Archive for January, 2018

Drummond to Discuss Assessing Value of Health Care on Feb. 12

Michael Drummond, BSc, MCom, DPhil, professor of health economics at the University of York (England), will deliver a PHSR talk titled “Is Value in the Eye of the Beholder? Recent U.S. Initiatives in a Worldwide Context” on Feb. 12, noon, at Pharmacy Hall, Room N211.

In the United States, there have been a number of attempts recently to devise frameworks for assessing the value of health care, including those by clinical groups (e.g., American Society of Clinical Oncology, American Heart Association) and independent organizations (e.g., Institute for Clinical and Economic Review ). Also, a special task force of the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research has recently reported on this topic.

Approaches for assessing the value of health care treatments have been well-established in other countries for at least 20 years. This presentation will examine the key differences between the approaches proposed in the United States and elsewhere and explore whether these differences can be easily explained.

Erin Merino EducationJanuary 31, 20180 comments
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February Special You’ll Love from the UM Medi Spa

Enjoy a one-hour, rejuvenating cherry and chocolate facial for only $75 through February 2018 at the University of Maryland Facial Plastic Surgery & Medi Spa.

Employees always receive 10 percent off services and products, including skin care and beauty products, Botox, filler, waxing, peels and more. For details call 667-214-1772, visit the website, or email

Merideth Marr Bulletin Board, University LifeJanuary 31, 20180 comments
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Take the UMB Community Survey on Intimate Partner Violence

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Community Collaborative on Intimate Partner Violence is conducting a brief survey of students, staff, and faculty to better understand the needs of our campus community related to intimate partner violence.

The UMB Community Collaborative on Intimate Partner Violence is a multidisciplinary effort composed of faculty, staff, and students from the schools of social work, law, nursing, medicine, dentistry, and pharmacy as well as the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) and the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Your answers to this short (about five-minute) survey will directly inform the development of awareness, training, and education programs for the UMB community.

All students, staff, and faculty at UMB, UMMC, and the VA Medical Center are eligible to participate. Your responses are anonymous.

Please visit this link to take the survey.

The study contact and principal investigator is Veronica Nije-Carr,

Lisa Fedina ResearchJanuary 31, 20180 comments
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School of Nursing’s Moulton Awarded Nurse Educator Doctoral Grant

Michelle Moulton, MS ’09, RN, PCCN-K, CHSE, clinical instructor, has been awarded a $20,000 Nurse Educator Doctoral Grant (NEDG) for Practice and Dissertation Research.

This competitive grant program is designed to assist PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice candidates by helping to cover costs associated with graduate education expenses; professional development; course release time; research-related administrative support; and project-related expenses for supplies, travel, and document creation. Its goals are to increase the number of doctorally prepared nursing faculty in Maryland, strengthen faculty development for optimal capacity at schools of nursing, and recruit and retain a diverse nursing faculty.

“The Maryland Higher Education Commission and the Nurse Support Program II funding has been a wonderful resource to facilitate the achievement of my academic goals. I am honored and grateful to have received the Nursing Education Doctoral Grant,” Moulton said. “Primarily, the award will assist in relieving student loan debt and, in addition, will provide funding to support the completion of my Doctor of Nursing Practice project.”

NEDG is part of the Nurse Support Program II, a statewide initiative funded by the Health Services Cost Review Commission and administered by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. It helps increase Maryland’s nursing capacity by supporting initiatives that advance the recommendations outlined in the Institute of Medicine’s report “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health.”

“We are extremely grateful for this important support to faculty pursuing doctoral degrees. The NEDG program responds to the critical need to increase the number of faculty with advanced degrees and to ensure a highly educated nursing workforce for the future,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “We congratulate Ms. Moulton on her award and look forward to her ongoing contributions to teaching and research at UMSON, in particular through her work in the areas of clinical simulation and interprofessional education and practice.”

Kevin Nash Bulletin Board, Education, People, UMB News, University Administration, USGAJanuary 31, 20180 comments
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Conference to Focus on Fostering Resilience for Cancer Survivors

Health care providers as well as cancer survivors and their support system/caregivers are invited to a conference titled “Cancer Survivorship: Fostering Resilience for Cancer Survivors” on Wednesday, March 7, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the University of Maryland School of Nursing Auditorium.

The interprofessional, full-day program will focus on preparing cancer survivors for the challenges of completing treatment and for not only bouncing back but also “bouncing forward” after cancer. Participants will learn from physicians, nurses, social workers, nutritionists, physical therapists, and cancer survivors the ways in which survivors, their support systems, and their health care team can build resilience after a diagnosis of cancer throughout their survivorship journey.

After the program, participants will be able to:

  • Facilitate building resilience as a health care provider, cancer survivor, or family member/caregiver.
  • Apply strategies to foster healthy living during cancer survivorship.
  • Apply ethical strategies in caring for cancer survivors.
  • Discuss their role as part of an interprofessional team in caring for cancer survivors.
  • Define compassion fatigue for families during cancer survivorship.

Learn more about topics, speakers, the schedule, continuing education, and registration on the conference’s web page.

This is a collaboration between the School of Nursing and the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Emily Parks Clinical Care, EducationJanuary 30, 20180 comments
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UMBPACE is New Affinity Group Under UMBrella

UMBPACE (Professional Administratives Committed to Excellence), a new affinity group under the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) UMBrella initiative, is dedicated to empowering administrative professionals at the University.

Please visit the UMBPACE website to read more about its mission, goals, and purpose. Please feel free to contact the members with any questions you might have, and look for much more to come from this group.

The members of UMBPACE are: Janice Flair, Human Resource Services; Mae Hill, Police/Public Safety; Tyra Johnson, Central Administration Support Services; Shelvia McGee-Chavis, Central Administration Support Services; Debra Modlin, Office of Research Development; Peggy Moran, Center for Information Technology Services; Saifa Poole, Office of the Senior Vice President; Freda Richards, Office of the Dean, School of Medicine; Trish Rider, Office of the Dean, School of Law; Eris Smith,  Office of the Dean, School of Dentistry; and Clara Woodly, Office of the President.

Saifa Poole Bulletin Board, Collaboration, PeopleJanuary 30, 20180 comments
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School of Medicine’s Hassel Wins MLK Faculty Award

Bret Hassel, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the School of Medicine, has been a team player, helping with multiple Universitywide initiatives, since coming to UMB in 1995.

So it shouldn’t be surprising that when Kevin Cullen, MD, director of the University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, asked Hassel to be UMGCCC’s liaison for the UMB CURE Scholars Program that he jumped in with both feet.

“What started as a peripheral role on the UMB CURE team rapidly evolved to a more substantial commitment as I was ‘infected’ by the contagious enthusiasm for this program that has now spread as an ‘epidemic’ for the good across UMB schools and the entire city of Baltimore,” Hassel said of the UMB pipeline program that is preparing West Baltimore children for health and research careers through hands-on workshops, lab experiences, and mentorship.

“Indeed, the UMB CURE team is a microcosm of diversity that is at the heart of its goal, with each member bringing a unique skill set that fuels the program,” Hassel said.

For his contributions to CURE and many other programs at UMB and beyond that help under-represented minority students find success, Hassel will receive the Outstanding UMB Faculty Award as part of the University’s Black History Month celebration on Feb. 1.

Hassel, a member of the UMB CURE Scholars team since its inception, serving as a mentor and co-chair of the Sustainability Subcommittee that is charged with writing grant applications to fund the program, said he shares the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Diversity Recognition Award with many colleagues.

“It is a humbling honor especially in the context of the many UMB faculty and staff who are also deeply passionate about the importance of diversity and inclusion,” he said. “In that vein, the committed people that I work with are equally responsible for the success of the different outreach and education programs and should be considered as co-recipients of this award.”

In addition to the CURE Scholars, Hassel plays leadership roles in multiple National Institutes of Health-funded programs that promote minority inclusion and diversity at UMB. He has directed the School of Medicine’s Nathan Schnaper Intern Program in Translational Cancer Research for 16 years and is a member of the core team for the STAR-PREP minority postbaccalaureate program.

Most recently, Hassel received a Bridges to the Doctorate grant in partnership with Towson University to foster the progression of minority master’s degree students to PhD programs. He also contributes to minority-focused training programs at Morgan State, Coppin State, and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

“Bret does not treat scholar diversity as a dream, he is a team player who helps find the funds and helps build the structures to make this a reality,” said Gregory Carey, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at SOM, who nominated Hassel for the MLK award.

“Bret is focused on diversity achievement at the individual level as well,” added Carey, director of student summer research and community outreach at the school and a former MLK award winner himself. “A faculty member recently asked Dr. Hassel and I to help with a Howard Hughes research fellowship application for one of our PhD-track, African-American scholars. This talented and wonderful young lady happens to also have a certified neurocognitive disability. Bret and I responded enthusiastically! Proudly, we learned from her mentor last week that the student has been advanced to the finalist round for a Howard Hughes Medical Institute student award! What greater reward for service than to read through the letter sent by this proud young lady and celebrate her win with her? This is Dr. King’s dream and what Bret lives for.”

Hassel, who loves mentoring, teaching, and interacting with students, said he gets back more than he gives.

“Working in an environment that promotes a culture of diversity, like UMB, has allowed me to experience the benefits of a diverse workplace and understand the importance of efforts to expand this at UMB and beyond,” he said when asked why helping minorities is so important to him. “The impact of programs that advance minority representation, and benefit all parties involved, provides plenty of motivation to continue this work.”

For more on UMB’s Black History Month celebration, click here.

— Chris Zang

Chris Zang Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Research, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 30, 20181 comment
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Attend the Monthly Flow Cytometry Lecture on Feb. 1

The University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center monthly Flow Cytometry Lecture will be held Thursday, Feb. 1, 10:30 a.m. to noon, at the Bressler Research Building, Room 7-035.

The lecture, led by Xiaoxuan Fan, PhD, director of the Flow Cytometry Shared Service,  will teach the basics of flow cytometry. This is needed if you would like to become a trained user of the facility. All are welcome to attend and can RSVP at this link.

The lecture will cover:

  • How a flow cytometer works
  • Multicolor panel design and compensation
  • Instruments and services we offer
  • New technology and tools
  • Online booking system
Karen Underwood Bulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, Research, TechnologyJanuary 29, 20180 comments
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SOP Researchers Awarded $500,000 Grant to Focus on Patient-Driven Value Assessment

A team of researchers from the departments of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research (PHSR) and Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy have been awarded a three-year, $500,000 grant from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Foundation to establish a Center of Excellence for Patient-Driven Value Assessment at the school. Led by Susan dosReis, PhD, professor in PHSR, the center will strive to promote the inclusion of diverse patient voices in research to help uncover the elements of value in health care that are most important to patients.

This center is one of only two funded by the PhRMA Foundation to lead the development of transformative strategies to better assess the value of medicines and health care services while improving patient outcomes and reducing inefficiency in health care.

“All of the health services and drug-related research conducted by faculty in our department is motivated by one goal: to improve health among diverse populations,” says C. Daniel Mullins, PhD, professor and chair of PHSR and a co-investigator on the grant. “Through the establishment of our new Center of Excellence for Patient-Driven Value Assessment, our research team will employ a multidisciplinary, collaborative approach that leverages an established patient engagement infrastructure, an extensive network of partners, and a solid foundation of patient-centered outcomes research, education, and dissemination expertise to promote value-based decision-making in health care. I am excited to be part of this project, which will further strengthen our school’s reputation as a national leader in value assessment in health care.”

Promoting Value in Health Care

In its news release announcing the award, the PhRMA Foundation noted that concern over rising U.S. health care costs has increased interest in promoting high-quality care, while avoiding low-value or inefficient care. Although a number of initiatives aiming to drive value in health care have recently emerged, few have offered transformative solutions that reflect patient preferences and real-world clinical practice, leaving many issues in methodology and patient engagement unresolved.

“Previous research has shown that an insufficient focus on patient-driven value assessment in health care limits our ability to fully evaluate the cost-effectiveness of available treatments,” dosReis says. “Our Center of Excellence is founded on the fundamental premise that value in health care must be defined by patients. We are tremendously grateful to the PhRMA Foundation for their support of our efforts to have patients and other stakeholders work together to co-produce reliable and meaningful value assessments that further support patient-centered health care decision-making.”

Addressing an Unmet Need

To help fill gaps in existing value frameworks — economic evaluations that assess the value of medical tests, treatments, and other health care services — researchers in the school’s Center of Excellence for Patient-Driven Value Assessment will incorporate patients’ perspectives of value in their work and ensure that value in health care is defined by factors identified as important by a diverse range of patients. In addition to dosReis and Mullins, the center’s core faculty includes Wendy Camelo Castillo, PhD, assistant professor in PHSR; Joey Mattingly, PharmD, MBA, assistant professor in PPS; and Julia Slejko, PhD, assistant professor in PHSR.

Along with collaborators from the National Health Council, including Eleanor Perfetto, PhD, MS, who also serves as a professor in PHSR, and local hospitals and health clinics, the pharmaceutical industry, insurance companies, and patient stakeholders, the researchers aim to expand patient and other stakeholder engagement partnerships, educate patient and research communities about the importance of patient engagement in research, support patient-driven value assessment research, and disseminate patient-driven value assessment principles and methods.

Looking to the Future

The center’s long-term research goal is to produce and disseminate findings that value frameworks developers can use to improve their methodology to capture and include patient input.

“Capturing the diversity of the patient voice in value assessment will be a major strength of our center,” dosReis says. “The research that we conduct will elicit the meaning of value in health care from diverse patient groups and allow us to develop a core set of patient-driven value elements, prioritize those value elements, and test those elements with existing frameworks. Our team’s expertise in qualitative and mixed methods research, pharmacoeconomics, predictive modeling, and stated preference methods well positions us to undertake this research.”

DosReis also notes that research conducted by the center will lead to additional opportunities for national and international collaboration.

“The School of Pharmacy will become the hub for cutting-edge research and training in patient-driven value frameworks,” she adds. “Research from our center will change the landscape for the economic evaluation of medicines and other therapies. Our findings will have an indelible impact on medical decision-making by patients, health care professionals, policymakers, and regulatory agencies.”


Malissa Carroll Research, UMB NewsJanuary 29, 20180 comments
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SAFE Center Director Esserman to Speak About Human Trafficking Feb. 27

The UMBrella Group invites you to attend a lunch and discussion with Susan Esserman, JD, founder and director of the University of Maryland Support, Advocacy, Freedom, and Empowerment (SAFE) Center for Human Trafficking Survivors, on Feb. 27, noon, at the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry, 31 S. Green St.

Esserman’s presentation is titled “Raising the Curtain on Human Trafficking in the United States.”

To read more about Esserman and register for the event, visit the UMBrella Speaker Series web page.

Sonya Evans Bulletin Board, Community Service, People, UMB News, University LifeJanuary 29, 20180 comments
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SOP’s Whittaker Receives Senior Care Pharmacy Award

Chanel Whittaker, PharmD, BCGP, BCPS,  FASCP, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and director of education and training for the Peter Lamy Center on Drug Therapy and Aging at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, was named the 2017 recipient of the Armon Neel Senior Care Pharmacist Award by the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP). Presented annually, the award recognizes individuals who apply their knowledge of geriatric pharmacotherapy on a daily basis to significantly improve the quality of life of the senior population while also contributing to the goals of ASCP.

“Dr. Whittaker has dedicated her career at the school to providing superior medication management services not only to the patients at her practice site but also to the older adults living in the local community,” says Jill A. Morgan, PharmD, BCPS, BCPPS, associate professor and chair of PPS. “Her passion for her work is evident. She takes the time to get to know and understand all of the individuals with whom she works and develops quality educational programming aimed at optimizing medication-related outcomes for our senior population. Our department was thrilled to learn that she had been recognized with this prestigious award.”

A Chance Career

Whittaker received her Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) from Rutgers University in 2003. After completing a managed care pharmacy practice residency with Kaiser Permanente and a primary care specialty residency at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs Medical Center, she joined the faculty at the School of Pharmacy in 2005 as an assistant professor in PPS, where her practice and teaching specialties focused on geriatric pharmacotherapy and chronic kidney disease. She was named an associate professor in 2015 and became the director of education and training programs for the Lamy Center in 2016.

“Since joining the Lamy Center more than a year ago, Dr. Whittaker has taken great strides to develop and implement quality educational initiatives not only for our students and trainees but also for older adults and their caregivers in the local community,” says Nicole Brandt, PharmD, MBA, BCPP, BCGP, FASCP, professor in PPS and executive director of the Lamy Centerl. “She has been the catalyst behind a number of new partnerships for the center and continues to look for opportunities that leverage our geriatric pharmacotherapy expertise to educate older adults and other health care professionals about safe medication use. We are fortunate to have her as a member of our team and could not be more proud of her recent accomplishment.”

Whittaker currently practices with the Geriatric Aligned Patient Care Team (GeriPACT) Medication Management Clinic and the Renal Interdisciplinary Safety Clinic (RISC) at the Baltimore VA Medical Center.

Excelling in the Field

The Armon Neel Senior Care Pharmacist Award is named for Armon B. Neel Jr., PharmD, CGP, a consultant pharmacist and co-author of Are Your Prescriptions Killing You?: How to Prevent Dangerous Interactions, Avoid Deadly Side Effects, and Be Healthier with Fewer Drugs, who has practiced in the field of geriatric pharmacotherapy for more than 40 years. It honors a senior care pharmacy practitioner who consistently exemplifies the practice of pharmaceutical care to the senior population and contributes significantly to ASCP’s goals. Awardees are selected each year by the ASCP executive committee.

“It was a pleasant surprise and an honor to be named a recipient of ASCP’s Armon Neel Senior Care Pharmacist Award,” Whittaker says. “The previous pharmacists who have received this award have had an incredible impact in the field of geriatrics, not only through their interactions with their patients, but also through their efforts to change pharmacy practice across the country. Receiving this award has encouraged me to continue my work to develop great medication safety programming not only for older adults in the community, but also for pharmacists and other health care professionals. I want to ensure that all practitioners have the skills, knowledge, and tools necessary to best care for older adults regardless of the setting in which they receive care.”

Whittaker received her award at ASCP’s annual meeting and exhibition in November.

Malissa Carroll

Malissa Carroll Clinical Care, People, UMB NewsJanuary 26, 20180 comments
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When In Doubt, Use UMB Police Walking or Riding Escorts

If you are ever feeling unsafe on the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, UMB Police are available to help.

The UMB Police Force offers walking and riding escorts to students and staff. Police walking escorts are always available, while riding escorts are more limited.

Police walking escorts are available within the boundaries of campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week throughout the year.

Police riding escorts are available on campus and up to three blocks beyond campus to Schroeder Street on the west, Franklin Street on the north, Park Avenue on the east, and Washington Boulevard on the south. Police van escort hours are available 3 p.m. to 1 a.m., with two seven-passenger vans operating during peak hours between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m.

For either service, call 410-706-6882 or 6-6882 from a campus telephone. For details visit the UMB Police and Safety website.

Betsy Stein University LifeJanuary 26, 20180 comments
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Freeman, UMB Helping Aspiring Entrepreneurs in West Baltimore

William “Bill” Freeman, business management consultant for the Maryland Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), has helped all kinds of entrepreneurs develop their businesses. From carryout owners to casket makers, Freeman draws on more than 30 years of business development experience, including 15 spent in Baltimore, to help guide entrepreneurs through the process of starting and sustaining a business.

Freeman maintains an office at the Graduate Research Innovation District (The Grid) in the Lion Brothers Building, where students and community members can get his expert advice on business plan development, 8(a) and Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) application reviews, funding, and taking an established business to the next level. He has visited community meetings in Poppleton and Hollins Market, offering his services to community members, because, he says, “You never know, someone there could be the next Apple or the next Bill Gates.” Freeman says he sees himself as a flashlight, helping would-be entrepreneurs navigate through unknown territory.

On Jan. 31, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., aspiring and established entrepreneurs are invited to The Grid, 875 Hollins St., to meet Freeman and discover the free resources available to help make your business dreams come true. The free event is part of UMB’s commitment to serving the community.

Here’s a Q&A with Freeman:

What kind of clients do you serve?

We take all kinds of people — those that have ideas, those that are already in business, and those in existing business. We can help them in all phases wherever they are in the continuum. Sometimes when it’s an idea, they need assistance. When it’s a startup, they need things to grow their business. And then you have those who are in business and are looking to enhance that business.

How do you make an appointment?

You can email me at, and I will get back to you with appointment information. Appointments last about an hour and a half, and the sessions are confidential followed by unlimited visits. It only depends on your time and mine, at no cost to you. We’re here to give whatever assistance you need to grow or start your business, and it’s really up to you how much of the services you want to use.

How important is it to have a business plan?

It’s definitely good to have an idea, primarily because it shows your enthusiasm to start a business. We will review a business plan to see if it has all of the components, particularly if you’re looking to borrow money. A business plan is a road map. It tells you where you are and where you want to go. Whenever you go on a vacation, you plan that vacation, and it’s the same thing with a business plan. It helps you determine how to get there.

How does your banking experience help in this role?

As a banker, I know what is needed out there in the working world. I’ve been a banker for some 20-25 years, and I have a pretty good idea as to what a company needs to grow their business. Particularly after sitting down and talking with you and finding out about your business, that will give me more information to help move your agenda forward.

Are you looking for a particular type of business?

We’re not looking specifically for any particular business. We want to help all business owners make their dreams come true. I have a variety of different businesses, from daycare facilities to a gentleman who makes caskets. It runs the gamut. I have a psychiatrist. I have dog walkers. I never know what’s coming in the door.

Do you need a lot of money to turn an idea into a business?

You don’t have to have a whole lot of money. You just have to have an idea and go forward and really believe in it. You have to believe in your heart of hearts it will work regardless of what people say. There may be a time that it doesn’t, but you’ll never know unless you try.

What is your goal for entrepreneurs who visit your office?

We want them to start that business because it gives a feeling of accomplishment. It also helps to create wealth, and that’s very important in today’s society because you’re able to leave something for your children and your grandchildren, and that in turn will allow them to grow. Additionally, it gives you more self worth that you’ve accomplished something, that you’ve made your mark.

To make a confidential business consultation appointment with Freeman, email

To RSVP to the Jan. 31 “Meet Bill Freeman” event at The Grid, email

— Laura Lee

Laura Lee Clinical Care, Community Service, Education, PeopleJanuary 26, 20180 comments
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School of Dentistry’s Otto Wins MLK Student Award

President Jay. A Perman, MD, is fond of telling new UMB graduates to “go out and change the world.” Tiffany Otto hasn’t graduated yet, but she already is on course toward changing things for the better.

A fourth-year student at the School of Dentistry, Otto has provided meaningful discussions for minority professionals after traumatic local and national incidents with University events such as an open forum on the shooting deaths of unarmed black men with City Councilman Brandon Scott, a post-Freddie Gray meeting where she allowed her colleagues to speak freely and safely, and helped coordinate an event supporting slain Muslim students at colleges in North Carolina with other student groups on the UMB campus.

She has served in organizations such as Healthy Smiles for Baltimore (vice president), the Baltimore Minority Council of Professional and Graduate Students (vice chairman), and the Student National Dental Association (president), which won Chapter of the Year honors for notable programs such as the Taste Bud Tour, where cultural groups shared their cuisines.

For this and much more, Otto will receive a Diversity Recognition Award as Outstanding UMB Student at the University’s Black History Month celebration Feb. 1.

“I truly don’t have many hobbies, thus service and upliftment of others serves me just fine,” Otto said when asked how she finds time for her yeoman organizational efforts. “It is energizing and exhausting, yet empowering at the same time. My commitment to inclusivity, dialogue, support, and service is an integral part of my being.”

This has been demonstrated in her many successful events. The open forum on the shooting of black men provided a safe space for students from all seven UMB schools to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and attitudes without fear or backlash. The goal of this, as well as many of her initiatives and events she has been involved with at the University, was to help students of marginalized ethnic groups and various religious backgrounds attain healing, discussion, and awareness amongst each other.

“I’m incredibly grateful, honored, and thankful that I attend a University that offers such a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. diversity recognition award,” Otto said. “This shows UMB’s commitment to Dr. King’s principles, and that makes me proud to be here. My hope is that this award will inspire students and staff to initiate conversations and spread love to their colleagues, friends, and community members who share different backgrounds than them.”

Some of her best work outside the classroom — it’s easy to forget Otto also maintains a rigorous dental school schedule that includes clinic work with patients several days a week — has come with the Student National Dental Association (SNDA), an organization that strives to uplift minority students.

She was community service chair for SNDA during her second year at UMB and created service events for students, on and off campus. The next year she became president and hosted over triple the community service events. In addition, she led four professional development programs, seven general body meetings, and more.

The school’s SNDA chapter won Chapter of the Year for the second consecutive year, this time with Otto as president. Notable activities were highlighted such as the Taste Bud Tour, during which all cultural groups on campus were invited to share their cuisines; Generation NeXT, which provided opportunities for School of Dentistry students to mentor high school students at the Vivien Thomas Medical Arts Academy; and an Oral Cancer Walk, which raised $19,445.

Otto says all of the SNDA events would not have been possible without the help of her executive board and chapter members who also shared the same vision of service and cultural competence.

“Her impact toward diversity and inclusivity has been monumental over her four years at the school,” said those who nominated her. “She has been a leader every step of the way.”

Otto, who plans to do a dental residency program in New York (and do community projects, of course) after graduating from UMB, credits her parents for putting her on the public service path.

“My character has been shaped by my childhood experiences in a racially diverse small town called South Orange in New Jersey, coupled by a ‘village’ of family and friends who share similar core values,” Otto said. “My parents taught me very early to treat others well, to do good, and to be the change that I wish to see — and it has truly gone a long way. It took a village to get me here, and I owe it to that village to enter spaces at UMB with the same love, energy, and tenacity that they taught me.”

— Chris Zang

Chris ZangClinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, People, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAJanuary 26, 20180 comments
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Health Information Resources for Culturally Diverse Patients

Do you want to improve your communication with patients whose native language is not English? Attend a workshop to learn about patient education resources, including medical information available in other languages. This workshop also will examine the effect utilizing these resources can have on patient compliance and improved health.

The Health Information Resources for Culturally Diverse Patients workshop will be held Feb. 26, noon-1 p.m., at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL), Classroom LL03.

For details or to register, visit the HS/HSL workshop schedule website.

Everly Brown Clinical Care, Community Service, Education, PeopleJanuary 25, 20180 comments
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