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James Trovato

School of Pharmacy’s Trovato Named AACP Academic Leadership Fellow

James Trovato, PharmD, MBA, BCOP, FASHP, associate professor and vice chair for academic affairs in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has been accepted into the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy’s (AACP) Academic Leadership Fellows Program. This year-long program is designed to develop the most promising individuals from the organization’s member institutions to become future leaders in pharmacy and higher education.

Trovato is one of 30 pharmacy educators who will join the program’s 2018-2019 cohort of fellows.

“Dr. Trovato embodies many of the skills, qualities, and attributes necessary to become an outstanding and impactful leader in pharmacy education,” says Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the School of Pharmacy, who will serve as Trovato’s mentor during his time in the program. “He is well-positioned to both contribute to and benefit from AACP’s Academic Leadership Fellows Program, and in return, he will be able to apply the results of his experience to help further augment the school’s existing education and clinical infrastructure.”

Preparing the Leaders of Tomorrow

AACP’s Academic Leadership Fellows Program supports and contributes to the development of leaders in academic pharmacy and higher education. Through his participation in the program, Trovato will have an opportunity to take part in talent and leadership development sessions, gain valuable team-building experience, and explore legislative and public policy issues critical to pharmacy and higher education.

He also will complete a personal assessment of his competencies for leadership.

“I am excited to join the AACP Academic Leadership Fellows Program to represent not only myself, but also my department and the School of Pharmacy as leaders in pharmacy education at the national level,” Trovato says. “I am looking forward to meeting with other educators from across the country to further hone my own leadership and team-building skills as well as learn how I can best apply these skills to help address some of the challenges facing our profession. It is truly a tremendous opportunity to take pharmacy education at the School of Pharmacy and across the state of Maryland to the next level.”

Unlocking Faculty Potential

Trovato received his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from Purdue University and completed a pharmacy practice residency in oncology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He is a board-certified oncology pharmacist whose research interests include the prevention and management of complications related to chemotherapy or malignant disease in patients with cancer. He also serves as the director of the school’s PGY-2 Oncology Pharmacy Residency Program.

In addition, Trovato’s commitment to collaborative practice and interprofessional education has helped the School of Pharmacy expand its practice sites beyond the city of Baltimore. He not only worked to establish a relationship between the school and the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, but he also spearheaded the creation of a new collaborative oncology pharmacy practice site at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center (UM BWMC) in Glen Burnie. He is the principal investigator for the Joint Clinical and Educational Grant, a collaboration between UM BWMC and the School of Pharmacy; chair of the UM BWMC Chemotherapy Subcommittee; and a member of the UM BWMC Pharmacy and Therapeutic Committee.

“In my view, a true leader is someone who is able to bring disparate parties together in a collaborative manner and set a strategic course through consensus. Dr. Trovato has demonstrated this practice in many venues,” Eddington says.

Trovato’s participation in the AACP Academic Leadership Fellows Program began Aug. 1 and will conclude July 31, 2019.

— Malissa Carroll

Malissa CarrollEducation, People, UMB NewsAugust 16, 20180 comments
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YouthWorks/HIRE One interns at celebration

Interns Complete Youth Works/HIRE One Summer Jobs Program

Seventeen Baltimore City youths completed the campus’ Youth Works/HIRE One Summer Jobs program, where they learned skills to help them compete and succeed in today’s workforce.

Youth Works/HIRE One is one of several UMB summer youth employment opportunities offered to Baltimore residents in partnership the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development. The program is based on job requests from several departments and offices on campus. Students between the ages of 16 to 21 are selected, interviewed, and put on UMB’s payroll.

In the five-week program, which began June 25, some students learned new skills while others expanded their job experience by working in a number of administrative roles in departments throughout the UMB campus. The positions included but were not limited to working as a camp counselor for the new Summer U program at URecFit, in the Office of the President, and in the dean’s offices at the schools of medicine, nursing and dentistry. The Office of Public Safety, Department of Epidemiology, and the offices of Accountability and Compliance and Human Resource Services are regular participants of the program.

Students not only receive hands-on experience, but they also are paired with a mentor, a UMB employee who volunteers their time and expertise to give the student an opportunity to discuss their area of interest and become familiar with the campus. Another component of HIRE One is to present information that can be beneficial to a high school or college student. Cherita Adams, career development manager, Human Resource Services, presented on résumé writing and effective interviewing skills. Patricia Scott, assistant vice president of enrollment administration, presented information regarding college loans, grants, and scholarships. Jullyenne Antues, community outreach specialist from SECU, presented financial management information, discussing the differences between a credit union and a commercial bank.

The program concluded July 27 with a ceremony for students, mentors, and supervisors. Some students can be  invited to continue to work after the program if the office or department has additional work and funding. This year, four students earned that distinction.

If you are interested in providing an opportunity for Baltimore youths via Youth Works/HIRE One for the summer of 2019, or if you are interested in becoming a mentor, please contact Camille Givens-Patterson at or Kim Mathis at . It might be the fastest five weeks ever, but it could give a student a valuable opportunity — a summer job at UMB.

Camille Givens-PattersonFor B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeAugust 15, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: Kelly Doran, PhD, MS, RN

UMB Champion of Excellence: Kelly Doran, PhD, MS, RN

The Champions of Excellence campaign is a multi-year branding campaign at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) in which we highlight individuals and teams that exemplify extraordinary accomplishment and represent excellence at the University. During the next few months, The Elm will be featuring these UMB Champions, who are making Baltimore, our region, and in some cases the world a better place. (Read about all of the 2017-18 UMB Champions of Excellence.)

Today’s Champion:
Kelly Doran, PhD, MS, RN
Enriching Public Health Through Preventive Care

As a little girl playing make-believe, Kelly Doran, PhD, MS, RN, always dreamed of being a nurse. With endless ambition, she earned her Registered Nurse degree, but the dream began to change when she realized she didn’t want to treat people after they were sick. Instead, she wanted to focus on prevention.

So she pursued her master’s and doctorate in community/public health with a focus on research at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), graduating in December 2011 and joining the faculty a month later as an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing.

Her childhood dream has transformed her into both an influential researcher and community changer. When she heard about the nonprofit community care organization Paul’s Place — which has a rich 34-year connection with the University — she jumped at the chance to get more involved as part of her faculty practice.

Paul’s Place is a keystone in improving the quality of life for the people of Southwest Baltimore. Located about a mile away from the University, it provides access to high-quality health care, education, employment, and housing options, as well as other support needs for homeless and low-income individuals in the area.

Today, Doran is director of health and wellness for Paul’s Place, where she spends two days a week on-site integrating health and wellness concepts into its programming. She serves as a faculty preceptor for the UMB students who come to do service learning or clinical placements, and also runs the public health clinic that provides both basic care and programs for mental health, substance abuse, wound care, and stress.

Doran describes it as a “public health primary prevention clinic,” rather than a typical clinic or hospital. It provides a range of services from basic first aid to intensive clinical case management.

“[Paul’s Place] is absolutely amazing. One of the things that makes it unique is that it’s a one-stop shop,” she says. “Our population is often distrustful of the health care system and of social services in general, so it’s really important that we have a good and trusting relationship with them. We try to provide as many services in-house as possible so we can meet their needs on-site and continue to build relationships with them.”

Not only is working at Paul’s Place an example of how much of a champion for public health Doran really is, but it’s also the perfect place for her research.

Recently, Doran has been partnering with behavioral psychologists from the University of Maryland, College Park and researchers from universities in Michigan and Florida to study delayed discounting and executive functioning in the guests at Paul’s Place.

Delayed discounting refers to the decline in the value of a reward because of the delay to its receipt, while executive functioning refers to the parts of the brain that let us plan, organize, and complete tasks. Essentially, the research team is studying how trauma changes the way the parts of the brain work, thereby affecting perception and impulses.

When dealing with delayed discounting in combination with impulsivity, it is harder for a person to wait for a distant reward because they desire more immediate gratification.

For example, they may turn to smoking for stress relief without focusing on the possibility of contracting lung cancer 10 years from now.

Doran and the rest of the team look at how change in executive functioning after trauma impacts a person’s health behaviors, outcomes, and engagement with health services.

“We have a trial where we have an intervention group play computer games to hopefully improve their memory and impulsivity so they’re at a place to think about and prioritize future events and delay gratification, essentially working on improving their health,” she says.

Being able to see and work with the guests at Paul’s Place two days a week is not only personally rewarding, but also gives Doran a better sense of what her guests need and how to help them. Personal interaction in combination with data is the best way to create well-rounded, successful solutions in both a statistical sense and in a real community-based setting.

So what does the future look like for Doran? She plans to continue applying for new grants to study both impulse and substance abuse. She hopes to also create more in-depth programming at Paul’s Place to educate guests about substance use and misuse and mental health as well as provide the guests with more treatment options.

When not working and researching at Paul’s Place, Doran spends her work time teaching and mentoring students at the School of Nursing.

“I’m really passionate about getting students to understand and appreciate research. It’s all about helping them gain and understand concepts and apply them in the real world,” she says.

The overlap of Doran’s research, teaching, and daily work at Paul’s Place is her favorite part of the job. Yet, she knows the reward from seeing the facets of her work connect is only magnified by the support she receives from the leadership at the School of Nursing and UMB.

“We have this mission [to improve the human condition], and to complete it there is this juggling of research and teaching and practice, but everyone is very supportive of your strengths and what you can contribute. They do what they can to foster [those strengths],” she says.

As her personal and career life continue to evolve, like with the birth of her first child in 2017, Doran knows UMB is the place she wants to stay.

“I absolutely love my job,” she says. “I feel every day that I’m at Paul’s Place and with students that I’m making a difference. I love my research. I really feel like it’s going to help the community.”

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeAugust 13, 20180 comments
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Gun violence panelists at PATIENTS Day

PATIENTS Day Empowers Communities to Take Charge of Their Health

Nearly 200 community members, health care providers, and researchers came together at the University of Maryland BioPark on July 20 to celebrate PATIENTS Day. Hosted by the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s Patient-Centered Involvement in Evaluating the Effectiveness of Treatments (PATIENTS) Program, this interactive health fair offered attendees an opportunity to learn from and teach one another how to create and sustain healthy individuals and communities in West Baltimore and nationwide.

“One of the most valuable lessons our team has learned is that health is more than physical wellness — it is a state of well-being,” says C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) and director of the PATIENTS Program at the School of Pharmacy. “PATIENTS Day takes what we have learned about building healthy communities and combines it with what we want community members to know about their health, the PATIENTS Program, and our partners.”

Understanding What Our Communities Need

The half-day event featured three panel discussions that highlighted some of the physical, mental, and social factors that impact community members’ health. There were conversations focused on the community’s perspective of research as well as steps community members can take to foster health and wellness in every area of their lives.

“We as a community want to give back,” said Daniel Frye, JD, vice president for public sector engagement strategy at Aira Tech Corp, who spoke about his experience as a blind patient participating in research. “We want to render the world in which we live a better place, and we’re happy to do it if we’re embraced and welcomed by those who are interested enough to do the work in a way that is respectful of who we are.”

Baltimore’s Ernestine Shepherd, 82, who has achieved international fame as Guinness World Records’ “World’s Oldest Performing Female Bodybuilder,” also participated in the panel discussions to share how the unexpected loss of her sister inspired her to take her fitness journey to the next level.

“We wanted to inspire others to live a healthy, happy lifestyle by exercising,” Shepherd said. “My sister asked me, ‘If something happened to me, could you continue what we’re doing?’ Little did I know that she was already sick. She had a brain aneurysm, and when she died, I knew I had to continue on, as she wanted.”

However, it was the panel discussion highlighting the impact of gun violence on the health of Baltimore’s residents and neighborhoods that elicited the most impassioned response from attendees, with panelists sharing their experiences growing up in neighborhoods affected by this tragic epidemic.

“I was 12 the first time that I was awakened by gunshots,” recalled Erricka Bridgeford, mediator and community organizer for Baltimore CeaseFire 365. “When I was younger, I assumed this must be what people like me and neighborhoods like mine deserved. You don’t realize that violence is a symptom of the oppressive systems that are happening to your neighborhood. You just think there’s something wrong with the people in your neighborhood.

“It has been a constant, intimate journey with violence and murder, but what I’m learning is that murder doesn’t get to have the last say, my resilience does.”

Providing Communities with Critical Resources

Attendees also were invited to take advantage of free blood pressure and HIV screenings as well as to learn more about other support services to empower them to take charge of their health.

“There are a lot of health disparities in Baltimore, so it was great to have this opportunity to attend PATIENTS Day and learn more about resources that we can share with our patients,” said Marquita Carroll, a community health worker at the University Health Center Clinic. “We want to get this knowledge out to the community to help our patients live healthier lives.”

The PATIENTS Program partners with patients and care providers to answer questions about the best treatment options to improve health and quality of life. Funded through a five-year infrastructure development grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the program conducts and funds patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR), which aims to engage people from all communities — particularly those from underserved populations — in every step of the research process.

— Malissa Carroll

Watch a video about PATIENTS Day.

Malissa CarrollCommunity Service, For B'more, People, UMB NewsAugust 13, 20180 comments
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Ehret Elected President of College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists

Megan Ehret, PharmD, MS, BCPP, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, has been elected president of the College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP). She will lead the organization in continuing its mission to advance the reach and practice of psychiatric pharmacy while maintaining her faculty appointment at the school.

“Dr. Ehret’s election as president of CPNP is a testament to her unwavering commitment to advance the field of psychiatric pharmacy to better serve both patients and practicing pharmacists alike,” says Jill A. Morgan, PharmD, BCPS, BCPPS, professor and chair of PPS. “Our department is thrilled for her to have this opportunity to lead the field to which she has dedicated her career, and we cannot wait to see how CPNP continues to evolve under her leadership.”

Advancing the Field of Psychiatric Pharmacy

Established in 1998, CPNP is a professional pharmacy association dedicated to promoting excellence in pharmacy practice, education, and research to optimize treatment outcomes for individuals affected by psychiatric and neurologic disorders. It has a membership of more than 2,100 pharmacists and pharmacy students across the United States and strives to ensure that all individuals living with mental illness receive safe, appropriate, and effective treatment.

“Because of shortages in properly trained psychiatric health care professionals, inadequate local and national laws, as well as other limitations, there are many patients who cannot access appropriate psychiatric care,” Ehret says. “CPNP strives to ensure that all patients with a mental health concern, neurologic disorder, or substance use disorder have access to a specially trained pharmacist who can work with them and their health care team to determine the best treatment options for their unique circumstances.”

Dedication to Her Peers and Patients

Ehret received her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from the University of Toledo in Ohio. She completed a residency in psychiatric pharmacotherapy at the Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center as well as a fellowship in psychopharmacology and pharmacogenomics at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. In 2006, she joined the faculty at the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, where she also completed a master’s degree in clinical and translational research. Ehret later served as a behavioral health clinical pharmacy specialist with the Department of Defense in Fort Belvoir, Va., before joining the faculty in PPS in 2017, where she teaches in the PharmD program and pursues research in the areas of precision medicine, psychotropic medication adherence, and the role of the psychiatric pharmacist on the health care team.

She is the senior editor for CPNP’s Psychiatric Pharmacotherapy Review Course and has experience treating patients across the spectrum of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.

“One of the most rewarding aspects of practicing in the field of psychiatric pharmacy is being able to help patients when they are at their most vulnerable,” Ehret says. “To help a patient understand their medications as well as their illness, and to see them experience a better quality of life as a result of my interventions, has been very meaningful to me.”

An Opportunity to Lead

Ehret assumed the role of president of CPNP on July 1. In her new role, she will chair the organization’s Board of Directors, serve as the primary representative of the organization, outline goals for the organization and its internal committees, participate in strategic planning, mentor future leaders in the profession, and foster teamwork among officers, committee chairs, and staff.

Once her term is completed, she will serve as past-president for CPNP for 2019-2020.

“It was truly humbling to learn that I had been elected president of CPNP — that my peers and colleagues put their trust in me to lead the field of psychiatric pharmacy to the next level,” Ehret says. “To be on the forefront leading our organization as the practice of pharmacy continues to evolve beyond a dispensing role to a more collaborative team approach is incredibly exciting. I’m hoping that my service will help push that envelope even further, allowing us to create more opportunities for psychiatric pharmacists that help make their scope of practice even more fulfilling.”

— Malissa Carroll

To see a video about Ehret, click here.

Malissa CarrollClinical Care, People, UMB NewsAugust 13, 20180 comments
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New Initiative: President’s Interprofessional Education Faculty Scholars

The Center for Interprofessional Education (IPE) is selecting applicants for a new initiative called President’s Interprofessional Education Faculty Scholars.

This program is intended to support faculty from UMB professional schools in expanding their knowledge and expertise related to providing interprofessional education to advance UMB’s mission. The program requires a 10 percent commitment over two years (24 months), including involvement in the Foundations of Interprofessional Education and Practice course in the first year, development of an IPE initiative in the first year, and implementation of that initiative in the second year.

Scholars will be eligible to apply to attend an Interprofessional Education Collaborative Institute and to apply for a seed grant and/or IPE Faculty Award. Up to seven President’s Interprofessional Education Faculty Scholars will be selected for this two-year program.

You can find the application and additional information here or contact Patricia Danielewicz.

Patricia DanielewiczCollaboration, Education, UMB NewsAugust 9, 20180 comments
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UMB Faculty: Foundations of Interprofessional Education and Practice Course

The Center for Interprofessional Education is selecting applicants for a new initiative, the Foundations of Interprofessional Education and Practice course.

The Foundations of Interprofessional Education and Practice course will be offered during the 2018-19 academic year to students enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, master’s entry-to-practice Clinical Nurse Leader, Doctor of Pharmacy, Doctor of Dental Surgery, Dental Hygiene, Medical Doctor, and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs. Faculty from the schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing, and pharmacy will work with interprofessional student groups that will be completing introductory, interprofessional education content through six modules (three face-to-face and three online, delivered via Blackboard) during the fall 2018 and spring 2019 semesters.

You can find the application and additional information here or contact Patricia Danielewicz.

Patricia DanielewiczCollaboration, Education, UMB NewsAugust 9, 20180 comments
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July-August President’s Message

Check out the July-August issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on immigrants’ rights and how Maryland Carey Law is helping secure them; a Q&A with new Police Chief Alice Cary; a preview of Campus Life Services’ Welcome Month; a recap of Project SEARCH’s graduation, and a new alignment for UMB’s overall commencement; stories on UMBrella scholarships and Teaching with Technology Day; a look ahead to Dr. Perman’s Sept. 18 Q&A; and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements.

Click here to read the full message.

Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAAugust 7, 20180 comments
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An Oasis of Options in a Food Desert

The University of Maryland, Baltimore Community Engagement Center (CEC) is providing a source of relief for West Baltimore residents searching for fresh food options. With weekly food markets open all year long, community members as well as UMB students, faculty, and staff can sink their teeth into fresh produce and organic foods at a deep discount.

“Poppleton is a food desert as are many other neighborhoods in West Baltimore,” explains Kelly Quinn, PhD, coordinator for the CEC. “Because it’s a food desert we wanted to provide these food markets so the community has plenty of food options.”

From fresh fruits and vegetables to organic meats and eggs, there is a plethora of options available at these markets, all within walking distance of the Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods where there is limited access to healthy food.

On Mondays, the CEC hosts Produce in a Snap!, which is provided by Hungry Harvest, a local food company started by a University of Maryland alum. The company rescues produce that’s considered to be “too ugly” for grocery store shelves, and sells it at a reduced price.

Customers can buy a mixed bag full of fresh fruits and vegetables for $7, using cash, credit or debit cards, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. The available fruits and vegetables change every week, so no two weeks are the same, providing the community with a wide variety of healthy choices.

(View a photo gallery.)

Produce in a Snap! is coordinated by Campus Compact Mid-Atlantic AmeriCorps VISTA leaders as part of their year of service at the center. VISTA leaders, whose focus is on developing and supporting anti-poverty programs, launched, coordinated, and grew the Monday food market. Former VISTA leaders for the CEC, Avery Harmon and Philip Lin, implemented the project and the CEC’s latest VISTA leader, Rajaniece Thompson, will begin in early August, picking up where they left off.

“We simply could not have implemented this market without their expertise and assistance,” notes Quinn.

Produce in a Snap! is the most popular of the three food markets available this summer. According to Quinn, between 20 and 40 shoppers stop by to pick up a bag pf produce every Monday. The market is open from 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the summer and from 2:30 to 5:30 the rest of the year, providing a convenient and cost-effective way for the West Baltimore community to access fresh food.

Community members also can shop for fresh produce and organic foods on Wednesdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the CEC courtesy of the Baltimore Food Economy and Civic Works’ Real Food Farm. Real Food Farm sells locally grown fruits and vegetables through the summer and doubles the dollars (up to $10) for anyone using SNAP/EBT Independence cards, Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program vouchers, or WIC Fruit & Vegetable Checks.

Meanwhile, inside the CEC building, the Baltimore Food Economy is open year-round, allowing customers the chance to buy or barter for organic foods taken off the shelves of grocery stores before their expiration dates.

(View a photo gallery.)

Not only do these markets provide a place for easily accessible, healthy foods, they also expose the community to ingredients they may have never seen before. Dorothy “Dottie” Page, a Poppleton resident and community leader, discovered spaghetti squash after finding one in her bag at the Monday market. She had never heard of a spaghetti squash, let alone knew how to prepare one, but now the gourd is one of her favorite dinners.

“If there are fruits or vegetables you don’t know, they will tell you how to cook them and what they taste good with,” explains Page.

She is referring to the staff at the CEC who often help community members learn more about the produce they purchase and provide recipe suggestions. Thompson, the incoming VISTA leader, will expand upon this sharing of culinary knowledge at the food markets by providing CulinArt cooking demonstrations, recipe exchanges, and food sampling tables.

Founder of the Baltimore Food Economy, Ulysses Archie, believes these food markets provide a necessary service to the West Baltimore community while also bringing about a strong sense of community by uniting people on a common ground.

“Food is something all people share and all people have in common,” says Archie. “It does not matter where you came from or what economic bracket you fall under. Anyone who is interested in good food at a reasonable price is welcome here.”

Jena FrickCommunity Service, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, UMB NewsAugust 6, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: Kevin J. Cullen, MD

UMB Champion of Excellence: Kevin J. Cullen, MD

The Champions of Excellence campaign is a multi-year branding campaign at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) in which we highlight individuals and teams that exemplify extraordinary accomplishment and represent excellence at the University. During the next few months, The Elm will be featuring these UMB Champions, who are making Baltimore, our region, and in some cases the world a better place. (Read about all of the 2017-18 UMB Champions of Excellence.)

Today’s Champion:
Kevin J. Cullen, MD
Championing Patients with Cancer

Everybody knows somebody whose life has been impacted by cancer. Each year researchers across the country work tirelessly to find new ways to prevent and cure this dreaded disease. In Maryland, one of those top researchers is Kevin J. Cullen, MD.

Cancer took both of Cullen’s parents from him early in his life. His mother died of lung cancer when he was in high school, and his father died of leukemia right after Cullen finished his degree at Harvard Medical School. Being so personally affected by cancer, he decided to study oncology and complete his residency at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston.

Today, as a renowned oncologist who specializes in head and neck cancer, Cullen serves as director of the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) and as a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

Cullen oversees all aspects of the cancer center, including a staff of 275 physicians and researchers, while also treating his own patients, roughly 20 per week. He manages an impressive $90 million in research funding that UMGCCC receives annually to fund a range of cutting-edge research, including the more than 230 clinical trials conducted by center oncologists each year.

Under Cullen’s leadership, the cancer center was named a National Cancer Institute (NCI)–Designated Cancer Center in 2008 and then awarded the NCI’s highest designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center in 2016. The recognition acknowledges UMGCCC’s high caliber of scientific leadership, resources, and the depth and breadth of its interdisciplinary research.

In addition, UMGCCC was ranked No. 21 out of 900 cancer programs nationally in the 2016 U.S.News & World Report‘s “Best Hospitals” list.

Through such achievements, Cullen has helped cement the state of Maryland’s future as a hub of cancer research and treatment. “The NCI designation attracts top research and clinical talent and significantly enhances our ability to translate discoveries in the laboratory into better treatments for cancer patients in Maryland and beyond,” he says.

The key to success for UMGCCC, Cullen says, is having a talented and diverse staff that can provide comprehensive research and care. UMGCCC recruits outstanding basic scientists doing critical work in understanding tumor immunology, oncologists developing clinical trials, and population scientists studying how to prevent cancer and the disease’s effects on specific populations.

These impressive researchers also help to run UMGCCC’s robust training program that educates the next generation of life-changing clinicians and researchers.

The Greenebaum Cancer Center is a bridge between research and clinical practice. UMGCCC’s clinical scientists work with more than 3,650 new patients annually, providing treatment, cancer screening and education services, and also have direct access to research laboratories for investigating cancer causes and treatments. The balance of patient care and innovative research gives UMGCCC physicians and researchers a solid foundation for their efforts.

For Cullen, having access to researchers at the six professional schools and the Graduate School at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) adds to the interdisciplinary approach for solving problems related to cancer.

“It’s a very powerful mix of scientists from all disciplines,” Cullen says. “Any way that we want to attack a cancer problem, we have the experts on campus who can provide the knowledge base to do that. That can range from statisticians in the School of Medicine to experts in pharmacology in the School of Pharmacy.”

Cullen has achieved much national recognition for his work. Some highlights include his appointment by former President Barack Obama to a five-year term as a member of the National Cancer Advisory Board, an advisory committee to the National Cancer Institute, and serving as chair of the American Cancer Society board.

He also was voted to The Washington Post Magazine’s “Super Doctors 2011” for oncology and Baltimore magazine’s “Top Docs” for hematology/oncology for 2010 and 2011. These high honors are only a snippet of the acknowledgment that Cullen has received for his work.

When Cullen is not at the UMGCCC championing cancer research, he enjoys spending time with his wife and 15-year-old son, biking, hiking, and skiing at their cabin in New Hampshire.

“I’m incredibly proud of what the cancer center has been able to achieve for the people that we serve and the citizens of Maryland,” Cullen says. “I’ve been so privileged to lead this team and to help the cancer center grow to national prominence over the last 12 years. I’m just so excited for what we will be able to accomplish in the future.”

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeAugust 6, 20180 comments
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Four Nursing Faculty Members Awarded Nurse Support Program II Grants

Four University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) faculty members have been awarded Nurse Support Program II (NSP II) grants funded through the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission and administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). UMSON’S grant awards total nearly $2 million.

NSP II grants aid in increasing the capacity of nurses in Maryland by implementing statewide initiatives to grow the number of nurses prepared to serve effectively in faculty roles. MHEC offers a number of educational grant programs, funded by state general funds, special funds, and federal funds, designed to address Maryland’s economic and workforce development needs, campus reform initiatives, student preparation for post-secondary education, faculty and student diversity goals, and teacher professional development objectives.

“We are thrilled that UMSON has received NSP II grant support for four significant and quite varied projects, each of which will help address Maryland’s need for a well-educated and well-prepared nursing workforce. These projects expand opportunities for seamless progression of Maryland high school students into nursing careers, increase the number of highly qualified clinical preceptors, build further expertise in quality improvement and evidence-based practices, and create a Maryland Nursing Workforce Center to ensure appropriate data for future decision-making,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “We are grateful to the Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission for its generous support of nursing research and the Maryland Higher Education Commission for its leadership in administering the NSP II initiative. Together we are ensuring that Maryland’s residents have access to excellent health care now and in the years ahead.”

The NSP II grants awarded to UMSON beginning in Fiscal Year 2019 include:

Debra Bingham, DrPH, RN, FAAN, associate professor – Advancing Implementation Science Education project ($698,995, three years): The Advancing Implementation Science Education (AdvISE) project will expand statewide capacity in improvement science and quality improvement (QI) expertise. Implementation science expertise is a necessary foundation in expanding the effectiveness and impact of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students’ quality improvement projects. Implementation science and QI expertise is needed to increase evidence-based practices, which will improve the quality and safety of health care delivery and reduce moral distress and burnout among registered nurses. Through this project, Bingham and the AdvISE Steering Committee seek to advance faculty implementation science and QI knowledge and skills. This project also will aid faculty in effectively guiding and educating DNP students on how to develop, implement, and evaluate QI initiatives.

Shannon Idzik, DNP ’10, MS, ’03, CRNP, FAANP, FAAN, associate professor and associate dean of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program – Continuation of Statewide Preceptor Modules for APRNs ($359,211, three years): Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) programs across Maryland struggle to identify enough preceptors to meet the growing needs of the program. Additionally, many active preceptors feel challenged in acquiring the skills needed to adequately mentor APRN students in a positive way. During the first cycle of funding, Idzik and colleagues created online learning modules and an in-person simulation to educate preceptors around the state. Through this continuation grant, Idzik seeks to recruit and educate more than 300 preceptors, who receive 11 continuing education units upon completion of the program requirements.

Nina Trocky, DNP, RN, NE-BC, CNE, assistant professor and associate dean for the baccalaureate program – PTECH at Dunbar High School for Health Professions with Baltimore City Community College ($629,919, three years): Through the NSP II grant, Trocky and UMSON aim to improve opportunities to develop a diverse and competent professional nursing workforce to care for patients in Maryland. UMSON plans to extend the Pathways in Technology Early College High (PTECH) program at East Baltimore’s Dunbar High School and use it as a pipeline to prepare and send students to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) from Baltimore City Community College (BCCC). After graduating from BCCC with an ADN, students can enroll at UMSON to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree. The mentoring program will offer students academic support, an overview of the nursing field, and financial aid options, and is designed to improve career options and employment prospects for students.

Rebecca Wiseman, PhD ’93, RN, associate professor and chair of the University of Maryland School of Nursing at the Universities at Shady Grove – Establishing the Maryland Nursing Workforce Center ($265,467, two years): The Institute of Medicine’s 2018 Future of Nursing report recommended improving collection methods of workforce data. Currently, data about the nursing workforce in Maryland available to nursing agencies and organizations is lacking. In planning for future workforce needs and to measure the success of programs and initiatives, it is essential to have an accurate and comprehensive data set. Through this project, Wiseman seeks to establish the Maryland Nursing Workforce Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore to be responsible for compiling and reporting relevant data.

Kevin NashBulletin Board, Education, People, UMB News, University Life, USGAAugust 6, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: Flavius Lilly, PhD, MA, MPH

UMB Champion of Excellence: Flavius R.W. Lilly, PhD, MA, MPH

The Champions of Excellence campaign is a multi-year branding campaign at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) in which we highlight individuals and teams that exemplify extraordinary accomplishment and represent excellence at the University. During the next few months, The Elm will be featuring these UMB Champions, who are making Baltimore, our region, and in some cases the world a better place. (Read about all of the 2017-18 UMB Champions of Excellence.)

Today’s Champion:
Flavius R.W. Lilly, PhD, MA, MPH 
Creating Learning Opportunities for All

If you want to see Flavius R. W. Lilly, PhD, MA, MPH, swell with pride, call him the Summer U mastermind. If you want to see him blush, call him an artist.

As senior associate dean at the University of Maryland Graduate School and associate vice president of academic affairs at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), Lilly’s professional pursuits lie in health care and academia. He leads the Graduate School’s strategy to develop new degree programs in the health sciences, provides oversight for academic innovation and teaching excellence, and serves as a leader and visionary for a slew of academic and student services.

But looking at his ink drawings and watercolor paintings, you’d think his personal mentor was artist and TV host Bob Ross.

Inspired by Baltimore architecture and the bright, vibrant colors of his wife (and high school sweetheart) Carolina Vidal’s native Barcelona, Spain, Lilly paints cityscapes and other scenery. His portfolio website,, serves as a shrine for his pieces.

“It’s one of those things I can do and sort of escape from everything else,” Lilly says. “I lose track of time. You get so involved with it that you sort of lose awareness of everything around you, and that can be really stress relieving.”

There was a moment when Lilly considered going to art school but he chose a “more practical” profession instead: biology. Still, he looked for opportunities to flex his creative muscles as an undergrad at Wright State University. When a photography job in the Division of Epidemiology at the Wright State’s Boonshoft School of Medicine opened up, he jumped at the chance to apply.

It turned out that “photographer” really meant “research assistant.” Lilly was responsible for photographing the tops of men’s heads to document male-pattern hair loss over time for a clinical study of a drug later called Propecia. It was part of the Fels Longitudinal Study that dated back to 1929 and studied child growth and development.

By chance, it also was his first exposure to research and aging-related issues, now part of Lilly’s professional life. The children in the study were followed through adulthood, and researchers were looking at all factors related to their aging. Lilly was hooked.

Today, his interests and teaching still lie in aging, but he’s also focused on the bigger picture of growth at UMB — developing new degree programs, new services for students, and improving existing ones.

In 2015, he helped to launch the master’s of science in health science program — the first entirely online degree program at the University.

Each fall, more than 60 students are admitted, mostly working professionals who get their degree in as little as 18 months. The program has grown to include multiple certifications and concentrations, including global health systems and services, aging and applied thanatology, and more.

Lilly is a vocal advocate for all UMB students, too, and has improved and built upon a number of Campus Life Services programs, including the Wellness Hub, the UM shuttle, the Writing Center, and mental health services.

A study published in Nature Biotechnology found that graduate and professional students are six times more likely to experience depression and anxiety than the general population. Social isolation, the often-abstract nature of the work, feelings of inadequacy, and struggle to find work-life balance are to blame.

“It’s not that surprising because these are stress-based disorders, and graduate and professional school is stressful and can trigger conditions that have been dormant,” Lilly says. “I’m concerned about the mental health of our students.”

Lilly is helping to spearhead mental health services at the University by renovating and opening a new space for a student counseling center.

Nearly six years ago, Lilly and Roger J. Ward, EdD, JD, MPA, senior vice president for operations and institutional effectiveness and vice dean of the Graduate School, also started the Emerging Leaders program, a yearlong leadership development experience.

“I’ve been really lucky that I’ve always had good mentors — Cameron Chumlea [PhD, at Wright State], folks in the hospital system, Roger Ward, and others here at UMB,” Lilly says. “I’ve always felt a responsibility to give back and take time to encourage, mentor, and meet with young professionals who want to develop themselves in leadership roles, too.”

Now in its sixth cohort, the Emerging Leaders program accepts 30 to 40 people each year — not just academic affairs staff, but folks from all across UMB. The program has recently started seeing faculty and higher-level managers apply, too. It’s a diverse group Universitywide, from housekeepers to fairly seasoned faculty members interested in taking on more leadership roles.

Another initiative Lilly is excited about is Summer U. What started as an idea over dinner between UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, and Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh was piloted in summer 2017 and is expected to launch officially this summer.

It provides summer fun and learning for youth in disadvantaged neighborhoods like West Baltimore. At UMB, they enjoy recreational activities such as yoga, Zumba, swimming, and more, plus meals — all free of charge.

Lilly is especially proud of the initiative’s ethical and social justice missions — its academic one, too. Young people in inner cities often lose any gains from the academic year because they’re not as likely to be engaged educationally during the summer at camps and such as their higher-income peers.

So in addition to exercise, Summer U includes MANGO math, a reading list, several science field trips, visits to Pop Farm to conduct agricultural and nutrition-based experiments, and more.

The goal is to stabilize the third- to fifth-graders’ learning and prepare them to enter the new school year ready to engage with the curriculum. They also get exposure to life on a college campus, a key element of the program, Lilly says.

“Take my kids, for instance,” he says — Gabe, 17, Zoe, 10, and Daphne, 8. “Being on a college campus is nothing new to them. They’ve always come with me to work and had camps on college campuses. When they decide to go to university, they won’t be intimidated. They’ll have had exposure and interacted with college students and professors. That’s not always the case with disadvantaged kids in Baltimore.”

With the Summer U project, more kids get to visit UMB, and see that it’s not intimidating but a place for them. Lilly says, “That simple act alone will mean something for them later on when they apply for college.”

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 30, 20180 comments
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Donate to the UMB Staff Senate’s School Supply Drive

The UMB Staff Senate’s Community Outreach Committee, in collaboration with the Office of Community Engagement, is collecting school supplies for James McHenry Elementary and the UMB CURE Scholars. Look for collection bins in your building. If you can collect for your department or building, please email Lois Warner at

Donations can be brought to the Saratoga Building, 220 N. Arch St., 14th Floor, Room 03-168.

Donations Requested

  • Rulers
  • Pens
  • Binders
  • Pencils and erasers
  • Backpacks
  • Tab dividers
  • Pencil sharpeners
  • Protractors and compasses
  • Glue sticks
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Colored pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Pocket folders
  • Scissors
  • One-subject notebooks
  • Loose-leaf paper
  • Tissues and hand sanitizer

The last day to donate is Wednesday, Sept. 12, and you are encouraged to take advantage of tax-free shopping week Aug. 12-18.

If you would like to make a monetary donation, please click here.

Mary PhelanBulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, For B'more, UMB News, University LifeJuly 30, 20180 comments
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Affordable, Authentic Afghan Food at Maiwand Grill

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) supports local businesses like Maiwand Grill through programs such as the Local Food Connection, led by UMB’s Office of Community Engagement.

Maiwand Grill owes the mix of men in business suits and college students in sweats to its “terrific” food, as The Baltimore Sun raves. The restaurant offers delicious appetizers and affordable, large platters, like authentic beef kebabs with flavorful rice, bread, and salad. Maiwand is within walking distance of campus and offers delivery and catering services.

Find out more on the Maiwand Grill website or its Facebook and Instagram pages.

Address: 324 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore MD 21201
Telephone: 410-685-0208, 410-685-0225

Olivia FickenscherCommunity Service, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 30, 20180 comments
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