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.
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“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.