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Need a Poster for Graduate Research Day?

Students preparing for the annual Graduate Research Conference on March 15 are discovering the value of the Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL) in the research process.

The HS/HSL offers poster printing services to all UMB faculty, students, staff, and University of Maryland Medical Center staff. Posters are printed on up to 42-inch-by-60-inch glossy paper ($50) or canvas fabric ($60) and are available for pickup within two business days after submission.

The library’s Presentation Practice Studio is ideal for practicing oral presentations. Taping your presentation for later review is an option, too.

Each school’s faculty librarian can meet with students to retrieve relevant articles from quality databases and demonstrate efficient management of these references using RefWorks or EndNote. In addition, any student, staff, or faculty member preparing to present at a professional meeting or table clinic or to defend a dissertation is encouraged to contact their school’s faculty librarian.

Everly BrownCollaboration, Education, Research, Technology, University Life, USGAFebruary 12, 20180 comments
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Richard B. Horenstein Memorial Lectureship Set for March 14

The Richard B. Horenstein, MD, JD, Memorial Lectureship will be held March 14, noon to 1 p.m., in the Medical Center Auditorium (Shock Trauma, T1R18) at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

The Horenstein Memorial Lectureship was established in memory of Richard B. Horenstein, MD, JD, associate professor of medicine. Horenstein had an intellectual hunger for learning and carried this passion into all aspects of his life and work. He was collegial, collaborative, compassionate, and a true renaissance man. Horenstein came to the University of Maryland in 2001 as a fellow in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Nutrition and joined the full-time faculty in the Department of Medicine in 2004. He passed away in 2017 after battling cancer. The Horenstein Lectureship was established to honor prominent individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of translational medicine.

The lecture will be presented by Rudolph L. Leibel, MD, the Christopher J. Murphy Memorial Professor of Diabetes Research, head of the Division of Molecular Genetics, and co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University. His topic will be “Molecular physiology of the control of body weight: Experimental strategies for understanding human obesity.”

Ugur EricksonPeople, ResearchFebruary 8, 20180 comments
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From Entrepreneur to Pharmapreneur

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.

Close your eyes and think of a person you would describe as an entrepreneur. Do you envision a successful business leader? What about a researcher working to discover a new treatment for cancer? Do you think of an owner of a small business, like a community pharmacy? Or, do you just see Scrooge McDuck diving into a pile of gold?

I believe that the word association between “entrepreneur” and “greed” for some people has limited the willingness to learn from successful entrepreneurs and apply frameworks that have served the for-profit sector to settings where profit isn’t necessarily the end goal. The term entrepreneurism is used to imply qualities of leadership, initiative, skills, and taking risks to implement innovations.1,2 However, the potential for a negative connotation may negate the word’s positive implications.

Embracing My Entrepreneurial Spirit

Early in my pharmacy student career, my interest in business development led me to seek approval from my school’s dean to enroll in up to 25 credit hours each semester to earn my Master of Business Administration (MBA) in addition to my Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD). After a full day of pharmacy classes, I would spend most of my evenings at the Gatton College of Business and Economics delving deeper into lessons about competitive strategy, logistics and lean thinking, new business financing,3 and managing competing forces to lead an organization. These classes helped guide me as a manager and district manager early in my career for a large pharmacy chain as well as through the development of a blog, small real estate endeavor, and consulting company.

When I left the private sector to pursue a career with the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and a PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) at the School of Pharmacy, I wasn’t able to turn off the business development section of my brain. Fortunately, my department chair and dean recognized ways that my love for business could be applied to advance the mission of our school, including teaching business strategy in the PharmD curriculum with Agnes Ann Feemster, PharmD, BCPS, assistant professor in PPS; developing a new business plan elective with Tim Rocafort, PharmD, BCACP, assistant professor in PPS; and consulting with the University of Maryland Medical Center on numerous projects to capture revenue and streamline services.4

However, it was when the school officially launched its new pharmapreneurism initiative in 2017 that I knew I had truly found my niche.

Defining Pharmapreneurism

Entrepreneurship has been cited as a key factor in driving innovation in the practice of pharmacy. The Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Education (CAPE) went as far as to identify “innovation and entrepreneurship” within domains to guide the academy. After the School of Pharmacy trademarked the term pharmapreneurism to describe pharmacy entrepreneurs — individuals who, through achieving their career aspirations, address some of the nation’s most pertinent health care, research, policy, and societal needs — I began to serve on a number of projects and committees related to this new initiative. However, I quickly found that, while much emphasis has been placed on the importance of entrepreneurism in pharmacy, there appears to be a gap in the research surrounding the definition of a successful entrepreneur and the appropriate role for innovation and entrepreneurship within teaching, scholarship, and service goals for schools of pharmacy.

In an effort to help close this gap, I recently applied for and was fortunate to receive a $10,000 New Investigator Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy (AACP) to determine the role of entrepreneurialism within the broader missions of schools of pharmacy and identify skills necessary to be a successful pharmapreneur. By interviewing successful pharmacy business leaders; my research mentor, C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor and chair of PHSR; and other pharmacy entrepreneurs, I aim to develop a pharmapreneur construct that may influence how institutions support and promote innovation.

Looking Beyond Financial Gain

I believe the true spirit of pharmapreneurism does not rest solely on the growth of pecuniary riches. By taking a proactive approach to define this concept, I believe that I can help shape how the term is used and perceived — and, hopefully, educate others about how the profession of pharmacy and our ultimate customer (the patient) may benefit. There are many applications of entrepreneurism to the field of pharmacy, from patient care roles to new practice models. However, to graduate successful pharmapreneurs and innovators, schools of pharmacy need to address the evolving roles, requirements, and regulations of practice, as well as incorporate those revised pharmacy competencies into curricula.

By formalizing a working definition and identifying the role of entrepreneurism in pharmacy, my research will add new knowledge to the discipline and help students understand the need to be versatile, innovative, competitive, and sustainable in their pharmacy practice. The findings will provide the foundation for a construct, enabling institutions to support and promote entrepreneurship and innovation in pharmacy curricula. This will be of particular benefit to the school, which has several new programs in the pipeline to help foster an unparalleled environment that values and nurtures pharmapreneurship among faculty and students alike.

— Joey Mattingly, PharmD, MBA, assistant professor in PPS

References

1 Mason HL, Assemi M, Brown B, et al. Report of the 2010-2011 academic affairs standing committee. Am J Pharm Educ. 2011;75(10).

2 Tice BP. Advancing Pharmacy Through Entrepreneurial Leadership. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2005;45(5):546-553. doi:10.1331/1544345055001373.

3 Mattingly TJ, Yusuf J-E, Fink III JL. Turning that great idea into a thriving business. Pharm Times. 2009.

4 Dunn EE, Vranek K, Hynicka LM, Gripshover J, Potosky D, Mattingly TJ. Evaluating a Collaborative Approach to Improve Prior Authorization Efficiency in the Treatment of Hepatitis C Virus. Qual Manag Health Care. 2017;26(3). doi:10.1097/QMH.0000000000000137.

 

Joey MattinglyEducation, ResearchFebruary 7, 20180 comments
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Volunteers Needed for Experimental Avian Influenza Vaccine Study

The University of Maryland Center for Vaccine Development is conducting a study of an investigational H7N9 Influenza vaccine.

The purpose of the study is to assess whether this H7N9 flu shot with or without the AS03 adjuvants is safe and does not cause unacceptable or intolerable side effects, and to see how the body reacts to different strengths of this H7N9 flu shot when it is given with or without the AS03 adjuvants. Adjuvants are substances that can stimulate the immune system.

Healthy male and female volunteers who are 19 or older are needed to participate in this study. The study will take about 13 months and involves two vaccinations approximately three weeks apart and up to seven clinic visits. Volunteers will be compensated up to $1,200 for completion of all study visits and procedures.

For details, contact the recruiting office at the Center for Vaccine Development at 410-706-6156 betwen 8 a.m. and 4 p.m..

Lisa ChrisleyResearchFebruary 7, 20180 comments
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School of Law’s Rome Lecture, Panel to Discuss Drug Pricing Issues

The Law and Health Care Program at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law will present the 2018 Rome Lecture, “Drug Pricing: Problems and Prospects,” on Thursday, March 8, 3 p.m., in the Ceremonial Courtroom at the School of Law, 500 W. Baltimore St.

This year’s lecture will be delivered by Aaron Kesselheim, MD, JD, MPH, who discuss the rising costs of prescription drugs, examining the causes of recent increases as well as proposed solutions.

Kesselheim is the director of the Program on Regulation, Therapeutics and Law in the Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, as well as an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on the effects of intellectual property laws and regulatory policies on pharmaceutical drug development, the approval process, and the cost and availability of prescription drugs.

The lecture will be followed by a panel of experts on pharmaceutical drug pricing:

  • Joshua Auerbach, special assistant and senior litigation counsel, Maryland Office of the Attorney General
  • William V. Padula, PhD, MS, MSc, assistant professor, Department of Health Policy and Management, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Frank Palumbo, JD, PhD, professor, Pharmaceutical Health Services Research, and executive director, Center on Drugs and Public Policy, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy
  • Ameet Sarpatwari, JD ’13, PhD, instructor in medicine, Harvard Medical School, and assistant director, Program on Regulation, Therapeutics and Law,  Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

A reception will follow the panel. Attendance is free but registration is requested. Click here to register.

The Stuart Rome Lecture was established in 1984 to honor the memory of Stuart Rome, a prominent attorney, community activist, art patron, and humanitarian in the Baltimore area.

Lauren Levy Clinical Care, Education, People, ResearchFebruary 5, 20180 comments
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PSC Researcher Wang Named Finalist in National Toxicity Challenge

Hongbing Wang, PhD, professor and program chair for experimental and translational therapeutics in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences (PSC) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has been named one of five finalists in the national Transform Toxicity Testing Challenge: Innovating for Metabolism. Wang will receive $100,000 from the National Toxicology Program — a joint program of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — to support his continued work to develop a new cell culture model that allows existing high-throughput screening assays to produce physiologically relevant metabolites, accelerating the drug discovery process and decreasing researchers’ reliance on animal studies, which are often costly and time-consuming.

“Our department was thrilled to learn that Dr. Wang would be advancing to the next stage of the national Transform Toxicity Testing Challenge,” says Paul Shapiro, PhD, professor and chair of PSC. “By applying his existing expertise in the field of drug metabolism to this national challenge, which will help improve drug safety for patients around the world, Dr. Wang has demonstrated the true spirit of a pharmapreneur. We applaud his innovation and leadership in this endeavor and wish his team the best as they enter into the challenge’s final stage.”

Advancing Drug Safety

To help evaluate the risk of adverse health effects associated with new drugs, researchers have traditionally relied on animal studies. However, because these studies are often costly and require a significant amount of time to complete, many drugs have yet to undergo a full safety evaluation. To help address this issue, regulatory agencies have a developed a range of high-speed, automated screening technologies — known as high-throughput screening assays — that rely on immortalized cells (mutated cells that are able to undergo division for a prolonged period of time) to measure the toxicity of those compounds. Unfortunately, these assays are not able to test for metabolites, which are altered forms of chemicals produced as the body breaks down the original compound.

In some cases, the metabolites produced by a drug can be more toxic than the drug itself, such as in the common pain reliever acetaminophen, which — when taken by patients in doses that exceed the recommended amount — produces metabolites known to be toxic to the liver.

To help existing high-throughput screening assays test for drug metabolism, Wang and his team developed a new cell culture model that uses human liver cells known as human primary hepatocytes (HPH) and an inverted co-culture system that allows assays to run in an environment that produces physiologically relevant metabolites.

“Lack of metabolic competence is a major limitation of the current high-throughput screening assays used in the evaluation of drug safety,” Wang says. “We know that properly cultured HPH are well-recognized as one of the most relevant and practical models that maintain broad spectrum drug-metabolizing capacity. This new co-culture model offers a simple solution to this challenge that can be applied to existing high-throughput screening assays to determine if compounds and their metabolites interact with the target of interest and allows for improved assessment of chemical toxicities.”

Moving Solutions to Market

Wang notes that the inverted co-culture system developed by his team facilitates the attachment and morphology of HPH, allowing the HPH and target cells to face each other and enhancing the exchange of medium and metabolites in the same chamber. Because of the ease and low cost at which this new experimental procedure can be conducted, it is an efficient approach for the in vitro high-throughput screening of chemical toxicity in a metabolically competent environment.

Wang and his team entered the Transform Toxicity Testing Challenge: Innovating for Metabolism in 2016, when they were selected as one of 10 semifinalists and received $10,000 to help advance their proposed solution. Now, as one of five finalists in the competition, the team has been awarded $100,000 to help gather preliminary data that demonstrate the effectiveness of the new inverted co-culture system they proposed. “This funding will be pivotal in helping us to advance this new and exciting design into a practical solution for the accurate assessment of chemical safety,” Wang says.

As he prepares for the final stage of the challenge, Wang will be partnering with a leading biotechnology firm to patent and translate this new system into a marketable initiative for use in pharmaceutical laboratories around the world.

— Malissa Carroll

 

Malissa Carroll Research, UMB NewsFebruary 2, 20180 comments
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The President’s Message

Check out the February issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on the Live Near Your Work Program, a look ahead to his quarterly Q&A on March 7, CURE Corner, a story on Jody Olsen’s nomination as Peace Corps director, and a safety tip on winter driving.

Chris ZangBulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAFebruary 2, 20180 comments
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School of Pharmacy’s Mullins to Establish Learning Health Care Community in Baltimore

C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) and director of the Patient-Centered Involvement in Evaluating the Effectiveness of Treatments (PATIENTS) Program at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has been awarded a $250,000 investigator-initiated grant from Merck to develop guidance for an innovative Learning Health Care Community in West Baltimore. The project, titled “Co-developing Sustainable Learning Health Care Communities Using Community-Based Participatory Research,” aims to increase collaboration between patients and health care systems and promote greater health equity across the local area.

The grant will be used to support pilot work for future grants to implement recommendations from the guidance and create healthier communities in the neighborhoods located to the west of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campus.

“As a member of the West Baltimore community, the School of Pharmacy has a responsibility to use our expertise in pharmacy education, research, and patient care to ensure that our neighbors are living healthy lives,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the school. “Under the direction of Dr. Mullins, the faculty and staff in the PATIENTS Program have been at the forefront of this work. This new initiative represents a natural evolution in the program’s efforts to empower patients to propose questions about their health care concerns and actively participate in studies to answer them. I am excited to see how this project helps transforms the way that individuals think about and participate in their health care.”

Building on a Proven Model

For their project, Mullins and his team will build on the Learning Healthcare System model developed by the Institute of Medicine, in which “science, informatics, incentives, and culture are aligned for continuous improvement and innovation, with best practices seamlessly embedded in the delivery process and new knowledge captured as an integral by-product of the delivery experience.” While a Learning Healthcare System focuses on using the best available evidence to tailor care to each patient’s unique needs while helping educate patients throughout the delivery of that care, the Learning Health Care Community will focus on establishing partnerships with churches, organizations, health care providers, caregivers, health care systems, and other area stakeholders to actively involve patients in the community in their health care. Community leaders will be critical in facilitating patient engagement in an environment centered on comfort and trust.

“The Learning Healthcare System model is an excellent way to ensure that patients and their health care providers are using evidence-based treatments; however, the current implementation approach for this model requires that patients enter into a health care system to be active participants,” Mullins says. “We want to engage patients and other individuals currently living in the community earlier in the process to understand how we might build upon the innovations and lessons learned from Learning Healthcare Systems to help prevent, rather than just effectively treat, illness and disease.”

To assist with the development of an innovative framework for a Learning Health Care Community that effectively addresses the diverse needs of underserved communities, Mullins and his team will assemble an advisory board that includes community members, patient and caregiver advocates, health care providers, and other stakeholders to help direct the research plan. Applying principles from the field of community-based participatory research, the team will work with partners in the PATIENTS Program to co-develop an interview guide that researchers will use to conduct focus groups and key informant interviews with the residents of West Baltimore, their health care providers, and other stakeholders.

By addressing the health needs of the community, the project will help alleviate joblessness and other socioeconomic challenges affecting local residents.

“The promise of jobs has not arrived in West Baltimore, and many residents who are able to get a job have not received the appropriate physical and mental health services necessary to help them keep their job, get promoted, or benefit from other employment opportunities,” Mullins says. “Our Learning Health Care Community combines individuals’ desire for a job with the reality that getting and keeping a job requires the skills and ability to work, and this includes being physically and mentally healthy.”

Creating a Plan for the Future

The research related to this project will conclude in December 2018. Findings will be shared with the community through a patient-centered dissemination strategy developed by the research team in collaboration with its community partners. Future work related to this effort will include implementing the plan of action developed with those findings and replicating the Learning Health Care Community model in other cities across the United States.

“The Learning Health Care Community will help ensure that people living in our community have access to quality health care and also have an opportunity to participate in their care,” says Jacqueline Caldwell, president of the Greater Mondawmin Coordinating Council. “They will be able to meet with a doctor who can help them and communicate with them in their own language so that they understand how to live healthier lives.”

“Having the Learning Health Care Community in our neighborhood will allow us to learn about our disease,” adds Gail Graham, director of HIV/AIDS outreach services for Mount Lebanon Baptist Church. “Instead of letting the doctors make all of the decisions, we will be able to learn about the disease and make decisions about our own health.”

— Malissa Carroll

To learn more about a Learning Health Care Community, watch this video.

Malissa Carroll Community Service, Research, UMB NewsFebruary 1, 20180 comments
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Take the UMB Community Survey on Intimate Partner Violence

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Community Collaborative on Intimate Partner Violence is conducting a brief survey of students, staff, and faculty to better understand the needs of our campus community related to intimate partner violence.

The UMB Community Collaborative on Intimate Partner Violence is a multidisciplinary effort composed of faculty, staff, and students from the schools of social work, law, nursing, medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy as well as the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) and the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Your answers to this short (about five-minute) survey will directly inform the development of awareness, training, and education programs for the UMB community.

All students, staff, and faculty at UMB, UMMC, and the VA Medical Center are eligible to participate. Your responses are anonymous.

Please visit this link to take the survey.

The study contact and principal investigator is Veronica Nije-Carr, njie-carr@son.umaryland.edu.

Lisa Fedina ResearchJanuary 31, 20180 comments
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School of Medicine’s Hassel Wins MLK Faculty Award

Bret Hassel, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the School of Medicine, has been a team player, helping with multiple Universitywide initiatives, since coming to UMB in 1995.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that when Kevin Cullen, MD, director of the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, asked Hassel to be UMGCCC’s liaison for the UMB CURE Scholars Program that he jumped in with both feet.

“What started as a peripheral role on the UMB CURE team rapidly evolved to a more substantial commitment as I was ‘infected’ by the contagious enthusiasm for this program that has now spread as an ‘epidemic’ for the good across UMB schools and the entire city of Baltimore,” Hassel said of the UMB pipeline program that is preparing West Baltimore children for health and research careers through hands-on workshops, lab experiences, and mentorship.

“Indeed, the UMB CURE team is a microcosm of diversity that is at the heart of its goal, with each member bringing a unique skill set that fuels the program,” Hassel said.

For his contributions to CURE and many other programs at UMB and beyond that help under-represented minority students find success, Hassel will receive the Outstanding UMB Faculty Award as part of the University’s Black History Month celebration on Feb. 1.

Hassel, a member of the UMB CURE Scholars team since its inception, serving as a mentor and co-chair of the Sustainability Subcommittee that is charged with writing grant applications to fund the program, said he shares the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Recognition Award with many colleagues.

“It is a humbling honor especially in the context of the many UMB faculty and staff who are also deeply passionate about the importance of diversity and inclusion,” he said. “In that vein, the committed people that I work with are equally responsible for the success of the different outreach and education programs and should be considered as co-recipients of this award.”

In addition to the CURE Scholars, Hassel plays leadership roles in multiple National Institutes of Health-funded programs that promote minority inclusion and diversity at UMB. He has directed the School of Medicine’s Nathan Schnaper Intern Program in Translational Cancer Research for 16 years and is a member of the core team for the STAR-PREP minority postbaccalaureate program.

Most recently, Hassel received a Bridges to the Doctorate grant in partnership with Towson University to foster the progression of minority master’s degree students to PhD programs. He also contributes to minority-focused training programs at Morgan State, Coppin State, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

“Bret does not treat scholar diversity as a dream, he is a team player who helps find the funds and helps build the structures to make this a reality,” said Gregory Carey, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at SOM, who nominated Hassel for the MLK award.

“Bret is focused on diversity achievement at the individual level as well,” added Carey, director of student summer research and community outreach at the school and a former MLK award winner himself. “A faculty member recently asked Dr. Hassel and I to help with a Howard Hughes research fellowship application for one of our PhD-track, African-American scholars. This talented and wonderful young lady happens to also have a certified neurocognitive disability. Bret and I responded enthusiastically! Proudly, we learned from her mentor last week that the student has been advanced to the finalist round for a Howard Hughes Medical Institute student award! What greater reward for service than to read through the letter sent by this proud young lady and celebrate her win with her? This is Dr. King’s dream and what Bret lives for.”

Hassel, who loves mentoring, teaching, and interacting with students, said he gets back more than he gives.

“Working in an environment that promotes a culture of diversity, like UMB, has allowed me to experience the benefits of a diverse workplace and understand the importance of efforts to expand this at UMB and beyond,” he said when asked why helping minorities is so important to him. “The impact of programs that advance minority representation, and benefit all parties involved, provides plenty of motivation to continue this work.”

For more on UMB’s Black History Month celebration, click here.

— Chris Zang

Chris Zang Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 30, 20180 comments
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Attend the Monthly Flow Cytometry Lecture on Feb. 1

The University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center monthly Flow Cytometry Lecture will be held Thursday, Feb. 1, 10:30 a.m. to noon, at the Bressler Research Building, Room 7-035.

The lecture, led by Xiaoxuan Fan, PhD, director of the Flow Cytometry Shared Service,  will teach the basics of flow cytometry. This is needed if you would like to become a trained user of the facility. All are welcome to attend and can RSVP at this link.

The lecture will cover:

  • How a flow cytometer works
  • Multicolor panel design and compensation
  • Instruments and services we offer
  • New technology and tools
  • Online booking system
Karen Underwood Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, Research, TechnologyJanuary 29, 20180 comments
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SOP Researchers Awarded $500,000 Grant to Focus on Patient-Driven Value Assessment

A team of researchers from the departments of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) and Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy have been awarded a three-year, $500,000 grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Foundation to establish a Center of Excellence for Patient-Driven Value Assessment at the school. Led by Susan dosReis, PhD, professor in PHSR, the center will strive to promote the inclusion of diverse patient voices in research to help uncover the elements of value in health care that are most important to patients.

This center is one of only two funded by the PhRMA Foundation to lead the development of transformative strategies to better assess the value of medicines and health care services while improving patient outcomes and reducing inefficiency in health care.

“All of the health services and drug-related research conducted by faculty in our department is motivated by one goal: to improve health among diverse populations,” says C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor and chair of PHSR and a co-investigator on the grant. “Through the establishment of our new Center of Excellence for Patient-Driven Value Assessment, our research team will employ a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach that leverages an established patient engagement infrastructure, an extensive network of partners, and a solid foundation of patient-centered outcomes research, education, and dissemination expertise to promote value-based decision-making in health care. I am excited to be part of this project, which will further strengthen our school’s reputation as a national leader in value assessment in health care.”

Promoting Value in Health Care

In its news release announcing the award, the PhRMA Foundation noted that concern over rising U.S. health care costs has increased interest in promoting high-quality care, while avoiding low-value or inefficient care. Although a number of initiatives aiming to drive value in health care have recently emerged, few have offered transformative solutions that reflect patient preferences and real-world clinical practice, leaving many issues in methodology and patient engagement unresolved.

“Previous research has shown that an insufficient focus on patient-driven value assessment in health care limits our ability to fully evaluate the cost-effectiveness of available treatments,” dosReis says. “Our Center of Excellence is founded on the fundamental premise that value in health care must be defined by patients. We are tremendously grateful to the PhRMA Foundation for their support of our efforts to have patients and other stakeholders work together to co-produce reliable and meaningful value assessments that further support patient-centered health care decision-making.”

Addressing an Unmet Need

To help fill gaps in existing value frameworks — economic evaluations that assess the value of medical tests, treatments, and other health care services — researchers in the school’s Center of Excellence for Patient-Driven Value Assessment will incorporate patients’ perspectives of value in their work and ensure that value in health care is defined by factors identified as important by a diverse range of patients. In addition to dosReis and Mullins, the center’s core faculty includes Wendy Camelo Castillo, PhD, assistant professor in PHSR; Joey Mattingly, PharmD, MBA, assistant professor in PPS; and Julia Slejko, PhD, assistant professor in PHSR.

Along with collaborators from the National Health Council, including Eleanor Perfetto, PhD, MS, who also serves as a professor in PHSR, and local hospitals and health clinics, the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, and patient stakeholders, the researchers aim to expand patient and other stakeholder engagement partnerships, educate patient and research communities about the importance of patient engagement in research, support patient-driven value assessment research, and disseminate patient-driven value assessment principles and methods.

Looking to the Future

The center’s long-term research goal is to produce and disseminate findings that value frameworks developers can use to improve their methodology to capture and include patient input.

“Capturing the diversity of the patient voice in value assessment will be a major strength of our center,” dosReis says. “The research that we conduct will elicit the meaning of value in health care from diverse patient groups and allow us to develop a core set of patient-driven value elements, prioritize those value elements, and test those elements with existing frameworks. Our team’s expertise in qualitative and mixed methods research, pharmacoeconomics, predictive modeling, and stated preference methods well positions us to undertake this research.”

DosReis also notes that research conducted by the center will lead to additional opportunities for national and international collaboration.

“The School of Pharmacy will become the hub for cutting-edge research and training in patient-driven value frameworks,” she adds. “Research from our center will change the landscape for the economic evaluation of medicines and other therapies. Our findings will have an indelible impact on medical decision-making by patients, health care professionals, policymakers, and regulatory agencies.”

 

Malissa Carroll Research, UMB NewsJanuary 29, 20180 comments
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CURE Scholars Program Wins MLK Staff Award

Princaya Sanders used to dream of being a professional wrestler. Now, she has her heart set on anesthesiology. Shakeer Franklin was a disruptive, inattentive middle school student. Now, he plans to be a psychotherapist. Nicholas Knight aspired to be an NFL player. Now he sees a career in health care.

These are just three of the lives that have been changed by the UMB CURE Scholars Program, which for 2 1/2 years has been taking young people from West Baltimore with an interest in science and molding them into future health care workers and researchers through hands-on workshops, lab experiences, and mentorship.

On Feb. 1, the UMB CURE Scholars Program’s central leadership team will receive the Outstanding UMB Staff Award as part of the University’s Black History Month celebration.

When informed of the program’s selection of this award, executive director Robin Saunders, EdD, MS, noted, “This program is truly a labor of love for all of us on the central leadership team. I am honored to work with a team of committed professionals who work tirelessly to positively impact and transform the lives of young West Baltimore students and their families.

“I am amazed at the progress of our scholars who were often overlooked and perhaps even written off due to the socioeconomic status of their neighborhoods. This program demonstrates that when students have opportunities and high expectations, they can rise to immeasurable heights.”

Launched in October 2015, the program has grown to include 80 sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-graders, not to mention the nearly 200 mentors from UMB schools recruited by CURE staff members. The UMB CURE Scholars are the youngest ever to participate in the National Cancer Institute’s Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) national program. With the first cohort of UMB CURE middle schoolers entering high school in fall 2018, their improved grades, including math and reading scores, and stellar school attendance becomes all the more important.

After school on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, the scholars are transported to the Baltimore City Community College Life Sciences Institute at the University of Maryland BioPark for their training with mentors. On Saturdays, they meet at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy to take part in A Bridge to Academic Excellence, where they receive tutoring.

The UMB Writing Center also has held workshops to help prepare the students for the college application process. Field trips have included museums, mechanical engineering labs, pharmacy and dental school, anatomy class, and planetary presentations. Summer camps have exposed the scholars to new discoveries as well.

“I think it’s amazing,” said sixth-grade scholar Jazire Faw. “Last week we dissected a sheep’s eye, and I thought that was really cool.”

By enhancing that love of science from groups under-represented in the biomedical and health care workforces, UMB hopes to create a pipeline that will see the scholars through college into rewarding careers — breaking the cycle of poverty so prevalent in West Baltimore.

“We’ve established that in these students we’ve got talent to spare, but now we have to make the opportunity,” UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, said on Saturday, Oct. 14, as the third cohort of CURE scholars slipped on the program’s signature white laboratory coats.

“We have to dismantle the barriers that separate our young people from their potential and from their purpose. We have to give these students what they need to rise, because I’ve seen them rise, and it’s beautiful to watch.”

Each year at UMB’s Black History Month celebration, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Recognition Awards are presented for individual and/or group achievements in the areas of diversity and inclusiveness. The recipients serve as models of the ideals epitomized by the life and work of Dr. King.

Saunders (pictured above with CURE colleagues Lauren Kareem, MEd, and Borndavid McCraw) is proud that the UMB CURE Scholars Program is taking its place among former outstanding staff recipients.

“We are thrilled to be recognized for our challenging and complex yet rewarding work,” she said. “We are grateful to have been selected for this prestigious award named after a great man who gave his life to improve conditions for people who, like our scholars, are often overlooked, forgotten, and perhaps even written off. This award is a blessing and we greatly appreciate this acknowledgment on behalf of the many mentors, faculty, staff, and partners who support our important work, our amazing scholars, and our comprehensive program.”

For more on UMB’s Black History Month celebration, click here.

— Chris Zang

Chris Zang Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAJanuary 23, 20182 comments
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Graduate Research Conference Planned for March 15

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is happy to sponsor the 40th Annual Graduate Research Conference (GRC) at the SMC Campus Center, on Thursday, March 15, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with a reception to follow.

The GRC is hosted annually by the GSA and provides students and postdoctoral fellows the opportunity to present their research to the campus community. The GRC creates a unique and dynamic setting that facilitates the efficient exchange of information and ideas across a wide variety of scientific disciplines via oral or poster presentations. The top poster and top oral presenter for each session will be given an award, as decided by a panel of faculty and professor judges.

To register for this year’s oral and poster presentations, please go to this link.

More information can be found on the GSA website.

The registration deadline for abstract submission is Thursday, Feb. 22.

Please email umb.gsa.sec@gmail.com with questions.

Janelle Hauserman Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Research, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 23, 20180 comments
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‘Grand Challenges’ Book Includes Contributors from School of Social Work

The Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative (GCSWI), spearheaded by the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW), represents a major endeavor for the field of social work. GCSWI calls for bold innovation and collective action powered by proven and evolving scientific interventions to address critical social issues facing society.

The purpose of GCSWI was modeled after the National Academy of Engineering, which aimed to identify some of the most persistent engineering problems of the day and put the attention, energy, and funding of the entire field to work on them for a decade. The GCSWI does the same for social issues, tackling problems such as homelessness, social isolation, mass incarceration, family violence, and economic inequality.

Grand Challenges for Social Work and Society is a book that will present the foundations of the GCSWI, laying out the start of the initiative and providing summaries of each of 12 Grand Challenges. The 12 main chapters that form the core of the book, one on each of the challenges, are written by the primary research teams that are driving each Grand Challenge project.

The book is edited by University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW) Dean Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW; Rowena Fong, EdD; and James Lubben, DSW/Phd, MPH, MSW.  It provides a road map for the Grand Challenges, making a case for social work’s unique position to address each one and offering ideas for directions to take and ways to get involved.

Contributors with ties to SSW include: Sarah Christa Butts, MSW ’08, executive director of the Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative; Christine Callahan, PhD, MSW, research assistant professor with the Financial Social Work Initiative (FSWI) at the SSW; and Robin McKinney, MSW ’01, director and co-founder of the Maryland CASH Campaign.

Matt Conn Education, People, ResearchJanuary 22, 20180 comments
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