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Launch Your Life Speaker Series: ‘Do You Know Someone?’

Human Resource Services’ Launch Your Life is sponsoring a five-week speaker series in October titled “Do You Know Someone?” as part of an effort to reflect the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s commitment to health and well-being in a community of care and support. If you know someone struggling with mental health and its stigma, let’s talk.

Here’s a rundown of the five sessions:

In Our Own Voice — Depression

Oct. 4, Noon-1 p.m.
SMC Campus Center, Room 349

The National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) In Our Own Voice presentations change attitudes, assumptions, and stereotypes by describing the reality of living with mental illness. People with mental health conditions share their powerful personal stories in this presentation and engage with audience members to give them a better understanding of mental health.

Register here.

Take Care

Oct. 10, Noon-1 p.m.
Lexington Building, Room 2-111

Did you know perinatal depression affects 15 percent to 20 percent in all populations of pregnant and postpartum women? Other statistics show as many as 1 in 7 women are affected, and it is recommended to get screened at least once during the perinatal period. To learn more and help support women in your lives, join us in this riveting presentation.

Register here.

In Our Own Voice — Bipolar

Oct. 18, Noon-1 p.m.
Lexington Building, Room 3-111

NAMI’s In Our Own Voice adds a critical perspective to the popular understanding of what people with mental illness are like. You will gain understanding that every person with a mental illness can hope for a bright future, and you will discover how it is possible to live a healthy life with a mental illness.

Register here.

Strong Women

Oct. 24, Noon-1 p.m.
SMC Campus Center, Room 351

Get tips and learn how to prevent depression and anxiety in pregnancy, focusing on women in the workplace. Join us in support of mental health, learn about resources, and start talking toward a change. Presented by Women’s Mental Health Program.

Register here.

Let’s Talk

Oct. 30, Noon-1 p.m.
Lexington Building, Room 3-111

Anyone can struggle with a mental health problem. As a family member or friend, do you sometimes feel helpless to do anything to be supportive? Join the EAP for an open, supportive discussion on how to support a family member or friend struggling with mental health issues. All UMB employees are welcome to attend.

Register here.


Jina BacchusCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 21, 20180 comments
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UMB Police Chief Alice Cary

Leaders of UMB Emergency Management, Police Force Say Relationships Key to Success

UMB Emergency Management Executive Director Jonathan Bratt

Relationships matter.

That was the common theme voiced by leaders of the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) emergency management services and police force in presentations Sept. 18 at the University’s quarterly Q&A.

Jonathan Bratt, MS, CEM, who is UMB’s new first-ever executive director of emergency management, drove home that point while discussing his aim to develop strong relationships with city, state, and federal agencies.

“There’s a saying in the first responder world: ‘The worst place to exchange business cards is at the scene of the incident.’ You want to have exchanged them beforehand,” Bratt told a crowd about 70 UMB faculty, staff, and students who gathered in the Francis King Carey School of Law’s Moot Courtroom. “So we establish relationships at UMB and with the external community, bringing in the city’s and state’s emergency management offices, the fire departments, and non-governmental organizations together to understand how can we better respond to an emergency before we actually have to respond to one.”

UMB Police Chief Alice Cary, MS, who assumed command in June, seconded Bratt’s notion, stressing how she plans to build relationships within the University community while ramping up engagement initiatives in Southwest Baltimore with efforts such as UMB’s Police Athletic/Activities League program and collaborations with the Office of Community Engagement.

“The culture and philosophy is changing toward community-based policing,” said Cary, who is the first female chief in the UMB Police Force’s 70-year history. “So in moving forward, we want to develop a proactive police force. And our vision is to connect with the UMB community and the neighborhoods that surround us.”

Bratt, who has been in his post since April, delivered his PowerPoint presentation first, offering his vision for making UMB an emergency- and disaster-resilient University and detailing strategic goals for the short and long terms. He described emergency management as being a collaborative and integrative process that requires many disciplines to work together to succeed.

“There’s not just one science that encompasses all of emergency management,” Bratt said. “It involves engineering, medicine, sociology, psychology — every discipline has some input in the process. It’s a team effort. As we prepare for and respond to emergencies, different expertise is brought in to help us understand how to manage and mitigate these events.”

Bratt says he wants to introduce a culture of preparedness to the UMB campus and do it through training, exercises and community engagement initiatives such as Stop the Bleed, a campaign led by the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center that teaches techniques to stem life-threatening bleeding in emergency situations. It’s all part of his presentation’s theme: Learn. Prepare. Act.

“You’ll see it on the tagline of my emails — ‘You are the help until help arrives’ — and that’s a reminder to take action in an emergency situation,” Bratt said. “The true first responders are the bystanders, so it’s important to learn what you need to do before an emergency.”

In a similar vein, Bratt wants to integrate more emergency management into the schools’ curriculums. He says he’s talked to several deans who support the idea.

“For example, the Strategic National Stockpile might be a topic for the School of Pharmacy. Or resource management in hospitals could be a topic for the School of Medicine,” Bratt said. “And outside the curriculum, there could be similar training and seminar opportunities for students as well.”

Bratt says he will develop a five-year strategic plan for the University’s emergency management program, review and update UMB’s emergency operations plan, and build a team of professionals to execute the plans. That team was put to the test recently as Hurricane Florence threatened the East Coast. It met to assess the situation, then sent out a University-wide email to relay that UMB was tracking the storm and where updated information could be found. An audience member thanked Bratt for the email, saying it was comforting.

“It was a team effort. We came together, saw that there was a potential hazard coming, and knew we had to let you all know that we’re watching it,” Bratt said. “We’ll strive to put out that type of messaging in the future.”

Cary also cited the need for improved communication, saying she wants to make sure her officers are out and about and talking to not only members of the UMB community but the institution’s Southwest Baltimore neighbors, too.

“We need to get out of the car and walk around,” she said. “We need to communicate through emails, through websites, through just saying hi, how are you today. Our officers are out there on the front line — they’re the ones who are leading this agency, and they’re the ones that get the feedback to our department so I can better understand the needs of our community.”

Cary says it’s important for officers to be visible but not stationary.

“I’ve tasked our officers to look at the hot spots, the concern areas,” she said. “It’s a focused patrol approach, so it’s not predictive policing where you know that there’s an officer standing at the corner from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. every day, but something that works to mix it up.”

Ashley Valis, MSW, UMB’s executive director of strategic initiatives and community engagement, told Cary she’s taken notice of that approach and appreciates it.

“I walk back and forth a lot from the Community Engagement Center, and I’ve seen police officers in different spots, switching it up,” Valis said. “That makes me feel safer, because it’s not that same old pattern.”

Like Bratt earlier, Cary fielded questions after her presentation:

  • On concerns about safety around Lexington Market: “We’re working with the city of Baltimore to ensure that that area is safe, and that’s certainly something we need to move forward on and even prioritize.”
  • On body cameras for officers: “We are beta-testing a model with Panasonic and wrapping that up in the feedback stage, so that’s the next step in getting everyone outfitted. That promotes transparency, protects you as a citizen, and protects our officers.”
  • On the transient population and panhandling: “I’m working on creating a homeless liaison officer program so that we’ll have somebody that coordinates with the city of Baltimore on homelessness and panhandling issues, someone who will work cooperatively with our Office of Community Engagement.”
  • On feedback for the police force: “I have an open door for any concerns. You can come directly to me and I can relay that information. I have an exceptional staff that thinks outside the box and is very creative to ensure that you’re safe coming and going to campus.”

Dawn Rhodes, MBA, UMB’s chief business and finance officer and vice president, who moderated the Q&A discussion, urged attendees to take the lessons back to their own departments. “Relationships, collaborations, and partnerships. This doesn’t just apply in the safety world,” Rhodes said. “It applies to all of us in how we do our jobs and how we get things done.”

— Lou Cortina

Lou CortinaCollaboration, For B'more, People, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeSeptember 20, 20180 comments
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Flow Cytometry Graphic

UMGCCC Flow Cytometry Shared Services Lecture Set for Oct. 8

The University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center (UMGCCC) Flow Cytometry Shared Services monthly flow lecture will be held Monday, Oct. 8, 10:30 a.m. to noon, at the Bressler Research Building, Room 7-035.

The lecture will be led by Xiaoxuan Fan, PhD, the School of Medicine, and you will learn:

  • How flow cytometry works
  • Multi-color design and compensation
  • Instruments and services
  • New technology and tools
  • Online booking system

The lecture is free, but you need to reserve your spot at this link.

All are welcome, and this lecture is required for those who want to be “trained users” at the UMGCCC FCSS facility.

Karen UnderwoodBulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, Research, TechnologySeptember 19, 20180 comments
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Integrative medicine collage

Learn About Integrative Medicine

According to the 2012 National Health Interview Survey, one third of U.S. adults use complementary and integrative therapies. In some populations, such as those with cancer and/or chronic pain, that number is more than double. Integrative approaches are effective in the management of pain, mood disorders, sleep dysfunction, inflammatory conditions and more. Are you prepared to help your patients choose integrative treatments that are safe and effective? Would you like more tools to treat patients who suffer with frustrating chronic conditions?

The Center for Integrative Medicine, part of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has developed an evidence-based integrative medicine training program designed to give health care professionals practical patient care skills that will be immediately applicable to their practice. Through a mixture of lectures, case discussions, hands-on experiences, and access to exclusive online resources, participants will learn which modalities are evidence-supported, when to use them, and how to fit effective integrative approaches into a standard office visit and self-care plan.


  • Apply integrative medicine approaches in patient care
  • Describe the evidence, indications, and contraindications for complementary therapeutic approaches such as acupuncture, mind-body therapies, manual medicine, neurofeedback and more
  • Utilize mind-body techniques, such as meditation, guided imagery, relaxation breathing, and meditative movements
  • Offer positive psychology and cognitive behavioral techniques to help oneself and patients manage stress, depression and anxiety and improve quality of life
  • Help patients create and sustain a healthy lifestyle, including nutritional medicine, dietary supplements, and integrative physical activity
  • Critically evaluate integrative medicine literature

Note: Up to 59 CEUs are available.

To learn more, go to this link or send an email to

Rebekah OwensClinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, ResearchSeptember 19, 20180 comments
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Global Medical Brigades Group Photo

Global Medical Bridages Applications Now Open

The application for Global Medical Brigades is open. Click here to apply. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and applicants will hear within a week if they have been selected. The deadline is Monday, Oct. 8.

Global Medical Brigades is the world’s largest student-led global health and sustainable development organization. Since 2004, Global Medical Brigades has mobilized tens of thousands of students and professionals through skill-based programs that work in partnership with community members to improve quality of life in under-resourced regions while respecting local culture.

Our chapter at the University of Maryland, Baltimore is one of hundreds of chapters around the globe. Each chapter brings students on one-week trips to areas in Honduras, Panama, Nicaragua, or Ghana that have little access to health care. While there, students work together to set up makeshift clinics and can see anywhere from 500 to 1,000 patients per brigade.

This year, the UMB chapter will be going to Honduras from Jan 6-12.

Lewis LiuCollaboration, Education, People, University Life, USGASeptember 18, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: Julie Factor

UMB Champion of Excellence: Julie Factor

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

Today’s Champion:
Julie Factor
New Solutions to Fight Opioid Addiction

Every day, news networks are filled with stories about the opioid epidemic plaguing our nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the death toll from drug overdose in the U.S. was five times higher in 2016 than in 1999, totaling more than 42,000 deaths — a startling statistic.

In the search for solutions, a new generation is stepping up to tackle this issue. Among them is Julie Factor, a student at the University of Maryland School of Nursing who is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing with a focus on substance abuse.

She chose the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), she says, “because I knew that the nursing program was highly regarded, and there were a variety of resources at the school that could help me maximize my success.”

And success is certainly what she’s found at UMB. In her first year at the School of Nursing she’s already received major recognition, having been selected for the Conway Scholarship, accepted into the President’s Student Leadership Institute, receiving summer research grants, and getting involved in a variety organizations on and off campus.

In her undergraduate studies as a neuroscience major at Mount Holyoke College, Factor’s favorite courses were related to pharmacology and psychology. She was interested in how dynamic changes in the brain can influence a person’s motivation to continue to use drugs despite adverse consequences — and substance abuse became a natural research path.

But Factor understood that addiction couldn’t just be boiled down to a person’s mental health. She sought to know more about the many factors of addiction and overdose so she could better understand how to treat it.

“[Drug use] is multidimensional,” she says. “There is a biological and genetic aspect, but so much of what drives drug seeking is a person’s environment, support system, and access to different resources in their community including treatment, health care, education, and more.”

As she dives into her research, Factor will spend 10 weeks this summer working on an epidemiologic study with the Center for Substance Abuse Research at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) through the UM Scholars Program, part of the strategic partnership between UMB and UMCP. The study will look at trends in drug-related hospital admissions to better understand patterns of synthetic cannabinoid, opioid, and other drug use. Revealing areas where there may be contaminated batches of drugs or increasing rates of use can inform intervention strategies.

The day after she completes this internship, Factor and two other students will travel to Rwanda for three weeks through UMB’s Center for Global Education Initiatives grant program. Working at a health clinic in the capital city of Kigali, the team will administer a survey to assess the prevalence of injection drug use and associated practices that increase a person’s chance of contracting HIV, including sharing syringes and having unprotected sex.

The team’s main goal is to make the first assessment of injection drug use and associated HIV risk behaviors in Kigali, which will inform the national HIV program in Rwanda and set the stage for incorporating injection drug use questions into the next national HIV/AIDS Behavioral Surveillance Survey. The data is important to the team, but the free HIV testing offered as a part of the survey will benefit all participants.

Outside of this research, Factor is an active member of Nurses for Justice Baltimore, a group promoting a vision of health and justice for all Baltimore residents. Members use their trusted status as nurses to advocate for progress in public health measures in the community.

Currently, they are focusing on harm reduction for substance users by advocating for safe consumption spaces, needle exchange programs, and overdose prevention training. Through panel discussions and informational events, nurses and members of the public learn how to be advocates for change.

Through her involvement in Nurses for Justice Baltimore, Factor has realized advocacy is one of her main passions.

“[Substance abuse] is so stigmatized. An important goal going forward is to challenge the bias associated with substance abuse, especially within health care professionals,” she says.

Factor believes changing the attitude of health care providers can significantly improve patient outcomes and help substance abuse be treated as a public health and social justice issue.

She emphasizes that patients with substance use disorders may be hesitant to seek help from medical professionals for fear of judgment and reprimand.

“You can’t scare an addiction out of somebody. And you can’t tell them that all it takes is willpower to recover,” she says. “It is more effective and therapeutic to have a productive conversation with the patient, ask about treatments they’ve tried in the past, what has worked for them, and present options on how the team will collaborate to move the patient forward.”

Encouraging treatment in a space where health counselors are nurturing and empathetic toward patients brings a human aspect to intervention and can lead to a better chance for recovery.

“People think [substance abuse] is a fault or character flaw of the individual person, but advocacy is about challenging that idea and encouraging medical professionals to provide high-quality care while treating the patient with dignity and respect,” she says.

The potential for change is endless, and when Factor completes her degree in May 2019 she is poised to be a real stigma changer in her community.

“I chose nursing because I can practice, I can travel, I can educate, and I can get into policy,” she says. “There are so many avenues to have an impact as a nurse, and we have a unique opportunity to change people’s perspectives and challenge their biases.”

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 17, 20180 comments
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School of Medicine logo

Oct. 5 Seminar: ‘From Mouse to Human: Atrial Super-Hub Calcium Signaling’

Stephan LenhartStephan Lehnart, MD, will  present “From Mouse to Human: Atrial Super-Hub Calcium Signaling” at a special seminar  Friday, Oct. 5, at noon at the Health Sciences Research Facility II Auditorium.

Lenhart is professor of translational cardiology, director of the research unit for cellular biophysics and translational cardiology, and coordinator of the heart research center at the University of Gottingen in Germany.

The seminar is sponsored by the Center for Biomedical Engineering and Technology (BioMET) and the Department of Medicine’s Cardiology Division at the School of Medicine.

BioMET is a collaborative effort between the School of Medicine and the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland College Park.

Refreshments will be available from 11:45 a.m. to noon.

For more information, contact Latasha Shoffner via email or at 410-706-4667.

Latasha ShoffnerCollaboration, ResearchSeptember 14, 20180 comments
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To sign or not to sign ... UMBEIN.ORG

Sept. 27 Workshop: ‘Dealing with Non-Disclosure Agreements’

You’ve been asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) — how should you respond?

In a Sept. 27 workshop titled “Dealing with Non-Disclosure Agreements” from the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network student group, the use of NDAs to protect confidential information that may be exchanged during discussions or negotiations between companies will be discussed.

The workshop will review standard terms in an NDA and highlight problematic provisions that you might want to avoid. It also will touch on confidentiality provisions in employment and independent contractor agreements and other types of contracts.

Here are the details:


Edwin OakBulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, For B'more, People, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGASeptember 13, 20180 comments
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Lamy Center to Lead Statewide Antimicrobial Stewardship Initiative

The Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy has been awarded a $200,000 contract from the Maryland Department of Health to promote appropriate antimicrobial use in long-term care and nursing facilities across the state of Maryland. Nicole Brandt, PharmD, MBA, BCPP, CGP, FASCP, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and executive director of the Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging, will serve as the principal investigator for the contract, which ultimately aims to establish a training program focused on antimicrobial stewardship and infection control for consultant pharmacists and other medical providers working in long-term care settings across the state.

“One of the most effective ways to help curb antimicrobial resistance is to train pharmacists — as the medication experts on the health care team — to educate, engage, and support antimicrobial stewardship programs,” Brandt says. “This specialized training is crucially needed across the state, particularly in long-term care settings, where many antibiotics are prescribed inappropriately or unnecessarily. Our team of consultant pharmacists at the Lamy Center has extensive experience practicing in this unique care setting, and we are thrilled to partner with the Maryland Department of Health to help promote appropriate antimicrobial use and improve health outcomes for patients in the state’s long-term care facilities.”

Addressing an Ever-Evolving Challenge

Antimicrobial stewardship programs aim to measure and improve the appropriate use of antimicrobials (antibiotics). These programs are designed to help health care professionals achieve better outcomes for their patients by providing guidance on the selection, dose, duration, and administration of an optimal antimicrobial drug regimen.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires that all of its participating long-term care facilities, including those in the state of Maryland, have an antimicrobial stewardship program that incorporates protocols and monitoring for antimicrobial use. Through its contract with the Maryland Department of Health, the Lamy Center will partner with health officials across the state to develop new programs, trainings, and other educational opportunities that promote antimicrobial stewardship among health care professionals and help those professionals meet the guidelines established by CMS for their specialized facilities.

“Although national organizations have developed guidelines and tools for antimicrobial stewardship, there remains a need to translate those tools into actionable, measurable, and impactful programs that are tailored to the unique needs of long-term care facilities in Maryland,” Brandt says. “As a hub of information and research for pharmacists and other health care professionals interested in geriatrics and gerontology issues, the Lamy Center is well-positioned to assist in this endeavor and help improve the lives of the older adults receiving care in these facilities.”

Meeting Maryland’s Unique Needs

The antimicrobial stewardship program designed by the Lamy Center will include four elements. The first is an antimicrobial stewardship summit, which is scheduled for Sept. 14 at the LifeSpan Network-Handelman Conference Center in Columbia, Md., and will provide health care professionals with an overview of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s “Core Elements of Antibiotic Stewardship in Long-Term Care Facilities” and introduce the Lamy Center’s new Maryland Train-the-Trainer Program for consultant pharmacists practicing in long-term care facilities.

Targeted education interventions for consultant pharmacists and other health care professionals who work directly with long-term care providers and families encompass the program’s second element. These interventions will focus on asymptomatic bacteriuria and urinary tract infections, which are among the most common infections for which antimicrobials are prescribed for patients in long-term care facilities, and understanding the development and interpretation of antibiograms — specialized reports that aid health care providers in choosing appropriate antimicrobial therapies based on local susceptibility patterns.

The third and fourth elements of the Lamy Center’s antimicrobial stewardship program include a patient safety toolkit to be developed in partnership with health care application developer Think Research, and marketing and engagement activities to further increase awareness and involvement of antimicrobial stewardship among long-term care providers, respectively.

“Faculty at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy have extensive and longstanding expertise developing cutting-edge educational training initiatives for both pharmacists and other health care professionals,” says Richard B. Brooks, MD, MPH, chief of the Office of Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection Response at the Maryland Department of Health. “The Lamy Center’s dedication to pharmacy issues unique to the geriatric patient, combined with Dr. Brandt’s extensive expertise in the field of long-term care pharmacy, make this an ideal partnership for our organization. We look forward to working with Dr. Brandt and her team on this project and are excited for this opportunity to promote antimicrobial stewardship across the state’s more than 200 long-term care facilities.”

— Malissa Carroll

Malissa CarrollClinical Care, Collaboration, People, UMB NewsSeptember 11, 20180 comments
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Precision Health and the National Library of Medicine: From Accelerating Discovery to Improving Health and Well-Being

National Library of Medicine Director to Present on ‘Precision Health’

Patricia Brennan, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, director of the National Library of Medicine, will present “Precision Health and the National Library of Medicine: From Accelerating Discovery to Improving Health and Well-Being” on Thursday, Oct. 11, 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., in the School of Nursing Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow.

The National Library of Medicine is the world’s largest biomedical library and the producer of digital information services used by scientists, health professionals, and members of the public worldwide. As the library prepares for its third century, Brennan is leading development of strategies to ensure that information critical for discovery and care is available where needed, when needed, and increasingly in the format needed. She became the library’s 19th director in August 2016.

A pioneer in the development of information systems for patients, Brennan brings more than 30 years of experience in biomedical informatics, spanning the application of game theory in the development of health information exchanges; the alignment of clinical information systems with professional practice models; and the design, deployment, and evolution of specialized computer tools to support self-management and self-care in the home. She holds a PhD in industrial engineering and a Master of Science in Nursing.

The lecture is co-sponsored by the following University of Maryland entities:

  • Biology and Behavior Across the Lifespan Organized Research Center
  • Center to Advance Chronic Pain Research
  • Center for Health Outcomes Research
  • Center for Health-Related Informatics and Bioimaging
  • Health Sciences and Human Services Library
  • Institute for Clinical & Translational Research
  • Institute for Genome Sciences
  • University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center

For more information, go to this School of Nursing webpage.

Giordana SegneriCollaboration, Education, People, Research, TechnologySeptember 11, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: John F. Caccamese Jr.

UMB Champion of Excellence: John F. Caccamese Jr., DMD, MD, FACS

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

Today’s Champion:
John F. Caccamese Jr., DMD, MD, FACS
Reconstructing Smiles

It’s easy to care for children when you’re a parent yourself. Just ask John F. Caccamese Jr., DMD, MD, FACS.

Caccamese is a pediatric maxillofacial surgery professor, vice chair, and medical director of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry, and clinical professor of pediatrics and otorhinolaryngology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He’s also the proud father of three: Luca, 16; Stella, 13; and Cecilia, 10.

“Dr. Caccamese combines a love of caring for children, a deep respect for patients and colleagues, and a passion for advancing health care through new technologies and surgical approaches,” says Mark A. Reynolds, DDS, PhD, MA, dean of the School of Dentistry.

Perhaps that’s why Baltimore magazine named him a “Top Doctor” in Oral Maxillofacial Surgery in 2016. Most of his job is clinical, so he operates two to three days per week with surgical residents. Other days, he’s doing clinical teaching or conducting groundbreaking research that enhances treatment and advances dental and medical science.

He always envisioned an academic job for himself, one where he would be able to train residents who become leaders in oral and maxillofacial surgery, while also providing exceptional patient care to children and young adults. As an intern, he was inspired by a cleft lip and palate surgery performed by one of his attending surgeons. That day he knew such work would be part of his future. Robert Ord, DDS, MD, chair of the Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, would give Caccamese the opportunity to join the dental school faculty, and has been a key mentor ever since.

Today, Caccamese treats children and young adults, beginning at birth through their college years, with craniofacial disorders ranging from cleft lip and palate to facial trauma or tumors and other jaw/facial differences.

Often before a baby’s even born Caccamese begins teaching the family about their child’s condition and preparing them for surgery. His job is part surgery, part education, and part emotional support for the family, as he eases their anxiety and empowers them through knowledge.

It’s intimidating to have a child born with a facial difference. Not only are the parents dealing with their child’s visible differences but also they struggle with things like feeding and dental development that other parents take for granted. They’re worried about the surgery, what their baby will look like after the lip and nose are fixed, and how the baby will speak.

“I always tell them their No. 1 job is to get the baby happy and healthy,” he says. Caccamese does the rest.

In 2015, Caccamese received a four-year, $1.29 million National Institutes of Health grant to develop a new system capable of noninvasive, three-dimensional imaging of engineered tissue. He’s working with two researchers from the Fischell Department of Bioengineering at the University of Maryland, College Park on the project.

Regenerative medicine is a life-changing way to repair injury or replace damaged tissues or organs by introducing living cells or functioning tissues. But, Caccamese says, “With conventional reconstruction, you rob Peter to pay Paul, so to speak, so you have to leave the patient with two surgical sites rather than one. This can result in a scar that they don’t like at a donor site or they can have pain from having taken some tissue from one place and putting it into another.”

The goal is to engineer or grow facial bone or soft tissue without having to borrow it. The NIH grant allows the team to look at novel forms of imaging to evaluate the healing specifically in the engineered tissue. Their proposed system could have a tremendous impact on how engineers construct and evaluate 3-D tissue scaffolds, and could pave the way for major advancements in bone tissue engineering. It’s an interdisciplinary collaboration, and Caccamese is proud to contribute his clinical expertise.

When he’s not transforming lives in the operating room or doing groundbreaking research in the lab, Caccamese can be found fly-fishing, running (occasionally an ultra marathon) with his colleague and fitness mentor Marvin Leventer, DDS, assistant professor of the School of Dentistry, serving as the section editor for the Cleft Palate-Craniofacial Journal, or spending quality time with his family. His wife, Suzanne, MD, FACP, is a physician herself at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center. “If not for her support, I couldn’t do what I do,” he says.

Caccamese believes working with children and families keeps him humble. It’s not a far stretch, he says, that any child he treats could be one of his own. When he’s guiding families to make the best decisions for their child, it’s always in the context of what he’d recommend if his kids were the patients.

“You know what that parent is going through because you’ve been in their shoes in one way or another, whether it’s an ER visit or bad news at the doctor’s office,” he says.

“Empathy comes easy,” he adds. “Having my own children has made me a better children’s doctor.”

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 10, 20180 comments
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The President's Message (Septemer)

The President’s Message

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

  • Dr. Perman’s column on our Interprofessional Care Transitions Clinic, serving vulnerable patients with a team-based approach
  • The launch of the improved UMB mobile app
  • CURE Scholars and YouthWorks interns embrace summer learning at UMB
  • Congressional staffers get a sneak peek at Health Sciences Research Facility III
  • UMB Foundation matches employee gifts made through the “Proud to work here. Proud to give here.” campaign
  • A look ahead to UMB Night at the Ballpark on Sept. 14, Dr. John T. Wolfe Jr.’s diversity presentation on Sept. 17, and Dr. Perman’s Q&A on Sept. 18
  • UMB Police Force and community residents mix and mingle at National Night Out
  • And a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements
Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGASeptember 6, 20180 comments
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Vanessa P. Fahie, Lynn Chen, and Gail Schoen Lemaire

Nursing’s Fahie Awarded Federal Funding for Increasing Diversity Program

Vanessa P. Fahie, PhD ’94, BSN ’76, RN, assistant professor, University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), recently was awarded a three-year, $2 million U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant to fund the project Increasing Diversity in the Clinical Nurse Leader Option.

Through the project, Fahie and UMSON colleagues Lynn Chen, PhD, assistant professor, and Gail Schoen Lemaire, PhD ’96, PMHCNS, BC, CNL, associate professor and associate dean for the Master of Science program, aim to increase the number of master’s-level Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) graduates from underrepresented backgrounds. Qualified students will receive academic, financial, and social support to aid in their successful completion of the CNL program. In addition, UMSON staff from its Student Success Center will provide academic advising and tutoring, and members from the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care will mentor, serve as role models, and assist with preparing students to present at local and national meetings and to be published in professional journals.

“This important grant is consistent with the School of Nursing’s ongoing efforts to support development of a racially and ethnically diverse nursing workforce that meets the needs of our increasingly diverse society,” said Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean and professor. “Our Clinical Nurse Leader students will benefit from a new pre-entry immersion program as well as academic support and mentoring. We also look forward to collaborating with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing to expand the use of holistic assessments and cultural diversity training.”

The goal of the project is to retain 85 percent of CNL students enrolled in the program each year; place 85 percent of CNL graduates from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds into practice within underserved communities; and distribute scholarships to eligible students each semester. Scholarships cover tuition and fees for the students’ first two semesters and include a book voucher for their first three semesters. Additionally, project leaders aim to establish an academic environment that supports cultural diversity and inclusion and the development of financial management skills.

“We are using evidence-based strategies to recruit, enroll, retain, empower, and graduate nursing students from disadvantaged backgrounds,” Fahie said. “Through our commitment to include ethnic and racial minority populations who are underrepresented in the nursing workforce, we seek to improve health equity within their communities through professional nursing practice.”

HRSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is the primary federal agency for improving access to health care by strengthening its workforce, building healthy communities, and achieving health equity. Its programs provide health care to people who are geographically isolated or economically or medically vulnerable.

Kevin NashBulletin Board, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 5, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: Sally A. Hageman, MSW

UMB Champion of Excellence: Sally A. Hageman, MSW

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

Today’s Champion:
Sally A. Hageman, MSW
Improving Outcomes, Improving Lives

Social scientists usually focus on people, not numbers, making what Sally A. Hageman, MSW, is doing at the University of Maryland School of Social Work all the more amazing.

Hageman, a predoctoral fellow in the Center for Public Health Social Work Education and Training, likes working with data just as much as working with people to improve financial and health outcomes for vulnerable populations.

So much so that in 2017 she launched a new advanced research methods course, Public Health Financial Social Work. The aim of the course is to approach social problems with an emphasis on prevention, while also looking at the barriers and opportunities to increase the financial and health stability of clients. In her second year teaching the course, students collected data using the financial threat scale and self-reported health (SF-12) paper and pencil survey.

“This is new for these [social work] students. They aren’t used to working with and manipulating data,” she says. “The class gives them a sense of how to do research. And they learn to keep a research journal so they can do research to inform their practice.”

In the future, Hageman would like to include a practice component to the Public Health Financial Social Work course. In the first semester, students would gain the foundation skills of advanced research methods so they can conduct a quantitative data analysis project demonstrating the association between health and financial social work topics.

The second semester would give students the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to the real world through their field placement. Under the supervision of licensed social workers, social work students would collaborate with their field placement agencies to use research to benefit the agency’s clients and practices. With this structure, Hageman hopes to ignite students’ passion for research as a powerful tool to solve real-world problems.

At the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), she saw a great opportunity to explore her research through collaboration with UMB’s strong medical, nursing, and dental schools and its Center for Interprofessional Education.

Not only has the Public Health Financial Social Work course been beneficial to the social work students of UMB, but also for the field of social work itself. When the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) created its Economic Well-Being Curricular Guide in 2017, Hageman’s course syllabus was selected as an example of the type of class that exemplifies the CSWE’s Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards. Hageman is incredibly proud of this honor, specifically because of the impact the curricular guide has.

“It’s really helpful to educate others in the field,” she says. “By getting the word out, we are helping to encourage [social work educators] to collaborate with other disciplines to solve problems in creative ways, because at the end of the day we’re all moving toward the same goal.”

Consistent collaboration through a variety of disciplines, specializations, and backgrounds is, for Hageman, what creates the most innovative results.

Her main collaboration happens between the School of Social Work and the public health program based in the School of Medicine. She started working with students and faculty from both disciplines, under the framework of the social determinants of health. Utilizing both perspectives, Hageman hopes to find new solutions and interventions to social problems in a way that complements the critical thinking of both social workers and public health researchers.

Reaching this collaborative end means initially overcoming the obstacles of cross-disciplinary research. From the beginning of her studies, Hageman noticed a language gap between the two disciplines. “Language is powerful,” she says. “There’s certain language we use in social work about finance and health, and in public health they use different language. … I’ve been trying to bring those [languages] together.”

Another difference between the two disciplines, Hageman notes, is that “in our social work [master’s] program we don’t teach statistics, [but] in public health that’s like a basic, they have to have that.” So Hageman decided to help bridge that gap, too. Her course’s combination of advanced research methods prepares social work students to apply rigorous research methods in their practice.

“That’s what I’m really excited about — sharing the resources, and eventually ending with better patient or client outcomes for both financial security as well as health,” she says.

This interdisciplinary collaboration, for Hageman, is what makes UMB unique.

“The community at UMB is very supportive, overwhelmingly supportive. I have had many opportunities to pursue what I want to do in my research … and [UMB faculty and staff] are going to do whatever they can to put you in a position to be successful,” she says.

In addition to pursuing her PhD, Hageman works at her local YMCA as an instructor in Nia, a holistic fitness practice that combines dance, martial arts, and mindfulness to address all aspects of life. “It’s all about being present, letting go, and removing anxiety. I bring those ideas into my class when my students are stressed out,” she says.

After finishing her doctorate in May 2019, she plans to find a full-time academic position where she can teach, conduct research, and continue to work with other departments and disciplines, and make connections with other researchers across the world.

Communications and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeSeptember 4, 20180 comments
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Men's hand holding modern mobile phone with customer service survey form on a screen. Red tick on excellent choice showing customer satisfaction.

Improved UMB Mobile App Launches

Just in time for the fall semester, the Office of Communications and Public Affairs (CPA) has launched improvements to UMB’s mobile app.

The app, created in 2013 to “put UMB in your pocket,” has evolved over time. But Amir Chamsaz, ScD, MS, managing director of web development and interactive media in CPA, says this upgrade is the best one yet. In addition to a redesign that increases user engagement and retention, the app offers a wide range of improvements.

  • Interactive experience: Latest news, social media stories, and more display on the landing page and users can flip through them without having to open the modules
  • Ease of use: Most used functionality is moved to the top to help users access what they need faster
  • Accessibility: Using large tile icons, sufficient color contrast, and other measures to help impaired users, the app meets ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessibility requirements
  • Incorporates URecFit live and Blackboard that are popular destinations for users

“By studying quantitative data from Google Analytics as well as conversations with users, we put together a group of suggestions that are addressed in the redesigned UMB mobile app,” says Chamsaz, who adds the app is available by free download from the Apple App Store or Google Play. “In addition to being more functional, it is user-centered, beautiful, and easy to use.”

Learn more about the app at this CPA web page, and you can read more about it next month in the September issue of Dr. Perman’s President’s Message.

Chris ZangBulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAAugust 29, 20180 comments
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