For B’more posts displayed by category

School of Nursing building

School of Nursing to Launch Care Coordination Certificate Program

The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) will launch a 12-credit postbaccalaureate Care Coordination Certificate program this fall that will prepare students for the Commission for Case Manager Certification Exam.

Through the new certificate program, students will be trained to meet the growing demand for highly skilled nurse case managers and care coordinators to improve patient care and health outcomes through the design and implementation of care coordination systems.

“Hospitals, insurers, and health systems recognize care coordination as a key strategy in improving patient care outcomes and satisfaction and containing health care costs. It is important for nurses, in concert with other professionals, to adopt reconceptualized roles as care coordinators, health coaches, and system innovators,” said Patricia Zimberg, JD, MS, RN, assistant professor, UMSON. “Achieving this requires that nurses receive greater education in care management, quality improvement, and care coordination processes.”

Students will have access to public health experts and industry leaders who will educate them on how to implement case management processes to coordinate care for clients with complex needs; use state-of-the-art technologies, information systems, and communications to support safe nursing practice; and evaluate the effects of care coordination on patient health outcomes. A growing demand for registered nurses with advanced training and skill in care coordination exists in acute and long-term care facilities, human services agencies, managed care organizations, and community-based settings.

“Registered nurses with advanced didactic and clinical skills in care coordination can play a substantial role in developing, implementing, and leading interprofessional care coordination teams,” Zimberg said. “UMSON’s Certificate in Care Coordination will prepare the registered nurse to coordinate and evaluate care for clients with complex needs across the entire continuum of care, using state-of-the-art technologies, care coordination models, and information systems.”

To complete the program, which will be offered through a mix of on-campus and online formats, students will be required to complete a 45-hour practicum experience in a community-based case management setting. Students can apply up to two of the four certificate classes toward a UMSON master’s degree in Community/Public Health Nursing.

Applicants must be a registered nurse and have a bachelor’s degree or be enrolled in a graduate program at UMSON. Graduate students can complete the certificate concurrently with their other graduate studies. Applications are now being accepted. For more information, call the Office of Admissions at 410-706-0501 (option 2).

Kevin NashBulletin Board, Education, For B'more, UMB News, University Life, USGAJuly 13, 20180 comments
Read More
School of Nursing Dual-Admission Partnerships

School of Nursing, Chesapeake College Sign Dual-Admission Agreement

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kevin NashBulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, For B'more, UMB News, University Life, USGAJuly 10, 20180 comments
Read More
Students discussing mock trial

A LEAP into the Courtroom at UM Carey Law

Guilty or not guilty? That was the question as a mock trial tutorial unfolded for seven students from Baltimore City public schools who are among those participating in the Law Exploration Academic Pathway’s (LEAP) Forensic Mock Trial Camp.

Founded by University of Maryland Carey School of Law alumnus Kirk Crawley, JD ’88, the camp is based at Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School, but some activities take place at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and Frederick Douglass High School, where Crawley teaches.

On July 9, another Carey Law alum, Sally McMillan Guy, JD ’11, laid out the scenario for the students as a first step in preparing them to perform a mock trial later in their camp based on the book Lord of the Flies. For this outing, in a UM Carey classroom, the alleged infraction involved adolescent behavior but was far less complex. Was the accused, Susie Parsons, breaking her school’s rules by eating snacks? Or was she a volunteer cleaning up after someone else?

After various students played the roles of witnesses, attorneys, and members of the jury, the foreman announced that the jury had found for the defendant.

“Court is now in recess,” said Guy, acting in the role of the judge.

“What we had here was circumstantial evidence,” she added, this time in the role of instructor explaining why the jury did not find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In actuality, Guy is a senior policy analyst and legislative counsel in the Maryland General Assembly’s Department of Legislative Services who coaches mock trial teams at Carey Law in her spare time. Helping facilitate her interaction with the LEAP campers and their counselors was Michele Hayes, JD, LLM, assistant dean for student affairs at Carey Law.

In addition to these types of activities for the mind, the students in the LEAP camp can exercise and swim during weekly access to the facilities at URecFit at the SMC Campus Center, thanks to arrangements by the UMB Office of Community Engagement.

To see more photos from the mock trial, go to UMB’s Facebook page.

Communication and Public AffairsCommunity Service, Education, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 10, 20180 comments
Read More
UMB Cure Scholars

‘From West Baltimore’ Recognized at Regional Emmy Awards

The documentary From West Baltimore, which features middle-school students in the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) CURE Scholars Program, was nominated recently for an Emmy Award by the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The documentary, which was produced by MedSchool Maryland Productions and aired on Maryland Public Television in October 2017, follows six young teens from West Baltimore who talk about their lives and the challenges of growing up in neighborhoods of violence and poverty. Five of the six are UMB CURE Scholars: Shakeer Franklin, Davioin Hill, Courtney Jacobs, Tyler McKinsey, and Princaya Sanders.

The five CURE Scholars attended the Emmy Awards Gala on June 23 in Bethesda, Md., where the film Saber Rock beat out From West Baltimore to win the “Documentary-Cultural/Topical” category. That film chronicles the efforts of a translator who helps U.S. military forces fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Started in 2015, the UMB CURE Scholars Program is a groundbreaking year-round pipeline program that prepares sixth- to 12th-grade students from three West Baltimore schools for competitive and rewarding research, STEM, and health care career opportunities. It is the first middle school program funded by the National Cancer Institute’s  Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) Program.

To watch a trailer and learn more about the students, go to the From West Baltimore web page. To learn more about the UMB program, go to the CURE Scholars web page.

 

Communication and Public AffairsCommunity Service, Education, For B'more, UMB News, University LifeJuly 6, 20180 comments
Read More
Lori Edwards

Nursing’s Edwards Named President-Elect of ACHNE Executive Board

Lori Edwards, DrPH, MPH, BSN ’80, RN, PHCNS-BC, assistant professor, University of Maryland‌ School of Nursing (UMSON), has been named president-elect of the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators (ACHNE). Edwards, who served as ACHNE’s vice president and program committee chair from 2016-18, will become president in 2020.

As president-elect, Edwards, who has been a member of ACHNE since 2008, collaborates with the president and serves as a liaison and ex-officio member of all ACHNE committees. Edwards also will serve as a leading member of the Quad Council Coalition of Public Health Nursing Organizations (QCC). QCC provides voice and visibility for public health nurses; sets a national policy agenda on issues related to public health nursing; and advocates for excellence in public health nursing education, practice, leadership, and research.

“I am thrilled to continue to serve in a leadership capacity for ACHNE. I’m looking forward to this new role and to following in the footsteps of national leaders who have significant legacies,” Edwards said. “As I progress, ACHNE is also moving forward as it has a new health policy committee that aims to empower public health nurses to take the lead in population health and culture of health initiatives. The next few years promise to be very exciting, and we as an association will continue to support our members as we educate future community health nursing leaders.”

ACHNE seeks to be recognized as the premier leader in community/public health nursing (C/PH) education and to impact positively local to global population health. It advances population health through quality C/PH nursing education, research, and service.

Additionally, Edwards serves as a member of the board of directors for Bon Secours Baltimore Health System, which includes the acute care hospital in West Baltimore. As a board member, Edwards works closely with the hospital’s president, chief operating officer, chief financial officers, and other hospital leaders.

“We applaud Dr. Edwards for her leadership role in the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators and with the board of the Bon Secours Baltimore Health System,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Her ongoing efforts on behalf of these two significant, and very different, organizations speaks volumes about her deep commitment to community and public health education, research, and service. It also serves as an outstanding example of how an individual nurse leader can advance the public good and make a difference in the lives of individuals and communities at the global, national, and local levels.”

As a member of the board, Edwards assists hospital leadership in assessing finances, hiring physicians, evaluating quality and safety data, and reviewing operational procedures. The board also oversees the expansion and implementation of community programs. Edwards’ term on the board ends in 2021.

“It is an honor to be a part of this faith-based, ministry-driven health system that in addition to providing health care has numerous programs that address the social determinants of health in its surrounding communities,” Edwards said. “I am inspired by Bon Secours’ focus on social justice and its commitment to its mission, which is to help those in need. By serving on the board, I have been afforded an excellent opportunity to guide this work and to collaborate with colleagues across multiple disciplines.”

Kevin NashBulletin Board, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 3, 20180 comments
Read More
Tara Wells in kitchen

Grantee Wells Sings Praises of UMB’s Live Near Your Work Program

Tara Wells has been on quite a winning streak in the last year, winning the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Employee of the Month Award, getting a job promotion, and, most recently, becoming the proud owner of a rowhouse in Pigtown.

Wells, a program administrative specialist in the Department of Organizational Systems and Adult Health at the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), is the latest UMB employee to take advantage of the improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program, using the combined grant of $18,500 — $16,000 from UMB, $2,500 from the city of Baltimore — to help purchase her home this month.

“This is surreal. It’s so overwhelming,” said Wells, who describes her LNYW experience, from start to settlement, as sort of a wonderful whirlwind after she decided to abandon a different nonprofit organization’s homebuying incentive program. “I decided in February to go forward with Live Near Your Work. I learned about the incentives, went to the Southwest Partnership’s housing fair in March, looked at homes for sale online, and found my house. I signed a contract April 1 and went to settlement June 1.

“I visited my mother last weekend, and when I was leaving her house, I said, ‘Mom, I’m going home to my house now.’ It still seems a little weird to say that, but it feels great!”

Urged by UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, to pursue the program, Wells attended the Jan. 11 internal kickoff event at the SMC Campus Center, where UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, said it was his dream to see more University employees living among the program’s seven targeted neighborhoods — Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square.

The dream came true for Wells, who also attended a trolley tour of the neighborhoods sponsored by Live Baltimore, one of UMB’s community partners in the program. Living in an apartment in Baltimore County and not being a Baltimore native, she found the trolley tour to be especially helpful as she discovered more of the charms of Charm City.

“I’m originally from Prince George’s County in the D.C. area, so I didn’t know any of the neighborhoods affiliated with the program,” said Wells, who was honored last year as UMB’s September Employee of the Month for her then-role as an administrative assistant II at UMSON. “The trolley tour I took in March really helped me get a feel for the neighborhoods. I’m visual, so I wanted to see where my future home could be.”

Meeting the ‘Mayor’

Wells says she settled on Pigtown primarily because of a chance encounter with William “Bus” Chambers, a longtime resident who is known as the “Mayor of Pigtown.” She was checking out the neighborhood one evening after work, saw Chambers outside his home, and decided to approach him.

“I introduced myself, he was friendly right off the top, and we talked for two hours,” Wells said. “He told me everything about the neighborhood. I tell him all the time now that he was pretty much my deciding factor on living in Pigtown, because he made me feel so comfortable. The neighborhood is quiet. It’s really peaceful. And the neighbors on my block have been awesome.”

Wells says she had a housewarming party recently, and she has been warming up to the neighborhood, too, checking out the dining establishments around her new digs and in other nearby neighborhoods. She offered praise for Primo Chicken and especially Zella’s Pizzeria, which she calls “amazing.” Living so close to work is great, too, Wells says.

“I get to save on gas and wear and tear on my vehicle, since it only takes me four minutes to drive here,” she said. “I also can go home for lunch if I’d like, and if I stay late for work, I still get home at a decent time. And I can walk or ride a bike to work if I feel like it. I like having the option.”

Spreading the Word

Wells, who says she stacked a Federal Home Loan Banks incentive of $5,300 on top of the UMB and city funds, is the seventh employee to buy a home with the improved LNYW grant, with seven others in the purchasing pipeline. And there’s room for plenty more, because the University has committed $1.5 million to the program, which means 90-plus employees could take advantage of the LNYW grant.

And to spread that word, the LNYW Program has perhaps its biggest cheerleader in Wells, who would use another title. “I guess you could say I’m a cheerleader, but I’d say I’m more like a public relations person,” she said. “I was just telling a security guard about the program recently, so I have to check to see where his process is. He just got married, and I was like, ‘Go for it!’ ”

Emily Kordish, Human Resource Services benefits manager and coordinator of the LNYW Program, is glad to have Wells’ promotional talents. “I appreciated her genuine sense of excitement throughout the process. She was wonderful to work with,” Kordish said.

The feeling is mutual.

“Each and every person I’ve dealt with in the program was so patient, answered all my questions, and made this process so quick and easy,” Wells said. “I would encourage anyone at UMB to take advantage of this program. I just told another co-worker to hurry up and do it. I said, ‘You’ll be a homeowner, and it’s a great investment.’ ”

— Lou Cortina

Learn more about the LNYW Program at its website, which includes application instructions, neighborhood testimonials, and more, and get a list of upcoming events here. Read about Shea Lawson, the first grantee under the improved LNYW Program, and other grantees’ stories on The Elm.

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeJune 28, 201833 comments
Read More
PATIENTS Day greeters

Join School of Pharmacy for PATIENTS Day on July 20

The School of Pharmacy’s PATIENTS Program invites all faculty, staff, and students to PATIENTS Day 2018 on July 20, 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at the UM BioPark (801 W. Baltimore Street).

The day will be an interactive, educational health fair where community members, health care providers, researchers, and community organizers can learn from one another about what our community needs to create and sustain healthy individuals and families.

Activities will include blood-pressure screenings, HIV testing, fitness demonstrations, recreational activities and music, wellness advocates on-site to answer questions, and free lunch.

Learn more and register.

Erin MerinoCommunity Service, Education, For B'more, PeopleJune 26, 20180 comments
Read More
Pharmacist filling a prescription

Get Involved in UMB Emergency Preparedness as a Closed POD Volunteer

Volunteers are needed to lead and staff the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Closed Point of Dispensing (POD) site, which was created in an agreement with the Baltimore City Health Department as a means to distribute disease-preventing medication to the University community during a public health emergency.

In such emergencies, it is necessary for the population of the affected area to take prophylaxis medication to avoid falling ill. Under this agreement, if such an emergency was declared for Baltimore, the University would receive the medication from the Strategic National Stockpile to dispense to students, faculty, staff, affiliates, and their family members.

Interested in volunteering? UMB will provide training on Closed POD operations. Volunteers must commit about four to six hours a year for training and participation in exercises. No experience is needed to volunteer, but experience in organizing activities such as sporting events, races, or voting at polling locations is beneficial.

If the Closed POD is activated, volunteers would serve at least one eight- to 12-hour shift and should plan on remaining in the role for at least two years.

To volunteer, please fill out the Closed POD Volunteer registration form.

The Closed POD implementation team will follow up with more information on the program and training dates in the near future.

Steven DeckBulletin Board, For B'more, UMB News, University LifeJune 20, 20180 comments
Read More

K-12 Partners Celebrate Graduations on UMB Campus

Four weeks after UMB’s commencement celebration, some of the institution’s closest K-12 partners and neighbors celebrated their graduation exercises on campus.

Ceremonies were held at the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Leadership Hall, beginning with Southwest Baltimore Charter School on June 8 for its eighth-grade promotional ceremony, followed by James McHenry Elementary School’s kindergarten and pre-kindergarten ceremonies June 11, and culminating with George Washington Elementary for a fifth-grade graduation June 13.

Valedictorians addressed their classes, students reflected publicly on academic and social challenges they’ve overcome, family members cheered their loved ones and, most of all, UMB was able to play a role in the successes of its neighbors.

The University’s K-12 partners value the opportunity to culminate their academic year on the UMB campus, as eloquently expressed by Christophe Turk, principal at James McHenry Elementary/ Middle School, as he used part of his remarks to thank the University for allowing use of the space.

“Facilities matter. They send a message,” Turk said. “And this beautiful space sends a positive message worthy of our students and families. It says we value you. And we want only the best for our children.”

Please join UMB President Jay. A Perman, MD, and the Office of Community Engagement in congratulating the graduates of these and the University’s other neighboring K-12 schools and encouraging their continued commitment to education and achievement.

Brian SturdivantCommunity Service, Education, For B'more, UMB News, University LifeJune 18, 20180 comments
Read More
The President's Message-June

The President’s Message

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

It includes:

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

School of Nursing, BCCC Sign Dual-Admission Agreement

The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) and Baltimore City Community College (BCCC) recently signed an agreement of dual admission. BCCC becomes the ninth community college in Maryland to sign such an agreement with UMSON.

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

“This partnership with UMSON creates a smooth transition for BCCC students who are enrolled in our ADN program to obtain their BSN degree,” said Scott Olden, MS, RN, dean, School of Nursing and Health Professions, BCCC.

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

“UMSON faculty and staff welcome the opportunity to work with the BCCC community to provide an avenue for its ADN students to earn their BSN degrees,” said Linda Murray, DNP, CPNP-Ped, assistant professor and director, RN-to-BSN Program, UMSON. “We are looking forward to working together to advise the nursing students at BCCC on how to successfully enhance their skills as they progress through the program.”

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

Kevin NashBulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, For B'more, UMB News, University Life, USGAMay 23, 20180 comments
Read More

Join a Conversation with the Cast of ‘On Your Feet!’ on June 7

UMB students, faculty, and staff are invited to bring lunch to the Hippodrome Theatre on June 7 and join a conversation with cast members of On Your Feet! This musical is an inspiring true story about heart, heritage, and two people who believed in their talent and each other to become an international sensation: Gloria and Emilio Estefan.

  • Date: Thursday, June 7
  • Time: Noon to 1 p.m.
  • Where: Hippodrome Theatre, 12 N. Eutaw St.
  • Registration: Space is limited, so register today.

 

Alice PowellBulletin Board, For B'more, People, University LifeMay 23, 20180 comments
Read More

At James McHenry School, Artwork Fosters Community Engagement

Last fall, fourth-grade students at James McHenry Elementary/Middle School helped local artist Candace Brush put the finishing touches on a hand-painted mural outside of their school. Upon its completion, principal Chris Turk said the mural reflects the spirit of the school and captures its power of positivity and optimism. Thanks to AARP Maryland and the nonprofit REAL School Gardens, those students now have an intergenerational outdoor community space next to that mural for the whole neighborhood to enjoy.

At the opening ceremony for the new outdoor space on May 10, in an event called the “Big Dig,” volunteers, including those from UMB’s Office of Community Engagement, completed the project and joined in the celebration. The mural project and the creation of the outdoor space illustrate how art can be integrated into community spaces in ways not previously imagined.

The mural at James McHenry was the second in a series of public murals planned in partnership with several area K-12 schools. The mural project was made possible by the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Council for the Arts & Culture, which sponsored the artwork, and Maryland First Lady Yumi Hogan, the council’s honorary chair.

The murals are designed and customized for each school by Brush, with input from students, parents, teachers, and administrators. On the day of the unveiling, a portion of the mural is left to be colored in by children from each school. The first mural project was held in 2016 at Southwest Baltimore Charter School, one of three West Baltimore schools that sends middle school students into UMB’s CURE Scholars Program. The Council for the Arts & Culture is working toward identifying the next location for the mural project, planned for fall 2018.

Nearly 100 volunteers of all ages and backgrounds participated in the “Big Dig” to construct the intergenerational community space at James McHenry. The result was an integrated neighborhood effort that will be enjoyed by many for years to come.

— Emma Jekowsky

Emma JekowskyCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, UMB NewsMay 23, 20180 comments
Read More

Lexington Market’s Crab Derby Offers Free Tickets to UMB Community

Lexington Market’s 2018 Crab Derby Festival is being moved to inside the market Thursday because of the forecast for rain, but here’s a bright spot: The event is offering free general admission tickets to all University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) students, staff, and faculty members who present their UMB ID.

In addition, if a member of the UMB community wants to bring a friend or family member (kids 16 and under are free), they can get 20 percent off the price of tickets and ticket packages, which include food, drink and VIP packages. Also, those tickets can be purchased at the door as well, not just online.

The Crab Derby Festival  will run from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. It will feature live music from Strykers’ Posse; food from vendors such as Faidley’s Seafood and Connie’s Chicken & Waffles; local craft beer, wine, and signature cocktails; a kids zone with games, crafts, and activities; and — of course — crab racing.

For more details, go to the Lexington Market website.

Lou CortinaBulletin Board, For B'more, University LifeMay 15, 20180 comments
Read More

Live Near Your Work Grant Hits Home as UMB Employees Buy Houses

When the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) relaunched the Live Near Your Work Program this year, President Jay A. Perman, MD, detailed the initiative’s upgrades, putting a focus on the University’s new $1.5 million commitment. Perman said he expected the revised grant from UMB – which increased from $2,500 to $16,000 — to be a “game-changer” for the program when applications opened in late January.

After 3½ months, the game indeed has changed in a big way — and UMB employees Vonetta Edwards, PhD, and C. Steven Douglas, MA, MLS, can attest to that. Both have used the money to help buy homes in Hollins Market, one of seven neighborhoods adjacent to UMB eligible for the program, joining a half-dozen other employees who’ve taken the plunge into homeownership with aid from UMB, with more prospects in the pipeline.

Edwards, a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute for Genome Sciences at the School of Medicine (UMSOM), moved into her new home in Hollins Market this month, using the grant that includes $16,000 from UMB and $2,500 from the city of Baltimore to help with the down payment and closing costs. As intended, the funds served as a cash catalyst, pushing her to action.

“This is a great program, and it propelled me from thinking about purchasing a home to actually doing it,” said Edwards, who has worked at UMB for 5½ years and had been living in an apartment in Mount Vernon. “Especially for first-time homebuyers, the amount that covers both closing costs and the down payment is almost too good to leave on the table. Even if you do not see it as your ‘forever’ home, you are getting in as the areas develop, so you can consider it an investment.”

Douglas is head of collection strategies and management at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library and a 16-year UMB employee. He had been renting in Hollins Market, and the grant helped him buy a house in the neighborhood. “Its proximity to campus, downtown, and the harbor first attracted me,” he said.

The new homebuyers follow Shea Lawson, a research project coordinator at the Brain and Tissue Bank at UMSOM who was the first UMB employee to close on a home using the new Live Near Your Work (LNYW) grant and moved into a home in Pigtown in March. (Read Shea’s story.) Pigtown/Washington Village,  Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Poppleton, and Union Square are the program’s seven targeted neighborhoods.

‘Very Pleased With Progress’

At a news conference launching the revamped program in January, attended by Mayor Catherine Pugh, Perman referred to LNYW as Dawn Rhodes’ “baby,” and Rhodes, MBA, the University’s chief business and finance officer and vice president, is thrilled with her baby’s growth. “We are very pleased with the progress of the improved Live Near Your Work Program,” she said. “It is helping very deserving individuals become homeowners.”

Emily Kordish, UMB benefits manager and coordinator of the LNYW Program, has been helping to guide employees through the process. She’s equally thrilled with the results.

“I’m extremely excited and honored to be a part of a program that has been making such a big impact in our employees’ lives,” Kordish said. “Employees have been contacting me not only to take advantage of this benefit, but to also take the steps so they can be ready to buy. This has truly been a rewarding experience.”

Edwards and Douglas attended an LNYW Program employee kickoff session and information panel at the SMC Campus Center on Jan. 11 and took part in the homebuying counseling sessions and neighborhood tours sponsored by Live Baltimore, one of the initiative’s community partners.

“The counseling sessions provided lots of useful information that helped to demystify the homebuying process,” Douglas said. “And the trolley tour gave me an opportunity to interview real estate agents.”

Edwards said she loved the trolley tour because it gave her a good overview of neighborhoods that she wasn’t too familiar with. “I had heard the names of all of them but did not have a mental geographic map of how they were spread out,” she said. “The tour also allowed you to see which neighborhoods you would be comfortable living in.”

As for the counseling sessions, Edwards said, “They allowed me to determine what payments I felt comfortable with and thus how much house to look for. They also brought up issues and situations that I had not thought about in buying a house, like monthly security system payments, the home warranty, and such.”

Reaping the Benefits

Now that she’s in Hollins Market, Edwards says living close to her workplace is a great benefit.

“I do bench research and sometimes have to come in on the weekend,” she said. “So a 10-minute walk in, or five minutes on the orange circulator, beats a 20- or 40-minute bus ride in, plus public transportation on the weekend is not extremely reliable.”

Another perk? “I still get to avoid purchasing a car,” Edwards said.

Both UMB employees praised the program, its community partners, and its facilitators, including Kordish and Daibeth Saunders, development officer for the city of Baltimore.

“The process was amazingly easy,” Douglas said. “Emily here on campus, Daibeth with the city, my real estate agent, and my mortgage agent all worked together to get me into the house.”

“I would like to thank Emily Kordish and Daibeth Saunders for making this a seamless process,” Edwards said. “I also thank UMB leadership for facilitating this process and making my first home a reality.”

— Lou Cortina

Lou CortinaFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeMay 15, 20185 comments
Read More