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The President's Message - December 2018

The President’s Message

Check out the December issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on our record-shattering year in extramural funding — $667.4 million in grants and contracts. Also, a holiday greeting; TEDx UMB showcases our big ideas; ceremonial opening for HSRF III; Project Feast serves Thanksgiving meals to those in need; Nursing, Social Work win HEED awards for diversity; students prevail in national public health interprofessional challenge; informatics pioneer saluted at UMB; University takes the fight against opioid addiction on the road; be merry, and wary, around the holidays; and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements.

Back issues of the newsletter can be found in the archives.
Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, UMB News, University Life, USGADecember 10, 20180 comments
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Project Jump Start brown bag

Project Jump Start: Helping the Homeless

Project Jump Start is funded in part by the University Student Government Association at UMB, and our mission is as follows:

  • To assist homeless individuals in meeting their basic needs through weekly food, clothing, and toiletry drives.
  • To provide homeless individuals in Baltimore with the information and support they need to access available resources in the community.
  • To collaborate and build partnerships with others to advocate for the development of policies and programs that will meet the needs of the homeless population in Baltimore.

Learn more at this webpage.

 

Darya BarshakCommunity Service, People, University Life, USGADecember 4, 20180 comments
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Human finger while it pushes the blue register online button on aluminium computer keyboard on office desk.

Spring Semester Parking Registration for Students

Attention, student parkers at UMB:

Spring semester online parking registration begins Jan. 1, and new and returning parkers must register online. After Feb. 8, posted garage rates will apply to all students who have not purchased or renewed their permit and garage access will be denied.

Visit the UMB Parking and Transportation Services website for more information.

Jennifer CoolahanBulletin Board, UMB News, University Life, USGANovember 26, 20180 comments
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Students and faculty at tea party

Pharmacy Students and Faculty Come Together Over Tea

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.

While the School of Pharmacy is world renowned for its advancements in pharmacy education, scientific discovery, and patient care, it still faces an unspoken and universal truth shared among institutions of higher learning: Students sometimes feel lost and unsure of themselves and as if they have no one to whom they can turn. This silent struggle can prevent many students from comfortably and confidently seeking out help with their academics, pharmacy careers, and research projects. In trying to keep up with the hustle of pharmacy school, students have forgotten who their biggest asset and source of support can be: faculty.

Breaking Down Barriers

On Oct. 31, members of the School of Pharmacy’s chapters of the Phi Lambda Sigma Leadership Society and the Rho Chi Society set out to nurture positive relationships between students and faculty by hosting the school’s first-ever “Student FaculTEA Party.” Students and faculty were invited to a tea party-style lunch, complete with finger sandwiches, pretzels and hummus, fruit, and tea for all to enjoy. Our goal was to have an informal yet structured gathering where faculty and students could put aside their titles and get to know one another on a personal level.

More than 40 students and nearly 20 faculty attended our gathering, including Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FCP, FAAPS, dean and professor of the school. To kick off the event, we broke attendees into small groups, which included approximately six students and two or three faculty members each. We started with a “This or That” icebreaker, which brought a lot of laughs and set the mood for our event. Through a series of questions, students and faculty talked about their childhood memories, hobbies, failures, lessons learned, and how to move forward. Many of the questions asked were not ones that would be commonly broached in typical conversations between students and faculty, as they were not related to pharmacy school.

We then shifted the conversation to the barriers that faculty sometimes assume students encounter when trying to approach them, as well as what students consider to be the true barriers. Our goal was to transform this silent struggle into an acknowledged, spoken one. We have noticed that students primarily interact with faculty during lectures or roundtables; as a result, they often shy away from approaching faculty for advice or guidance on problems not directly related to those brief interactions. They forget that their professors, though knowledgeable and wise now, started in the same place they did — as students who faced the same anxieties and stressors that current students continue to experience and ones who can relate to almost any challenge we might currently be confronting.

By not leveraging a resource as rich as faculty insight, students are only hindering themselves. The years in pharmacy school go by fast, and it is important for students and faculty to understand how we can work together to make this time more productive. We believe that, by offering students an opportunity to get to know their professors outside the confines of the classroom, they will start to see faculty as less intimidating and more approachable — mentors to whom they can turn for advice and guidance on any academic, professional, or personal challenge they might be experiencing.

Building Productive Relationships

Although the party was only an hour long, we hope that all those who attended make the most of it moving forward. For students, we hope the next time they see the faculty members they spoke with, that they will say hello and stop to have a conversation. Hopefully, the next time they encounter an obstacle that they do not think they can overcome alone, they will know they have someone to whom they can turn. And the next time they have a question, they will know whom to reach out to for help. For faculty, we hope they have gained a better understanding of the reasons that students may not come to them for help as often as they expect, and use that understanding to guide their interactions with students.

We plan to host the “Student FaculTEA Party” each semester, with the hope of developing relationships that will ultimately help faculty and students at the school unlock their full potential.

— Leann Kwak and Saniya Chaudhry, third-year student pharmacists

Leann KwakPeople, University Life, USGANovember 19, 20180 comments
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Photographer, writer and artist

Students Needed for UMB Art and Literary Journal Editorial Review Teams

UMB’s new art and literary journal, 1807, needs students to join the editorial review team. Help choose which entries are selected for publication! Choose a team to participate on:

  • Visual arts (painting, drawing, photography)
  • Photography
  • Writing (short story, essay, poetry)
  • Other art mediums (sculpture, clay, metal, glass, wood)

Please note that if you’re picked to join a review team, you may not submit an entry to that category, but you may submit to other categories.

Please email Dana Rampolla by Nov. 27 if you’re interested.

 

Dana RampollaBulletin Board, Contests, People, UMB News, University Life, USGANovember 16, 20180 comments
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Dr. Perman talks at the TEDx UMB event

TEDx Event Amplifies UMB’s Cutting-Edge Innovations

The audience seated in an intimate ballroom at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) turned its attention to a small stage at the front of the room. The stage filled with red light as Nadine M. Finigan-Carr, PhD, MS, a research associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Social Work, entered from behind a black curtain off to the right.

“I am a P-H-Diva,” Finigan-Carr declared. “I study sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll, and I’m here to tell you about the perfect combination of the three: child sex trafficking.” And with that, Finigan-Carr began her TEDx talk titled Child Prostitutes Don’t Exist, which discussed the topic of minors being manipulated and trafficked for sex.

Her riveting talk was part of TEDx University of Maryland, Baltimore (TEDx UMB), an inaugural, day-long event for the University put on through TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), a nonprofit organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading.” The goal of a TEDx program is to carry out TED’s mission in local communities around the world through a series of live speakers and recorded TED Talks.

On Nov. 9, 10 speakers from the UMB community took the stage to share their innovative ideas across a wide scope of subject areas united under a single theme culled from the University’s mission statement: Improving the Human Condition. Each speaker approached the theme from a unique perspective informed by life, work, and experience. This brought forth an engaging mix of topics ranging from pioneering augmented reality in the operating room to exploring a middle ground in gender beyond just male and female.

(View a photo gallery.)

“All of the speakers are passionate about the work they are doing,” explains Roger J. Ward, EdD, JD, MSL, MPA, UMB’s senior vice president for operations and institutional effectiveness and a member of the committee that organized TEDx UMB. “As an institution for health and human services, UMB conducts a multitude of cutting-edge research and education and we’re always looking for platforms to amplify our work.”

UMB’s cutting-edge research certainly was demonstrated by TEDx UMB speaker Samuel A. Tisherman, MD, FACS, FCCM, a professor of surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), with his talk: A Cool Way to Save Dying Trauma Patients.

Tisherman discussed the idea of using EPR (Emergency Preservation and Resuscitation) on patients with severe traumatic injuries like gunshot or stab wounds to help stave off death during surgery. The innovative medical technique involves pumping the human body with cold saline (a saltwater solution used for resuscitation) to lower a dying patient’s body temperature to a hypothermic state. This slows the patients’ need for oxygen and blood flow, giving surgeons more time to perform life-saving operations.

“There’s this dogma in surgery that hypothermia is bad, but I would have to disagree,” Tisherman told the audience. “There are numerous reports of patients having cold water drowning, but they survived after being under water for over an hour. Think about that for a second. You’re underwater, can’t breathe, but your body cools fast enough so that your brain, your heart, and other organs are protected, and you can actually survive for over an hour.”

EPR is currently in human trials at the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center. If it continues to be successful, EPR potentially could lead to reduced mortality rates in trauma centers around the world, which fits right into TEDx UMB’s theme of Improving the Human Condition.

Mary J. Tooey, MLS, AHIP, FMLA, associate vice president for Academic Affairs and executive director of UMB’s Health Sciences and Human Services Library, served as emcee for the day, and UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, kicked off the proceedings with his talk, No Money, No Mission. Perman discussed how he learned to balance empathy with good business practices from his parents while growing up in their family-owned dry cleaning business in Chicago. Perman explained how he has put that lesson to use as a pediatric gastrienterologist and as the president of a university that produces hundreds of millions of dollars worth of groundbreaking research and innovations every year.

The day continued with more compelling and thought-provoking discussions. Russell McClain, JD ’95, an associate professor and associate dean at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, used the back of a cereal box to demonstrate and launch a discussion about implicit bias and stereotype threat; Luana Colloca, MD, PhD, MS, an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing and at UMSOM, explored the idea of using the brain’s own power as a solution to the opioid crisis; and Jenny Owens, ScD, MS, the faculty executive director of UMB’s Graduate Research Innovation District (the Grid), delivered a talk about her passion project, Hosts for Humanity, an organization that connects families and friends of children traveling to receive medical care with volunteer hosts offering accommodations in their homes.

“I think events like TEDx are really encouraging,” Owens said. “Seeing all of the amazing work people are doing and how much time and commitment they’re putting into making the world a better place is really inspiring, and I hope it inspires people to go out there and get to work on their own ideas.”

Although each speaker at TEDx UMB was part of the UMB community, their audience was not limited to the 100 people seated in the ballroom. The event was livestreamed on YouTube to a global audience, allowing its outreach and engagement to go far beyond the local community.

“There are so many talented people doing important work here at UMB,” said John Palinski, MPA, a philanthropy officer at UMB and a member of the TEDx planning committee. “TEDx is a bit of education in just reminding people who we are by projecting to the world all the wonderful things that are happening here.”

Members of UMB’s TEDx planning committee hope that this year is just the beginning of an annual event that showcases UMB’s commitment to sparking deep discussions and spreading innovative ideas to improve humanity.

“I am so pleased with this year’s event and I’m already excited for next year,” concluded Palinski.

Jena FrickCollaboration, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Administration, University Life, USGANovember 14, 20180 comments
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Students at health challenge with Dr. Perman and others

Taking Home the Gold at D.C. Public Health Case Challenge

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.

Each year, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) hosts its D.C. Public Health Case Challenge to promote interdisciplinary, problem-based learning that focuses on an important public health issue facing the Washington, D.C., community. Students from all universities in the D.C. area are invited to participate in the competition, but teams must be interprofessional, and include five to six members from at least three different disciplines.

I first learned about the competition in 2017, when I read about the winning team’s proposal to address adverse childhood events from lead poisoning — a serious issue, particularly in Baltimore City. This year, the topic of the challenge was “Reducing Disparities in Cancer and Chronic Disease: Preventing Tobacco Use in African- American Adolescents.” I knew that I wanted to participate in the challenge and was very fortunate to be recruited by Gregory Carey, PhD, associate professor in microbiology and immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and the faculty advisor for the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) team.

In addition to myself, Carey recruited Jennifer Breau and Erin Teigen from the School of Social Work, McMillan Ching and Dominique Earland from the School of Medicine, and Adrienne Thomas from the Francis King Carey School of Law to round out our team. We set to work as soon as we received the case. We were given two weeks and a hypothetical $2.5 million budget to spend over five years to develop a solution to this complex problem, which was presented to a panel of expert judges during the NAM Annual Meeting in October.

Taking the Road Less Traveled

Working together, our team devised a multi-tiered approach that leveraged arts and sports programming to engage middle school students as well as health promotion courses to empower members of the community to make good health care decisions. We titled our proposal “D.C. Health Passport Project,” and employed a community-based participatory research approach to build the program and a mobile app to measure community participation. Data from the app was used to assess community empowerment and incentivize participation in the program.

Our idea was inspired by UMB’s CURE Scholars Program, which recruits health profession students to mentor middle schoolers while also teaching them about better health care practices. We developed a photovoice curriculum for the arts component, which would allow students to capture elements of tobacco use in their communities and how it affected them. At the end of the program, students would have the opportunity to share their project with family, friends, city council members, and legislators.

In addition, understanding that physical activity can help protect children against certain cancers as they age and reduce stress, we included a basketball league into our weekday activities, with a tournament at the end of the season. To include all members of the family — since we know that teens are most influenced by the people closest to them — we incorporated smoking cessation courses to be held at local recreation centers, along with health screenings, health literacy courses, and employment resources. We also incorporated different elements to address societal barriers — such as access to healthy food or impoverished living conditions — that might prevent some individuals from making healthy decisions.

Our goal was to develop a non-traditional approach to addressing health inequities outside of the health care system to show that such solutions can have an indelible impact on communities, as we saw this year in an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine that highlighted a six-month study of a pharmacist-led intervention in black barbershops that was shown to reduce blood pressure among 66 percent of African-American participants in the intervention group (compared to 11 percent in the control group).

Coming Home with the Gold

It was an interesting experience to work so closely with a team of students that I had not met prior to participating in this challenge. Over the two weeks of the case, we spent more than 15 hours brainstorming and strategizing together. It was an incredible team-building experience, and when we were announced as the winners of this year’s competition, I could not have been more thrilled.

As a student pharmacist, I was truly honored to have played a part on the winning team, because I saw participating in this competition as an opportunity to showcase the creativity that our profession can bring to addressing some of our region’s most critical health challenges. Pharmacists should be an integral part of any team that aims to create personal and societal solutions for health disparities. In 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America noted that medical care can only prevent 10-15 percent of preventable deaths. Helping to address rising drug costs, medication adherence, unhealthy lifestyles, environmental factors, and the health care infrastructure are just a few of the ways in which pharmacists could intervene as members of the health care team.

Recognizing the Pharmacist’s Value

Pharmacists have the power and the capability to change how Americans interact with the health care system. Being part of the grand prize-winning team at this year’s D.C. Public Health Case Challenge affirmed to me that we are creative thinkers who are well-equipped to partner with other health care professionals to address the challenge of health care reform. I hope to be part of this ever-expanding field as I move forward in my career.

— Chigo Oguh, third-year PharmD/MPH dual-degree student

 

 

Chigo OguhCollaboration, Education, USGANovember 14, 20180 comments
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Students and police officers at Drug Take-Back Day

Helping Baltimoreans Safely Dispose of Medications

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.

On Wednesday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 27, student pharmacists from the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists’ (APhA-ASP) Generation Rx joined forces with the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Police Force and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to host our bi-annual Drug Take-Back Day at the SMC Campus Center. An initiative started by the DEA in 2010, Drug Take-Back Day has led to the collection of almost 10 million pounds of prescription and non-prescription medications across the United States.

National Initiative, Local Impact

Drug Take-Back Day is a nationwide initiative aimed at addressing a critical public safety and public health issue. According to the 2011 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 50 percent of individuals ages 12 and older received pain relievers, stimulants, and sedatives from a friend or relative for a nonmedical use in the past year, with 5.7 percent of those individuals taking the medication without asking the original owner. By offering a convenient location for community members to bring in these medications, we are helping to reduce the risk of those medications being diverted and protecting our most vulnerable populations from misuse or abuse of these drugs.

Set up in the heart of the UMB campus, the drug take-back boxes are available to the public beginning at 9:50 a.m. These boxes are completely free, anonymous, and open to anyone to use. All members of our community are encouraged to bring in their unused or expired medications for safe disposal. In the three years during which I have participated in Drug Take-Back Day events led by the School of Pharmacy, our group has collected more than 300 pounds of medications for safe disposal. This means those medications are no longer taking up space on people’s shelves and no longer have a chance of being improperly disposed of or detrimentally impacting our environment.

Nationwide, more than 910,000 pounds of medication were collected and disposed of at EPA-approved facilities during this year’s event, with 11,119 pounds of medications collected across the state of Maryland alone.

Improving People’s Health and Protecting Our Environment

Having been involved in numerous Drug Take-Back Day events during my time as a student pharmacist, I hold these events close to my heart.

As a strong environmentalist, I approached my first Drug Take-Back Day from that perspective, really wanting to pair my environmental background with my future pharmacy career. I was immediately overwhelmed by the outpouring of support not only from the Generation Rx chair at that time, but also from community members, who shared with me their support of those same ideals. Each year, many community members thank us for providing this service, saying that they specifically set aside their old medications to bring to our Drug Take-Back Day events because they want to dispose of them properly and in a manner as safe to the environment and to those around them as possible.

In addition, the 2017 NSDUH reported that 11.4 million individuals ages 12 and older admitted to having misused opioids in the United States — a dramatic increase from the 4.3 million Americans reported to be nonmedical users in 2014. With approximately 115 Americans dying every day from opioid overdose, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a national public health emergency on Oct. 26, 2017, which has helped to bring even more light and attention to treating the prevalence of this substance abuse.

When we come together to host Drug Take-Back Day events, it can sometimes feel like we are only taking a small step when compared to the enormity of this crisis, but together these small actions add up to create larger impacts on our communities and among our friends. We start a ripple of awareness, and that ripple carries across communities, counties, and even states.

The October Drug Take-Back Day events marked our group’s 14th year of hosting Drug-Take Back Day events across UMB, a feat we could not have accomplished without the assistance of Cpl. J.R. Jones of the UMB Police, Special Agent Andrew Biniek from the DEA, and all of our amazing student volunteers who took time from their days to make these events possible. Each time I reflect on my involvement in these events over the past three years, I am reminded of the positive impact that Generation Rx has hopefully imparted on the West Baltimore community.

— Kimberly Cai, third-year student pharmacist

 

Kimberly CaiCommunity Service, University Life, USGANovember 13, 20180 comments
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UMB USGA Fall Formal poster

UMB 2018 USGA Annual Fall Formal on Nov. 16

The University Student Government Association (USGA) invites UMB students to attend the USGA Annual Fall Formal on Friday, Nov. 16, in the ballrooms of the Baltimore Convention Center.

The formal will take place from 7 p.m. to midnight.

Tickets are $25 for students and $35 for guests. Please use a umaryland email account to buy your tickets. Purchases are limited to one student ticket and one guest ticket per student, or until sold out. You must bring your student ID and a government-issued photo ID for age verification.

Tickets can be purchased at this Eventbrite webpage. Ticket price includes food and drinks.

For questions, please contact umb.usga.programming@gmail.com

Hope to see you there!

Andrea TheodoruPeople, University Life, USGANovember 13, 20180 comments
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The President's Message-November

The President’s Message

Check out the November issue of The President’s Message. It includes:

  • Dr. Perman’s column on UMB leadership’s 10-day trip to Asia
  • A look back at Founders Week
  • UMB Police launch COAST outreach team
  • A new cohort of CURE Scholars dons white coats
  • First piece of public art at UMB unveiled
  • Then-Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith joins White Paper discussion on gun violence
  • A look ahead to the UMB TEDx event (Nov. 9) and Barbara Mikulski’s visit (Nov. 27)
  • A roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements and a call for Board of Regents’ Staff Award nominations
Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, UMB News, University Life, USGANovember 9, 20180 comments
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Thanksgiving Food drive volunteers

Thanksgiving Collection: Donate a Basket Through Nov. 13

UMB’s Staff Senate and the Office of Community Engagement are teaming up to host a Thanksgiving food drive through Tuesday, Nov. 13, to benefit CURE Scholar and Police Athletic/Activities League families of West Baltimore.

Departments or individuals can sponsor a family by collecting the items below to fill a Thanksgiving food basket.

Each donation basket should include:

  • 2 boxes of stuffing
  • 2 cans of cranberries
  • 2 boxes of mashed potatoes
  • 2 cans of sweet potatoes
  • 2 cans of gravy
  • 4 cans of vegetables (corn, peas, green beans, etc.)

Don’t Have Time to Shop?

You can donate online through the Staff Senate giving page.

Collection Drop-Off

Through Nov. 13, donations can be placed in collection bins located at the following locations:

  • Saratoga Building lobby, 220 Arch St.
  • Lexington Building, first- and second-floor lobbies, 620 W. Lexington St.
  • MSTF Atrium, BIORESCO, 695 W. Baltimore St.
  • Cancer Center, Clinical Research Center, 22 N. Greene St.
  • School of Social Work lobby, 525 W. Redwood St.
  • School of Nursing lobby, 655 W. Lombard St.
  • School of Nursing, sixth floor, in front of elevators
  • SMC Campus Center lobby, next to guard station, 621 W. Lombard St.
  • Facilities Maintenance Service Center, 622 W. Fayette St.
  • Bressler Research Building, Room 7-022, 655 W. Baltimore St.
  • HSF II Building lobby, 20 Penn Street
  • School of Law lobby, 500 W. Baltimore Street
Brian SturdivantCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, People, UMB News, University Life, USGANovember 9, 20180 comments
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Students celebrating American Pharmacists Month

Student Pharmacists Celebrate American Pharmacists Month

October is American Pharmacists Month — a time to reflect on the tremendous impact that pharmacists across the United States have on their patients, profession, and the community. At the School of Pharmacy, the celebration is led by student leaders in the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP). Members of this organization plan a variety of events in which students are encouraged to participate to show their appreciation for pharmacists practicing in the profession of which they will soon become a part.

This year, students had the opportunity to write thank you notes to faculty, preceptors, and other pharmacists to express gratitude for the valuable work they do each day. In addition, students from APhA-ASP’s Generation Rx partnered with the UMB Police Force for Drug Take-Back Day, during which faculty, staff, students, and members of the West Baltimore community were invited to drop off their expired or unused medications for safe disposal.

To see more highlights from this monthlong celebration, watch this video.

— Malissa Carroll

Malissa CarrollEducation, University Life, USGANovember 2, 20180 comments
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School of Social Work logo

Alliance of Anti-Racist Social Work Practitioners to Meet on Nov. 16

The first meeting of the Alliance of Anti-Racist Social Work Practitioners will take place on Friday, Nov. 16, at 12:15 p.m. in Room 2W11 of the School of Social Work at 525 W. Redwood St.

Social workers, other students, and Baltimore community members are welcome to join us.

Come hungry! There will be sticky wings, salad, drinks, and cake, provided by Breaking Bread LLC.

The Alliance is a student-led community organization dedicated to racial justice.

For more information and questions, email Katie Golden or follow the group on Facebook.

Kaitlyn GoldenBulletin Board, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Research, University Life, USGANovember 2, 20180 comments
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Tree with the sky as backdrop

Join Restore Outdoors for Challenge Course Adventure on Nov. 18

Come and join Restore Outdoors for a crisp, fall day of adventure on Sunday, Nov. 18, at Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center in Parkton, Md.

Zip-lining, high-static aerial course, group bonding games, and time outside will all be optional and encouraged fun!

The day will start at 9 a.m. and end around 4 p.m. All are welcome. Lunch will be provided (your choice from Panera). Carpools from UMB will be arranged.

Please RSVP to Zoe at zjack@umaryland.edu if you are interested in attending. The event is sponsored by the University Student Government Association.

 

Zoe JackEducation, People, University Life, USGANovember 1, 20180 comments
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Dr. Perman with early voters

Community Engagement Center Early Voting Site ‘Gets Out The Vote’

The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Community Engagement Center (CEC) is making good on its campaign to “Get Out The Vote” by hosting an early voting site for the 2018 general election. Baltimore City residents can vote and register to vote at the center through Nov. 1.

Since Oct. 25, the polls have be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day, including Saturday and Sunday. The CEC, located in the Poppleton neighborhood, adjacent to the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campus, is one of seven voting sites operated by the Baltimore City Board of Elections and the only site in the downtown Baltimore area.

“I consider it a privilege that UMB is able to host a polling place for our neighbors, that I get to join them in exercising my right to vote, and that together we can show Baltimore’s children the importance of this civic responsibility,” says UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD. “Every single election is vital. And by coming together in this way, we’re recommitting to our shared community and standing up for the people we think will strengthen us and advocate for us and uphold the values we believe are non-negotiable.”

Perman joined community members at the polls on Oct. 25, when he cast his ballot at the CEC. He also spoke with members of several organizations that spent weeks canvassing the neighborhoods to boost voter registration and maximize early voting participation.

 

“We see voting as one way for our neighbors to build political power, and we are very happy to assist in that effort,” says Kelly Quinn, PhD, the CEC coordinator.

Leading up to the polls’ opening, Quinn worked in tandem with the Southwest Partnership, a coalition of seven Baltimore neighborhood associations and six institutions including UMB, as well as #BaltimoreVotes, an organization committed to engaging Baltimoreans, without prejudice or bias, in every election. Together, they organized several events to help raise civic awareness in the West Baltimore community and encourage residents to engage in early voting.

“Voting is our superpower,” explains Curtis Eaddy, manager of events and marketing for the Southwest Partnership. “Voting gives us the power to change laws that impact our daily living.”

Back in September, the CEC along with #BaltimoreVotes and the Baltimore People’s Climate Movement hosted a “Get Out the Vote” pep rally. The goal of the pep rally was to help Baltimore residents learn more about what will be on the ballot while also emphasizing the importance of community building and participation in the Maryland General Election.

Several other community-based organizations also attended the pep rally in support of the efforts to push Baltimore City residents to vote and register to vote, including: the Southwest Partnership, No Boundaries Coalition, Black Girls Vote, Baltimore Women United, Be the Change, Communities United, and former first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign, When We All Vote.

Their support for voter participation did not stop at the pep rally. When the polls opened for early voting Oct. 25, Communities United, an organization that empowers low-income Marylanders to achieve transformative change on racial, economic, and social justice issues, was out in front of the voting station with a van full of people eager to cast their ballots. Members of the organization volunteered to provide transportation to and from the CEC during early voting to make it more accessible to people who would not make it to the polls otherwise.

“People have the right to vote, they work hard to be able to vote,” explained Nabeehah Azeez, organizer for Communities United. “We want to make sure that every person has access to a polling site to exercise their right.”

Meanwhile, Black Girls Vote, a local nonpartisan organization designed to represent the concerns and interests of black women, focused on getting first-time voters to participate. Members of the organization transported vans of voting-age students from Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts to the CEC to cast their ballots for the first time.

“I feel grown up,” exclaimed 18-year-old Denise Johnson as she exited the polling station. “It feels great to know that I am doing my part as a member of the community”

The push for civic engagement even stretched to individual members of the community. Heather Kangas, LCSW-C ’14, is a resident of the Pigtown neighborhood in West Baltimore and an employee assistant social worker for housekeepers and food staff at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). To motivate her colleagues, she hosted a registration event at UMMC during shift change and informed them about the early voting site just a short walk away from the hospital at the CEC.

“An early voting site at the CEC creates more time for working people who have these precarious schedules to actually participate,” Kangas explains. “It’s great that it’s in such a central location for people to come and vote before or after work or even on their lunch break.” With help from Quinn, Kangas managed to get about a dozen hospital employees registered to vote ahead of early voting.

The contributions and support from all parties seemed to make a lasting impression on the community. In the first two hours of the polls’ opening Oct. 25 more than 200 people flooded the CEC to vote, and a steady stream of voters continued in the days to follow.

In an effort to continue this momentum, the CEC will host a “Party at the Polls” on Thursday, Nov. 1, outside the center for their West Baltimore neighbors. On that same day, the CEC also will be partnering with Vivien T. Thomas Medical Arts Academy, located a few blocks away from the center in the Franklin Square neighborhood, to host a second “Party at the Polls” in the hopes of turning high school students into first-time voters.

Thanks to a generous donation from Mile 22 and #BaltimoreVotes, the CEC will provide food, games, and music at the polling parties as well as shuttle service to and from the voting station. Members of the Southwest Partnership along with students from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Master of Public Health students at the University of Maryland School of Medicine will be on hand to volunteer at these polling parties, which create yet another avenue to make voting fun and accessible for the community.

The CEC will resume its regularly scheduled activities with neighborhood residents, including the Police Athletic/Activities League, exercise classes, and food markets on Nov 2. Call the CEC at 410-706-8260 for details.

— Jena Frick

View an early voting photo gallery and a pep rally photo gallery.

Jena FrickCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, UMB News, University Life, USGAOctober 31, 20180 comments
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