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Stay Informed About the Spanish Language Conversation Group

The Spanish Language Conversation Group will be meeting at least twice a month this semester. Share your email at the SurveyMonkey link below to stay up to date on our activities, meetings, and events.

Spanish speakers of all abilities (or none at all) are very welcome to attend. This organization is hosted by student groups at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, and we warmly welcome all students from the UMB campus to attend.

Share your email here.

Katie GoldenBulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 16, 20190 comments
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Cyber Attacks: Yes, You Are a Target

Many people mistakenly believe they are not a target for cyber attackers, that they, their systems, or accounts do not have any value. This could not be further from the truth. If you use technology in any way, at work or at home, trust us — you have value to the bad guys. But you are in luck. You already have the best defense there is against these cyber attacks, you.

Why You Are a Target

There are lots of different cyber attackers on the internet today, and they all have different motivations. So why would any of them want to attack you? Because by hacking you, they help achieve their goal. Here are two common examples of cyber attackers and why they would target you.

Cyber criminals: These guys are out to make as much money as possible. What makes the internet so valuable to them is they can now easily target everyone in the world with just the push of a button. And there are A LOT of ways they can make money from you. Examples include stealing money from your bank or retirement accounts, creating a credit card in your name and sending you the bill, using your computer to hack other people, or hacking your social media or gaming accounts and selling them to other criminals. The list of how bad guys can make money off you is almost endless There are hundreds of thousands of these bad guys who wake up each morning with the goal of hacking as many people as possible every single day, including you.

Targeted attackers: These are highly trained cyber attackers, often working for governments, criminal syndicates, or competitors targeting you at work. You may feel your job would not attract much attention, but you would be very surprised. The information you handle at work has tremendous value to different companies or governments. Targeted attackers may target you at work not because they want to hack you but to use you to hack one of your co-workers or other systems. These types of attackers may target you at work because of other companies you work or partner with.

I Have Anti-Virus, I’m Safe

OK, so I’m a target, not a problem. I’ll just install anti-virus and a firewall on my computer and I’m protected, right? Well, unfortunately, no. Many people feel if they install some security tools then they are secure. Unfortunately, that is not entirely true. Cyber attackers continue to get better and better, and many of their attack methods now easily bypass security technologies. For example, they often create special malware that your antivirus cannot detect. They bypass your email filters with a customized phishing attack or call you on the phone and trick or scam you out of your credit card, money, or password. Technology plays an important role in protecting you, but ultimately you are the best defense.

Fortunately, being secure is not that hard, and ultimately common sense and some basic behaviors are your best defense. If you get an email, message, or phone call that is extremely urgent, odd, or suspicious, it may be an attack. To ensure your computers and devices are secure, keep them current and enable automatic updating. Finally, use a strong, unique passphrase for each of your accounts. Staying cyber aware ultimately is your best defense.

Fred SmithEducation, People, TechnologyJanuary 15, 20190 comments
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PHSR’s Stellar Students Recognized with Scholarship Awards

The Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy hosted its Graduate Program Awards Presentation and Reception in October to present the Harris Zuckerman Scholarship Award, the Arthur Schwartz Memorial Scholarship, the Pharmaceutical Health Services Research Student Travel Scholarship, and the Donald O. Fedder Memorial Fellowship to five exceptional students in its doctoral program.

“Our department looks forward to hosting the Graduate Program Awards Presentation and Reception each year, because it offers us an opportunity to recognize the outstanding accomplishments achieved by the students in our program, and share the legacies of the individuals and families who established these awards,” says Danya M. Qato, PhD, PharmD, MPH, assistant professor in PHSR and director of the PHSR Graduate Program. “We received more nominations than ever for this year’s awards, which is truly a testament to our wonderful students and the remarkable commitment they bring to the research that they are pursuing.”

Supporting Clinician Researchers

The Harris Zuckerman Scholarship Award was endowed by Ilene Harris, PharmD ’83, PhD, retired professor and chair of PHSR, to assist students interested in jointly pursuing Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) and PhD degrees. Named in honor of her parents — Daniel Harris, MD, and Ann Harris — the scholarship provides support for the training, development, and advancement of graduate students in the PhD in PHSR program at the school. At the event, Yoon Hong, PharmD ’17, the 2019 recipient of the award, expressed her gratitude for the support of donors like Harris.

“I thank not only Dr. Harris, but also all of the donors present today for their ongoing support of our department and students,” Hong said. “As graduate students, it means a lot to have your support and to know that others care about our professional growth as future health services researchers.”

Honoring Two Tremendous Legacies

As the first student admitted to the PhD in PHSR program, Arthur “Artie”  Schwartz demonstrated great interest in drug use and pharmaceutical marketing issues. Following his death at an early age, his wife Karen Schwartz established the Arthur Schwartz Memorial Scholarship to provide funding for future students in the program based on academic standing and financial need. Graduate student Chengchen Zhang, MPH, whom one nominator described as “a rising star and an already competent and promising emerging health services researcher,” was celebrated as the 2019 recipient of the scholarship.

“This past year has been incredibly exciting,” Zhang said. “I have been exposed to a number of amazing projects and had opportunities to collaborate with different faculty members across our department. It has been incredibly rewarding to see how much potential exists for me to make a difference with my research moving forward, and I am truly honored and humbled to receive this award.”

Established by Michaeline Fedder in honor of her husband Donald Fedder, DrPH, MPH, BSP, FAPhA, a public health pharmacist and longtime faculty member at the School of Pharmacy who passed away in 2010, the Donald O. Fedder Memorial Fellowship supports the training and development of a graduate student whose work focuses on social justice, pharmacy advocacy, or public health. In recognition of her demonstrated dedication to the field of population health as well as her desire to improve clinical outcomes and reduce health disparities, Jacquelyn McRae, PharmD, was named the 2019 recipient of the award.

In her remarks to the audience, McRae shared an experience from her time as an undergraduate that transformed how she viewed her life and the impact that she wanted to have on others.

“In a speech that she delivered to our graduating class, my academic advisor held up a half-full glass and asked us, ‘When you die, do you want your glass to be filled to the brim or completely poured out?’ ” McRae recalled. “When she paused for a response, I remember thinking that I wanted my cup to be completely full — filled with all of my life’s experiences. But then she said something that completely changed my perspective. She said that we should strive to have our cup completely poured out, because that will mean that we have extended ourselves in the service of others.”

She added, “Now, when I think about what motivates me in my day-to-day life, it is the idea of having a ‘life poured out.’ ”

Helping Students Share Their Work

New to this year’s event was the presentation of the Pharmaceutical Health Services Research Student Travel Scholarship. Spearheaded by C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor and chair of PHSR, this scholarship was established with generous financial support from PHSR staff, faculty, students, and alumni. Its funds can be used to pay for travel expenses related to attendance and participation in professional conferences for any student enrolled in courses taught by faculty in the department. Two recipients were named for this inaugural award: Maya Hanna, MPH, and Juan-David Rueda, MD.

Hanna used the scholarship to present a poster highlighting her research titled, “A Comparison of FDA and EMA Guidance on Medicines for the Treatment of Early Alzheimer’s Disease,” at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) Europe 2018 conference in Barcelona, Spain, in November. Rueda also used funds from the scholarship to deliver a podium presentation highlighting his research titled, “Application of Machine Learning Algorithms for Predicting Missing Cost Data,” at the same conference.

“I joined this program because I wanted to be in a space where I could not only conduct research, but also have an impact on the decisions made as a result of that research,” Hanna said. “And I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to travel across the country and around the world to present my research at national and international conferences and events. None of this would have been possible without the support that I have received from this department.”

— Malissa Carroll

Malissa CarrollEducation, People, UMB NewsJanuary 14, 20190 comments
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Flower with snow drops

HS/HSL Spring Hours

Here are the Health Sciences and Human Services Library’s (HS/HSL) hours for the spring 2019 semester:

Early Morning Study

Between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., Monday through Friday, enter through the SMC Campus Center with your UMB ID or UMMC ID. Library services and access to classrooms begin at 8 a.m.

Regular Hours

6 a.m. – 1 a.m.*

6 a.m. – 8 p.m.

8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Exceptions to Regular Hours

MLK Holiday
Monday, Jan. 21 — Closed

Sunday, April 21, 2019 — Closed

*Floors 3, 4, and 5 and library services close at 10 p.m. From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., floors 1 and 2 are open for those with a current UMB ID, UMMC ID, or USM campus ID. Visitors and those with library memberships may not enter the building after 8 p.m. and must leave the building by 10 p.m.

Everly BrownEducation, People, UMB NewsJanuary 14, 20190 comments
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Nicole Brandt holds award

School of Pharmacy’s Brandt Wins ASCP’s George F. Archambault Award

Nicole Brandt, PharmD, MBA, BCPP, CGP, FASCP, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, was awarded consultant pharmacy’s highest honor in late 2018 — the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP) George F. Archambault Award. Named in honor of the “father of consultant pharmacy,” the George F. Archambault Award is presented each year at ASCP’s annual meeting to an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of consultant and senior care pharmacy.

Brandt, who also serves as executive director of the Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging at the School of Pharmacy, joins a distinguished list of past award recipients, including two of the Lamy Center’s previous executive directors: Bruce Stuart, PhD, professor emeritus in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR), and Peter P. Lamy, PhD, ScD, former faculty member and founder of the Lamy Center.

“Our department was thrilled to learn that Dr. Brandt had been selected as the 2018 recipient of the George F. Archambault Award,” says Jill A. Morgan, PharmD, BCPS, BCPPS, professor and chair of PPS. “Dr. Brandt has dedicated her career to promoting optimal medication management for older adults, and her commitment to the patients she serves is reflected across her educational, clinical, and health care policy work. And, though she has already proven herself a leader in her field, we know that she will continue to make tremendous contributions that help further advance the field of consultant pharmacy and health care for older adults.”

Advancing Geriatric Pharmacy Education for Future Generations

Brandt received her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from the School of Pharmacy in 1997. She also completed a residency in geriatric pharmacotherapy at the school in 1998, before joining the faculty in 1999. She later obtained a Master of Business Administration (MBA) with a focus on health care management after completing a short sabbatical at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

As a faculty member, Brandt has worked to expand geriatric training opportunities for student pharmacists, including developing the Geriatrics and Palliative Care Pathway to increase students’ awareness and knowledge of medical issues associated with aging and advanced illness, and the principles of medication management in these populations. She also expanded the school’s PGY-2 Geriatric Pharmacy Residency Program, and spearheaded the launch of a new two-year, post-PharmD geriatric pharmacotherapy fellowship within the Lamy Center, which she reinvented as the school’s first cross-departmental center in collaboration with PHSR.

“Dr. Brandt has served patients in consultant and senior care pharmacy for more than two decades,” says Cynthia Boyle, PharmD, FAPhA, professor in PPS, who nominated Brandt for the award. “But nowhere is her vision and impact more evident than in her role as an educator of future pharmacists and pharmacy residents. Anyone who has seen Dr. Brandt in action knows she is an amazing educator. She brings firsthand experience from her practice into the classroom, on rotations, and in resident teaching. Her pointed questions and challenging exercises engage all of her students and trainees in the practical aspects of accountability as a practicing pharmacist and as a member of the contemporary health care team.”

A Leader and Advocate for the Field

In addition to her work as an educator, Brandt has served on numerous interdisciplinary teams across a variety of practice settings. She has directed projects involving multiple stakeholders focused on Medicare Part D Medication Therapy Management programs, high-risk medications, and medication stewardship, and is currently leading initiatives to integrate sustainable pharmacist-directed services to help improve care for older adults with multiple co-morbidities at the MedStar Center for Successful Aging.

Brandt is also an active advocate for advancing health care policy at both the state and national level. She is one of the authors of the 2012, 2015, and 2018 American Geriatrics Society Beer’s Criteria — a list of medications that health care professionals should avoid prescribing or use with caution in older adults — and the past-president and board chair of ASCP.

“It is incredibly humbling to be named the 2018 recipient of the George F. Archambault Award,” Brandt says. “Many people have asked me, ‘How have you been able to get where you are?’ The truth is that it has taken a lot of dedication, hard work, and perseverance. I feel very fortunate to have a career that not only excites and drives me, but also affords me many unique leadership opportunities that allow me to share my passion with others and impact health care policy at both the local and national level.”

Brandt received her award on Nov. 1 at the ASCP national meeting at National Harbor, Md.

— Malissa Carroll


Malissa CarrollClinical Care, Education, People, UMB NewsJanuary 10, 20190 comments
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The President's Message-January

The President’s Message

Check out the January issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on the Graduate School’s centennial. Also, former Senator Barbara Mikulski urges civic engagement at the President’s Panel on Politics and Policy; crime was down 21 percent in 2018, UMB Police Force reports; the School of Medicine launches a cultural transformation; seed grant events here and at College Park show the importance of collaboration; UMB CURE Scholars enjoy a Winter Wonderland; and 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, USGAJanuary 10, 20190 comments
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Women In Bio logo

Next Women In Bio Baltimore Meet-Up Set for Jan. 31

A Women In Bio Baltimore Meet-Up will be held Thursday, Jan. 31, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., at the University of Maryland BioPark Auditorium.

The event is titled “Full-Time Employment and Side Ventures” and will feature a panel that consists of Jenny Owens, ScD, MS, executive director of the Graduate Research Innovation District (Grid) and Hosts for Humanity; Jennifer Hammaker, vice president, business development, TEDCO; and Megan Wahler, FastForward Program manager at Johns Hopkins Tech Ventures.

Baltimore meet-ups are a way for people to network and mingle with science-like folk, promote self development, and learn about biotechnology and life sciences industries. Our members consist of professionals at leading pharmaceutical, biotechnology, device, and diagnostics companies; nonprofits; academic institutions; government agencies; and support service companies, including law firms, consultants, and financial service firms.

This meet-up features a panel of women who will share their stories on full-time employment and side ventures. Why is it important to them? What are their side gigs? How do they juggle it all?

Register here.

Karen UnderwoodCollaboration, Community Service, Education, TechnologyJanuary 10, 20190 comments
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Open book and green pencil

Free Spring Workshops at HS/HSL

The Health Sciences and Human Services Library offers a variety of free workshops to faculty, students, and staff. Classes are offered online and in person.

This semester’s topics include:

  • Managing citations using EndNote, Zotero, or Mendeley
  • Introduction to conducting systematic reviews
  • Graphic design principles in PowerPoint presentations
  • Scholarly publishing and research impact

See the full schedule and registration information.

Emily GormanBulletin Board, Education, Research, TechnologyJanuary 10, 20190 comments
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Center for Interprofessional Education logo

Call for Proposals: IPE Faculty Award – January 2019

All University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) faculty are eligible to apply for a Faculty Award in Support of Interprofessional Education (IPE). Please see the IPE webpage for additional information. Submit your two-page proposal, including budget, to Patricia Danielewicz of the UMB Center for Interprofessional Education.

Deadline for priority decision

Wednesday, Jan. 30. Additional applications will be considered on a bi-monthly basis (March, May, July 2019) pending availability of funds. Please visit our website for additional information and to download a proposed template.


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


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 the University System of Maryland 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 Clinical Education and Evaluation Laboratory, please contact the director, Nancy Budd Culpepper at 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

Template for IPE Faculty Award Proposals

Title of Faculty Award


Date Submitted


Primary and Contributor Contact Information

Full name



Email address

Telephone number



Description of Proposed Activity




Purpose and Objectives


Potential to Further IPE at UMB




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




Patricia DanielewiczCollaboration, Education, UMB NewsJanuary 10, 20190 comments
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Flow Cytometry Graphic

UMGCCC Flow Cytometry Monthly Lecture Scheduled for Feb. 4

The next Flow Cytometry Monthly Lecture will be held Monday, Feb. 4, 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., 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.
  • Online booking system

To RSVP, go to this link.

Karen UnderwoodBulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Education, ResearchJanuary 7, 20190 comments
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Dr. Danya Qato

Qato Looks to Advance, Expand PHSR Graduate Program at School of Pharmacy

In 2018, the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy named Danya M. Qato, PhD, PharmD, MPH, assistant professor in PHSR, as the director of its graduate program. Qato succeeded Frank Palumbo, PhD, JD, professor in PHSR, in this role. Palumbo co-founded the internationally recognized graduate program with David Knapp, PhD, professor emeritus and former dean of the School of Pharmacy, and Robert Beardsley, RPh, PhD, professor and vice chair for administration in PHSR, in the 1990s, and served as its director from 2015 to 2018.

“Dr. Palumbo is an experienced leader who worked diligently to guarantee the continued growth and development of our top-ranked graduate program for the past three years and we thank him for his leadership,” says C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor and chair of PHSR. “As a practicing pharmacist, epidemiologist, and health services researcher, Dr. Qato is well-positioned to help our department achieve its vision to lead the advancement of pharmacist-scholars and equip future health services researchers with the knowledge and skills they will need to think critically and apply lessons learned in the classroom to solve real-world challenges. I look forward to watching both our graduate program and our students continue to grow under her leadership.”

Creating New Opportunities for Students to Shine

Qato received her doctorate in health services research from the Brown University School of Public Health and a Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from the University of Illinois. She also completed a Master of Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in international health and humanitarian studies at Harvard University. From 2015 to 2016, she was at the Institute for Community and Public Health at Birzeit University in Palestine, where she was a Fulbright Scholar and expert consultant to the World Health Organization. Her current research focuses on improving regulatory and policy tools to reduce use of high risk medications in vulnerable populations, environmental and global health systems development, pharmacovigilance, and mitigating health disparities.

“It is an honor and an immense responsibility to serve in this new role. I’m incredibly excited to help lead and support the continued growth of our department’s top-notch graduate program,” Qato says.

She adds, “As someone who is principally invested in supporting the academic success of PHSR students and trainees, I want to ensure that our students and postdoctoral fellows are active partners in research and teaching and that they are given a voice in the process of program development and improvement. Their voices matter and have value, and by engaging in every facet of the program, students and trainees will be exposed to critical facets of their own education and training, which is an empowering and invaluable experience that will serve them well as they embark on their own careers.”

Preparing Students for the Changing Job Landscape

As the newest director of the PHSR graduate program, Qato has already identified three goals that she plans to achieve and is taking steps to transform those ambitions into reality. Her first task to tackle: raising awareness about faculty, student, and trainee accomplishments.

“I want to elevate the public’s understanding of the science that underlies our research,” Qato says. “Our department is doing such important work to improve public health, health care delivery, and health outcomes — locally, nationally, and internationally — and I want the world to know about it.”

Moving forward, Qato plans to examine and streamline curricular requirements for the PHSR graduate program to maximize the value of student training, successfully see students through to their dissertation defense, and improve opportunities for collaborative and interdisciplinary student and trainee-led research. She also aims to enhance students’ and trainees’ career preparedness.

“As the job market for future health services researchers continues to diversify, it is our job as educators to ensure that our graduate program adequately equips students to compete for positions that fulfill both their personal and professional aspirations,” she says.

Qato will maintain her faculty appointments in PHSR, the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, and the University of Maryland Institute for Global Health during her service to the department’s graduate program.

— Malissa Carroll


Malissa CarrollEducation, People, UMB NewsJanuary 7, 20190 comments
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Dr. Perman speaking at TEDx UMB

TEDx UMB Videos Now Available Online

Videos from the 10-speaker lineup at TEDx University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) are now available to view on YouTube.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, was among the speakers at the Nov. 9 event, which had “Improving the Human Condition” as its theme and was held at the SMC Campus Center.

To see the videos, go to this TEDx UMB webpage and click on each speaker’s “Watch on YouTube” link.

To read about the event, go to this UMB News page.

To see a photo gallery, go to this UMB Facebook page.


Communications and Public AffairsEducation, People, UMB News, University LifeDecember 18, 20180 comments
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Cup of coffee next to notepad

Free Coffee Breaks for Students on Dec. 18-19

We know finals are here and they’re stressing you out, so the Health Sciences and Human Services Library is offering free coffee to students on Tuesday and Wednesday, Dec. 18-19, in  the first-floor Weise Gallery.

Come and grab a cup while it lasts!

Evening Coffee Break
Tuesday, Dec. 18
7 p.m., Weise Gallery

Morning Coffee Break
Wednesday, Dec. 19
8 a.m., Weise Gallery

Everly BrownEducation, People, University LifeDecember 17, 20180 comments
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Snowman in snow

HS/HSL Winter Holiday Hours

Early Morning Study

Between 6 a.m. and 8 a.m., Monday through Friday, enter through the SMC Campus Center with your UMB ID or UMMC ID. Library services and access to classrooms begin at 8 a.m.

Regular Hours

6 a.m. – 1 a.m.*

6 a.m. – 8 p.m.

8 a.m. – 8 p.m.

8 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Winter Holiday Exceptions to Regular Hours

Saturday, Dec. 22
8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 23, to Tuesday, Jan. 1

*Floors 3, 4, and 5 and library services close at 10 p.m. From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., floors 1 and 2 are open for those with a current UMB ID, UMMC ID, or USM campus ID.  Visitors and those with library memberships may not enter the building after 8 p.m. and must leave the building by 10 p.m.

lcortinaEducation, University LifeDecember 13, 20180 comments
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Woman talking at table

Building a Learning Health Care Community

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on Inside SOP, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s blog. It is reprinted here with permission.

Medically underserved populations have traditionally faced poor health care system experiences and lack of trust in the medical system, which has contributed to poor health outcomes. To tackle these problems, the PATIENTS Program at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy has developed the Learning Health Care Community model, envisioning a community where health care systems and providers learn directly from patients what issues actually matter in their communities, and where patients learn from providers how to live a healthy lifestyle.

What is a Learning Health Care Community?

In 2015, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) — now the National Academy of Medicine — released a new model for health care delivery termed the Learning Healthcare System, a health system where data and knowledge are used to improve patient care and patient care contributes to data and knowledge.

The Learning Health Care Community model aims to bring the Learning Healthcare System concept more authentically into the community. In a Learning Health Care Community, there is bi-directional learning and partnership between community members and health care systems and providers — they learn to speak each other’s language. Providers are culturally competent, and patients are health literate.  A Learning Health Care Community addresses the diverse needs of all patients and families. In particular, neighborhoods that historically have been medically underserved become part of a Learning Health Care Community where medical needs and patient preferences are addressed more effectively through lasting relationships built on trust.

West Baltimore as a National Model for Success

Health disparities in West Baltimore are widely recognized on the state and national level. To tackle these disparities and bridge the gap between health care providers/systems and communities, the PATIENTS Program set out to engage members of the West Baltimore community and elicit their perspectives on how to develop a culturally sensitive, competent, and sustainable Learning Health Care Community.

We conducted 15 focus group sessions and 21 interviews, with a total of 109 participants representing patients, community members and leaders, health care professionals and administrators, and others who have a personal stake in health care delivery in West Baltimore.

What Did We Find?

The focus groups and interviews were very informative in a number of ways. It was clear that health is the No. 1 priority for the vast majority of people. They want to stay healthy not only for themselves, but also for their families. Community members acknowledged that they learn about their health needs mostly through their providers, but expressed frustration with the limited time and attention they are given when they visit their providers. Another key finding was surrounding what questions providers should be asking patients. While providers mainly focused on questions related to medical care, such as their medical history or symptoms, patients expressed the desire to be asked about broader determinants of health — their thoughts and feelings, mental health, social support and barriers to care, their understanding of and questions related to personal diagnoses. By addressing these aspects of health care, we will start to establish the rapport needed for bi-directional learning and care.

Participants provided great ideas on how to operationalize the Learning Health Care Community model. When asked what the Learning Health Care Community should look like, many themes arose, some of which included individualizing the model to each community and making it sustainable and community-based. They also suggested that there should be a collaborative portal for community members to provide ideas and an integrated data system to combine and track information. Many participants thought that a Learning Health Care Community should incorporate social determinants of health, and that providers should go into the community and meet patients where they are, instead of waiting for patients to come to them. Specifically, participants want to see a return to home visits and office visits that do not feel rushed because the provider has a 15-minute time limit to meet with them.

Where Do We Go from Here?

Our participants described the Learning Health Care Community as “an integration of the community and health care systems,” which is exactly what we had envisioned. We are very excited to have taken the first step toward building a Learning Health Care Community and are grateful to the community members, providers, and others who collaborated with us on this effort to ultimately reduce health disparities and improve the health of medically underserved communities.

Now that the study has been completed, the PATIENTS Program is beginning to disseminate its findings to stakeholders through community gatherings, conferences, and other media. If you are interested in learning more about the project, please visit the Learning Health Care Community webpage on the PATIENTS Program website.

— Yoon Duk Hong, PHSR graduate student, and Gail Graham, patient partner/LHCC Stakeholder Advisory Board member

Yoon Duk HongEducation, ResearchDecember 13, 20180 comments
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