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The President's Message-November

The President’s Message

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

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

Thanksgiving Collection: Donate a Basket Through Nov. 13

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

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

Each donation basket should include:

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

Don’t Have Time to Shop?

You can donate online through the Staff Senate giving page.

Collection Drop-Off

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

  • Saratoga Building lobby, 220 Arch St.
  • Lexington Building, first- and second-floor lobbies, 620 W. Lexington St.
  • MSTF Atrium, BIORESCO, 695 W. Baltimore St.
  • Cancer Center, Clinical Research Center, 22 N. Greene St.
  • School of Social Work lobby, 525 W. Redwood St.
  • School of Nursing lobby, 655 W. Lombard St.
  • School of Nursing, sixth floor, in front of elevators
  • SMC Campus Center lobby, next to guard station, 621 W. Lombard St.
  • Facilities Maintenance Service Center, 622 W. Fayette St.
  • Bressler Research Building, Room 7-022, 655 W. Baltimore St.
  • HSF II Building lobby, 20 Penn Street
  • School of Law lobby, 500 W. Baltimore Street
Brian SturdivantCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, People, UMB News, University Life, USGANovember 9, 20180 comments
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Don't Block the Box logo

Note to Drivers in the City: Don’t Block the Box

Did you know it’s illegal to block the box in an intersection? Avoid blocking the box — wait to enter an intersection until you are sure you can make it all the way through the intersection. Wait behind the stop bar, not in the crosswalk. Wait behind the stop bar, not in the crosswalk, and look to see if the vehicles in front of you on the other side of the intersection have left enough room for you to make it through without stopping in the crosswalk on the other side.

The fine for a vehicle obstructing or impeding the free flow of traffic in an intersection or marked crosswalk is $125. Learn more at this Baltimore City Department of Transportation webpage.

Dana RampollaBulletin Board, For B'moreNovember 5, 20180 comments
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School of Social Work logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kaitlyn GoldenBulletin Board, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Research, University Life, USGANovember 2, 20180 comments
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Dr. Perman with early voters

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— Jena Frick

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

Jena FrickCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, UMB News, University Life, USGAOctober 31, 20180 comments
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Hazel Lewis serving food at Hope Lodge

UMB Police Serve Hot Meal to Cancer Patients at Hope Lodge

To “protect and serve” is the creed followed by police officers on the job every day. On Oct. 17, officers from the University of Maryland, Baltimore Police Force (UMBPF) took the latter part of that creed literally. Armed with aprons and hair nets, half a dozen officers along with police Chief Alice Cary, MS, spent the evening serving dinner to residents at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge of Baltimore.

“It is amazing that the UMBPF officers are coming in to embrace our family,” said Karen Seaberry, manager of the Hope Lodge facility in Baltimore. “They’ve always made us a part of the community. They protect us, they serve us, and now it’s great to see them come in and interact with some of our guests.”

Hope Lodge provides a home away from home for patients battling cancer from all around the world. There are 31 Hope Lodge facilities across the United States — including Puerto Rico and Hawaii — and the mid-Atlantic facility is located on the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s campus on West Lexington Street. Hope Lodge provides housing and hospital transportation for its residents free of charge but does not always have the means to provide meals.

Cpl. Hazel Lewis discovered this after meeting a cancer patient who was staying at Hope Lodge. Lewis was providing her with a police escort from her treatment at the Maryland Proton Treatment Center.

“Out of curiosity I asked her what she was eating tonight,” Lewis explained. “She said she didn’t know because Hope Lodge doesn’t necessarily provide dinner every night. Meals usually come from volunteers or through donations, and I said, ‘Wow I never knew that.’ ”

That was all it took for Lewis to begin looking for ways to help. She rallied UMBPF officers to donate money, so they could cater and serve a hot meal to the Hope Lodge residents. Her fellow officers were more than happy to pitch in and volunteer.

“I was all for giving support,” Pfc. Ronald Nicholson said. “I think it’s a great idea and a good way to give back to the community and show our love and support as police officers.”

Lewis, Nicholson, and Cary along with Deputy Chief Thomas Leone, Assistant Chief Dameon Carter, Detective William Epperson and security guard Evelyn Greenhill served up a dinner of baked chicken, mac and cheese, rice, and greens with a bundt cake for dessert. They also prepared and delivered plates of food to patients who were too sick to come out of their rooms for dinner.

Chief Cary expressed her excitement to see her officers engaging the community in such a heartfelt way, and she commended Lewis for taking the initiative to coordinate this act of service.

“Hazel has a great heart. She’s full of compassion, not just at Hope Lodge but everywhere else on campus,” Cary said. “I’m hoping this will be the start of a new tradition, and it’s all because of Hazel Lewis and her outreach.”

This dinner is only the first course of a new relationship between the UMBPF and Hope Lodge of Baltimore. Lewis says she hopes to make Hope Lodge dinners a monthly event for her department.

“I think this is just the beginning!” Lewis exclaimed. “Hope Lodge is right on our campus. It’s right next door to us, so why not give back?”

Lewis’ act of selflessness will be crucial for residents of the facility as the holiday season approaches, as many guests will not be able to spend time with their families. Seaberry is encouraging people to follow Lewis’ lead and donate their time by putting on events or activities at Hope Lodge to create a jovial atmosphere throughout the holiday season. She’s also asking the community to check out Hope Lodge of Baltimore’s Amazon Wishlist, which has a list of suggested gifts and supplies people can donate through

For more information on how you can volunteer or donate to Hope Lodge of Baltimore, visit the American Cancer Society website or call the facility directly at 410-547-2522.

— Jena Frick

(View a photo gallery and watch a video about the event.)


Jena FrickCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, People, UMB NewsOctober 24, 20180 comments
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UMB Police COAST team

New COAST Program Ramps Up UMB Police Community Engagement Efforts

Since taking over as University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) police chief in June, Alice Cary, MS, has put her stamp on the force by stressing the need, in her words, “to build community relationships through effective, University-based policing.” To foster those ties, Cary has created a Campus Outreach and Support Team (COAST), a program that will be led by three veterans of the UMB Police Force.

The officer overseeing the team is Lt. Matthew Johnson, an 11-year UMB Police Force veteran who recently was promoted from sergeant. Cpl. Jevon Thompson, MPA, and Acting Sgt. J.R. Jones, who have each been at UMB for more than a decade, will fill the program’s homeless and neighborhood liaison roles, respectively.

The COAST head and two liaisons will serve as key conduits in Cary’s community engagement efforts, collaborating with UMB offices, city of Baltimore police and agencies, and non-governmental entities such as the Southwest Partnership neighborhood association. Cary said that COAST will work out of the UMB Police substation at the UM BioPark and that it’s all part of her goal to have a “robust campus engagement team.”

“There are many different needs from the campus and the community relating to police and public safety, and if we don’t get on the right communications track, the wrong information will be getting out there,” Cary says. “So that’s why we need these liaisons, officers who will actually be hearing about those wants and needs and relaying them back to us.”

As head of the team, Johnson said he plans to use frameworks already in place to continue developing an organizational culture that focuses on police being a part of the community, not simply working in the community. He aims to make sure UMB officers reach out not only in person, but also digitally via social networking.

“My vision is to create solutions that will remove the barriers to positive relationships with the community,” Johnson says. “Policing is not solely about enforcing the law, it also is about building relationships with the people to create positive change.

“COAST streamlines all of our community engagement activities under one umbrella, as opposed to having different programs that aren’t working together for the common goal. The programs are meant to overlap and be cohesive. We are building COAST to be innovative and an example for others to use when designing their community engagement programs. I’m excited and humbled to spearhead something so valuable and paramount.”

‘Compassion in My Heart’

Thompson is a 15-year veteran of the force who stepped up immediately when Cary raised the idea of creating a homeless liaison. “He expressed interest right away, then started doing research and collaborating with the city,” Cary says. “He took the ball and started running with it.”

The plight of the homeless resonates with Thompson, who said he was on the verge of being homeless many years ago when he worked as a waiter. “So I’ve always had compassion in my heart for this population,” he says. “When Chief Cary mentioned she wanted to start this program, it just really sparked an interest.”

The goal of the homeless liaison program is two-pronged: 1) To educate UMB students, faculty, and staff on how to interact with the population; and 2) to guide the homeless on where and how to access social services and other supports through the University, Veterans Affairs, the city, and other agencies.

“A lot of this program will be information sharing,” Thompson says. “A lot of the homeless don’t realize the services that are afforded them. So I do plan to reach out to them, hand out literature, and educate them on where they can go for services that can help them get back on their feet with employment, financial, or housing assistance.

“I plan to inform our department and the University in developing a master list of different referral services, so when our officers encounter citizens on the street, especially homeless veterans, those people in need can be directed toward the services available.”

Cary said the team will collaborate with a case worker from the city’s Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Program, which launched in 2017 and redirects people arrested for low-level drug offenses to treatment and other services.

“We will have office space available here for the LEAD case worker so that the team and Jevon in particular can work closely with that person,” Cary says. “These type of offenders will get referred to a diversion program instead of jail, and it will help those who are dealing with addiction to address the problem.

“We need to approach the homeless problem in a humanitarian way. A lot of agencies just push them out of a particular area, but that’s just giving someone else the problem and not attacking the issue as it stands. So, this is a start.”

‘Best Parts of Different Programs’

Jones, a 13-year veteran of the force who also worked 30 years as a Baltimore City officer, said as neighborhood liaison it will be his duty to make sure that the needs of the University and Southwest Baltimore communities are heard and understood by the UMB police.

“There are numerous areas around the UMB campus where students, faculty, and staff live,” he says, “so we need to foster better communication and build relationships between the police and those communities. COAST combines the best parts of different programs and has us all working together toward a common goal.”

Cary echoed Jones’ comments, saying it’s important to remember that many UMB students live off campus in these neighborhoods, so their safety concerns and needs must be addressed. She cited results from the National Crime Victimization Survey that show college students are most likely to be robbed when traveling to and from school, specifically between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.

“We don’t want to lose focus of the students, but our campus is relatively secure, in a broad sense,” Cary says. “It’s the nexus that has the concerns. So we need to make sure we’re addressing not only the core of the University but the areas where a lot of our students live.”

She adds that UMB Police need to be savvy on social media and develop apps that students will use, saying social media is an important tool to keep them informed. “We need to meet students where they are — online,” Cary says. She also hopes to create a public information officer/media liaison to help with disseminating this type of information to the student population and beyond.

Two other UMB Police Force veterans, Pfc. Anthony Brown and Cpl. Andrew Degele, will support the team, and Cary said Jones will work with neighborhood associations such as the Southwest Partnership and will be a point person to attend community meetings in Southwest Baltimore and perhaps other districts in the city.

“There’s a lot of information that’s shared at those meetings, and the Southwest Partnership, for example, has a public safety task force, so we’re going to be part of that,” Cary says. “We need to hear what the citizens want, what our community wants, so by having that information and an open dialogue, we can strategize about how best to tackle these problems.”

— Lou Cortina

Lou CortinaCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 17, 20180 comments
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Eighth Grade: From West Baltimore

Watch New Documentary on UMB CURE Scholars on Sunday, Oct. 14

Five scholars from the UMB CURE Program will be featured again on Maryland Public Television (MPT) thanks to the new documentary Eighth Grade: From West Baltimore.

A pipeline program that began in 2015 and guides West Baltimore students with an interest in science from sixth grade through high school and beyond, UMB CURE Scholars was first featured by MPT in the acclaimed documentary From West Baltimore. Both films, which follow the same five scholars, will be aired Sunday, Oct. 14, at 5 and 6 p.m., respectively.

The new documentary will provide an update on Shakeer Franklin, Davioin Hill, Courtney Jacobs, Tyler McKenzie, and Princaya Sanders as they navigate eighth grade before embarking on their high school years, supported by their UMB CURE mentors.

MedSchool Maryland Productions, which produced both documentaries led by director Susan Hadary, MA, describes the new film this way:

“Eighth grade, a year of incredible pressure for these young teens, determines their future. They must get a very high composite score to be accepted at one of the few highly competitive college preparatory schools in Baltimore. The stress of middle school now intensifies as they challenge themselves to get good grades and excel on standardized tests. Their future will be delivered in the all-important acceptance letter — the first hurdle to overcome in their personal fight for a better life.”

From West Baltimore, the original documentary, was nominated for an Emmy Award by the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the five CURE Scholars attended the Emmy gala June 23 in Bethesda, Md.

To watch a trailer of the new documentary, go to the Eighth Grade: From West Baltimore webpage. For a look at the original documentary, go to the From West Baltimore webpage. To learn more about the UMB program, which involves the youngest students ever funded by the National Cancer Institute’s Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) Program, go to the CURE Scholars website.

(Note: Poster by Kellie Gable; poster photo by John Anglim, MedSchool Maryland Productions)

Communications and Public AffairsCommunity Service, Education, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 12, 20180 comments
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UMB Cure Scholars Cohort 4

A White Coat Welcome for New UMB CURE Scholars

Jamiyah Mitchell may only be in sixth grade, but she already has her sights set on going to medical school and becoming a pediatrician. The Southwest Baltimore Charter School (SBCS) student is one step closer to her goal after she was officially inducted into the CURE Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

CURE Scholar speaks to potential mentorsOn Saturday, Oct. 6, Jamiyah and 23 other sixth-grade students from SBCS, Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School (FSEMS), and Green Street Academy (GSA) were presented with the CURE program’s signature white laboratory coat in a ceremony at the University of Maryland School of Nursing Auditorium, symbolizing their acceptance into the prestigious academic program.

“I decided to join CURE because I wanted to do something outside of school where I was still learning, so I could get into good schools,” Jamiyah explained. “I just know I’m ready for a big experience like this one.”

Established in 2015, the UMB CURE Scholars Program is a unique pipeline initiative aimed at guiding West Baltimore children into challenging careers in medicine and public health. It is the first program in the nation to begin academic enrichment and mentorship for students as early as sixth grade.

“I am very excited for Jamiyah to be in the CURE program,” said Jamiyah’s mother, Shardae Randolph, “It offers a lot of help and a lot of support. I hope they help her to stay focused, stay on top of her grades to get her where she wants to go.”

Jamiyah is part of the fourth cohort of scholars to be welcomed into the CURE Program with its traditional White Coat Ceremony. It was fitting to have the scholars from cohort 1 — who have just begun their first year of high school — present the newest scholars with their lab coats.

(View a photo gallery and watch a video.)

“I remember cohort 1 when they were babies, and now they’re all taller than me!” Robin Saunders, EdD, MS, executive director of the UMB CURE Scholars Program, said to the crowd attending the ceremony. “I am so incredibly proud of them and happy for them to be here to welcome our brand-new scholars.”

After receiving their white coats, the new scholars headed to the SMC Campus Center to attend a “mentor mixer.” The scholars got the chance to meet some of the 261 mentors who are committed to guiding these youngsters on their journey to success. All donning red shirts, the mentors are made up of volunteers from UMB’s six professional schools and interdisciplinary Graduate School, UMB faculty and staff members, and participants from other universities and organizations. The mentors are paired with the scholars on a 5:1 ratio, which creates a strong foundation of support for each scholar starting from Day 1.

The scholars in cohort 4 also will get an added layer of mentorship from the three older cohorts. Kaden Johnson, a GSA student in cohort 3, has one year of CURE under his belt. He received his white coat last year and is on the path to becoming a dentist. When asked what advice he would give to the newest class of scholars, he replied, “Stay focused. Don’t be shy. Have faith and hope in yourself, and you’ll be where you want to be.”

The support of many mentors and peers has proved successful for the CURE Scholars. In just three years, the program has seen vast improvements in its scholars’ academic achievements, including: a 66 percent improved math score and a 66 percent improved reading score at FSEMS; a 79 percent improved math score and a 76 percent improved reading score at GSA; and a 94 percent improved math score and an 83 percent improved reading score at SBCS.

The success of the program has become a catalyst for a new academic enrichment initiative that will be launched by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is a supporting partner of UMB’s CURE Scholars Program. NCI’s new initiative is called YES, which stands for Youth Enjoy Science. Modeled after UMB’s CURE Scholars Program, YES will provide support for eligible institutions to develop and maintain early intervention strategies to academically engage under-represented students and help prepare them for careers in biomedical research. Like the CURE Scholars, middle-school students across the nation will get the opportunity to participate in hands-on learning experiences under the guidance of mentors.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, described the creation of YES during the CURE White Coat Ceremony in a welcome video. He congratulated the scholars on playing a vital role in the startup of the new, nationwide program.

“You made this possible,” he told the scholars. “Your interest, your excitement, and your success have already made a difference to countless more students who now have access to the same opportunities that you have.”

Perman went on to address the new cohort of scholars, explaining to them the importance of programs like CURE and YES that aim to diversify the medical, science, and public health workforces that will in turn reduce racial disparities in cancer research and treatment. He also impressed upon the scholars that they have a village of support whenever they need help. They can always turn to their mentors, teachers, and even fellow CURE Scholars for guidance.

This is exactly what Lynijiah Walker, a FSEMS student in cohort 4, needed to hear. “I’m excited, but scared at the same time,” she said. “I don’t know what will be coming next or what journey this program is going to take me on, but I am very excited.”

— Jena Frick

Jena FrickCollaboration, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 11, 20180 comments
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The President’s Message

Check out the October issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on Promise Heights’ game-changing $30 million grant; a look ahead to Founders Week; President’s Symposium and White Paper Project tackles gun violence; John T. Wolfe Jr. talks disruption and diversity at DAC Speaker Series; UMB leaders discuss policing and emergency management; new CURE Scholars documentary to air on MPT; “I’m new to Twitter — come say hello @JayPerman;” and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements.

Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAOctober 8, 20180 comments
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Social worker in a library

Social Work Students to Serve in Three More Baltimore Libraries

After engaging more than 600 community members in its first year, the Social Worker in the Library program, which pairs social work students with library patrons seeking social services, will expand from four library branches in Baltimore City to seven.

“We are so proud to be launching another year of the successful Social Worker in the Library program,” Heidi Daniel, president and chief executive officer of the Enoch Pratt Free Library, said at a Sept. 18 “meet and greet” for the newly expanded program, a collaboration between the Enoch Pratt Free Library and the University of Maryland School of Social Work (SSW)

“This partnership … is truly making a difference in all of our communities,” Daniel said to the library and social work officials and student interns gathered at the Herring Run branch.

Social Worker in the Library, which began in 2017 at four library branches, brings graduate student social work interns into library branches to help customers address issues such as poverty, food insecurity, homelessness, and addiction. Three additional library branches will host the program in 2018-19 — Herring Run, Light Street, and Walbrook — joining the original program locations of the Brooklyn, Hamilton, Pennsylvania Avenue branches and Southeast Anchor Library.

Social work interns will be in the libraries at least two days a week providing one-on-one counseling to customers, conducting programs to serve the community, and training library staff on topics such as crisis management and positive engagement. The University of Maryland, Baltimore‘s Social Work Community Outreach Service (SWCOS) co-designed and manages the program for the SSW.

SSW Dean Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, said the school and the Enoch Pratt Free Library are committed to bringing services to people where they live and can best use them, so forming a partnership made a lot of sense.

“There’s no question that the library has many patrons who come and want to use the services there, but they don’t necessarily know how to use those services, or don’t have access to them,” Barth said. “The branch managers have recognized that for some time and working with the development team, as I understand it from Enoch Pratt, began to look for opportunities to expand the capacity that they have in libraries to serve some of our most in-need residents.”

“People turn to the Pratt Library because they trust the Pratt, because we’re anchors in our community,” Daniel said. “Before this program started, our librarians said that they were seeing more and more people coming into our buildings looking for social services. Our staff is wonderful, and they were always able to point people in the right direction, but many times our customers didn’t follow up because they didn’t want to go to another facility. We started looking for a way to bring the services into our library, a place of trust in our city.”

In 2017, the partnership between the SSW and the Enoch Pratt Free Library took shape, bringing eight social work graduate student interns into the four original branch locations. Twelve interns will serve in the expanded program.

“In just eight months, they were able to touch the lives of more than 600 library customers,” Daniel said of the 2017 social work interns. “The social work interns have truly ingrained themselves in the library community in each of the neighborhoods. They provided referrals and information about housing, general and mental health, access to transportation, food, jobs and job training, and city, state, and federal government assistance.”

Daniel credited Kimberly Street, MSW, LMSW, LPN, the SSW faculty clinical instructor who oversees the student social workers, for much of the program’s success. Street “has been seen bringing birthday presents to regular library customers, going to other library branches when they have a customer in need of help, and even walking a customer to a local bank to help them open their very first checking account,” Daniel said. “It’s service like this that has made the program so powerful.”

The Pratt library also has hired its first full-time social worker, Laurel Smith-Raut, LMSW ’04, a SWCOS alumna.

“The growth of this program truly shows what can happen when anchor institutions like the Pratt Library and the University of Maryland come together,” Daniel said. “The success stories we’ve heard have been life-changing, and I can’t wait to hear more as the second year moves forward.”

Barth said the partnership has turned out to be not only a great idea for Baltimore City but also could be a great idea for other schools of social work. To that end, Barth said he has shared the concept with the National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of Social Work. “We’re sharing ideas and best practices, and eventually I think this is an idea that could be not only something in Baltimore but that would be available to citizens all around the country.”

Social science research suggests that institutions of social work coupled with libraries is a good fit for patrons, according to Wendy Shaia, EdD, MSW, clinical assistant professor and executive director of SWCOS.

“For many people, libraries serve as urban sanctuaries. Libraries are a free space where anybody can come,” Shaia said. “They contain a high degree of social and natural support systems. Libraries are safe and natural spaces to find answers to questions and to inquire about resources.”

Now with one full academic year completed for the program, Shaia said the possibilities are promising.

“We created a paradigm for how social work might play out in these urban sanctuaries, and it’s really exciting,” she said. “We believe that this pilot project will lead to an initial blueprint for how to engage social work professionals in a library system. We look forward to updating you over the next few years about our growth and evolution.”

Street said the program has been one of “responsible field training and cultivating social workers that are compassionate and competent. Thank you for allowing me to be part of that family.”

Another new aspect to the program this year will be the Circle of Security in the Pennsylvania Avenue branch, Street said. Circle of Security is an evidence-based early intervention program designed to enhance attachment and security between parents and children.

Kendra Owens, a library patron who frequents the Pennsylvania Avenue branch and has befriended Street since the Social Worker in the Library program began, also spoke at the event.

“She has attended every single support group meeting we have had,” Street said of Owens. “Kendra is one of so many amazing people that we’ve met.”

“Miss Kim [Street] is like a second mother to me,” Owens said. “And when she asked me to come to a group at the library, she got me to open up. Now I don’t stop talking.”

Funding for the Social Worker in the Library program is provided by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, as well as the PNC Foundation, the Bunting Family Foundation, the Greif Family Foundation, and other key donors.

– Mary T. Phelan


Mary T. PhelanCollaboration, For B'more, People, UMB NewsOctober 5, 20180 comments
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Drug Take-Back Day

DEA Drug Take-Back Initiative: Oct. 24 and Oct. 27

To help improve medication safety in the local community, student pharmacists from Generation Rx in the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy will partner with the UMB Police Force for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) Take-Back Initiative on Wednesday, Oct. 24, and Saturday, Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the SMC Campus Center.

UMB faculty, staff, students, and members of the local community are invited to turn in their unused or expired medication for safe disposal.

Erin MerinoEducation, For B'more, University LifeOctober 5, 20180 comments
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Ebony Nicholson with $18,500 check

Live Near Your Work Grant Recipients Settle into Southwest Baltimore

Ebony Nicholson, MSW ’16, didn’t really need to be told about the charms of Hollins Market or sold on the benefits of residing just a short walk from your workplace.

Nicholson, academic coordinator for diversity and inclusion initiatives in the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Office of Interprofessional Student Learning and Service Initiatives, has lived in the Southwest Baltimore neighborhood since 2015, renting a house first as a student at the School of Social Work and then as a University employee.

Now, with help from UMB’s improved Live Near Your Work (LNYW) Program, Nicholson, 28, is a proud Hollins Market homeowner. She is among the most recent recipients of the $18,500 grant ($16,000 from UMB, $2,500 from the city of Baltimore) from the program, which since its launch in late January has helped 13 University employees buy homes amid seven targeted Southwest Baltimore neighborhoods.

Nicholson is thrilled to be a member of this group — and to remain a member of the Hollins Market community.

“I decided to stay in the neighborhood because I love my community members,” Nicholson says. “Hollins Market is a socioeconomically diverse community, which reminds me to think outside of my personal lens. As a young black woman, it feels good to live in a predominantly black and diverse community. There is a sense of collective responsibility and care for each other that is unmatched in the other communities where I have lived.

“I really enjoy my walks home from work and with my dog because there is always someone with whom to have a quick chat. I know most of the community members by name and at the least by face, and there is nothing like that sense of security.”

Like others before her who’ve utilized the LNYW grant this year, Nicholson says living near her workplace has provided practical benefits. For her, though, the benefits extend into the mental and physical realms.

“Walking to and from work is a part of my meditation. It gives me a chance to take in my surroundings and notice the world around me,” she says. “In a car, things are going by so fast, we often miss the little things. It is also great to have a little physical activity built into my routine.”

‘Steady Flow of Interest from UMB Employees’

Emily Winkler, UMB Human Resource Services benefits manager and coordinator of the LNYW Program, says success stories like Nicholson’s fill her with pride and joy, and she is extremely pleased with the progress of the initiative, which was upgraded from $5,000 per person to $18,500 in January.

“I am getting a steady flow of interest from UMB employees, and many of them are taking the time to find the perfect home,” Winkler says. “This continues to be a rewarding experience, making many of our employees’ homeownership dreams come true.”

Olayinka Ladeji, MPH, PATIENTS Program project manager at the School of Pharmacy, is one of those new homeowners. Ladeji, who used to live in Northwest Baltimore and has worked at UMB for a year and a half, says she is particularly happy with her shortened commute, having bought a house in Washington Village.

“I was most attracted to the interior of the homes I visited in the neighborhood while house-hunting,” said Ladeji, who says she stacked an additional $10,000 in outside grants to her LNYW funds when she closed on the property. “I appreciated all the different resources that were made available to me by the program, including referrals to different organizations in Baltimore that assist homebuyers.”

Long Commute? Not Anymore

When it comes to time saved, though, LNYW grant recipient Barbara Andersson takes the commuting cake. A program administrative specialist at the School of Dentistry, Andersson recently bought a home in Barre Circle, leaving her apartment in Kensington, Md., which is about 40 miles away from the UMB campus.

“I had moved to Kensington to work in the dental clinic that we operated at the University of Maryland, College Park site. After that location closed, I had been driving to Baltimore daily,” says Andersson, a six-year UMB employee. “I’ve regained at least 10 or more hours a week by not having to commute in the rush-hour traffic.”

To get a better feel for Southwest Baltimore, Andersson participated in the Live Baltimore trolley tour last January that took potential homebuyers around the seven targeted LNYW neighborhoods — Barre Circle, Franklin Square, Hollins Market, Mount Clare, Pigtown/Washington Village, Poppleton, and Union Square. She also sought input from colleagues and students about the communities that surround the UMB campus.

“I spoke to anyone who happened by my desk, especially the dental students, to ask which area they lived in and how they liked it,” she says. “Everyone was so supportive, and I got many positive reviews of the area.”

Meanwhile, another LNYW grant recipient, Tamiko Myles, statistical data assistant at the School of Social Work, is particularly proud to be contributing to one of the program’s stated goals — the revitalization of Southwest Baltimore — after having lived in the city’s Oliver, Northwood, and Westport neighborhoods.

“The communities that are being targeted by this grant are well in need of people who are ready to invest in and improve them,” says Myles, a 20-year UMB employee who moved into a home in Pigtown/Washington Village with her family in July. “With an open mind and that type of readiness, the employees of UMB are those people.”

— Lou Cortina

For more information, check out the Live Near Your Work Program website.

To read more about the program and previous grant recipients, go to this Elm link.

Lou CortinaBulletin Board, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeOctober 4, 20180 comments
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T.J. Smith with President's Fellows

Police Spokesman Gives Inside Story at President’s Symposium on Gun Violence

As the media relations director of the Baltimore Police Department, Capt. T.J. Smith, MA, MS, knows the ugly side of the city better than most. So he didn’t sugarcoat Baltimore’s problems on Sept. 26 when he spoke to University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) faculty, staff, and students as part of the President’s Symposium and White Paper Project, which this year focuses on the fight against gun violence.

T.J. Smith with Police Chief Cary and others

“These have been the most violent years in Baltimore history,” Smith told the 80-plus people gathered in the Southern Management Corporation Campus Center ballroom. “So we’re keenly aware of violence. Don’t be fooled by any masks that people use to describe different tenures in policing over the years. Baltimore has been a very violent town for a very long time.”

In fact, as Smith pointed out, USA TODAY recently ranked Baltimore No. 1 among large U.S. cities in the number of murders per capita. He said it wasn’t even close.

“If we had a 40 percent reduction in homicides we would still be the largest city with the No. 1 problem,” Smith said. “Just to use a comparison, New York City, with 8 million-plus people, had 285 murders last year. Baltimore City, with 615,000 people, had 342. If we had the population of New York City, we would have had well over 3,000 murders last year.”

Not that Baltimore is the only city struggling with gun violence. Early in his talk, the personable Smith asked the crowd what state in the U.S. does not have gangs? Attendees guessed Utah or Hawaii. “No. The state of denial is the one that doesn’t have gangs. Gangs are everywhere, gun violence is everywhere,” Smith said, mentioning recent mass shootings in Harford County and a local elementary school that day where a student brought a gun.

He doesn’t see things changing anytime soon despite determined efforts to curb such crimes. He pointed out systemic problems that have to be fixed first.

“Why is it easier for the kid in West Baltimore to get a gun than an apple or a salad?” Smith said. Combine the food deserts with poor housing, “and then you’re sending that child to school and telling them to sit still for six to eight hours a day and expect them to be a vibrant, productive member of society. We see zero percent proficiency in some of our schools.”

And it’s an ugly cycle that repeats itself, Smith said. “Let’s just take three guys who spent 25 years in federal prison. One was from Baltimore, one was from D.C., and one was from New York, and you dropped them back off in their ‘hood. The only person who would be able to navigate through their ‘hood today would be the one from Baltimore because it looks exactly the same as it looked 25 years ago. We just haven’t been aggressive enough at changing what people have been used to.”

Among numerous stories Smith told was one about Curtis Deal, 18, who in February 2017 got out of jail for the third time in a month before an altercation with police less than 24 hours later in which he was killed when he pulled a gun.

Smith said the story behind the gun is a sad tale in itself.

“That gun was reported stolen in Washington County by a husband and his wife who were getting some work done to their home. So he thinks it’s these workers that are doing work, and reports it. Find out that his wife was opioid addicted and took these guns and sold them in Baltimore and that’s how the gun ended up on the streets and used by Curtis Deal and he ultimately died as a result.

“We use Curtis Deal not to chastise him for what he did but to talk about an epic failure in the overall system. One, he probably should still be in jail. Two, we have an issue with people who are responsible gun owners having irresponsible people around.”

With over 20 years in law enforcement, serving in community policing, tactical patrol, narcotics work at the Anne Arundel County Police Department before coming to the Baltimore Police Department just after the riots in 2015, Smith still takes tackling crime personally.

Especially a case in July 2017. Enjoying a rare vacation, Smith had just steamed crabs and taken some to his mother when one of the hundreds of texts he gets every day on police business came in with the subject line “Dionay Smith.”

“I said, ‘That’s my brother,’ ” related Capt. Smith. “The age and address were the same and his first name is unusual. That’s one of those surreal moments where you just can’t believe it.”

The younger Smith, 24, had been gunned down on the side of his home. Capt. Smith recounted to the UMB crowd how he reacted, details of the point-blank shooting, and how media outlets descended on him seeking a story during his time of grief.

As the public face who often is on TV reporting on the latest murder, Smith turned down dozens of story requests about his brother’s death, which he called “number 173, because that’s what we do in Baltimore, we count bodies.”

After closing remarks by Smith and emcee Courtney Jones Carney, MBA, director of Interprofessional Student Learning and Service Initiatives, the captain took many questions from the audience. He discussed the Safe Streets initiative, bulletproof vests for civilians, “suicide by cop,” trust between police and the community, social media and crime, closing of rec centers, public housing, and many other topics.

Nicole Campion Dialo, a School of Medicine student who is one of the seven 2018 President’s Fellows studying the root cause of gun violence, asked Smith if he could conceive of something to implement tomorrow that would cut our violence rates in half, what would it be?

“If I had a magic wand to fix our problem,” Smith said, “I would start with our schools because really education is the key. There are not a lot of areas in this country that have an educated population and has these socioeconomic problems and social ills. So our school system is where it begins and our elementary school-aged kids.”

— Chris Zang

Read more about the President’s Symposium and White Paper Project.

Chris ZangFor B'more, People, UMB News, University Life, USGAOctober 3, 20180 comments
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School of Medicine logo

Mini-Med School: Five Sessions Starting Oct. 16

More than 400 Mini-Med School logoBaltimore-area residents annually attend the University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Mini-Med School, an exclusive opportunity to learn from University of Maryland physicians and researchers about health issues that are important to everyone.

Mini-Med School provides a unique opportunity to raise the public’s awareness of biomedical research, the processes involved in science, and the importance of research to modern society. Previous classes have focused on glaucoma, diabetes, and hypertension and heart health. Mini-Med School participants also have learned about childhood vaccinations, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease.

Join us for this five-week series and earn your Mini-Med School certificate. The series will be held on five consecutive Tuesdays from Oct. 16 to Nov. 13.

Click here to see a Mini-Med School flyer with more information, or go to the Mini-Med School webpage.

Oriyomi DawoduBulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, People, ResearchSeptember 24, 20180 comments
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