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UMB Researcher of the Year Karen Kotloff, MD

UMB Researcher of the Year Kotloff’s Talk Turns Into Celebration

Karen L. Kotloff, MD, has made many friends and many contributions during her 35 years at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. So her 2018 UMB Researcher of the Year presentation on Oct. 16 turned into quite the celebration with plenty of praise to go around.

What began with glowing words from the University president and Kotloff’s supervisor ended nearly an hour later with a standing ovation from the 100-plus people who crammed into Health Sciences Research Facility II auditorium to pay homage to Kotloff.

“I’ve had the privilege and pleasure of working with Dr. Kotloff for close to three decades,” said Jay A. Perman, MD, who was her department chair in Pediatrics long before he became president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). “You have focused on saving the lives of children in some of the world’s poorest countries and I can’t think of a more worthy recipient of this honor.”

Kathleen Neuzil, MD, MPH, director of the School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD), where Kotloff is associate director of clinical studies, called the professor and head of pediatric infectious diseases “a superb scientist, an international leader in the field of vaccinology, and a tireless champion for access to vaccines in children’s health around the globe. Her impact has been multiplied by the dozens of physicians and scientists whom she has mentored.”

Then Kotloff took the podium and recapped her career with stories, slides, and passion.

A leading authority in human controlled infection models for shigellosis, a major cause of diarrhea morbidity and mortality in children, Kotloff mixed in some humor as well. She thanked former CVD Director Myron “Mike”  Levine, MD, DTPH, for involving her in an early project that was a study of diarrheal diseases. “That was the start — and I know it’s hard to understand — of my love of diarrheal diseases,” Kotloff said, drawing laughter from the overflow crowd.

She was known as “the bag lady” for putting red bags on babies’ cribs from whom she needed stool samples. And when early pictures showed a pregnant Kotloff with several other soon-to-be mom researchers, she joked it was “an epidemic of pregnancy.”

But most of the work Kotloff has performed so well for so long is deadly serious. In the beginning it was babies with HIV and diarrhea in Baltimore. STDs and the papillomavirus. HPV and cervical dysplasia in college students.

“To summarize those early years, I think you can say it took a village to launch my career,” she said. “It took mentors to provide the context and the opportunities. It took the resources of the CVD to determine the etiology of diarrheal diseases. It took institutional processes to provide seed funds so that I could generate preliminary data and strong collaborators. I felt I was in a very rich environment to really grow as a faculty member.”

It was the “second part” of Kotloff’s career where she really fell in love with public health, she said. In 2001, her work took her to Mali, a poor country in West Africa with one of the world’s highest childhood mortality rates. Many haven’t heard of Mali. “My husband’s aunt is constantly asking me if I’ve been to Maui [the Hawaiian island] lately,” Kotloff said with a smile.

Levine had the vision of starting a field site in Mali, which was named CVD-Mali, Kotloff recalled. It is a center for infectious disease research teaching and public health in order to generate data to accelerate public health and to save lives.

There Kotloff met CVD-Mali’s first employee and “one of the most influential people in my life — Dr. Samba Sow,” who was the coordinator of the field site and is now the Malian Minister of Health. “Since 2001 when we had two employees we now have over 250 employees and it’s just a site that’s been able to do amazing things,” Kotloff said.

A series of epidemiologic studies followed to understand the causes and consequences of fever, pneumonia, diarrheal diseases, and tonsillitis from group A streptococcus. Whenever possible, Kotloff, an advisor to the World Health Organization whose present research portfolio totals over $50 million, helped to introduce vaccines and other interventions to curb the disease burden and then measure the impact of that intervention.

During her talk she pointed out how the CVD paradigm of “Evidence/Impact/Action” had been used in each case.

“We’ve come a long way,” she said, pointing out that basic tools like blood cultures and bacterial labs didn’t exist when the CVD first arrived in Mali. “But we have a long way to go.”

UNICEF reports a 50 percent reduction in under-age 5 mortality since 1990. “That’s the good news,” Kotloff said. The bad? “There are 5.4 million children who die each year before reaching their fifth birthday; 14,800 of them die every day; 10 die every minute, most of them in sub-Saharan Africa. So what we have  been able to access and improve — here we call it the tip of the iceberg, in Mali it’s the eyes of the hippo, as my mentor and friend Samba always says.”

Kotloff summed up her talk with a montage of pictures giving thanks and some words of advice.

“Public health opens your eyes to how the rest of the world lives,” she said. “It touches your heart, it inspires you. When you see what people do and how resourceful and energetic they are … it shows you what happiness means. People are resilient and they make the best of what they have been given. And public health needs you. So I hope that maybe there is something in this talk  that interested someone in the room enough so that they will begin a career in public health.”

Read more about Dr. Kotloff and the Founders Week award winners.

Watch a video about Dr. Kotloff.

Chris ZangClinical Care, Collaboration, People, Research, UMB News, University LifeOctober 18, 20180 comments
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UMB Police COAST team

New COAST Program Ramps Up UMB Police Community Engagement Efforts

Since taking over as University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) police chief in June, Alice Cary, MS, has put her stamp on the force by stressing the need, in her words, “to build community relationships through effective, University-based policing.” To foster those ties, Cary has created a Campus Outreach and Support Team (COAST), a program that will be led by three veterans of the UMB Police Force.

The officer overseeing the team is Lt. Matthew Johnson, an 11-year UMB Police Force veteran who recently was promoted from sergeant. Cpl. Jevon Thompson, MPA, and Acting Sgt. J.R. Jones, who have each been at UMB for more than a decade, will fill the program’s homeless and neighborhood liaison roles, respectively.

The COAST head and two liaisons will serve as key conduits in Cary’s community engagement efforts, collaborating with UMB offices, city of Baltimore police and agencies, and non-governmental entities such as the Southwest Partnership neighborhood association. Cary said that COAST will work out of the UMB Police substation at the UM BioPark and that it’s all part of her goal to have a “robust campus engagement team.”

“There are many different needs from the campus and the community relating to police and public safety, and if we don’t get on the right communications track, the wrong information will be getting out there,” Cary says. “So that’s why we need these liaisons, officers who will actually be hearing about those wants and needs and relaying them back to us.”

As head of the team, Johnson said he plans to use frameworks already in place to continue developing an organizational culture that focuses on police being a part of the community, not simply working in the community. He aims to make sure UMB officers reach out not only in person, but also digitally via social networking.

“My vision is to create solutions that will remove the barriers to positive relationships with the community,” Johnson says. “Policing is not solely about enforcing the law, it also is about building relationships with the people to create positive change.

“COAST streamlines all of our community engagement activities under one umbrella, as opposed to having different programs that aren’t working together for the common goal. The programs are meant to overlap and be cohesive. We are building COAST to be innovative and an example for others to use when designing their community engagement programs. I’m excited and humbled to spearhead something so valuable and paramount.”

‘Compassion in My Heart’

Thompson is a 15-year veteran of the force who stepped up immediately when Cary raised the idea of creating a homeless liaison. “He expressed interest right away, then started doing research and collaborating with the city,” Cary says. “He took the ball and started running with it.”

The plight of the homeless resonates with Thompson, who said he was on the verge of being homeless many years ago when he worked as a waiter. “So I’ve always had compassion in my heart for this population,” he says. “When Chief Cary mentioned she wanted to start this program, it just really sparked an interest.”

The goal of the homeless liaison program is two-pronged: 1) To educate UMB students, faculty, and staff on how to interact with the population; and 2) to guide the homeless on where and how to access social services and other supports through the University, Veterans Affairs, the city, and other agencies.

“A lot of this program will be information sharing,” Thompson says. “A lot of the homeless don’t realize the services that are afforded them. So I do plan to reach out to them, hand out literature, and educate them on where they can go for services that can help them get back on their feet with employment, financial, or housing assistance.

“I plan to inform our department and the University in developing a master list of different referral services, so when our officers encounter citizens on the street, especially homeless veterans, those people in need can be directed toward the services available.”

Cary said the team will collaborate with a case worker from the city’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program, which launched in 2017 and redirects people arrested for low-level drug offenses to treatment and other services.

“We will have office space available here for the LEAD case worker so that the team and Jevon in particular can work closely with that person,” Cary says. “These type of offenders will get referred to a diversion program instead of jail, and it will help those who are dealing with addiction to address the problem.

“We need to approach the homeless problem in a humanitarian way. A lot of agencies just push them out of a particular area, but that’s just giving someone else the problem and not attacking the issue as it stands. So, this is a start.”

‘Best Parts of Different Programs’

Jones, a 13-year veteran of the force who also worked 30 years as a Baltimore City officer, said as neighborhood liaison it will be his duty to make sure that the needs of the University and Southwest Baltimore communities are heard and understood by the UMB police.

“There are numerous areas around the UMB campus where students, faculty, and staff live,” he says, “so we need to foster better communication and build relationships between the police and those communities. COAST combines the best parts of different programs and has us all working together toward a common goal.”

Cary echoed Jones’ comments, saying it’s important to remember that many UMB students live off campus in these neighborhoods, so their safety concerns and needs must be addressed. She cited results from the National Crime Victimization Survey that show college students are most likely to be robbed when traveling to and from school, specifically between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

“We don’t want to lose focus of the students, but our campus is relatively secure, in a broad sense,” Cary says. “It’s the nexus that has the concerns. So we need to make sure we’re addressing not only the core of the University but the areas where a lot of our students live.”

She adds that UMB Police need to be savvy on social media and develop apps that students will use, saying social media is an important tool to keep them informed. “We need to meet students where they are — online,” Cary says. She also hopes to create a public information officer/media liaison to help with disseminating this type of information to the student population and beyond.

Two other UMB Police Force veterans, Pfc. Anthony Brown and Cpl. Andrew Degele, will support the team, and Cary said Jones will work with neighborhood associations such as the Southwest Partnership and will be a point person to attend community meetings in Southwest Baltimore and perhaps other districts in the city.

“There’s a lot of information that’s shared at those meetings, and the Southwest Partnership, for example, has a public safety task force, so we’re going to be part of that,” Cary says. “We need to hear what the citizens want, what our community wants, so by having that information and an open dialogue, we can strategize about how best to tackle these problems.”

— Lou Cortina

Lou CortinaCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 17, 20180 comments
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Dr. Thomas Scalea delivering his presentation

Scalea Recalls the Journey to MARS in Entrepreneurs of the Year Presentation

Like a preschool teacher gathering his young students around him, Thomas Scalea had his own form of “story time.” But instead of Thomas the Tank Engine, Scalea’s topic was “Supporting Failing Organs” at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Entrepreneurs of the Year Presentation on Oct. 15.

His “very cool story” took place not in a cozy classroom but in the auditorium of the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center, which is regarded as the world’s most advanced trauma center under physician-in-chief Scalea, MD, FACS, FCCM, and his colleagues.

Scalea mixed history, humor, and humility into a riveting hourlong presentation enjoyed by over 100 people.

“Anyone who has heard me knows I tell stories. It’s the only thing I’m good at,” said Scalea, the Francis X. Kelly Distinguished Professor in Trauma Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. “And this is a pretty good story. It’s a story not only about MARS. It’s about the development of support for failing organs. It’s a story about a whole bunch of entrepreneurs and their spirit that allowed us to accumulate the knowledge that has brought us to this point.

“It starts with the advent of critical care: When I finished my residency back in the Middle Ages, say around 1983, there was a single fellowship program in critical care for surgeons — one. My surgical critical care certificate number is 069. There weren’t that many,” said Scalea, who arrived at Shock Trauma in 1997. “So it’s a story of critical care that traces its maturation, it’s a story of innovation and determination. It’s a story that covers a long time, it’s not just about MARS, so indulge me.”

Later called a “Pied Piper” by 2017 UMB Entrepreneur of the Year Bartley Griffith, MD, Scalea led the crowd on a journey of organ failure through the ages. Heart failure in World War I. Kidney failure in World War II and the Korean War “because helicopters and blood banking made injured soldiers live who used to die from heart failure.” Lung failure in Vietnam.

Scalea dropped many names of pioneers in the fight against organ failure up to modern days. Florence Nightingale. Peter Safar. Tom Petty “without the Heartbreakers.” Dave Ashbaugh. Bruce Jarrell. Rolf Barth. Art Baue. Berry Fowler. And his mentor, Louis Del Guercio. “I had no right to that fellowship, but he took pity on me, so I dedicate this to his memory,” Scalea said.

Among the historical tidbits was that Safar in 1958 set up the first ICU in the United States. “Where?” Scalea asked the assembled physicians, researchers, students, and staff. “Eight miles from here, Baltimore City Hospital, now known as Bayview. The home of critical care in trauma in the United States is Baltimore.”

Next Stop: MARS

Eventually Scalea got around to his greatest story of the day, the one that garnered him, Deborah Stein, MD, MPH, FACS, FCCM, chief of trauma at Shock Trauma, and Steven Hanish, MD, FACS, a former liver surgeon at Shock Trauma who is now director of liver transplants at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, the UMB Entrepreneurs of the Year award.

Their innovative application of the Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System (MARS) led to a study that found this “dialysis machine for the liver” can remove toxins, improve clotting, and reduce brain swelling — allowing acute liver failure sufferers time for spontaneous recovery or transplantation.

“Usually as the senior member of the team I would have assigned this talk to Deb or Steve,” Scalea said early in his presentation. “But he is in Dallas [at his new job] and she is in England [on vacation], so you’ll just have to put up with me.”

How the MARS machine came to Shock Trauma combined knowledge, quick thinking, a tight-knit team, and good old-fashioned luck.

“This guy comes in with a devastating liver injury from a gunshot wound,” Scalea recalls. “Deb calls me, we get him through the first operation, but he goes into liver failure. Deb says, ‘What about this MARS machine?’ We’ve heard about it, we don’t own one, few did. She says, ‘Hey, Dad, you think we could get one?’ ” Scalea recalled to the audience’s amusement.

“I say ‘Sure!’ I don’t know where the hell we are going to get one. So I call the company. They say, ‘You’re not going to believe this. Somebody bought it. They decided they didn’t want it. It’s on the truck, in Maryland, coming back to the factory. Do you want it?’

“I said, ‘Absolutely, turn the truck around and bring it down,’ ” Scalea recalled. “Then I hung up and I asked myself, ‘I wonder how much this thing costs?’ [more laughter] So I called Karen [Doyle, senior vice president at Shock Trauma] and said, ‘Hey, Mom, can we have a dialysis machine?’ God love her, she said. ‘I don’t care what it costs, if you need it, you’ve got it.’ They deliver it and just like Petty [the pioneering lung specialist], we sit on the floor. We open the instructions. We say, ‘How hard can it be? It’s just a machine.’ The patient gets well.”

And so did more and more patients. After 27 patients, Scalea, Stein, and Hanish reported their findings to the American Surgical Association. Now the nearly 14,000 Americans on the liver transplant waiting list have renewed hope. And as James L. Hughes, MBA, chief enterprise and economic development officer and vice president at UMB, who hosted the event, said, “Through persistence and meticulous research, the MARS team is on the path to turn inspiration to save one life into a new standard of care for thousands of patients.”

Scalea sees it more as being in the right place at the right time. “We had modern technology next to the patients,” he said. “We controlled the technology ourselves. We noticed what was different, we weren’t bound by conventional thinking. We challenged dogma, we flew by the seat of our pants, and as physicians and surgeons we were together. This story is far from told. There are a zillion careers for those who want to take this on. But it’s a cool story. A very cool story.”

Record-Breaking Research

After Scalea took questions from the audience, Hughes, UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, and Phil Robilotto, DO, MBA, assistant vice president of research and development, presented plaques to some of the 99 UMB researchers who had U.S. and international patents approved in the past year.

“We’ve had an incredible year in extramural funding,” Hughes said. “We had big growth two years ago and this year we grew the biggest we have ever had and the biggest of any University System of Maryland institution with $667.4 million. There is a lot of great research being done here, and that’s the foundation of much of the great entrepreneur work we are seeing.”

— Chris Zang

Read more about Scalea and the MARS Team.

Chris ZangClinical Care, Collaboration, People, Research, UMB News, University LifeOctober 17, 20180 comments
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Open Access logo

Scholarly Publishing Workshop Series at HS/HSL: Oct. 23-25

As part of this year’s Open Access Week, the Health Sciences and Human services Library will be hosting a Scholarly Publishing Workshop Series. All workshops will be held in Room LL03 on the library’s lower level.

Walk-ins are welcome, but you also may register at this link.

Tuesday, Oct. 23

Noon to 12:30 p.m.
“Choosing the Right Journal for Your Research”

  • Key factors to consider when choosing a journal
  • Tools to help you identify potential journals that match your research

12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
“Open Access and Predatory Publishing”

  • What is open access and why should you publish in OA journals?
  • Red flags and evaluating journal quality

Wednesday, Oct. 24

Noon to 12:30 p.m.
“Author IDs”

  • Author IDs in ORCID, Google Scholar, and Scopus
  • How author IDs can enhance your impact

12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Drop-in session for individual help with your author ID

Thursday, Oct. 25

Noon to 12:30 p.m.
“Enhancing Your Research Impact”

  • Establishing your scholarly identity
  • Making strategic publishing decisions

12:30 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Drop-in session for individual help with enhancing your impact

Everly BrownCollaboration, Education, People, ResearchOctober 16, 20180 comments
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Dean Reece and Dr. Perman with Dr. Thomas Scalea

UMB States Its Case at Founders Week Gala

From the Berger Cookie-inspired cupcakes to the state flag on the program, there was no doubt that “Taking Care of Maryland” was the theme of the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) 23rd annual Founders Week Gala on Oct. 13 at the Hyatt Regency Baltimore Inner Harbor.

“There’s scarcely a Marylander who hasn’t been touched in some way by the work we do here at UMB,” said University President Jay A. Perman, MD, who hosted the Gala, attended by more than 500 UMB faculty, staff, students, and supporters. “By the professionals we graduate; by the research we conduct; by the technologies we invent; by the care, counsel, and service we provide.

“You know, each year when I go before the legislature, I tell our lawmakers where their investment goes: how we use the money they give us to make Maryland better, its people healthier and happier; its laws more just; its communities more resilient. UMB is Maryland’s No. 1 asset in supplying the workforce we need to care for the state’s citizens.”

Dean Reece, Valli Meeks and Dr. PermanSpeaking about combating chronic pain as well as the opioid crisis that killed 2,200 Marylanders last year, Perman added, “We’re bringing all seven of our schools together to end this epidemic of addiction, to tie together the science, policy, and practice that save lives — and kindle hope.”

Those are some of the Big Ideas being addressed by UMB’s multi-year $750 million Catalyst Campaign. Catalyst co-chair Ellen H. Yankellow, PharmD ’96, was happy to inform the crowd of supporters that the campaign, which was launched at the 2017 Gala, has surpassed $424 million in gifts and commitments for student scholarships, faculty excellence and research, and school-specific and community engagement endeavors.

“With the exceptional leadership of Dr. Perman and his team of excellent academic and administrative leaders, the University benefits from the interest and support of a growing number of alumni, friends, and benefactors who strive on behalf of a cause that is undeniably improving the human condition,” said Yankellow, president and CEO of Correct Rx Pharmacy Services, Inc. “We enthusiastically aim to take this extraordinary effort to lofty new levels of achievement and distinction.”

UMB has done much to “take care of Maryland.” For instance:

  • 77 percent of UMB’s students are Marylanders
  • UMB confers 53 percent of the professional doctorate degrees awarded each year in Maryland
  • UMB creates 18,000 jobs in Maryland
  • Every year, UMB’s people contribute 2 million hours in volunteer service to Marylanders
  • Last year, UMB won a record-breaking $667.4 million in research grants and contracts, fueling Maryland’s knowledge economy
  • Every year, UMB provides $40 million in uncompensated care to Maryland residents
  • UMB has a $2.8 billion economic impact on Maryland
  • UMB returns $13 to Maryland for every dollar of state support

After Perman, Yankellow, and emcee Deborah Weiner, anchor of WBAL-TV, had praised the University’s many achievements, UMB Foundation chair Harry C. Knipp, MD, FACR, presented the foundation’s Distinguished Service Award to Margaret “Meg” Woodside, MBA, MSW ’07, for her “extraordinary dedication and impactful service” to the School of Social Work.

The Gala is the signature event of Founders Week, which honors UMB’s proud 211-year history, marks the achievements of current faculty, staff, and students, and looks ahead to the innovations to come. This year’s top researcher, teacher, public servant, and entrepreneurs — who were honored after dinner — carry on that fine UMB tradition.

MARS teammates Thomas M. Scalea, MD, FACS, MCCM, Deborah M. Stein, MD, MPH, FACS, FCCM, and Steven I. Hanish, MD, FACS (School of Medicine and R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center) were named Entrepreneurs of the Year. Their innovative application of the Molecular Adsorbent Recirculating System (MARS), considered a “dialysis machine for the liver,” has given new hope to acute liver failure sufferers, allowing time for spontaneous recovery or transplantation.

Karen L. Kotloff, MD, is UMB’s 2018 Researcher of the Year. Considered a leading authority in the world on human controlled infection models for shigellosis, a major cause of diarrhea mortality in children, Kotloff’s work with the School of Medicine’s Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health has saved the lives of countless children in the U.S. and developing countries.

A 30-plus-year UMB employee like Kotloff, Geoffrey L. Greif, PhD, MSW, was named Teacher of the Year. In addition to shaping the next generation as a challenging professor at the School of Social Work, Greif is a researcher, author of 14 books, and community organizer, counseling prison inmates, AIDS patients, and parent support groups.

Valli Meeks, DDS, MS, RDH, an alumna of the School of Dentistry who has worked there for 29 years, is UMB’s Public Servant of the Year. She not only opened (and still directs) the state’s first dental clinic for Marylanders with HIV/AIDS and no insurance but also led a collaboration that helped form the first school of dentistry in Rwanda.

After the awards presentation, the attendees enjoyed a dessert reception of Maryland-inspired treats and enjoyed the music of the Sounds Good! jazz ensemble.

— Chris Zang

View the Gala photo gallery and learn more about the award winners and Founders Week.

Watch a video recap of the Gala.

Chris ZangCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeOctober 15, 20180 comments
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Mental health grahpic

Not All Wounds Are Visible: A Community Conversation

Join the University of Maryland Medical System on Wednesday, Nov. 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the SMC Campus Center for a free community conversation about the impact of depression and anxiety on men, seniors, and those managing chronic disease.

The important topic of suicide prevention also will be discussed.

Jamal Lewis, the former Baltimore Ravens running back and Super Bowl XXXV champion Jamal Lewis, will be on hand to share lessons learned on his journey from stardom to falling into the shadows of public opinion, managing depression and thoughts of suicide to redefining himself after the “cheerleaders” in his life disappeared.

Registration: Go to this link.

Kim DavidsonCollaboration, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 15, 20180 comments
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UMB Founders Week logo

Celebrate UMB at Founders Week Events

Each year, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) celebrates the achievements and successes of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and philanthropic supporters and pays tribute to UMB’s 200-plus-year history with a series of Founders Week events. The celebration kicks off with the Founders Week Gala on Saturday night, followed by these events next week:

Monday, Oct. 15

Staff Luncheon
11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Westminster Hall

To offer everyone a chance to enjoy lunch, there will be two seatings: 11:30 a.m. to 12:10 p.m., followed by 12:20 to 1 p.m. Tickets are required.

Register here.

Entrepreneurs of the Year Presentation and Reception
4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Shock Trauma Auditorium

4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.: Presentation by Thomas M. Scalea, MD, FACS, MCCM – Supporting Failing Organs
5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.: Reception immediately following in lobby outside of the auditorium

Register here.

Read about the Entrepreneurs of the Year, the MARS team: Scalea; Deborah M. Stein, MD, MPH, FACS, FCCM; and Steven I. Hanish, MD, FACS.

Tuesday, Oct. 16

Art Sculpture Unveiling
11 a.m. to noon

Health Sciences Research Facility (HSRF) III plaza

Special guests: First Lady of Maryland Yumi Hogan and members of the Maryland State Arts Council

Researcher of the Year Lecture and Reception
4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
HSRF II Auditorium

4 p.m. to 5 p.m.: Lecture presented by Karen L. Kotloff, MD — Global Health: Where Science Meets Humanity
5 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Reception immediately following in atrium of HSRF II

Register here.

Read about Kotloff, the Researcher of the Year.

Thursday, Oct. 18

Student Cookout
Noon to 1:30 p.m.
School of Nursing Courtyard

The student cookout offers free food, greetings from President Jay A. Perman, MD, and the chance to be served by a school dean, University vice president, or UMB administrator.

Register here.

More on Founders Week

Read about the Public Servant of the Year, Valli Meeks, DDS, MS, RDH.

Read about the Teacher of the Year, Geoffrey L. Greif, PhD, MSW.

Visit the Founders Week website for more information.

Communications and Public AffairsBulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeOctober 12, 20180 comments
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Flow Cytometry Graphic

Next UMGCCC Flow Cytometry Lecture Set for Nov. 5

The next Flow Cytometry Monthly Lecture will be held Monday, Nov. 5, 10:30 a.m. to noon, at the Bressler Research Building, Room 7-035.

This course — led by Xiaoxuan Fan, PhD, director, Flow Cytometry Shared Service — is needed  to become a trained user at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) Flow Cytometry Shared Services. However, all are welcome to attend.

This lecture will cover:

  • How flow cytometry works
  • Multi-color design and compensation
  • Instruments and services
  • New technology and tools.

To RSVP, go to this link.

Karen UnderwoodBulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Education, ResearchOctober 11, 20180 comments
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UMB Cure Scholars Cohort 4

A White Coat Welcome for New UMB CURE Scholars

Jamiyah Mitchell may only be in sixth grade, but she already has her sights set on going to medical school and becoming a pediatrician. The Southwest Baltimore Charter School (SBCS) student is one step closer to her goal after she was officially inducted into the CURE Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

CURE Scholar speaks to potential mentorsOn Saturday, Oct. 6, Jamiyah and 23 other sixth-grade students from SBCS, Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School (FSEMS), and Green Street Academy (GSA) were presented with the CURE program’s signature white laboratory coat in a ceremony at the University of Maryland School of Nursing Auditorium, symbolizing their acceptance into the prestigious academic program.

“I decided to join CURE because I wanted to do something outside of school where I was still learning, so I could get into good schools,” Jamiyah explained. “I just know I’m ready for a big experience like this one.”

Established in 2015, the UMB CURE Scholars Program is a unique pipeline initiative aimed at guiding West Baltimore children into challenging careers in medicine and public health. It is the first program in the nation to begin academic enrichment and mentorship for students as early as sixth grade.

“I am very excited for Jamiyah to be in the CURE program,” said Jamiyah’s mother, Shardae Randolph, “It offers a lot of help and a lot of support. I hope they help her to stay focused, stay on top of her grades to get her where she wants to go.”

Jamiyah is part of the fourth cohort of scholars to be welcomed into the CURE Program with its traditional White Coat Ceremony. It was fitting to have the scholars from cohort 1 — who have just begun their first year of high school — present the newest scholars with their lab coats.

(View a photo gallery and watch a video.)

“I remember cohort 1 when they were babies, and now they’re all taller than me!” Robin Saunders, EdD, MS, executive director of the UMB CURE Scholars Program, said to the crowd attending the ceremony. “I am so incredibly proud of them and happy for them to be here to welcome our brand-new scholars.”

After receiving their white coats, the new scholars headed to the SMC Campus Center to attend a “mentor mixer.” The scholars got the chance to meet some of the 261 mentors who are committed to guiding these youngsters on their journey to success. All donning red shirts, the mentors are made up of volunteers from UMB’s six professional schools and interdisciplinary Graduate School, UMB faculty and staff members, and participants from other universities and organizations. The mentors are paired with the scholars on a 5:1 ratio, which creates a strong foundation of support for each scholar starting from Day 1.

The scholars in cohort 4 also will get an added layer of mentorship from the three older cohorts. Kaden Johnson, a GSA student in cohort 3, has one year of CURE under his belt. He received his white coat last year and is on the path to becoming a dentist. When asked what advice he would give to the newest class of scholars, he replied, “Stay focused. Don’t be shy. Have faith and hope in yourself, and you’ll be where you want to be.”

The support of many mentors and peers has proved successful for the CURE Scholars. In just three years, the program has seen vast improvements in its scholars’ academic achievements, including: a 66 percent improved math score and a 66 percent improved reading score at FSEMS; a 79 percent improved math score and a 76 percent improved reading score at GSA; and a 94 percent improved math score and an 83 percent improved reading score at SBCS.

The success of the program has become a catalyst for a new academic enrichment initiative that will be launched by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is a supporting partner of UMB’s CURE Scholars Program. NCI’s new initiative is called YES, which stands for Youth Enjoy Science. Modeled after UMB’s CURE Scholars Program, YES will provide support for eligible institutions to develop and maintain early intervention strategies to academically engage under-represented students and help prepare them for careers in biomedical research. Like the CURE Scholars, middle-school students across the nation will get the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning experiences under the guidance of mentors.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, described the creation of YES during the CURE White Coat Ceremony in a welcome video. He congratulated the scholars on playing a vital role in the startup of the new, nationwide program.

“You made this possible,” he told the scholars. “Your interest, your excitement, and your success have already made a difference to countless more students who now have access to the same opportunities that you have.”

Perman went on to address the new cohort of scholars, explaining to them the importance of programs like CURE and YES that aim to diversify the medical, science, and public health workforces that will in turn reduce racial disparities in cancer research and treatment. He also impressed upon the scholars that they have a village of support whenever they need help. They can always turn to their mentors, teachers, and even fellow CURE Scholars for guidance.

This is exactly what Lynijiah Walker, a FSEMS student in cohort 4, needed to hear. “I’m excited, but scared at the same time,” she said. “I don’t know what will be coming next or what journey this program is going to take me on, but I am very excited.”

— Jena Frick

Jena FrickCollaboration, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 11, 20180 comments
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Police officers talking to Tour participants

On University Tour, UMB Police Stress Theme of Safety First

Personal safety was the focus Oct. 2 when a group of University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) staff members traversed the campus and city streets with UMB police officers and Office of Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) leaders during the first of five University Tours scheduled for Tuesdays this October. (See schedule here.)

Lt. Erk Pecha speaking to the groupUMB Police Force Capt. Erik Pecha and Lt. Dennis Smith led the way, enlightening the employees on ways to avoid becoming a victim of crime and urging the use of services such as the Safe Walk/Safe Ride program, where uniformed officers accompany UMB students, staff, and faculty between campus sites when requested.

“I can’t walk next to you 24/7 and 365 days a year to make you feel safe,” Smith told the group. “The police forces does as much as it can, but we can’t have a cop on every corner of the campus. That’s not practical. In the end, you are responsible for your personal safety, but we can help you along the way.”

To that end, the UMB officers offered safety tips on the tour, which began at Lexington Street Garage, moved south on Pine Street to West Baltimore Street, then east to Greene Street, south to West Lombard Street, east to South Paca Street, and north to Lexington Market.

Perhaps the central message conveyed was: Be aware of your surroundings. The officers lamented the fact that too many people, with cellphone in hand or earphones on, are not paying attention to what’s happening around them as they navigate the campus.

“One thing that we preach all the time: no headphones or texting while you are walking,” Smith said. “Take your headphones off and pay attention to what’s going on around you. People who are looking to commit crime are watching to see who’s paying attention and who’s not. If you are oblivious to your situation because you are on your phone or have headphones on, you are a prime target.”

Other tips:

• If you feel uncomfortable on the street or think someone is following you, walk into any UMB building and seek out a security officer or attendant who can contact police immediately. “Don’t worry that you might offend someone by doing that,” said Pecha, who also holds the title of assistant chief. “You are not doing it because of any bias, you are doing it because you don’t feel safe.”

• Do not jaywalk. Instead, use the marked crosswalks, but never assume that just because you are in a crosswalk that you don’t have to pay attention to the vehicles. “You should take an extra moment and try to make eye contact with drivers before crossing,” Pecha said.

• The emergency blue light phones around campus and in garages are analog devices that call the police dispatcher, but if you use one, you can’t just hit the button and leave the site. You need to talk to the dispatcher and give them information about the emergency.

• Use a backpack to carry your belongings, and bring as few valuables to campus as possible. “With a backpack, you’ve got everything in there secure and two straps on your shoulders,” Smith said. “Most women carry their purse on their side, and a thief can give it a good yank and most likely it’s going to come out of your hands. … And if you don’t need something, don’t carry it with you. But also don’t leave it in your car and visible, because someone might break a window to get it.”

• When walking around the city, avoid alleys and other shortcuts; stay on streets that are well-lit and heavily traveled. This is an emphasis for Pecha. “Shortcuts are bad!” he said. “Everyone makes fun of me for repeating that, but it’s the truth. There’s no reward for taking a shortcut.”

• Use police services such as Safe Walk/Safe Ride — even if the distance between your destinations is short. “It’s a resource that we offer, so why not use it?” Pecha said (simply call 6-6882 on campus or 410-706-6882). “You are not putting us out in any way, shape, or form. That’s part of our job.”

The tour also offered suggestions on places to eat that you might not know about, like the School of Dentistry cafeteria or the snack bar in Health Sciences Research Facility I; pointed out the location of UMaryland Immediate Care on West Lombard Street for health care needs; and provided guidance on how to interact with the homeless and panhandlers.

The tour ended at Lexington Market, where Stacey Pack, marketing and communications manager for Baltimore Public Markets, pointed out the many culinary, produce, and shopping choices at the historic site, which is soon to be redeveloped. The market tour ended with a walk through Mem Sahib Indian Cuisine restaurant, a participant in the UMB Office of Community Engagement’s Local Food Connection.

The group then sat down for a Q&A session with the police officers and three PTS officials, including director Robert Milner, MS, CAPP.

Tony Green, manager, TDM and Transportation Services, discussed the UM shuttle, alternative transportation options, and electric vehicle services, while encouraging the group to follow PTS’ Twitter and Facebook accounts. Stacy Holmes, operations manager, talked about garage services such as flat tire assistance, battery jumps, and lockout help.

During the feedback session, one member of the UMB group, a new employee who has moved to Baltimore from New York, said that she appreciated the safety and security aspects of the tour and that she gained more familiarity with the campus’ landscape — which is what University Tours is all about.

“We began these tours about three years ago,” Pecha said, noting the need to educate those new to UMB or anyone who might be unfamiliar with an urban environment. “It’s not a historical tour, like, ‘Oh, there’s the School of Pharmacy, and there’s the School of Medicine.’ It’s more of a practical and social-type tour: ‘You can get coffee here. There’s a snack bar there. Don’t walk this way. Walk on this street.’

“It’s also a chance for students and staff to get to know us as human beings, and we can learn about them and learn from them as well.”

— Lou Cortina

Read about more safety tips from the UMB Police Force.

Lou CortinaCollaboration, People, UMB News, University Life, USGAOctober 9, 20180 comments
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The President’s Message

Check out the October issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on Promise Heights’ game-changing $30 million grant; a look ahead to Founders Week; President’s Symposium and White Paper Project tackles gun violence; John T. Wolfe Jr. talks disruption and diversity at DAC Speaker Series; UMB leaders discuss policing and emergency management; new CURE Scholars documentary to air on MPT; “I’m new to Twitter — come say hello @JayPerman;” and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements.

Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAOctober 8, 20180 comments
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UMB ICTR: Molecules to Communities

Campuswide Funding Opportunity from UMB ICTR

The University of Maryland, Baltimore Institute for Clinical and Translational Research (UMB ICTR) is a campuswide initiative that provides financial support, infrastructure, environment, training, and workforce development to invigorate, facilitate, and accelerate clinical and translational research to improve patient and community health.

The UMB ICTR Accelerated Translational Incubator Pilot (ATIP) Grant Program is now accepting applications. There are two types of ATIP opportunities: the ICTR Innovative Collaboration Pilot Grant and the ICTR Community-Engaged Research Grant. ATIP awards provide starter funds (up to $50,000 over 12 months) for projects specifically focused on innovative, translational research that involve multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary collaborations among faculty from the schools of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing, law, and social work or UMB-community partnerships.

Applications are due Jan. 7, 2019. Visit the ATIP Grant Program webpage for more details and application materials.

For questions, please contact Meriem Gaval Cruz at ICTR-navigator@umaryland.edu.

Meriem Gaval CruzCollaboration, ResearchOctober 8, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: Nicole Mattocks, MSW '10

UMB Champion of Excellence: Nicole Mattocks, MSW ’10

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. For the past few months, the Elm has featured 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:
Nicole Mattocks, MSW ’10
Advancing Positive Community Health Outcomes

In 2009, as a University of Maryland School of Social Work student, Nicole Mattocks interned with a community development organization in Northeast Baltimore. Shortly after earning her Master of Social Work in May 2010, Mattocks worked at a local high school in West Baltimore.

It didn’t take long for her to realize how different the two neighborhoods were.

“The physical environment was drastically different … and the really stark contrast struck me,” says Mattocks, who now is pursuing her PhD at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). “There was not nearly as much green space in Harlem Park [West Baltimore]. It wasn’t as well-kept [as Northeast Baltimore], with a lot of broken glass and trash. There were all these signs of what’s called physical disorder — graffiti, litter, vacant and abandoned buildings.”

Her mind bursting with knowledge from her coursework, Mattocks wondered how living in these conditions might affect a person’s well-being. Through her years of studying at UMB, she had gained a base knowledge about how having access to green spaces and healthy, safe environments leads to overall positive community health.

“I started thinking that there’s got to be a connection between growing up in this concrete jungle where everything’s falling apart and one’s experience and perception of the world,” she says. “That was the beginning of being interested in the relationship between the physical environment and all kinds of outcomes.”

Now, as she completes her doctorate in social work, she has focused her dissertation on the relationship between the physical environment and urban green spaces of Baltimore’s neighborhoods and mental health outcomes, such as depression and anxiety.

Mattocks was a logical fit for an opportunity that arose when two School of Social Work faculty, Caroline Burry, PhD, MSW, and Carolyn Tice, DSW, MSW, applied for a grant to develop an environmental social work course. The aim was to design a course that would be taught at both UMB and at its sister school, Rajagiri College of Social Sciences, in India. The faculty needed someone to go to India to gather information about what environmental social work looked like and what environmental challenges were most important to the people in that region. Burry and Tice chose Mattocks.

For two weeks, she visited Indian environmental groups and agencies, learning about their needs and brainstorming ways to incorporate an environmental social work course into the college’s curriculum.

“The experience was really interesting because I had never traveled to a developing country before,” she says. “There’s not a lot of infrastructure in place to manage the environment there. They don’t even have trash pickup. There aren’t organized processes there in the way that we have, and take advantage of, here [in the United States].”

But Mattocks is quick to add that the problems with the environment in India have nothing to do with the community’s lack of caring.

“I talked to so many people who cared about the environment. There are these grass-roots initiatives to develop nonprofits and organizations to manage recycling and trash pickup,” she says. “It was more that the government didn’t prioritize the environment or that there weren’t enough resources.”

Mattocks worked closely with professors Burry and Tice to add her knowledge from India into the course curriculum. She hopes to see the final product of their efforts by spring 2019, when the course is piloted on both campuses — UMB and Rajagiri.

As she prepares for graduation in May 2019, Mattocks is open to a future working in either an academic or non-academic job.

“If I end up at a research institution studying the environmental impacts on health, I would like that,” she says. “I definitely want to stay local; I like the Baltimore region because it’s such a good place to do research.“

Mattocks, who was born in Prince George’s County and raised in Ellicott City, says her experience at UMB is, without a doubt, a contributor to her love of Baltimore.

“It’s nice to be in an environment where everyone is working on a professional degree,” she says. “There are a lot of faculty to work with in other disciplines and good opportunities for interdisciplinary research. Baltimore has many needs and a lot of populations we can serve. It’s the perfect location.”

Communications and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 8, 20180 comments
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Social worker in a library

Social Work Students to Serve in Three More Baltimore Libraries

After engaging more than 600 community members in its first year, the Social Worker in the Library program, which pairs social work students with library patrons seeking social services, will expand from four library branches in Baltimore City to seven.

“We are so proud to be launching another year of the successful Social Worker in the Library program,” Heidi Daniel, president and chief executive officer of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, said at a Sept. 18 “meet and greet” for the newly expanded program, a collaboration between the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW)

“This partnership … is truly making a difference in all of our communities,” Daniel said to the library and social work officials and student interns gathered at the Herring Run branch.

Social Worker in the Library, which began in 2017 at four library branches, brings graduate student social work interns into library branches to help customers address issues such as poverty, food insecurity, homelessness, and addiction. Three additional library branches will host the program in 2018-19 — Herring Run, Light Street, and Walbrook — joining the original program locations of the Brooklyn, Hamilton, Pennsylvania Avenue branches and Southeast Anchor Library.

Social work interns will be in the libraries at least two days a week providing one-on-one counseling to customers, conducting programs to serve the community, and training library staff on topics such as crisis management and positive engagement. The University of Maryland, Baltimore‘s Social Work Community Outreach Service (SWCOS) co-designed and manages the program for the SSW.

SSW Dean Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, said the school and the Enoch Pratt Free Library are committed to bringing services to people where they live and can best use them, so forming a partnership made a lot of sense.

“There’s no question that the library has many patrons who come and want to use the services there, but they don’t necessarily know how to use those services, or don’t have access to them,” Barth said. “The branch managers have recognized that for some time and working with the development team, as I understand it from Enoch Pratt, began to look for opportunities to expand the capacity that they have in libraries to serve some of our most in-need residents.”

“People turn to the Pratt Library because they trust the Pratt, because we’re anchors in our community,” Daniel said. “Before this program started, our librarians said that they were seeing more and more people coming into our buildings looking for social services. Our staff is wonderful, and they were always able to point people in the right direction, but many times our customers didn’t follow up because they didn’t want to go to another facility. We started looking for a way to bring the services into our library, a place of trust in our city.”

In 2017, the partnership between the SSW and the Enoch Pratt Free Library took shape, bringing eight social work graduate student interns into the four original branch locations. Twelve interns will serve in the expanded program.

“In just eight months, they were able to touch the lives of more than 600 library customers,” Daniel said of the 2017 social work interns. “The social work interns have truly ingrained themselves in the library community in each of the neighborhoods. They provided referrals and information about housing, general and mental health, access to transportation, food, jobs and job training, and city, state, and federal government assistance.”

Daniel credited Kimberly Street, MSW, LMSW, LPN, the SSW faculty clinical instructor who oversees the student social workers, for much of the program’s success. Street “has been seen bringing birthday presents to regular library customers, going to other library branches when they have a customer in need of help, and even walking a customer to a local bank to help them open their very first checking account,” Daniel said. “It’s service like this that has made the program so powerful.”

The Pratt library also has hired its first full-time social worker, Laurel Smith-Raut, LMSW ’04, a SWCOS alumna.

“The growth of this program truly shows what can happen when anchor institutions like the Pratt Library and the University of Maryland come together,” Daniel said. “The success stories we’ve heard have been life-changing, and I can’t wait to hear more as the second year moves forward.”

Barth said the partnership has turned out to be not only a great idea for Baltimore City but also could be a great idea for other schools of social work. To that end, Barth said he has shared the concept with the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work. “We’re sharing ideas and best practices, and eventually I think this is an idea that could be not only something in Baltimore but that would be available to citizens all around the country.”

Social science research suggests that institutions of social work coupled with libraries is a good fit for patrons, according to Wendy Shaia, EdD, MSW, clinical assistant professor and executive director of SWCOS.

“For many people, libraries serve as urban sanctuaries. Libraries are a free space where anybody can come,” Shaia said. “They contain a high degree of social and natural support systems. Libraries are safe and natural spaces to find answers to questions and to inquire about resources.”

Now with one full academic year completed for the program, Shaia said the possibilities are promising.

“We created a paradigm for how social work might play out in these urban sanctuaries, and it’s really exciting,” she said. “We believe that this pilot project will lead to an initial blueprint for how to engage social work professionals in a library system. We look forward to updating you over the next few years about our growth and evolution.”

Street said the program has been one of “responsible field training and cultivating social workers that are compassionate and competent. Thank you for allowing me to be part of that family.”

Another new aspect to the program this year will be the Circle of Security in the Pennsylvania Avenue branch, Street said. Circle of Security is an evidence-based early intervention program designed to enhance attachment and security between parents and children.

Kendra Owens, a library patron who frequents the Pennsylvania Avenue branch and has befriended Street since the Social Worker in the Library program began, also spoke at the event.

“She has attended every single support group meeting we have had,” Street said of Owens. “Kendra is one of so many amazing people that we’ve met.”

“Miss Kim [Street] is like a second mother to me,” Owens said. “And when she asked me to come to a group at the library, she got me to open up. Now I don’t stop talking.”

Funding for the Social Worker in the Library program is provided by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, as well as the PNC Foundation, the Bunting Family Foundation, the Greif Family Foundation, and other key donors.

– Mary T. Phelan

 

Mary T. PhelanCollaboration, For B'more, People, UMB NewsOctober 5, 20180 comments
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Fifth Annual Interprofessional Forum on Ethics and Religion in Health Care:

Nov. 8: Interprofessional Forum on Ethics and Religion in Health Care

The Fifth Annual Interprofessional Forum on Ethics and Religion in Health Care: Exploring Mental Health from a Trauma-Informed Care Lens, will be held Thursday, Nov. 8, 2018, at the SMC Campus Center.

Trauma-informed care (TIC) involves an approach to health care delivery that recognizes the destructive and long-term impact of violent experiences, abuse, and neglect on a person’s lifelong physical, mental, emotional, and economic well-being. The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) identifies the following components of a TIC approach:

  • Realizing the widespread impact of trauma and understanding potential paths for recovery
  • Recognizing the signs and symptoms of trauma in patients, families, staff, and others involved with the system
  • Responding by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, and practices, and seeking to actively resist retraumatization.

A focus on resilience (among both clients and caregivers) is central.

In this conference, we present an evolving case study highlighting key concepts of a TIC approach from an interprofessional, interfaith perspective, examining common ethical issues that arise. Attendees will have opportunities to interact in applying skills and knowledge relevant to TIC.

This educational program is designed to facilitate interprofessional learning. We welcome all health care professionals as well as laypersons interested in exploring these questions from the lens of ethics, religion, and spirituality, with an emphasis on how different health care professions contribute.

Registration is required, and the fee includes continental breakfast, lunch, continuing education, and materials.

  • Full-time students and medical residents: $55
  • Individuals: $100
  • Maryland Healthcare Ethics Committee Network (MHECN) members: $80

FOr more information, go to this School of Nursing webpage.

Emily ParksClinical Care, Collaboration, EducationOctober 2, 20180 comments
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