UMB Community Engagement Center posts displayed by tag

Council Works to Spread Knowledge on Infectious Diseases

The Council of Infectious Diseases (CID) is an interest group within the UM School of Pharmacy’s chapter of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy – Student College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP-SCCP). Its goal is to increase awareness and educate the public about a variety of topics related to  infectious diseases (ID). The group was co-founded by two of this post’s authors — Andrew Wherley and Sumit Gandotra — through their mutual interest in infectious diseases, and it aims to help educate pharmacy students by hosting exam reviews, infectious diseases-specific tutoring events, and lectures on antimicrobial stewardship, and providing opportunities for students to shadow infectious disease pharmacists in the field.

Inspiring Future Generations

With the help of Meryam Gharbi, a fourth-year student pharmacist who previously served as president of the SCCP, and Kathleen Pincus, PharmD, BCPS, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) who serves as faculty advisor for ACCP-SCCP and mentor for the UMB  CURE Scholars Program, CID developed a fruitful relationship with the CURE Scholars. This relationship led to the creation of CURE-ID events at UMB’s Community Engagement Center.

Established in 2015, the UMB CURE Scholars Program strives to prepare sixth- to 12th-grade students in Baltimore for competitive, lucrative, and rewarding research and health care careers, with the specific goal of developing student interest in oncology research.

Our most recent CURE-ID event was held Nov. 19, 2017, and began with a pre-quiz led by Dijo Abraham, a third-year student pharmacist and webmaster for CID. The purpose of the pre-quiz was to introduce the activities that would take place during the event and assess the CURE Scholars’ basic knowledge of infectious diseases. After completing the pre-quiz, the 30 to 35 students in attendance were divided into groups and assigned to one of five stations, with all groups having the opportunity to rotate through each station.

All activities were led by student pharmacists from the School of Pharmacy and included:

  • First station: Led by Sumit Gandotra, this station introduced students to bacteria on agar medium, which helped them visualize the appearance of microorganisms and differentiate them based on color, colony morphology, and smell.
  • Second station: Led by second-year student pharmacist and CURE Scholars coordinator Alexis Zalewski, this station explored the topic of disease transmission. Students were given cups of water, unaware that one cup was filled with a “contaminated” solution that would turn pink when phenolphthalein — a harmless indicator often used in acid-base titrations, turning the sample pink when added to a basic solution or remaining colorless in an acidic solution — was added to the water. When students exchanged their samples and added the indicator to their cups, the person who received the basic solution (causing the water to take on a pink hue) was deemed to have a “contaminated” water sample.
  • Third station: Led by Andrew Wherley, this station assessed students’ hand-washing technique using germ glow lotion. Students applied the lotion to their hands and were encouraged to touch different surfaces, including tables and doorknobs, on their way to the restroom to wash their hands. Using a black light, the students were able verify whether they had adequately removed the “germs” from their skin and could observe how the “germs” were left behind on the surfaces they touched before washing their hands. This activity helped to reinforce the importance of hand hygiene.
  • Fourth station: Led by third-year student pharmacists and CID outreach coordinators Soeun Park and Lila Portman, this station introduced the concept of herd immunity. Students played a card game that instructed them to randomly draw a card from the deck. In the first round, the cards indicated whether a student was a “sick” or “non-vaccinated, healthy” person. The “sick” person was able to transmit his or her “disease” to the other healthy, non-vaccinated individuals. In the second round, the cards included “sick,” “vaccinated-healthy,” and “non-vaccinated healthy” individuals. Students who selected the “vaccinated-healthy” cards were able to stop the disease transmission, illustrating how individuals who are vaccinated can protect not only themselves but also others who are not vaccinated.
  • Fifth station: Led by second-year student pharmacist and CID shadowing coordinator Jordan Sachs, this station taught students about antibiotic resistance. Students learned that resistance to an antibiotic can be developed — among other causes — when patients do not complete an antibiotic course as prescribed.

To conclude the event, third-year student pharmacist and CID webmaster Waleed Khan administered a post-test to evaluate how much students learned from our activities.

Learning from the Learners

The CURE-ID events teach us, as student pharmacists and future health care providers, the importance of tailoring our communication styles to our target audience. Once we enter our profession, we will be conversing with people who span every level of the educational spectrum. However, regardless of a patient’s level of education, it is vital that our patients understand the information we convey. Working hands-on with middle-schoolers through the CURE Scholars Program presented a valuable lesson in this matter. We learned the importance of talking to the students in the same manner that we would address our adult patients, not using overly complicated terms to help keep their attention and remaining calm. These skills will be invaluable throughout our careers as pharmacists, especially when we recommend therapies to doctors, advocate for our profession to lawmakers, and, most important, when counseling our own patients.

Looking Toward the Future

The future of CID looks bright. We plan to expand our educational offerings to older adults in the near future through a new partnership with FutureCare, a nursing home and rehabilitation center in Baltimore’s Charles Village. Through this collaboration, we hope to educate the community and raise awareness about myriad topics, including:

  • Diabetic foot care
  • Hepatitis C
  • Vaccination
  • Tuberculosis
  • Hand washing, with emphasis on the prevention of difficile, a bacterium linked to a wide range of gastrointestinal issues, including diarrhea and life-threatening inflammation of the colon.

Furthermore, we plan to collaborate with the Student Section of the Maryland Public Health Association (SMdPHA) to host an event focused on tuberculosis education specifically for refugees. Pharmacists have made great strides in implementing infectious disease prevention programs in health care practice, and we hope to continue this momentum moving forward through CID.

— Sumit Gandotra, Waleed Khan, Andrew Wherley, and Rachel Rowland

 

Sumit Gandotra Community Service, Education, University Life, USGAJanuary 5, 20180 comments
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Mental Health in the Community

Promoting Mental Health in the Local Community

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

Students, faculty, and staff from the School of Pharmacy collaborated with the Community Engagement Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to organize new workshops for the center’s ongoing “Healthy Living” series. The team created three interactive classes focused on promoting healthy minds and healthy lives. Community members across West Baltimore were invited to attend the classes and meet and participate with health professionals and guest speakers in group discussions that explored topics such as mental health, stress, and cancer.

Members of the School’s Phi Lambda Sigma Leadership Society (PLS) and College of Psychiatric and Neurologic Pharmacists (CPNP) student chapter, as well as faculty and staff from the PATIENTS Program helped organize and lead the first three classes, which were attended by dozens of community members in total. The classes took place on Thursday afternoons throughout the month of April, and focused on discovering what mental health topics were most important to community members and how we could provide individuals with the resources and skills needed to address these topics.

Dealing With Social Stigma

According to a 2015 report by the Baltimore City Health Department, 23 percent of Baltimore’s adult population does not receive adequate mental health services. This unmet need has led to some serious consequences for the community, including increased rates of homelessness, incarcerations, and unemployment. Hosting these workshops, particularly at this time, was crucial not only for us to gain experience as future health care professionals, but also to help improve the lives of people living in the city.

The workshops focused exclusively on issues associated with social stigma. Participants in the workshops unanimously agreed that social stigma is often a major barrier when an individual considers receiving mental health care. Mental health issues such as substance abuse, depression affected by fear, public perception of the issue, stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination were thoroughly debated and discussed. The participants agreed that these factors could prevent an individual from getting a proper mental health assessment, and ultimately contribute to an overwhelming number of social and domestic issues such as crime, domestic violence, and unemployment, as individuals who are experiencing mental health issues are less likely to take care of themselves or reach out to receive care in general.

In addition, workshop activities addressed the following areas related to social stigma:

  • Identification of stigmatizing behaviors
  • Influence of stigmatizing behaviors on individuals
  • Influence of stigmatizing behaviors on the community and society
  • Importance of seeking treatment
  • Information about support groups and programs

Helping Baltimoreans Live Healthier Lives

The three mental health workshops that we hosted were a part of the ongoing “Healthy Living” series at the University’s Community Engagement Center, and were held on April 6, 13, and 20.

The first session addressed the topics of depression, grief, and post-traumatic stress disorder caused by violence. The workshop was led by Kelly Quinn, coordinator for the Community Engagement Center, and featured a presentation by Donna Audia, RN, HN-BC, reiki master, from the School of Medicine’s Center for Integrative Medicine, who discussed healing through energy and other issues related to mental and physical health.

Held April 13, the second workshop featured a fruitful panel discussion with faculty from the School of Pharmacy, including Joey Mattingly, PharmD, MBA, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS), Katy Pincus, PharmD, BCPS, assistant professor in PPS, and Jason Noel, PharmD, BCPP, associate professor in PPS, as well as Adrienne Anderson, BSN, RN. Experts and local community members shared their experiences during a round table discussion about mental health. Issues such as smoking cessation, insomnia, stress, anxiety, asthma, access to mental health care, and crime/safety, as well as community involvement were discussed.

In the final session on April 20, Audia returned to talk about stress relief, breathing techniques, and her experiences as a health care professional. In addition, Mattingly and Emily Heil, PharmD, BCPS-AQ infectious diseases, assistant professor in PPS, were present to facilitate the discussion. Pharmacy students spoke about different local resources for mental health support available in downtown and West Baltimore.

Applying the Lessons Participants Learned

The three workshops organized to address the critical topic of mental health in West Baltimore had a lasting impact on the community. These workshops became a platform from which local community members could gather and share their personal experiences. The classes also allowed student pharmacists to bring awareness to some local resources currently available for people in the community. Faculty members and staff from the Community Engagement Center expressed their hope to bring more events hosted by student organizations from the School of Pharmacy to the community to help increase student involvement in establishing new workshops for the community in the near future.

But most importantly, these workshops were a platform from which we were able to raise awareness about the stigma associated with mental illness like never before, leading to discussions that were fruitful, impactful, and will have long-lasting outcomes.

“These three workshops were phenomenal, and had a tremendous impact on the community members, serving as a bridge to help students from the School of Pharmacy learn how to better serve the local community, especially those individuals facing mental health problems,” said Kemahn Jones, a community health intern at the Community Engagement Center. “Community members had an opportunity to meet new, like-minded individuals and learn a great deal of new information to help them moving forward.”

Ana Luisa Moreira Coutinho Clinical Care, Community Service, University Life, USGAMay 15, 20170 comments
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Active Bystander Training

Nonviolent Active Bystander Intervention Training

Have you ever witnessed someone being bullied or harassed and wanted to intervene? Or did you intervene, and wish it had gone better? Join students, faculty, and staff of UMB and citizens of Baltimore City as we practice nonviolent active bystander intervention in response to harassment and hate speech. This training will particularly highlight strategies to support immigrants facing harassment in our community.

We will practice the following:

  • De-escalating conflict
  • Using our mobile devices to document injustice
  • Offering support to keep bad situations from getting worse

Event Details

Saturday, May 13
Noon to 4 p.m.
UMB Community Engagement Center
870 W. Baltimore St.

Co-sponsored by the USGA and the Anti-Oppression Work Group, a student group at the School of Social Work. Lunch will be provided.

This training is free.

REGISTER NOW

Karen Campion Bulletin Board, Community Service, Education, For B'more, University Life, USGAApril 19, 20170 comments
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October President's Message

October President’s Message

Check out the October issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column and personal reflection on UMB’s Community Engagement Center; a look ahead to Founders Week; revisiting the launch of the Diversity Advisory Council Speaker Series with Marc Nivet, EdD, MBA; a visit with UMB Ombudsperson Laurelyn Irving, PhD, MSW; and the CURE Corner.

Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAOctober 6, 20160 comments
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HS/HSL Children's Book Collection

Donate Your Favorite Children’s Books at the HS/HSL

Based on the number of inquiries we’ve had about donating books, we’re expanding our holiday giving project to include accepting your donations!

Anyone who wishes to donate books should either drop them off at the Information Services Desk or place them on the shelves near the READBOX display in the library. Both of these locations are on the first floor of the library.

Thanks to all of you who have already submitted book title suggestions. We will accept suggestions (and now books) until mid-January, so there’s still time! Help the Health Sciences & Human Services Library spark a love of reading and increase the literacy skills of the young children visiting the new UMB Community Engagement Center (located in the UMB BioPark at 1 N. Poppleton St).

As part of the Library’s Holiday Giving Project, the HS/HSL staff and faculty also will purchase children’s books – based on your suggestions – for the Center.

Let us know which books were your favorites, or which ones your children love. They may be those you read for fun, or those that inspired, encouraged, or opened your eyes to a new world! We are especially interested in books for children from infancy through middle school.

Look for the READBOX at the library to submit your suggestions and/or donations, or submit them by clicking on My Favorite Books. For more information about the Library’s Holiday Giving Project, contact librarian Mary Ann Williams at mwilliam@hshsl.umaryland.edu.

Ryan Harris Collaboration, Community Service, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, University AdministrationDecember 8, 20150 comments
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