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Reception area of sixth floor of Lexington Building

Design and Construction’s New Offices – A Showroom of Design Ideas

The University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Office of Design and Construction (D&C) recently relocated from the Saratoga Building to the Lexington Building at 620 W. Lexington St. Although an office move is not often something one looks forward to, our group decided to make the very best of it by incorporating a variety of innovative concepts into the design so as to inspire our clients at UMB and the four other regional UM campuses (Coppin State, Towson, UB, and UMBC) that the D&C serves. Here are a few of the inventive design features displayed:

Maximizing daylight: Most buildings fill their windowed perimeter with private offices, relegating the central zone to only limited opportunities for daylight and views to the exterior. Instead, D&C’s layout pulls most private offices further in and instead places open-office workstations, conference rooms, and shared amenity spaces along the windowed perimeter.

Exterior views: Care also was taken to allow internal corridors to have views that extend to the exterior. So instead of making daylight and views only available for those privileged few who have window offices, it is instead an amenity for all in our new office space.

Living green wall: One of the most striking design elements is the new, 20-foot-long green wall composed of nine varieties of colorful interior plants. This green wall provides a number of benefits: It turbo filters the air in this part of the office (using plant root systems) with an active, integral mini-duct system; provides a view of nature within this central zone of the floor plan; and automatically irrigates the plants, reducing the need for regular watering maintenance.

Color wayfinding: Our group consists of four teams: Regional (yellow), Campus (red), In-house Design (blue), and Inspections (green). Each was given a distinctive color that is used for its carpets, accent walls, furniture, and door colors. These give each neighborhood an identity that assists in wayfinding and provides more visual interest. Color is used to strengthen team identity within our overall D&C group.

Environmental stewardship: We have chosen to use floors made of cork, bamboo, true (non-vinyl) linoleum, concrete, and recycled rubber that are much more sustainable choices than vinyl tile. Our bathroom partitions are made of plastic materials recycled from milk containers. We have repurposed former lab cabinets and counters in two rooms rather than purchasing all new casework. And our greenwall casework enclosure is made of salvaged oak.

Distinctive ceiling treatments: We purposely left many ceiling areas open so as to view the ductwork, piping, and electrical systems that our group manages, designs, and inspects. The money saved (not installing traditional dropped, acoustical ceilings) was diverted to showcase a variety of decorative ceiling types, including barrel vaults, round clouds, square clouds, and linear wave blades. All of these provide acoustical sound absorption but have very different visual impacts.

LED lighting: All of our new light fixtures use LEDs, which save energy and provide reduced maintenance costs because of the very long lives of these lamps. Related control systems were used to automatically power down lighting and secondary power outlets to achieve increased energy savings.

Innovative furniture: Most of our clients feel restricted to use our state’s MCE furniture. We instead saw this project as an opportunity to display how beautiful, well-selected MCE furniture can further enhance the appearance and functionality of campus spaces.

A project like this is inevitably a team effort that involved numerous participants and the support of enlightened leadership to achieve its realization. The major players included interim associate vice president Terry Morse, who set the original goals and vision; in-house architect Andrew Mundroff, who developed the creative floor plan design; Maria Prawirodihardjo, who managed this fast-track, design-build project; project support manager Jean Graziano, who oversaw the challenging logistics and successful furniture acquisition from MCE; and UMB campus architect Anthony Consoli who provided design and sustainable materials recommendations throughout the process. Thanks to them and many others, D&C has a new space that we enjoy working in and take great pride in showing off to visitors.

Please come and see the offices for yourself. If you let Anthony know ahead of time via email at aconsoli@umaryland.edu or by calling 443-955-1953, he would be pleased to give you a personal tour, pointing out the features mentioned above and many more. Our overarching goal is to encourage others at UMB to think “outside the box” in ways that improve our campus workplace environments and the health of our global environment at large. This goal directly aligns with UMB’s mission as Maryland’s premier health sciences university.

— Anthony Consoli, AIA, LEED AP, UMB campus architect

To see more photos, go to the Design and Construction website to see more photos.

 

Anthony ConsoliUMB News, University Administration, University LifeJuly 17, 20180 comments
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Man teaching anesthesia class

Nursing Awarded Additional Funding for Nurse Anesthesia Trainee Program

Joseph E. Pellegrini, PhD, CRNA, FAAN, associate professor and director of the Nurse Anesthesia specialty at the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), has been awarded additional funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to continue the school’s nurse anesthetist traineeship program. HRSA has increased the amount of the grant award to $78,111.

The trainee program aims to produce a more culturally competent and sensitive Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist workforce through proper education. Recipients of the grant are full-time nurse anesthesia students who have pledged to serve the medically underserved upon graduation, and the grant covers the cost of their tuition, books, and fees. Approximately 30 percent of all nurse anesthesia programs nationwide receive funding through this grant.

“This grant, which we’ve received for the past 11 years, is important because it helps offset the significant financial burden undertaken by full-time students who are completing a three-year doctoral plan of study,” Pellegrini said. “The grant is important not only to our students, but also to the school because it recognizes the Nurse Anesthesia program as one that promotes diversity and trains nurse anesthetists to work in areas that support the mission of HRSA. This includes meeting the needs of geographically isolated and economically or medically underserved populations.”

HRSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the primary federal agency for improving access to health care by strengthening the 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, Education, UMB News, University Life, USGAJuly 17, 20180 comments
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Jay Perman, Jonathan Bratt, Alice Cary and Dawn Rhodes

UMB Introduces Police Chief Cary and Emergency Management Leader Bratt

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) held a welcoming ceremony July 12 for two new employees critical to the institution’s public safety efforts, UMB Police Force Chief Alice Cary, MS, and Executive Director of Emergency Management Jonathan Bratt, MS.

About 250 UMB employees milled about the SMC Campus Center’s Elm Ballrooms to enjoy light fare and get acquainted with Cary and Bratt, who have been on their new jobs for one month and two months, respectively. UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD,  kicked off the ceremony, reminding the crowd that he considers the safety of students, faculty, and staff to be his paramount concern.

“I feel a deep responsibility to everyone who’s chosen to learn and work here. And it eats at me when we have challenges to our safety,” Perman said. “When our campus is safe, our neighborhoods are safer, and the reverse is true, too. And that’s behind so much of the community engagement we do downtown and in West Baltimore. I know that Chief Cary and Mr. Bratt are deeply committed to fortifying our partnerships and our outreach in the city.”

Perman noted that UMB achieved two firsts with the hires: Cary is the first female chief in the UMB Police Force’s 70-year history and Bratt is the University’s first executive director of emergency management. “I think both firsts speak to this University’s evolution, and it’s a proud day for us,” Perman said.

Perman ceded the floor to Dawn Rhodes, MBA, UMB’s chief business and finance officer and vice president, who led the nationwide search to fill both positions. She first detailed Bratt’s credentials, noting his wide-ranging experience as an emergency management professional, educator, and paramedic who changed his career choice from electrical engineering after working as a first responder at Ground Zero after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

“He wanted to work toward making our nation safe and better prepared,” said Rhodes, who also praised Bratt for his extracurricular activities that include being a volunteer paramedic and firefighter in Baltimore County and an instructor for the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute.

“How we prepare or respond to emergencies can be viewed as a direct measure of the health of a community,” said Bratt, who most recently served as regional administrator and division director of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems. “It is my goal to build a program that not only focuses on developing plans and procedures for emergency response that most people think of as emergency management, but also to promote the building of relationships and embed the preparedness mindset into our daily lives.

“Dr. Perman’s State of the University speech in May resonated with me when he spoke of the University as a public good,” Bratt continued. “I wholeheartedly agree and likewise believe that our responsibility to the community doesn’t end at the borders of the campus. It is my hope to build an emergency management program that embodies these values and helps strengthen an already healthy community.”

Rhodes then introduced Cary, who brings 32 years of law enforcement experience to her role, taking her from Michigan to Wyoming to Oregon, where most recently she was patrol operations captain with the University of Oregon Police Department. Rhodes pointed out that Cary is a drug recognition expert, setting records and winning awards for DUI enforcement in Wyoming. She’s also a bit of an adrenaline junkie, Rhodes joked, and enjoys riding her motorcycle — “and it’s a big motorcycle,” the VP said — scuba diving, traveling, and hiking.

Perman, who earlier thanked Capt. Martinez Davenport, MS, for his service as interim police chief since July 2017, was delighted to have the honor of swearing in Cary after the new police chief had spoken to the crowd.

“Thirty-two years of law enforcement have brought me to this threshold, and my passion speaks from within my heart to make sure that we’re all safe and secure on campus,” Cary said. “My engagement style is meeting and greeting and getting feedback from all of our campus partners, both internally and externally. And it takes a community to move forward, so it takes time and it takes effort.

“We have a wonderful police department, and every one of these people brings something to this community, and they need to be recognized as well. It’s not me as police chief, it’s us a whole to ensure our campus community remains safe.”

— Lou Cortina

Learn more about Cary and Bratt.

To see more photos from the July 12 event, go to UMB’s Facebook page.

Lou CortinaPeople, UMB News, University Administration, University LifeJuly 16, 20180 comments
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Culinary Architechture

Culinary Architecture’s Culinary Passion

UMB seeks to support local businesses through programs like the Local Food Connection, led by the University’s Office of Community Engagement. Check out this week’s local restaurant spotlight.

Culinary Architecture earned 5/5 on Foodify and Yelp not just for its rotation of hearty breakfasts and vegetarian-friendly lunch options, but also for its philosophy on food — stress-free and served with warmth and generosity. Culinary Architecture is close to campus, making it perfect for catering or dining in or to check out its retail market or outdoor event space.

Find out more at Culinary Architecture’s website, its Facebook page, or its Instagram page.

The restaurant is located at 767 Washington Blvd., Baltimore MD 21230. Telephone: 443-708-8482.

Olivia FickenscherBulletin Board, Community Service, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 16, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: Danielle Citron, JD

UMB Champion of Excellence: Danielle Citron, JD

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:
Danielle Citron, JD
Protecting Privacy in the Digital Age

We live in a digital world, there’s no denying that. But as our personal sense of space extends into the digital realm, individual privacy concerns arise.

This privacy, and its relation to free expression and civil rights, is the box that Danielle Citron, JD, has dedicated her career to unpacking.

Take, for example, the 2015 case in which the U.S. government’s Office of Personal Management database was hacked, affecting 22.1 million people. Or the same year when an employee at the U.S. Embassy in London was charged with stealing passwords and sexually explicit photos of more than 250 women as part of a blackmail scheme. And, most recently, in the 2018 Facebook-Cambridge Analytica investigation, when Cambridge Analytica obtained personal data of more than 250 million Facebook users to help spread political propaganda.

Each and every one of these cases relates to individual expectations of privacy in the digital age.

As a respected 14-year faculty member at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law and a renowned author, Citron defends the defenseless as they try to protect their rights to privacy online.

Since 2004, Citron has been exploring the ways that we voluntarily and involuntarily expose our personal information online, and in turn, how government and companies track that exposure.

“Information privacy concerns the collection, use, and sharing of our personal data and the essential protections — in law or norms — that enable each and every one of us to develop ourselves, maintain relationships, and have fair opportunities out in the world,” she says.

Consider the way artificial intelligence programs analyze personal data. Companies and governments increasingly use machine-learning technologies to make decisions about individuals that impact fair treatment. For example, insurance companies could analyze our online behaviors and information as a way of assessing if we should be insured and even at what rates.

And this is not just hypothetical. In October 2017, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security actually began using personal information collected from social media platforms to screen immigrants arriving in the U.S.

Or, as another example, the recent publication by The State Council of China about utilizing a “Citizen Score” gathered from online data and habits. This score would function as a national trust score, telling the rest of the world your level of trustworthiness, determining your eligibility for a mortgage or a job or where you can go to school.

“Automated systems are making predictions about who we are and what we will do,” Citron says. “When government does that without meaningful oversight and guarantees of due process, the consequences will be significant.”

So how much of our online information can we control? Are there any limits to the way that public and private organizations can use our personal data? What civil rights does a person have online? How does information privacy affect our free speech?

These are the questions Citron is exploring. She emphasizes how information privacy, free expression, and civil rights are bound together. When our privacy is breached we often withdraw, and simply go offline and lose our sense of power.

“Privacy enables speech,” she says, “and speech is essential to our own autonomy and democracy. The absence of privacy interferes with that.”

Information privacy not only relates on the level of citizen against big corporations, but also in our interactions with one another. For instance, cyber-stalking and cyber-exploitation, such as exposing nude images of an individual without their consent, are issues related to Citron’s fight for information privacy. In her book Hate Crimes in Cyberspace, she showed that those largely affected by these privacy violations are women, and even more so women of color.

“Cyber-stalking is often experienced by the vulnerable, specifically women, women of color, and LGBTQ individuals,” she says. “I have been developing a cyber civil rights agenda for protecting the speech and privacy of the vulnerable.”

Currently, in addition to teaching classes at Maryland Carey Law, she travels the country working with lawmakers on the federal and state levels to create policy that benefits digital citizens.

A major case was won in California this April when a man was ordered to pay $6.45 million in damages after posting explicit pictures and videos of his ex-girlfriend online without her consent. In Citron’s words, this case was “groundbreaking” for the message that it sent to individuals inclined to invade another’s sexual privacy.

In 2011, Citron testified about online hate speech before the Inter-Parliamentary Committee on Anti-Semitism at the House of Commons in England— a testament to her legislative influence across the globe.

She also works with major internet powerhouses such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google to create safety measures to protect the company and their platform users. Her work as a part of Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council has helped the company create strategies to assist users to express themselves online without fear. By updating their security initiatives, companies avoid the consequences of leaked or potentially harmful information appearing on their sites.

Citron’s global efforts warranted her recognition as part of Cosmopolitan’s “20 Best Moments for Women in 2014” when the magazine included her book Hate Crimes in Cyberspace as part of the lineup. She’s even shared commentary in Netizens, a documentary about women and online harassment, which premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2018.

Though Citron’s success is a testimony to her hard work and dedication, she knows she could not have achieved it without the support of her colleagues at Maryland Carey Law.

Citron’s information privacy work aligns perfectly with the school’s commitment to the public good. Having a community to encourage and promote that mission is exactly what Citron needs to make change in the world.

But above all, her time spent at the law school is most inspired by the work she does with her students.

“Teaching is essential to how I see myself,” she says. “I have these generations of students who are running the world. I’m so proud, and I get to vicariously enjoy all the incredible work they’re doing. They are the real change makers.”

The future for Citron looks much like the present, just a little more global. With both of her daughters now in college, she can do the one thing she’s always wanted to do: give lectures abroad. In fall 2018, she will have her first keynote-speaking event abroad at the Privacy Law Scholars Conference in Amsterdam.

As she spreads her influence beyond U.S. borders, she hopes to extend her work in information privacy and civil liberties to include inquiry into international privacy systems, helping global digital citizens understand their rights to their data, too.

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 16, 20180 comments
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School of Nursing building

School of Nursing to Launch Care Coordination Certificate Program

The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) will launch a 12-credit postbaccalaureate Care Coordination Certificate program this fall that will prepare students for the Commission for Case Manager Certification Exam.

Through the new certificate program, students will be trained to meet the growing demand for highly skilled nurse case managers and care coordinators to improve patient care and health outcomes through the design and implementation of care coordination systems.

“Hospitals, insurers, and health systems recognize care coordination as a key strategy in improving patient care outcomes and satisfaction and containing health care costs. It is important for nurses, in concert with other professionals, to adopt reconceptualized roles as care coordinators, health coaches, and system innovators,” said Patricia Zimberg, JD, MS, RN, assistant professor, UMSON. “Achieving this requires that nurses receive greater education in care management, quality improvement, and care coordination processes.”

Students will have access to public health experts and industry leaders who will educate them on how to implement case management processes to coordinate care for clients with complex needs; use state-of-the-art technologies, information systems, and communications to support safe nursing practice; and evaluate the effects of care coordination on patient health outcomes. A growing demand for registered nurses with advanced training and skill in care coordination exists in acute and long-term care facilities, human services agencies, managed care organizations, and community-based settings.

“Registered nurses with advanced didactic and clinical skills in care coordination can play a substantial role in developing, implementing, and leading interprofessional care coordination teams,” Zimberg said. “UMSON’s Certificate in Care Coordination will prepare the registered nurse to coordinate and evaluate care for clients with complex needs across the entire continuum of care, using state-of-the-art technologies, care coordination models, and information systems.”

To complete the program, which will be offered through a mix of on-campus and online formats, students will be required to complete a 45-hour practicum experience in a community-based case management setting. Students can apply up to two of the four certificate classes toward a UMSON master’s degree in Community/Public Health Nursing.

Applicants must be a registered nurse and have a bachelor’s degree or be enrolled in a graduate program at UMSON. Graduate students can complete the certificate concurrently with their other graduate studies. Applications are now being accepted. For more information, call the Office of Admissions at 410-706-0501 (option 2).

Kevin NashBulletin Board, Education, For B'more, UMB News, University Life, USGAJuly 13, 20180 comments
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FLO - Friendly Loving Opportunities

Volunteers Needed for FLO Homeless Festival on Aug. 11

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is partnering with FLO, a Baltimore nonprofit and UMB community partner, to provide aid to the homeless during its annual Homeless Festival.

FLO is seeking volunteers for the Homeless Festival, which will be held Saturday, Aug. 11, from noon to 5 p.m. at Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood High School in West Baltimore. Services for the homeless will be offered, including health screenings, legal counseling, and housing/ employment information. In addition, FLO will be giving away backpacks and school supplies to local elementary school children.

UMB will have a table promoting its Community Engagement Center and is seeking additional volunteers to help support this event.

For more information and to sign up, visit FLO’s website.

Olivia FickenscherBulletin Board, Community Service, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 12, 20180 comments
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School of Nursing Dual-Admission Partnerships

School of Nursing, Chesapeake College Sign Dual-Admission Agreement

The School of Nursing and Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Md., recently signed an agreement of dual admission that will ensure students’ seamless transition from Chesapeake’s Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) program to UMSON’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program. Chesapeake becomes the 10th community college in Maryland to sign such an agreement with UMSON.

Through the agreement, students can apply and be admitted to UMSON’s BSN program while in Chesapeake’s ADN program. Students will receive transfer credits from UMSON for completed coursework at Chesapeake and will be granted special student status, allowing them to take UMSON courses while still working on their associate’s degree, thereby saving them time and money in completing their BSN degree.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for students in our nursing program to continue their education in nursing, said Judith Stetson, PhD, RN, director, Chesapeake College/MGW Nursing Program. “Creating a highly educated nursing workforce significantly benefits the individuals, the nursing profession, and the local and global communities we serve.”

An effort to increase qualified nursing candidates, the agreement is helping further the mission of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the AARP to advance comprehensive health care change. The campaign uses as its framework the landmark 2010 Institute of Medicine report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health. Additionally, the partnership program specifically addresses one of the eight goals set forth in the report: to increase the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree to 80 percent by 2020.

“We are excited to begin this new partnership with Chesapeake College. It will provide the opportunity for those nurses and nursing students living on the Eastern Shore to seamlessly transition to the program at UMSON to complete their BSN,” said Linda Murray, DNP, CPNP-Ped, assistant professor and director, RN-to-BSN Program, UMSON.

To matriculate to UMSON’s BSN program, students must graduate with an ADN from Chesapeake and satisfy UMSON’s progression criteria.

Kevin NashBulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, For B'more, UMB News, University Life, USGAJuly 10, 20180 comments
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Students discussing mock trial

A LEAP into the Courtroom at UM Carey Law

Guilty or not guilty? That was the question as a mock trial tutorial unfolded for seven students from Baltimore City public schools who are among those participating in the Law Exploration Academic Pathway’s (LEAP) Forensic Mock Trial Camp.

Founded by University of Maryland Carey School of Law alumnus Kirk Crawley, JD ’88, the camp is based at Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School, but some activities take place at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and Frederick Douglass High School, where Crawley teaches.

On July 9, another Carey Law alum, Sally McMillan Guy, JD ’11, laid out the scenario for the students as a first step in preparing them to perform a mock trial later in their camp based on the book Lord of the Flies. For this outing, in a UM Carey classroom, the alleged infraction involved adolescent behavior but was far less complex. Was the accused, Susie Parsons, breaking her school’s rules by eating snacks? Or was she a volunteer cleaning up after someone else?

After various students played the roles of witnesses, attorneys, and members of the jury, the foreman announced that the jury had found for the defendant.

“Court is now in recess,” said Guy, acting in the role of the judge.

“What we had here was circumstantial evidence,” she added, this time in the role of instructor explaining why the jury did not find guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

In actuality, Guy is a senior policy analyst and legislative counsel in the Maryland General Assembly’s Department of Legislative Services who coaches mock trial teams at Carey Law in her spare time. Helping facilitate her interaction with the LEAP campers and their counselors was Michele Hayes, JD, LLM, assistant dean for student affairs at Carey Law.

In addition to these types of activities for the mind, the students in the LEAP camp can exercise and swim during weekly access to the facilities at URecFit at the SMC Campus Center, thanks to arrangements by the UMB Office of Community Engagement.

To see more photos from the mock trial, go to UMB’s Facebook page.

Communication and Public AffairsCommunity Service, Education, For B'more, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 10, 20180 comments
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Cafe Jovial sign

Cafe Jovial’s Joyful Approach to Food and Community

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) seeks to support local businesses through programs like the Local Food Connection, led by UMB’s Office of Community Engagement. Thanks to community support, local restaurants can thrive.

One such business, situated between Pigtown and Fells Point (making it perfect for a workday lunch or catering event), is Cafe Jovial, which offers hot and cold beverages and light fare. Its veggie lasagna is well liked by regulars, as is its Zeke’s coffee. In addition, the cafe’s friendly staff is key to its cozy, inviting atmosphere.

The cafe is located at 784 Washington Blvd., and its phone number is 443-708-2644

Check out its menu online.

Olivia FickenscherBulletin Board, Community Service, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 10, 20180 comments
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UMB Champion of Excellence: Nadine M. Finnigan-Carr

UMB Champion of Excellence: Nadine M. Finigan-Carr, PhD, MS

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:
Nadine M. Finigan-Carr, PhD, MS
Mobilizing Professionals to Prevent Child Trafficking

Nadine M. Finigan-Carr, PhD, MS, is a research assistant professor, director of the Prevention of Adolescent Risks Initiative, and assistant director of the Ruth H. Young Center for Families and Children at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. But if you ask her, she studies “sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll.”

Her research among youth and adolescents focuses on sexual reproductive health risk behaviors (sex), substance use and abuse (drugs), and aggression and violence (rock ’n’ roll). She’s a passionate advocate for children and youth in pretty dire situations. She’s devoted her career to research that identifies youth at risk for violence and victimization and, ultimately, works to prevent them from becoming victims. She’s currently looking at human trafficking within the child welfare system.

According to the International Labour Organization, there are nearly 21 million victims of human trafficking globally. Of this number, about 26 percent (nearly 5.5 million) are children. In Maryland, between July 2013 and June 2017, local social services departments reported more than 350 cases of suspected child sex trafficking statewide.

“These kids are hidden in plain sight,” Finigan-Carr says. She went on to say people don’t realize it’s happening, or they don’t know what to look for. “When folks hear ‘trafficking,’ they think of children smuggled from city to city in vans or boats, or Liam Neeson fighting for his daughter in Taken.”

But often that’s not what trafficking looks like, Finigan-Carr says. “It’s the kid whose parents are behind on their rent so the landlord sleeps with the young girl in the house to let the parents slide,” she says. “It’s the young LGBTQ male whose family abandons him and forces him to move out when he comes out. Living on the streets, he’s forced to sleep with multiple men for a place to stay.”

Traffickers relentlessly target and take advantage of children and adolescents like these who face extreme adversity, violence, discrimination, economic vulnerability, or dependence. Communities hit hard by these adversities, like Baltimore, may be particularly vulnerable to human trafficking.

Often, child trafficking victims are misidentified or not identified at all. Finigan-Carr is trying to change that by helping state and local officials to build the infrastructure to address child sex trafficking.

Based on their research, Finigan-Carr and her team have created an algorithm to help identify youth already in child welfare who are at high risk for trafficking using data from the Child and Adolescent Needs and Strengths assessment administered by caseworkers every three months. They’re working directly with the Maryland Department of Human Services to identify these youth and provide proper preventive services.

“If we can identify and intervene at younger ages and look for those risk factors,” Finigan-Carr says, “then we can prevent it from happening and prepare professionals to intervene with specialized services for victims.”

With a grant funded in 2014 by the Children’s Bureau, an office of the federal Administration for Children & Families, the half-dozen workers in Finigan-Carr’s Child Sex Trafficking Victims Initiative began training all child welfare workers in the state, starting with the five jurisdictions with the highest rates of child sex trafficking. These professionals are learning the risk factors and signs, and the appropriate course of action. Once the five-year grant is complete in 2019, this training will become a part of future onboarding for all child welfare workers, helping ensure that no trafficked child in Maryland’s child welfare system will slip through the cracks.

Another study, the Maryland Human Trafficking Initiative (MHTI), funded by the Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, brings together multidisciplinary teams from all over the state — including law enforcement, local departments of juvenile services, state’s attorneys, and victim services providers — for similar training.

In September 2017, MHTI held its first Maryland Child Trafficking Awareness Conference, a free statewide gathering to mobilize communities and individuals in response to human trafficking. More than 300 people — from legal professionals to caseworkers, to medical professionals and the general public — gathered for a full-day training blitz on how to work together to truly address the issue of human trafficking.

On a state level, Finigan-Carr has worked with legislators to change the laws of human trafficking. Previously, the law’s definition of “sex trafficking” meant that child welfare caseworkers could intervene only if the parent or guardian was responsible for trafficking the child.

Today, thanks in part to Finigan-Carr’s advocacy, the law has been altered to include the sexual molestation or exploitation of a child by a “parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child, or by any household or family member.” Now, child welfare can intervene and engage, regardless of the perpetrator responsible.

Finigan-Carr equates working with trafficking victims today to working with domestic violence victims 30-plus years ago — society at large needs to recognize what’s going on and how to deal with it. What keeps her motivated is seeing a day where, similar to domestic violence, there is less victim blaming and more support for survivors.

“Human trafficking victims are already marginalized and abused and stigmatized for being who they are,” she says. “People often overlook them as victims and instead see them as ‘players in their own mess.’ That’s far from the case in most situations.”

Finigan-Carr is quick to point out that she’s not a social worker. In fact, she first moved to Baltimore 26 years ago as a classroom teacher with Teach For America Corps. There, she saw firsthand the impact on education and development of children who faced severe circumstances. One case stuck with her — a second-grader, whose mother had HIV/AIDS and whose third-grade sister was HIV-positive, and didn’t understand “why he couldn’t be sick” like his family.

No one talked to him about what was happening. He didn’t understand their health issues and no one supported him in any way. Finigan-Carr was compelled to take action and work with him when he entered the foster care system. “He needed therapy,” she says. “He needed someone.”

Inspired by this young boy, Finigan-Carr, her husband, Sylvester, and their 18-year-old son, Jahid, now foster children in need.

“I have to be a part of the solution,” she says. “I can’t tell people to do X, Y, and Z if I don’t know what they’re going through. It gives me a different perspective being a foster parent.”

Finigan-Carr has dedicated not only her career but also her personal and family life to this cause. And she won’t quit until her job is obsolete.

Communication and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeJuly 9, 20180 comments
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UMB Cure Scholars

‘From West Baltimore’ Recognized at Regional Emmy Awards

The documentary From West Baltimore, which features middle-school students in the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) CURE Scholars Program, was nominated recently for an Emmy Award by the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The documentary, which was produced by MedSchool Maryland Productions and aired on Maryland Public Television in October 2017, follows six young teens from West Baltimore who talk about their lives and the challenges of growing up in neighborhoods of violence and poverty. Five of the six are UMB CURE Scholars: Shakeer Franklin, Davioin Hill, Courtney Jacobs, Tyler McKinsey, and Princaya Sanders.

The five CURE Scholars attended the Emmy Awards Gala on June 23 in Bethesda, Md., where the film Saber Rock beat out From West Baltimore to win the “Documentary-Cultural/Topical” category. That film chronicles the efforts of a translator who helps U.S. military forces fight the Taliban in Afghanistan.

Started in 2015, the UMB CURE Scholars Program is a groundbreaking year-round pipeline program that prepares sixth- to 12th-grade students from three West Baltimore schools for competitive and rewarding research, STEM, and health care career opportunities. It is the first middle school program funded by the National Cancer Institute’s  Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) Program.

To watch a trailer and learn more about the students, go to the From West Baltimore web page. To learn more about the UMB program, go to the CURE Scholars web page.

 

Communication and Public AffairsCommunity Service, Education, For B'more, UMB News, University LifeJuly 6, 20180 comments
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