Community Engagement Center posts displayed by tag

Engaging Hepatitis C Patients to Improve Research Methods

When I joined the School of Pharmacy in 2014, my primary focus was on teaching pharmacy management and developing research skills in the area of economic evaluation. As a faculty member in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS), I enrolled in the PhD in Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) program at the school to become a pharmacoeconomist and build cost-effectiveness studies. However, I enrolled into the program at a time when the culture in research was beginning to shift, primarily because of extraordinary PHSR professors who knew that researchers could do a much better job systematically including the patient voice in our work.

Evaluating cost-effectiveness of hepatitis C treatments

Like any other graduate student, I dove into the literature around the new treatments for the hepatitis C virus (HCV). With help from Julia Slejko, PhD, assistant professor in PHSR, and C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor and chair of PHSR, I developed my first cost-effectiveness study for HCV treatments, but I fell into the trap of focusing on traditional methods that did not include patients.1 Although it was good experience for me to gain while learning this field, I knew there was much more to do.

Engaging patients to improve methods

After submitting my economic model, I spoke informally with Susan dosReis, BSPharm, PhD, and Eleanor Perfetto, PhD, MS, both professors in PHSR, about the lack of patient input in all of the HCV cost-effectiveness studies that I had reviewed. Without hesitation, Perfetto smiled and said, “There is your next paper.” So, we went to work. We systematically reviewed economic studies for HCV treatments and found that the inclusion of the patient voice has been limited in this area, to say the least.2

Submission to PCORI: It takes a village

One of the key lessons that I’ve learned over the past year is that most good research proposals require a team effort, and all researchers are influenced by the company they keep. With several faculty in the department having success with their contract submissions to the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) – facilitated, in part, by the creation of the PATIENTS Program – a culture of authentic, patient-centered research has weaved throughout the school.

I recently had an opportunity to become the director of operations with the PATIENTS team, where I learned firsthand what it meant to “continuously engage” patients in every step of the research process.3 The natural progression for me was to submit a Pipeline to Proposal (P2P) Tier A award to PCORI, which would fund the work necessary to build relationships with patients in the West Baltimore community where the School of Pharmacy is located. I pitched an idea to leverage the Community Engagement Center at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) to work with underserved patients as advisors to our research to Shyamasundaran Kottilil, MD, PhD, professor of medicine and renowned HCV clinician and researcher at the School of Medicine’s Institute of Human Virology (IHV). He immediately came on board.

With the support of Kottilil; Ashley Valis, executive director for strategic initiatives and community engagement at UMB; and Mullins, as director of the PATIENTS Program, our proposal was created and, fortunately, won over the reviewers at PCORI.

Now the real work begins

In our P2P, we aim to engage underserved HCV patients to inform and improve comparative effectiveness research for HCV interventions. We also plan to develop a blog that will target patients and researchers to disseminate our work in a way that is meaningful to both audiences. We want to bring patients, clinicians, and researchers to the same table to discuss research questions related to HCV treatment that matter most to patients. This multi-stakeholder approach will help us develop another research proposal that might be of interest to funding agencies such as PCORI, the National Institutes of Health, or the Food and Drug Administration. We’re excited to get started and can’t wait to see how the results of our work might impact future studies.

Joey Mattingly, PharmD, MBA, assistant professor in PPS and PHSR graduate student


1 Mattingly TJ, Slejko JF, Mullins CD. Hepatitis C Treatment Regimens Are Cost-Effective: But Compared With What? Ann Pharmacother. 2017; online: July 1, 2017. doi:10.1177/1060028017722007.

2 Mattingly TJ, Perfetto EM, Johnson S. Engaging hepatitis C infected patients in cost-effectiveness analyses: A literature review. Hepatology. August 2017. doi:10.1002/hep.29482.

3 Mullins CD, Abdulhalim AM, Lavallee DC. Continuous Patient Engagement in Comparative Effectiveness Research. JAMA. 2012;307(15):1587-1588.

Joey Mattingly ResearchOctober 18, 20170 comments
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UMB Day of Service

Pop! Farm Day of Service is an opportunity for the UMB community to learn more about the amazing communities across Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and provide some extra hands in a beautiful community garden. Students, staff, and faculty are all welcome! Pop! Farm is a community garden in Southwest Baltimore’s Poppleton neighborhood where community members grow their own fresh produce. You can register for one of two volunteer shifts: 10 a.m. to noon or noon to 2 p.m. All volunteers will begin at the Community Engagement Center.

Bill Joyner Community ServiceAugust 25, 20170 comments
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Spring Festival at Community Engagement Center

Neighborhood Spring Festival

Join us for UMB’s Annual Neighborhood Festival at the Community Engagement Center! Connect with your neighbors and enjoy free activities.

Saturday, April 22  |  11 a.m. to 2 p.m.  |  800 W. Baltimore St.

Free Activities

  • Health and dental screenings
  • HIV and Hepatitis C testing
  • Mental health resources
  • Legal advice
  • UMMC on the Move (University of Maryland Medical Center Mobile Health Van)
  • Performances: Korean dancing, local school dance groups, and spoken word
  • Live music
  • Taekwondo and outdoor zumba
  • Local food and craft vendors
  • Earth Day activities

Fun for Kids

  • Games
  • Hula hoop fun
  • Face painting
  • Puppet-making

Sponsored by the UMB Council for the Arts & Culture
First Lady Yumi Hogan, Honorary Chair

Clare BanksABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, The UMB Dish, UMB Go Green, UMB News, University Administration, University Life, USGAMarch 16, 20170 comments
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January CURE Corner: Festive Fall Finish

CURE Corner is an occasional feature with noteworthy updates from UMB’s CURE Scholars Program, a pipeline initiative that prepares West Baltimore children for health and research careers through hands-on workshops, lab experiences, and mentorship. UMB’s CURE scholars are the youngest ever to participate in the National Cancer Institute’s Continuing Umbrella of Research Experiences (CURE) national program.

The UMB CURE Scholars Program wrapped up the fall semester with a Winter Wonderland Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 10. The day was full of holiday stores, parent workshops, guest speakers, and awards for the scholars.

Scholars began the day at the University of Maryland BioPark and the UMB Community Engagement Center to use merits that they’ve earned with good behavior to purchase gifts for their families and other scholars. Parents were treated to a parent workshop facilitated by the Community Engagement Center during this time as well.

The scholars then participated in an awards ceremony through the School of Pharmacy’s student organization A Bridge to Academic Excellence (ABAE). ABAE treated the UMB CURE scholars to raffle prizes, awards for all of the scholars, and a delicious lunch!

The afternoon was full of special guest speakers and awards given from the UMB CURE Scholars Program. UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, welcomed the scholars and their families and congratulated the scholars on an awesome first semester. Alison Lin, PhD, a program director for the Diversity Training Branch of the Center to Reduce Cancer Health Disparities of the National Cancer Institute, emphasized to the CURE scholars that they can be anything they want to be and that they are all on the track to being scientists. The scholars were then treated to a presentation by Renetta Tull, PhD, associate vice provost for graduate student development at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a global speaker for STEM equity, diversity, and inclusion.

The UMB CURE leadership team (with the help of the Baltimore Orioles mascot) presented awards to the UMB CURE community, including Scholar of the Month, Mentor of the Month, and Scholar Perfect Attendance awards. Fully admitted scholars (with no demerits for poor behavior and only one unexcused absence) received a certificate from the Baltimore City Council recognizing their achievements. Lastly, each scholar received a Mathlete Award for completing math problems during Saturday tutoring throughout the semester. A special shout out goes to Mariah Beatty, a sixth-grade scholar at Green Street Academy, for completing over 1,700 math problems since Oct. 15 and being the UMB CURE Mathlete MVP for the fall semester.

After a wonderful fall semester, the UMB CURE community is looking forward to the Science Olympiad projects that the scholars will begin in January. Stay tuned to hear about the accomplishments of the UMB CURE scholars during the Science Olympiad competition on March 4.

Emily Rencsok Community Service, Education, UMB NewsJanuary 17, 20170 comments
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State of the University Address

Perman Lauds ‘Watershed Year’ In State of University Address

In the past year, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has faced challenges unlike most in its 209-year history. But through perseverance, teamwork, and community engagement, UMB today stands stronger as an anchor institution that is an integral part of Baltimore’s rebirth from the unrest of spring 2015.

Such was the message that UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, delivered in his third annual State of the University Address on May 4.

“It’s been a busy year — to me, a deeply rewarding year — and, I believe, a watershed year for uniting around the cause that has come to define UMB: improve the human condition and serve the public good,” Perman said to roughly 300 people in the School of Nursing Auditorium.

The Joy of Youth

Following a tradition dating to Perman’s inauguration ceremony in 2010, the program featured a student orchestra from a local partner school — this time students from Franklin Square Elementary/Middle School. After their song, Perman, a pediatric gastroenterologist, pointed out that Franklin Square students recently had taken two medals in the statewide Science Olympiad as part of UMB’s CURE Scholars Program, a pipeline initiative that prepares middle school children for health and research careers.

Outreach to the community was a popular theme during the hourlong speech. Already thoroughly invested in its West Baltimore neighborhood, UMB ramped up its efforts after the unrest last spring.

“Of course, we didn’t need the cameras to shine a light on the neighborhoods blighted by neglect and disinvestment,” Perman said. “These are the neighborhoods in which we work; these are the neighbors whom we serve. But we did rededicate ourselves to using everything we have — our assets, influence, and expertise — to lift up the community around us.”

Community Engagement Center

Sometimes progress was slow. When UMB opened its Community Engagement Center last fall, only a few people came despite window signs saying “Free resources for members of our community.”

Said Perman: “So we went door-to-door and asked neighbors why they weren’t stopping in. And they said, ‘We didn’t know that was for us.’” Now, they know, with the West Baltimore center logging 2,000 visitors since last fall, “filling a desperate need” with activities like School of Nursing-led fitness classes, the law school’s Just Advice Clinic, a weekly organic market, School of Social Work financial counseling, Training Tuesdays, Workforce Wednesdays, and more.

“Community engagement isn’t sustainable if it’s not mutually beneficial,” Perman said. “What we get out of this center is just as important as what we put into it. The center is becoming a place for our students to learn what it’s like to do grassroots community work.”

A major fundraising campaign, with help from the General Assembly and matching dollars from private donors, is planned to move the center into a bigger, permanent home in Poppleton.

Growth at BioPark

It was just one of several funding initiatives Perman mentioned. He said he is “thrilled” the University of Maryland BioPark will be growing again. The City Council approved a financing deal enabling construction of the BioPark’s third commercial lab and office building, 873 W. Baltimore Street.

“The deal lures the Cambridge Innovation Center to Baltimore as the building’s anchor tenant,” Perman said. “CIC is the nation’s leading business incubator. They’ll help us fill this 250,000-square-foot building, which will house more than 100 companies and employ 900 people.”

UMB and the BioPark’s developer, Wexford Science + Technology, are also kick-starting a fund for community projects — “and they will absolutely be community projects,” Perman said, “because community members will have control of the board that distributes the money.” After the initial contribution of $1.1 million, BioPark tenants will contribute another $150,000 to the fund every year for 20 years.

Hollins Market and Lexington Market are among the possible beneficiaries. “We have a desperate need in Baltimore for fresh, healthy, and accessible food,” Perman said. “We can remake Hollins Market into this resource for the community.”

And Lexington Market?

“UMB owns a dozen buildings heading up to the market [which is scheduled to be rebuilt by the city]. As the market is remade, these two blocks can be remade in kind,” Perman said. “And we can do all this without displacing people, without wiping out neighborhoods, without destroying the community we intend to strengthen.”

Putting Our Money Where Our Mouths Are

UMB also is helping small local restaurants compete for its catering dollars. A year ago, the University was spending .01 percent of its catering dollars at businesses in West Baltimore, roughly $1,000 a year. “One year later, we’ve spent $36,000 in West Baltimore,” Perman said, adding that with UMB’s help, these eateries have secured another $50,000 in new money from city businesses.

Perman also was proud to announce additional funding for UMB employees and students. The budget passed by the legislature includes a merit increase averaging 2.5 percent for University System employees.

Citing the need for scholarship support, Perman said the UMB Foundation will renew its matching program, a 50-cent foundation match for every donor dollar raised, through the end of the year. This UMBF strategy raised $9.7 million in new scholarship money several years ago. Perman said such support is crucial.

“UMB’s academic programs are competitively priced. But I can guarantee that is cold comfort to students, “ Perman said. “It’s little relief to a new dentist looking at a crushing debt of $200,000, to a new pharmacist struggling under loans of $140,000, to a new physician signing away $2,000 a month in loan repayments.

“And loans can’t be our long-term solution. Because loans aren’t bad only for students; they’re bad for the people they’ll serve. Students make career choices based on their debt load. Graduates who want to serve in underserved communities might not be able to make that choice. Their debt might win out.”

Tuition Affordability

Perman said patients also want to want to be cared for by professionals who look like them—racially, ethnically, culturally, socioeconomically. “Can we really say that our programs are accessible to all students—regardless of wealth? I don’t think we can,” he said. So affordability guidelines and assistance will be part of UMB’s 2017-2021 strategic plan, which will build on the glowing Middle States reaccreditation report UMB received recently.

Perman also mentioned gains UMB made in diversity — “I know we are strong not despite our diversity but because of it” — and “clearing pathways” to career advancement. He praised the services the School of Dentistry is providing in Carroll and Frederick counties, what the School of Nursing is accomplishing with the Governor’s Wellmobile in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, a physician assistant partnership with Anne Arundel Community College County that is being expanded to the Eastern Shore. “We’re meeting students where they are,” Perman said.

Research Advances

He lauded the many researchers at UMB who are doing extraordinary work. Among them:

  • Agnes Ann Feemster in the School of Pharmacy is working with an interprofessional team of students to conduct a needs assessment at Children’s Cancer Hospital in Egypt.
  • Aaron Rapoport in the School of Medicine is doing breakthrough work developing immunotherapy in the treatment of multiple myeloma, a largely incurable cancer that kills nearly 13,000 people in the U.S. each year.
  • Deborah Eisenberg in the Carey School of Law is leading an effort to help students resolve conflict in constructive ways. During a pilot project at Callaway Elementary School in West Baltimore, suspensions dropped from 78 to 19 in one year.
  • Working with their local partners, Bronwyn Mayden and Stacie Stephens in the School of Social Work and Wendy Lane in the School of Medicine are fighting infant mortality in Baltimore — and winning. Crib and SIDS deaths among babies in UMB’s Promise Heights neighborhoods have dropped to zero, and full-term births have climbed to more than 90 percent.

Perman also addressed the University of Maryland Strategic Partnership Act, which in the last General Assembly moved from a possible merger with the University of Maryland, College Park to a healthy research and educational collaboration among two equals with separate leadership.

“I won’t pretend that there isn’t a lot to figure out in terms of how we best operationalize this legislation by Oct. 1,” Perman said. “But … I’m excited about the future, and I want to thank my boss, Chancellor Bob Caret, for his powerful leadership and support.”

‘UMB Has Heart’

Perman recalled an overflow crowd of 340 that filled the Southern Management Corporation Campus Center ballrooms in March to express its views about Senate Bill 1052, speaking out for UMB’s independence.

There, Human Resources’ Patti Hoffmann said, “UMB has heart. You feel it every day, you see it everywhere we go, and I hope we don’t lose the heart we have.”

Perman recalled those words to close his third annual State of the University Address. “That heart is what sustains us. That heart is what emboldens us,” he said. “That heart is what unites us in a purpose at once essential and transcendent: to improve the human condition and serve the public good.”

— Chris Zang


Chris Zang Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAMay 6, 20160 comments
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Spring Community Festival

2016 West Baltimore Community Festival

Join the Center for Public Health Social Work Education and Training and the Community Engagement Center for a Spring Community Festival!

Event Details

April 16, 2016, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
University of Maryland BioPark
801 W. Baltimore St.
Baltimore, MD 21201

Festival Features

  • Blood pressure screenings
  • Legal advice for expungements
  • Mindfulness training
  • Health insurance information
  • Dental information and supplies
  • Fluoride treatments, and more

PLUS, for the Kids

Moonbounce, games, Taikwando, Zumba, hula hoop fun, balloon animals, and face painting!


Volunteers are needed to help staff the event. Please contact Ashlie Williams for more information on how you can help.

This event is sponsored by the USGA.

Ashlie WilliamsABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, University Life, USGAApril 6, 20160 comments
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Events at Community Engagement Center

Don’t miss these Community Engagement Center sessions on working with Baltimore City Schools, forming a nonprofit board, and sustaining community projects.

All events take place at the Community Engagement Center – 870 W. Baltimore St.

Sustaining Community Projects Beyond the Academic Calendar

Monday, March 21 & 28 |  5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Participants will learn how to plan community engagement initiatives with impacts that extend beyond the course calendar.

Yan Ting WuCollaboration, Community Service, Education, For B'more, Global & Community Engagement, People, University LifeMarch 17, 20160 comments
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