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Medical Center Blood Drive

UMMC Blood Drive

Help those in need this holiday season by giving blood at UMMC’s three-day blood drive, Nov. 29 through Dec. 1.

Drive Details

  • Open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Nov. 29 and 30
  • Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Dec. 1
  • Located on the first floor of the medical center
  • Walk-ins are welcome
  • Schedule an appointment at

Every unit donated can save three lives! The need is constant and the gratification is instant.

Please give blood.

Chris Lindsley Bulletin Board, Community Service, University LifeNovember 14, 20160 comments
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University Farmers Market

University Farmers Market

The University Farmers Market is open for its 8th season at University Plaza Park on Tuesdays, now through November. Locally grown and sustainably produced foods are available!

In addition, you also can pick up your favorite baked goods, honey, eggs, nuts, plants, flowers, and prepared foods to eat or take home.

The University Farmers Market is looking for volunteers to help throughout the season. If you are interested, contact Justin Graves to learn more.

Justin GravesBikeUMB, Collaboration, Community Service, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, The UMB Dish, UMB Go Green, University LifeJune 2, 20160 comments
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Gudelsky Hospital Entrance Closed

The Gudelsky entrance at Lombard and Greene is closed until further notice because of emergency repairs needed on the outside of the building.

Staff who normally use that entrance will have to use the Shock Trauma entrance or the main hospital entrance. Patients and visitors will be directed to the main entrance on Greene Street. Please help us prioritize the safety and convenience of patients and visitors by helping them navigate to their destination.

Here are some reminders and safety tips to keep in mind during this period.

While scaffolding is being installed over the next seven to 10 days, the sidewalks along Lombard and Greene approaching the entrances may be closed for certain periods, until safety tunnels are installed. Please use the sidewalks on the other side of the street. For your own safety, do not walk in the streets.

  • Shuttles that normally picked up passengers at the Gudelsky entrance for the parking areas, UMMC Midtown Campus, and other locations will now move to the Shock Trauma entrance for pickup. Please plan accordingly.
  • Cyclists should temporarily lock their bicycles to the fence enclosing the surface lot of the Medical Center Garage.
  • The designated smoking area near Gudelsky will be closed; smokers will have to use other designated areas behind Shock Trauma or Paca Pratt, on Penn Street near the School of Nursing, or on the University Park Plaza.
  • Once the scaffolding is installed, the entrance may be reopened, pending a safety evaluation. Watch for updates on the UMMC Insider and through email.

Repairs are needed to correct some recently discovered deterioration in the facing stone on the front of the building. The work may take several months, but it is needed for the safety of our staff, our patients and visitors, and the general public.

We apologize for any inconvenience that the repairs may cause. If you have questions, please check with your manager or email

The ElmBulletin Board, For B'more, People, University AdministrationMay 25, 20160 comments
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UMB Hosts Local Schools for Health and Nutrition Education

On Tuesday Nov. 10, students from George Washington Elementary, James McHenry Elementary/Middle School, and Calvin Rodwell Elementary were treated to the Emmy-award winning theatrical performance FOODPLAY, a Hippodrome Foundation production promoting healthy eating and exercise habits.

The FOODPLAY performance at Westminster Hall was the culmination of what has become an annual health and nutrition program sponsored by UMB and UMMC that brings local students to the UMB campus.

Participants learned about the importance of locally sourced produce and healthy eating habits. They were shown healthy cooking demonstrations and given an opportunity to purchase produce from the Farmers Market using “kids bucks” provided to participants.

Brian Sturdivant Community Service, Education, For B'more, PeopleNovember 11, 20150 comments
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Council for the Arts & Culture

Council for the Arts & Culture

If there were any doubts about interest in UMB’s new Council for the Arts & Culture they were quickly dispelled when nearly 100 people nominated themselves for the handful of available slots on the council.

“We were overwhelmed by the response,” says Jennifer B. Litchman, MA, chief communications officer, vice president, and special assistant to the president, who chairs the Council. “And when Dr. Perman met with the Faculty Senate, Executive Committee of the Staff Senate, and the University Student Government Association to discuss this before the nomination process, he received really, really positive feedback. It was a ‘gosh, we’ve been waiting for this’ type of response.”


The Council for the Arts & Culture is dedicated to enriching life on the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) campus and throughout the city by offering robust arts and culture programming — exhibiting artwork in UMB buildings and public spaces, arranging visits to museums and performing arts centers, hosting events for the campus community and city residents, all the while keeping in mind the dynamic relationship between the arts and sciences.

It is part of the strategic plan goal to “create a vibrant, dynamic University community.” A campuswide announcement on Dec. 16 introduced the Council for the Arts & Culture, but it had been in the works for more than six months.

Connecting UMB to the Arts

“I was at a meeting at UMBC last summer and the discussion turned to how wonderful it would be if we could collaborate in a way that would bring UMBC’s robust arts programs to this campus,” Litchman recalls. “And I thought ‘wow, that would be great!’ And the more I thought about it, the more I loved the idea. And in addition to partnering with UMBC, what about MICA? What about The Peabody? The Hippodrome? Let’s form a council for the arts and see what we can do with it.”
So in June, there will be a UMB Night at Everyman Theatre with discount tickets for Noel Coward’s play Blithe Spirit. Many other ideas are in the works.

“When 5 o’clock comes, UMB becomes a graveyard,” Litchman says. “To create a more vibrant, dynamic University community means we have to do things differently. And if that means having activities and events and concerts after hours here on campus, let’s do it. Why go see a play in the suburbs when you can see one here?”


As the council’s first partner, UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County) will bring its symphony orchestra to Westminster Hall for a free concert. UMBC’s Catalyst program will grow into a joint UMB-UMBC venture, with informal one-hour interdisciplinary presentations that fuse the performing and visual arts with other fields of investigation and scholarship. The events often serve as an incubator for future collaborations.

UMB’s commitment to its West Baltimore neighborhood is part of the council’s plans as well, with plans to expose local schoolchildren to the arts.

Council Committee

As council chair, Litchman has surrounded herself with a strong supporting cast.

The standing committee includes Priya Bhayana, director of the Bromo Tower Arts and Entertainment District; Kathy Schuetz, chief of staff of the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC); Olive Waxter, director of the Hippodrome Foundation; and UMB colleagues Angela Fowler-Young, MRP (capital budget and planning); Nancy Gordon
 (protocol and special events); Larry Pitrof 
(Medical Alumni Association); Jane Shaab (economic development); M.J. Tooey, MLS, AHIP, FMLA (Health Sciences & Human Services Library); and Ashley Valis, MSW (community initiatives and engagement).

The rotating members of the council serving two-year terms include students Athena Balanou (nursing), Zach Kaminski (medicine), Carolyn Rosinsky
 (Graduate School), Lara Seidman 
(dentistry), Alexandra Silanskis (social work), Jennifer Smith (law), and SeJeong Yoon (pharmacy); faculty members Karen Kauffman, PhD, CRNP, RN, FAAN (nursing), Robert Lavin, MD (medicine), and Linda Simoni-Wastila, PhD, MSPH (pharmacy); staff members Meghan Codey 
(academic affairs), Randy Jacobs (dentistry), Susan Krinsky, JD, MPH (law), Lolly Forsythe-Chisolm (UMMC); and community member Cassandra Kapsos, a local digital artist/photographer.

“The council is a great cross-section of people with disparate interests,” Litchman says. “We didn’t want everyone to play an instrument or to have an acting background. We wanted people with great ideas and a commitment to the arts here at UMB and we have achieved that in a big way.”

Find out more about the Council for the Arts & Culture.

Chris ZangCollaboration, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, University LifeMarch 11, 20150 comments
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Police Escort Use Is at Record Levels

Expansion and greater awareness of the service have resulted in record-breaking numbers for the UMB Police Force escort service. In November and December of 2014, more than 4,300 faculty, staff, and students of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and employees at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) utilized the van and walking escorts.

The walking police escort service is available on campus 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Times of the van service were expanded in fall 2014 as were its boundaries, which extend three blocks beyond the campus borders on all sides.

A vigorous communications campaign, two Safety Matters town halls, and reminder cards handed out by police and University leaders also promoted the police escort program, especially after two robberies on campus the night of Oct. 6

‘Increased Awareness’

“I attribute the substantial increase in escorts to the increased awareness our community has about safety,” says Antonio Williams, MS, chief of the UMB Police Force and associate vice president for public safety. “We also have made the escort program more available and are offering better service by our department while providing the escorts.”

The growth has been amazing. In September 2014, there were 756 requests for police escorts. The number of those using the police escort service skyrocketed to 2,494 in November and to 1,869 in December, even with the campus closed the last week for holiday break.

Van service has been expanded to include all of Ridgely’s Delight and now stretches to Schroeder Street on the west, Franklin Street on the north, Park Avenue on the east, and Washington Boulevard on the south (see map).

Hours Extended, Too

Police van escort hours have been extended to 3 p.m. through 1 a.m., with two seven-passenger vans operating during peak hours, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. And additional personnel have been dedicated to coordinating van escorts, ensuring better customer service.

Despite the increased demand, the police van or walking escorts usually arrive promptly.

“Maybe 30 minutes on a bad day,” says Meghan Kemp, a law student who uses the service less now that she has a closer parking spot. She remains a big supporter of the police escort service. “I recommend it, it’s just safer at night. Better safe than sorry. You can’t be too safe.”

Goals for Future

Spikes for the service occur between 7 and 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. and midnight, statistics show. Williams is encouraged that more people are using the escorts.

“I appreciate the many compliments we have received expressing the improved service,” he says. “Adding the second escort van has been well-received. This is the most ridership we have ever had.”

Yet he won’t say the police escort program has reached its capacity, even with nearly 2,500 escorts in November. “I would like anyone who feels he/she needs the service to be able to use the service,” he says. “Whatever number that is, whenever you are afraid or don’t feel safe, our duty is to ease those fears.”

To arrange a police van escort or walking escort, simply call 6-6882 on a campus telephone or 410-706-6882 and a uniformed officer will be sent to your location. Riders are required to have either a UMB or UMMC ID.

Chris ZangCollaboration, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, UMB News, University LifeFebruary 20, 20151 comment
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Police Escort

UMB’s Police Escort Service

Those who regularly use the police escort service at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) say it’s a timely, trustworthy UMB benefit that’s easy to use and reduces their anxiety about returning to their car or residence after dark. Their only question is why more people don’t utilize it.

“I’d urge people to use it. It’s there. It’s free. It brings peace of mind,” says Taylor Cole, a student at the School of Dentistry. “I wouldn’t feel safe without it. I didn’t grow up in the city so I wouldn’t go out at night if it wasn’t offered.”

Availability & Boundaries

The UMB Police Force’s van and walking escort service is available to all University students, faculty, and staff and employees at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). The walking police escort service is available on campus 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Times of the van service recently were expanded as were its boundaries, which extend three blocks beyond the campus borders on all sides.

Van service now stretches to Schroeder Street on the west, Franklin Street on the north, Park Avenue on the east, and Washington Boulevard on the south. Police van escort hours have been extended to 3 p.m. through 1 a.m., with two seven-passenger vans operating during peak hours, between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. And additional personnel will be dedicated to coordinating van escorts, ensuring better customer service.

To arrange a police van escort or walking escort, simply call 6-6882 on a campus telephone or 410-706-6882 and a uniformed officer will be sent to your location. Riders are required to have either a UMB or UMMC ID.

Customer Service

UMB Police Chief Antonio “Tony” Williams, MS, said at the Oct. 14 Safety Matters at UMB Town Hall “I used to tell Dr. Perman, ‘Hey, I can make them drive the van but I can’t make them smile.’ Now we have some people who like to smile and chat with you while they’re doing it. The whole idea is we want to provide superior customer service to you.”

Benefits & Staying Safe

Beth Friedman, BSN ’14, a graduate of the School of Nursing who is now a surgical staff nurse at UMMC, says that phone number has been invaluable to her. “Friends ask me all the time ‘how do you get home? What’s the number [for the police escort service]?’ They gave us the number the first day as students and I’ve given it out like candy ever since.”

Friedman, who works on rotating shifts, says her life would be far different without the police escort service, which she uses several times a week. As a student she would take it from school or the library to her residence. Now she gets rides from the medical center to the garage after dark.

“I’ve been safe the last three years because of the police escort service,” Friedman says. “If it wasn’t here? As a student, I’d definitely limit going out, make curfew earlier, stay at someone’s house more often. The service has made living in Baltimore very comfortable.”

She says the service isn’t just for people going long distances across campus. “A lot of people overestimate their ability of what they should and shouldn’t do,” Friedman says. “They say it’s only three or four blocks. Why chance it? Be safe. Use the police escort service.“

Sidrah Khan says she learned her lesson as a first-year nursing student when she was walking at night and someone came up from behind her suddenly. “I never made that mistake again,” she says. “At night, I always call the police escort service.”

Increased Demand

She’s not alone. Just between Oct. 1 and Oct. 9, 2014, there were 404 calls to the UMB Police Force for escorts. In September, there were 756 requests, which all were met. The UMB police would like to see that number rise.

“We want to hear from every community member who wants a walking or van/mobile escort,” says Lt. Virginia Chapko, who oversees education and training for the department. “We don’t want anyone to feel that this service is not available to them.”

Williams says, “It is our department’s goal to provide a ride to anyone who doesn’t feel comfortable walking on campus when it’s dark.”

Despite the increased demand, the police van or walking escorts usually arrive promptly. “Maybe 30 minutes on a bad day,” says Meghan Kemp, a law student who uses the service less now that she has a closer parking spot. She remains a big supporter of the police escort service. “I recommend it, it’s just safer at night. Better safe than sorry. You can’t be too safe.”

Who’s Using the UMB Escort Service?

Patrick Mensah, a pharmacy student, uses the police escort service as many as four times a week. He admits he gets some ribbing from larger, stronger friends who feel they can better protect themselves “but I won’t compromise on that,” Mensah says. “My safety comes first. I study late and I don’t know how I would have made it without the police escort service.”

Nursing student Henry Inegbenosun agrees with Mensah. He often studies at the library until 1 at night and has to cross Martin Luther King Boulevard to reach his residence. “It’s a student safety thing, not a gender thing,” says Inegbenosun, who rides the escort van up to four nights a week. “Sometimes we use the buddy system and travel in groups, but when I’m by myself, I call for a police escort. It’s just the smart thing to do.”

Heads Up

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, reminded those at the safety town hall to stay off their cell phones when walking outside. “Of course, the phones themselves are popular targets for thieves,” Perman says. “But it is the loss of awareness of one’s surroundings that presents an even greater danger.”

Williams urges those at UMB to let his department know how they are doing and to call 711 (on a campus phone) or 410-706-3333 to report any suspicious activity. “If you feel there is something we need to improve,” he says, “please let us know.” Concerns, comments, and suggestions can be sent to

Dr. Perman’s support is unwavering. “Among all the things we do here,” he says, “there is absolutely nothing more important to me and to the leadership of the University than the safety of our students, our staff, our faculty, our partners, our friends, and our neighbors.”

Christian ZangEducation, Global & Community Engagement, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 21, 20140 comments
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UMMC is Hosting a Sukkah

Whether you’re downtown for leisure or for work, a sukkah, also known as a temporary hut constructed for use during the week-long Jewish festival of Sukkot, is just minutes from you.

UMMC Sukkah

Stop by the University of Maryland Medical Center sukkah from Thursday, Oct. 9 through Wednesday, Oct. 15. The event will take place all day long. The sukkah will be located at the University of Maryland Medical Center at 22 S. Greene St.

Inner Harbor Sukkah

Stop by the Inner Harbor sukkah from Sunday, Oct. 12 through Wednesday, Oct. 15. The event will take place all day long. This year, the sukkah will be located at Pier 4, behind Power Plant.

Experience Sukkot, bless the four kinds, eat in the sukkah, and enjoy crafts for kids.

For more information, call 410-605-0505.

Sarah RebackFor B'more, University LifeOctober 8, 20140 comments
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Lexington Market Discounts

Lexington Market Discounts

The tastiest place in the world just got tastier.

Lexington Market is partnering with the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to offer some exciting market discounts for UMB students, faculty, and staff, and University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) employees.

How to Receive the Discount

  1. Visit Lexington Market and make sure you have your UMB or UMMC ID.
  2. Look for any vendor with a “UMB/UMMC Discount” badge in their window.
  3. Show the vendor your UMB/UMMC ID and get a discount.

It’s that easy!

Some of the Participating Vendors

  • Aunt’s Kitchen
  • Barron’s Bake Shop
  • Barron’s Deli
  • Big Red
  • Blue Island
  • Cattleman’s Pride
  • Chinese Pavilion
  • Coney Island
  • Country Kitchen
  • Dancing Potato
  • Garden Produce
  • Hanako
  • Harbor City Deli
  • Harbor Fish
  • Healthy Choice
  • Honolulu
  • Ichi Ban Yaki
  • Italian Stallion
  • Joy Hot Dogs
  • Joy Poultry
  • Jumbo Fried Chicken
  • Kathy’s Deli
  • Kay’s Produce
  • King’s Carryout
  • Konstant’s Candy
  • Konstant’s Hot Dogs
  • Konstant’s Nut House
  • Krause’s Lite Fare
  • Lexington Fried Chicken
  • Lucky House
  • Market Seafood
  • Mary Mervis
  • Mexican Delight
  • Mitchell’s Deli
  • Mt. Olympus
  • Muhly’s Bakery
  • Pandora’s Box
  • Park’s Fried Chicken
  • Park’s Hamburger
  • Paul’s BBQ
  • Ronny’s Combo
  • Royal Deli East
  • Royal Deli West
  • Sandwich King
  • Sausage Master
  • Station Deli
  • Super Deli
  • Super Fried Chicken
Clare BanksBulletin Board, Contests, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 8, 20148 comments
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Bike to Work Day

National Bike to Work Day

Want to beat the traffic, reduce your carbon footprint, and improve your health at the same time?

Celebrate the benefits of bicycle commuting with the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) and Bike to Work Central Maryland on Friday, May 16.

UMMC will be just one of many host sites around Baltimore for Bike to Work Day.

Event Details

6:30 to 9 a.m.
Friday, May 16
UMMC – Gudelsky entrance bike racks.

There will be light breakfast refreshments for all who bike to work that day.
Learn more and register for the event. Registration is not required.

Questions? Contact

Baltimore’s Bike Paths

Explore Baltimore City’s extensive bike path network.

Justin GravesBikeUMB, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, University LifeMay 12, 20140 comments
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Kids to Farmers’ Market Program Combats Childhood Obesity

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese in 2010. Obese youths are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, and sleep apnea.

Social and psychological problems such as poor self-esteem and being ostracized by peers also are worse with obesity. In addition, obese youths are more likely to be obese as adults, when they would be subject to the same health risks.

A Project to Instill a Healthy Lifestyle

Kids_4749-elmA healthy lifestyle, focusing on good eating and exercise, is the best strategy for obesity prevention. Communities, schools, and medical care providers can all influence these behaviors in children. To that end, on behalf of Jay A. Perman, MD, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), Jennifer Litchman, MA, special assistant to Perman and chief communications officer and vice president in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, assembled a UMB and University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) team to create the Kids to Farmers’ Market project, which focuses on improving the eating habits and physical activity of inner city schoolchildren on Baltimore’s Westside.

The team, assembled in 2012, has so far planned and executed two successful Kids to Farmers’ Market seasons. The program’s initial goals were to expose the children to local, sustainable foods, and to teach them about the benefits of eating fresh fruits and vegetables. During the past year, the team offered more educational sessions in two local schools, with a focus on healthy eating and physical activity.

How the Program Works

A University bus brings a fourth or fifth grade class, along with teachers and chaperones, to the weekly farmers’ market in University Plaza. The Kids to Farmers’ Market team gives each student a backpack stuffed with healthy-eating information, seasonal fruit and vegetable recipes, and $10 of “farmers’ market bucks” that can be used to buy items. The children are divided into three groups: one group shops, one attends a chef’s cooking demonstration, and one goes to a nutrition class led by a registered dietitian or nutrition intern. The groups rotate until all students complete each activity. At the end of the session, the types of foods the students bought are documented, and each child receives a healthy lunch to take back to school.

Shopping at the Market

In the first year, the children were told to limit their market purchases to fruits and vegetables. The first question a student asked was, “Can I buy the pickles?” Since pickles are vegetables, the answer was “yes.” This year, the children were allowed to buy anything at the market, with the hope that after being educated about healthy eating, they would make more fruit and vegetable choices. There were too many temptations though, so next year the rules might need to be reconsidered.

The children chatted with the farmers, asking them about the locations of their farms and the types of crops they grow. The farmers often gave the students a piece of fruit to try, or reduced the prices of their produce. The children asked questions about odd-looking vegetables, and they talked about ways their families cook vegetables at home. While the students shopped, the UMB/UMMC team shared healthy cooking ideas.

The Chef’s Demo

KFM_4867-elmDanielle Clair, catering chef at CulinArt dining services, developed an interactive component of the Kids to Farmers’ Market program. By preparing a seasonal recipe and explaining each step, she taught the children cooking techniques while describing each ingredient as she went along. Recipes she prepared and offered for tasting included watermelon salad kabobs, cheesy spaghetti squash, and pumpkin dip with fresh apples.

One student was hesitant to taste the spaghetti squash, but after high-spirited cheering from his classmates, he ate some and said it was “pretty good.” Many of the children were excited to share the recipes with their families.

The Nutrition Class

UMMC dietetic interns and registered dietitians developed and presented the class this year, emphasizing the following: benefits of eating local and seasonal fruits and vegetables from a farmer’s market, the need to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors, and the importance of making the plate for every meal be half fruits and vegetables. Some of the questions asked by the children were: “Are any fruits and vegetables good for your eyes?” “How do fruits and vegetables help us play sports?” “What’s the difference between canned and fresh fruit and vegetables?”

This year, to supplement the healthy lifestyle messages of Kids to Farmers’ Market, team members went to the two schools and led nutrition education, physical fitness instruction, and herb and vegetable planting activities. The program also presented Foodplay, a school assembly program that showcased the benefits of healthy eating habits and active lifestyles through music, magic, and live theater.

The Kids to Farmers’ Market team is evaluating the program’s effectiveness before the farmer’s market reopens this spring. “Our hope is that this UMB/UMMC initiative will enable us to make a meaningful difference in the health of school children right here in our own neighborhood,” says Litchman.

UMB Members

The UMB team members are Litchman; Office of Communications and Public Affairs staff members Holly Baier, assistant director of special events, Saifa Bikim-Edeze, office manager, and Nancy Gordon, executive director of protocol and special events; Greer Huffman, community outreach coordinator, Office of the President; and Brian Sturdivant, MSW, director of strategic initiatives and community partnerships, Office of Government and Community Affairs.

UMMC Members

The UMMC team members are Denise Choiniere, MS, RN, materials management director; Christine Dobmeier, RD, LDN, CSR, senior nutrition specialist; Justin Graves, RN, BSN, sustainability coordinator; LaVette Jackson, customer service program coordination; Ellen Loreck, MS, RD, LDN, director, clinical nutrition services; and Anne Williams, DNP, RN, senior manager, community empowerment and health education.

Ellen LoreckFor B'more, Global & Community Engagement, UMB NewsJanuary 28, 20140 comments
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Eating the Rainbow

“It tastes better than it looks,” said a Calvin M. Rodwell Elementary School student, referring to spaghetti squash available at the University Farmers Market.

The student was one of many participating in the second annual Kids to the Farmers Market initiative, a program sponsored by the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC).

The 11-week program is designed to combat childhood obesity by educating local area school children about the importance of making healthy food choices.

Kids_4785-elm“From the very start of this program, we saw an eagerness in the participating school children to experience the seasonal fruits and vegetables available at the University Farmers Market,” says Heather Graham Phelps, MA, director of communications and marketing at UMB. “They tasted, touched, and examined many different types of produce that they’d before never encountered.”

More than a third of Baltimore neighborhoods don’t have ready access to healthy foods, leaving one in five residents to rely on high-fat, high-calorie meals from corner stores and carryout restaurants.

“When healthy food choices become important enough to our students, they and their families will no longer live with the idea of food deserts, but will instead seek out options by any means necessary,” says Grace Yador, principal at one of the participating schools, James McHenry Elementary/Middle School.

The University invites elementary and middle schools from its surrounding communities to participate in the program. This semester included James McHenry, George Washington Elementary School, and Calvin Rodwell.

Starting on Tuesdays in September, students are bussed to the University Farmers Market to engage in nutrition workshops and healthy cooking demonstrations. The students are given UM-funded vouchers to enable them to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from the vendors.

This year, CulinArt, the caterer at the Southern Management Corporation Campus Center, sponsored the healthy cooking demonstrations. On Oct. 1, Chef Dani Clair showed the students how to cook with spaghetti squash.

“Children are our future,” says Kat Palermo from CulinArt. “We want to promote healthy choices at a young age to keep kids healthy.”

Mindy Athas, RD, CSO, nutrition educator and certified oncology specialist at UMMC, educated students on nutrition with three key messages.

  1. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
  2. Eat the rainbow (a variety of colors) to ensure the maximum intake of nutrients
  3. Purchase fresh, local, and seasonal produce at the farmers market

Kids_4872-elm“By teaching the kids healthy habits, we hope they will share these habits with their parents,” says Athas.

One of the suggestions Athas made to the kids was to substitute some of their favorite dishes with vegetables such as mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.

The program also provided the students with handouts on making a healthy plate (, what produce is in season in Maryland and when, and recipes for kale chips and spaghetti squash.

In October, staff from UMB and UMMC will visit the same schools to educate students about the importance of gardening, nutrition, healthy eating habits, and physical fitness. Students then return to the farmers market in November.

“It’s a very well-rounded experience,” says Brian Sturdivant, MSW, director of community partnerships and strategic initiatives in the Office of Government and Community Affairs.

“We are hopeful our program will leave a lasting positive impression on these children as they consider the food and healthier lifestyle choices in their young lives,” says Graham Phelps.

For more photos (by Michelle Baffuto), click here. For a first-person account, click here.

Tracy GnadingerCollaboration, For B'more, Global & Community EngagementOctober 3, 20130 comments
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