says, “but we’re also interested in not having regulations be overbearing. We just want to know what risks there are, and how to mitigate those risks.”

They do this in part through the Maryland Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (M-CERSI), a collaborative partnership between the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP).

As M-CERSI co-director, Polli helped to secure a $3 million grant from the FDA to develop the education and research program focused entirely on regulatory science — the first of its kind to an academic institution (it’s since been replicated at other prestigious universities, including Johns Hopkins, UCSF/Stanford, and the Yale/University Mayo Clinic).

M-CERSI trains the next generation of regulatory scientists, working from both UMB and UMCP to develop new tools, standards, and approaches to assess the safety, efficacy, quality, and performance of products regulated by the FDA. These revolutionary professionals are modernizing and improving the way drugs and medical devices are reviewed and evaluated.

Currently, researchers are looking at the safety of e-cigarettes, evaluating the metal ions found in their aerosol condensates. One M-CERSI project is predicting the toxicity of certain cardiovascular drugs; another is improving communication between elderly women and the FDA regarding FDA-regulated products.

Under Polli’s leadership, each year M-CERSI hosts symposiums, conferences, and workshops on regulatory science issues. One recent workshop attracted nearly 300 attendees to Pharmacy Hall and was highlighted by a keynote address from Janet Woodcock, MD, director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at the FDA.

In fall 2018, M-CERSI, the Center on Drugs and Public Policy at the School of Pharmacy, and the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the FDA will host a one-day workshop on best practices for patient engagement in the National Evaluation System for health Technology (NEST). The workshop will focus on how patients are engaged with real-world evidence generation for medical device or device and drug combination evaluation.

“M-CERSI would not exist without Dr. Polli’s leadership,” says Paul Shapiro, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the School of Pharmacy and M-CERSI researcher. “Under his guidance, M-CERSI has brought together leaders from academia, biopharmaceutical industry, and government agencies to develop better approaches to improve the safety and efficacy of drugs regulated by the FDA. Regulatory science students have the opportunity to meet with these leaders and learn about the issues that affect health care.”

M-CERSI’s not only improved collaboration and communication with the FDA — it’s also led to the development of an online master’s of science in regulatory science program, also directed by Polli.

Launched in 2014, the part-time, two-year program is one of the school’s first online degree programs. With an emphasis on drug discovery, drug development, clinical research, and post-approval drug regulation, the program provides additional learning and training for people who currently work or would like to work in drug regulation and biologics development.

“About 20 percent of students in the program actually work at the FDA,” Polli says, with others attracted from academia (including other schools at UMB), industry, and federal government. The program is entirely online, though students work in groups on team projects and presentations.

To date, the program has enrolled 120 students. The first cohort graduated in 2015. In May 2018, Polli graduates the fourth class, the latest students who will continue his legacy of looking beyond efficacy to research and provide quality medicine.

 

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJune 11, 20180 comments
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On Your Feet! actor Doreen Montalvo and others

For ‘On Your Feet!’ Cast Member, Acting is a Labor of Love

A group of 15 UMB students, faculty, and staff took their lunch breaks and gathered at the Hippodrome Theatre on June 7 for an intimate conversation with Doreen Montalvo, a longtime actor and principal performer in the touring production of the musical On Your Feet!

The Broadway 101 lunchtime event was the latest in an enlightening series organized by the University’s Council for the Arts & Culture that takes members of the UMB community behind the scenes of the Hippodrome and its shows. On Your Feet! — which just finished a six-day run at the historic venue on Eutaw Street — is billed as “an inspiring true story about heart, heritage, and two people who believed in their talent and each other to become an international sensation: Gloria and Emilio Estefan.”

In this production of the musical, Montalvo plays Gloria Fajardo, the mother of Gloria Estefan — and a staunch critic of her daughter’s music career. Though Montalvo plays the unsupportive mother, the actor herself has much in common with the show’s main characters, and she shared stories of her career that illustrated her love of the theater, determination to make it on Broadway, and dedication to her craft.

“I still go to dance class when I’m home at least once or twice a week,” Montalvo told the UMB group. “I still take voice lessons with my same voice teacher that I’ve had since I was 18 years old. You’re constantly learning.

“I love it, and what’s why we do it — because we love it.”

Montalvo discovered that love of performing at an early age: A priest in her parish recognized and nurtured her talent, and she recalled singing in church as early as 6 years old. She said she chose to study broadcast journalism in college because her school didn’t offer theater as a major.

After graduating, Montalvo began her career at a local television station in New York, but her love of theater never left her. At 24, she heard about a yearlong touring production of Man of La Mancha and decided to audition. Much like with Gloria Estefan and her mother in On Your Feet!, Montalvo’s mother was not supportive of her acting career at first. She wondered why her daughter couldn’t simply continue to work in journalism and pursue theater as a hobby.

But Montalvo said her mother quickly came around. Montalvo booked a role in that production of Man of La Mancha, for which she received her union equity card, and she never looked back. She has been acting on Broadway and in television and film ever since.

‘Survival Jobs’ Before a Life-Changing Show

Montalvo shared many stories that illuminate what life is like as a theater actor and what it takes for a show to finally reach Broadway. She held many “survival jobs” over the years, including voiceover work and part-time posts at trade shows and conventions that allowed her to make a living while continuing to audition.

Her first Broadway show was Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical In the Heights, which focuses on the largely Hispanic-American neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York.

Montalvo revealed that she was the first person in New York to audition for Miranda for In the Heights, when the playwright/performer was 20 years old. In September 2002, Montalvo joined the first reading of In the Heights in the basement of The Drama Bookshop in New York. She participated in readings of the show for five years and stayed with it through various productions until making her Broadway debut in the ensemble at nearly 40 years old, when the show premiered at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in 2008.

Montalvo spent nine years working on the show in some capacity, from the first reading to closing night on Broadway. To put it simply, Montalvo said “That was the show that changed my life.”

That was just one of the stories from the Broadway 101 event’s conversation that illustrated the uncertainty of a life spent in theater, but Montalvo never let it deter her from pursuing her goals, and she told others not to be deterred, either: “It’s never too late to live your dream. It’s never too late to dream it and do it.”

After her time in In the Heights, Montalvo continued acting in theater. She joined the cast of On Your Feet! early on, when she participated in the second reading of the show — the first of Act 1 and Act 2 together.

Referring to the musical’s subjects, Montalvo said Gloria and Emilio Estefan were actively involved from the beginning. She remembered the surreal moment of singing Gloria Estefan’s songs with Estefan sitting in the room for the first time. “The minute those two walked in the door of the theater, everybody’s hearts just stopped. They are two of the most generous and loving people on earth,” Montalvo said.

After the reading of On Your Feet!, Montalvo re-auditioned for the Chicago production of the show and stayed with it as an original Broadway cast member in the ensemble as well as the understudy for Gloria’s mother when it debuted on Broadway. She took over the role of Fajardo for the final six months of the Broadway production. After a break, she returned to reprise her role on the national tour, which led her to the Hippodrome on June 7.

Don’t Stop Working on Your Craft

One UMB attendee asked whether Montalvo feels like there are more roles of substance for Latina performers today than in her earlier years as an actor. Montalvo said that when she was starting out, “West Side Story was pretty much it,” but with shows like In the Heights, Hamilton, and On Your Feet!,  more roles are being written that allow performers to share their heritage with the audience in a universal way. “It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate a culture and share the culture, yet keep the show open to everyone and make the story open to everyone.”

When it comes to getting a show to Broadway, Montalvo noted that securing investors to fund the production is crucial, and that involves getting people to come and see the show and to believe in it.

As for her advice to aspiring actors and performers, Montalvo noted the importance of being a triple threat — singing, acting, and dancing — and encouraged people to always continue to learn and work on their craft.

“Keep taking classes. Don’t stop,” she said. “Keep learning constantly. And keep growing.”

–  Emma Jekowsky

Visit the UMB Council for the Arts & Culture website to learn more about its events and programs.

Emma JekowskyCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJune 11, 20180 comments
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Alexander MacKerell at the CADD Symposium

CADD Symposium Shows Collaboration is Key in Drug Discovery

The Computer-Aided Drug Design (CADD) Center — an organized research center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) that is housed within and led by faculty at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy — welcomed researchers from across academia, government, and industry to its biennial CADD Symposium on May 23. Designed to facilitate collaborations between the CADD Center and researchers across the University System of Maryland and beyond, the symposium presented recent developments in the fields of drug design and development and offered opportunities for researchers to network and discuss potential collaborations.

“As researchers, we know that collaboration is key not only to the success of our individual projects, but also to the advancement of science as a whole,” says Peter Swaan, PhD, professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) and associate dean for research and graduate education at the School of Pharmacy, who offered opening remarks to attendees. “For nearly 20 years, the CADD Center has been phenomenally successful in its efforts to foster collaborative research between biologists, biophysicists, structural biologists, and computational scientists. In addition to highlighting the latest advances in computational chemistry, this symposium explores how the research being conducted in this field can be applied to solve important biological and clinical problems in other areas.”

Bringing Experimentalists and Computational Chemists Together

The symposium was organized by Alexander MacKerell, PhD, the Grollman-Glick Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of the CADD Center at the School of Pharmacy, who kicked off the event alongside David Weber, PhD, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology and director of the Center for Biomolecular Therapeutics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The two researchers presented an overview of the drug discovery initiatives being pursued by scientists across UMB.

“By combining experimental methods with computational methods, we can help expedite the drug design process,” MacKerell said. “On their own, experimental and computational methods are very useful. However, when you combine the information, it works in a synergistic fashion to move the science ahead. Each problem is unique, and selecting the appropriate methodology to apply can be challenging. That is why researchers at the CADD Center regularly interact with experimentalists to take the idea from the basic science stage and identify compounds that can be molded into new drug candidates and brought to the market.”

Pioneering the Development of Biologic Drugs

Sponsored by the School of Pharmacy, SilcsBio LLC, and Early Charm Ventures, this year’s symposium focused on biologics. Unlike most medications that are developed through chemical syntheses, biologics — which include vaccines, certain medications for cancer and autoimmune diseases, as well as emerging drugs for cell and gene therapies — are made with living cells and represent the cutting edge of biomedical research, often succeeding where traditional drug treatments have failed.

The symposium featured presentations from a number of faculty members at the School of Pharmacy, including Bruce Yu, PhD, professor in PSC and director of the school’s Bio- and Nano-technology Center, who presented his work to develop a water proton nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) technology that uses a benchtop device to perform non-invasive chemical analyses to help ensure the quality of biologics throughout the manufacturing process. Explaining that there are a number of errors that can occur during the pharmaceutical manufacturing process, Yu noted that his benchtop device would allow manufacturers and health care practitioners, such as pharmacists and doctors, to detect these rare but serious product defects before the drug is dispensed to a patient.

“Think about weather forecasting,” Yu said. “Meteorologists use large supercomputers to help formulate their predictions for the week’s upcoming forecast. However, the average individual also has access to an app on his or her smartphone that can display that same forecast whenever it is opened. That is how we think about our work — this benchtop device will be the app equivalent of the large NMR spectrometers with which many of us are already familiar.”

Showcasing Regional Research

Additional presenters from the School of Pharmacy included Jana Shen, PhD, associate professor of PSC and co-director of the CADD Center, who presented her work on incorporating pH in structure-based drug design; Stephen Hoag, PhD, professor of PSC and director of the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) Facility at the school, who spoke about the formulation of therapeutic antibodies for colonic delivery; and Lisa Jones, PhD, assistant professor in PSC, who highlighted her efforts to examine protein structure in vivo (within living organisms).

Embracing the CADD Center’s pharmapreneurial spirit, the symposium also included a presentation by the Office of Technology Transfer at UMB, which spotlighted the University’s commitment to helping faculty bring their new technologies into commercial development.

Other presentations were delivered by Jeffrey J. Gray, PhD, professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Johns Hopkins University; Sandeep Somani, PhD, senior scientist at Janssen Pharmaceuticals; Joseph Curtis, PhD, research chemist at the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST); Luke Arbogast, PhD, research chemist at NIST; Eric Sundberg, PhD, professor of medicine and co-director for the Basic Science Division with the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; Alex Drohot, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology at the School of Medicine; and Suresh Singh, PhD, vice president of HotSpot Therapeutics.

“I attended the CADD Symposium because I was interested in learning more about computer-aided drug design,” said Ben Nkapbela, an undergraduate student at York College of Pennsylvania. “I truly value all of the connections that I have made with other researchers during my time at the symposium as well as all of the information that I have gained from listening to the presentations.”

The symposium concluded with a poster session that offered attendees the opportunity to learn more about the cutting-edge research being conducted across the regions.

To watch a video about the symposium, go to YouTube.

Malissa CarrollCollaboration, Research, UMB NewsJune 8, 20180 comments
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2018 Healthiest Maryland Business Award-Silver

UMB Awarded Wellness at Work Award

At the Ninth Annual Maryland Health and Wellness Symposium on June 1, more than 50 Maryland employers were recognized as Healthiest Maryland Businesses Wellness at Work Awardees for their exemplary accomplishments in work site health promotion.

UMB placed silver based on its wellness program planning, assessment, implementation, and evaluation. The award demonstrated an advancement from previous years — winning bronze for two consecutive years.

The theme of the conference was “Mental Health in the Workplace.” Preventing mental illness and promoting good mental health involves actions to create environments that support mental health and to help people adopt healthy lifestyles and place measures to abolish stigma in the workplace.

UMB and is partners will continue to provide employees with wellness events and activities that pertain to their needs and promote trending topics by increasing awareness and communicating programs to the University.

Jina BacchusCollaboration, Contests, Education, UMB News, University LifeJune 8, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: Neda Saghafi

UMB Champion of Excellence: Neda Saghafi, JD ’18

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 the 2017-18 UMB Champions of Excellence.)

Today’s Champion:
Neda Saghafi, JD ’18
Inspiring Action for Social Justice

When Neda Saghafi, JD ’18, applied for the Teach For America program, she had only one destination in mind — Baltimore. She wanted to live on the East Coast, and Baltimore was less costly and crowded than Boston and New York. Her path to law school was a bit more circuitous.

In 2011, she relocated from the West Coast to teach English to Students of Other Languages (ESOL) at Moravia Park Elementary School in the northeast corner of Baltimore City. Her students included a diverse group of young refugees from Iraq, Sudan, Nepal, and Bhutan. There, she began to see how the educational system and society at large intersect with young girls’ lives — and shape their interactions with their male peers.

After three years in the Baltimore City public school system, and seeing how “things were broken and ‘solutions’ were in place that weren’t sustainable,” she decided to do something about it. She wanted to tackle the issues she saw in the classroom from a grass-roots angle but she also wanted to confront the larger, systemic issues at play.

“Teachers can create immense changes,” she says. “I just think that law school fit my personal skill set for creating the most change.” So she applied to the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.

A May 2018 graduate, Saghafi is preparing for a career in public interest law and social justice. Her studies focus on gender violence in society, particularly violence against women (VAW), and how in some societies cultural patriarchy and international or domestic VAW go hand in hand.

Saghafi’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Iran. Though she grew up in the U.S., her heads of household came from a country where women’s rights were restricted. “I think that gave insight into my interest in how culture shapes our relationships and how the dynamic of gender plays out,” she says.

By no means does Saghafi believe that law and policy change is the solution to all problems, but it’s one solution that can make a big impact. “If I feel something is unjust, I can develop the tools and find the resources to do something about it,” she says. “That inspires me to take action.”

Her friends agree Saghafi is not one to wait for others to spark change. “I still remember reviewing her résumé when she asked to volunteer with us,” says Adam Dodge, a close friend and the legal director of nonprofit shelter Laura’s House, where Saghafi interned in California. “Her credentials were ridiculous. We simply don’t get prospective volunteers walking through the door with Neda’s educational and extracurricular background. When it comes to this work, she is just so driven. It’s really inspiring.”

Adds friend Sana Shaikh, a PhD candidate at Brandeis University, “When we were Teach For America Corps members, Neda not only taught students during the day, but she completed her coursework at night, and during the weekends drove throughout the city to support her students in various recreational and sports activities. Complacency and idleness are definitely not in her nature.”

Saghafi is a catalyst for justice, every day committed to serving those who suffer historic or systemic disadvantages within the legal system.

Since enrolling at Maryland Carey Law, Saghafi’s résumé has included an internship at U.N. Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In the U.N.’s EVAW (Ending Violence Against Women) Section, she wrote briefs for the interim chief of the department and developed concepts for better collaboration between the U.N.’s other sections. In that role, she facilitated timely conversations with #MeToo movement founder Tarana Burke and represented U.N. Women at the fifth Annual 30 Under 30 Film Festival, whose opening night selection featured international films about U.N. Sustainable Development Goal #5: Gender Equality.

Saghafi has served as a research assistant for Maryland Carey Law professor Leigh Goodmark, JD, evaluating alternative approaches to criminalization for perpetrators of intimate partner violence, and interned at the University of Maryland SAFE Center for Human Trafficking Survivors, where she assisted with writing and researching court-related documents, legal and policy research, and legal memoranda.

For Saghafi, it’s not about taking on every opportunity — it’s about the impact she can make. “When given a job, I want to do something with it,” she says. “I don’t want it to just be a résumé filler — I feel an obligation to make it impactful.”

She did just that a few years ago, when she organized a panel discussion at the law school on another issue near and dear to her heart, “Battling the Stigma of Mental Health Conditions.”

According to a 2014 American Bar Association (ABA) survey, 17 percent of law school students screened positive for depression, 23 percent for mild to moderate anxiety, and 14 percent for severe anxiety. In another ABA survey, 42 percent of respondents thought they needed help for mental health or emotional problems in the last year.

“The stigma for mental health is already so great, but it seems exacerbated in the law school community,” Saghafi says. Within the profession, there’s a fear of being deemed incapable of completing complex tasks for those who seek mental health treatment. The character component of the bar application only heightens the pressure. “Law students may not seek help until it’s too late,” she says.

Saghafi was inspired by the ABA’s Mental Health Day, where law schools across the country are encouraged to sponsor educational programs and events to break the stigma of depression among law students and lawyers. She also gathered a team of law professionals and advocates of mental health for a discussion on campus.

“As a student, Neda consistently used her intellectual gifts and leadership skills to serve others, whether they are victims of domestic abuse, employment discrimination, or human trafficking operations,” says Donald B. Tobin, JD, dean and professor at Maryland Carey Law. “Given her outstanding performance as a student, I know she will be an amazing lawyer.”

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJune 8, 20180 comments
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