Archive for February, 2019

The New Elm Is Coming

The New ‘Elm’ Launches Thursday, Feb. 7

The Elm, the dynamic, collaborative website the Office of Communications and Public Affairs created in 2013 to allow the UMB community to interact online, is getting even better. The new Elm will debut Thursday, Feb. 7, offering the following features:

  • Each of UMB’s seven schools has a dedicated page of its own to tailor content to its specific audience.
  • Enhanced filters allow users to find information they are interested in, by filtering content by topic or audience, whether for students, faculty, staff, or alumni.
  • A section called Accolades has been added where UMB people can be acknowledged for the work they do — be it by co-worker or someone in the community.
  • Voices & Opinions allows you to share your perspective on an issue that matters to you.
  • An improved UMB social media component aggregates social media content from all UMB social media accounts.
  • The new Elm’s homepage and each school’s corresponding homepage include navigational links at the bottom that help you find the most important UMB resources fast.
  • An improved Elm Weekly, greater access to University news, and many other enhancements are part of the new Elm. See for yourself by visiting this preview.

Beginning Thursday, content from the original Elm will be available at


Communications and Public AffairsBulletin Board, UMB News, University Administration, University Life, USGAFebruary 6, 20190 comments
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Pharmacy students

School of Pharmacy Joins UM Quality Care Network on Telehealth Grant

The University of Maryland School of Pharmacy is partnering with the University of Maryland Quality Care Network (UMQCN) on a $150,000 grant from the Maryland Health Care Commission that aims to improve health outcomes, enhance quality of primary care, and reduce costs associated with inpatient and emergency room visits for patients diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Through this project, specially trained pharmacists at the School of Pharmacy in Baltimore use state-of-the-art telehealth technologies available in the school’s new Pharmacy e-Health Center to provide comprehensive medication therapy management services to patients receiving care for COPD on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

“This grant represents an excellent opportunity for the School of Pharmacy to expand its successful partnership with UMQCN,” says Magaly Rodriguez de Bittner, PharmD, FAPhA, professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science (PPS) and associate dean for clinical services and practice transformation at the school. “We are working together to not only examine the clinical impact of using telehealth technologies to deliver medication therapy management services to patients, but also to understand the economic impact associated with offering this service to patients, particularly related to any reductions in costs associated with inpatient and emergency room visits.

“If successful, the results could truly transform the way pharmacists’ services are integrated in the health care team, especially in primary care practices.”

A Novel Approach to Patient Care

COPD is a progressive lung disease that makes it difficult for people to breathe. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Recent studies have found that many patients with COPD do not adhere to their medications as prescribed, which can exacerbate symptoms associated with the illness. Although medication reviews are conducted as part of the routine care these patients receive, comprehensive medication reconciliation is often difficult to achieve due to a number of factors, such as patient literacy, frequent medication changes, hospitalization, and multiple transitions in patients’ care.

The specially trained pharmacists working on this project use evidence-based data and protocols to provide comprehensive medication management services to a variety of patient populations. They employ special videoconferencing software that is compliant with Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) regulations and allows them to work with patients and other health care providers via confidential, private, and secure videoconferences to optimize patient care in areas such as medication adherence, generic medication utilization, and patient medication reconciliation.

These pharmacists also serve as a hub to help centralize patient referrals, manage scheduling, and set patient appointments in collaboration with other health care providers.

“The use of telehealth tools represents a truly novel approach to patient care,” says Rodriguez de Bittner, who also serves as executive director of the school’s Center for Innovative Pharmacy Solutions, which houses the Pharmacy e-Health Center and oversees the School’s partnership with UMQCN. “We are able to conduct sessions led by pharmacists here at the School of Pharmacy and/or other locations, while the patient is in a completely different location, such as his or her home or physician’s office. It is a service not many pharmacies are able to offer.”

Embracing the Value Pharmacists Bring to the Health Care Team

Through its partnership with UMQCN and the grant from the Maryland Health Care Commission, the specially trained pharmacists at the school are leveraging the telehealth capabilities of the Pharmacy e-Health Center to provide 100 patients who have been diagnosed with COPD and are currently receiving care from a primary care physician on the Eastern Shore with comprehensive medication therapy management services. These services are delivered via videoconference from Baltimore and are designed to help improve medication adherence among patients and educate them about how to self-manage their illness, such as demonstrating how to correctly use an inhaler. Pharmacists also work with patients’ primary care providers to optimize and manage their medication regimens.

The ultimate goal is to develop a user-friendly telehealth model scalable to all Maryland health care practices that promotes medication safety and care coordination with an emphasis on the affordability, accessibility, and adaptability of the technology to the rural setting.

“The model that we are developing is truly unique — we are integrating pharmacists into primary care practice, but without needing a pharmacist to be physically present in the community setting,” says Rodriguez de Bittner. “We are demonstrating that the addition of these pharmacists to that practice brings value to the physicians, to the practice, and to the patient. It is opening the door for other practices to say, ‘We want to do this, too.’ And that will create more opportunities for us to partner with additional providers and help other patients with chronic illnesses achieve optimal health outcomes.”

— Malissa Carroll

Malissa CarrollClinical Care, Technology, UMB NewsFebruary 5, 20190 comments
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The President's Message-February

February President’s Message

Check out the February issue of The President’s Message. It includes Dr. Perman’s column on his Panel on Politics and Policy; sexual harassment addressed at Q&A; the new Elm is coming to the UMB website; Police Chief Cary reflects on her first six months; art and literary journal, 1807, to launch; 20 employees benefit from Live Near Your Work Program in 2018; campus climate survey coming in mid-February; and a roundup of student, faculty, and staff achievements.

Back issues of the newsletter can be found in the archives.

Chris ZangABAE, Bulletin Board, Clinical Care, Collaboration, Community Service, Contests, Education, For B'more, People, Research, Technology, UMB News, University Life, USGAFebruary 5, 20190 comments
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The Pursuit of Justice: Past, Present, and Future

School of Nursing Hosts Black History Month Celebration on Feb. 25

Join the School of Nursing for its Black History Month Celebration, including a presentation by Heather Booth, civil rights activist, organizer, and strategist; a panel discussion; and a question-and-answer session.

The program will focus on how coalitions and organizing efforts have been and continue to be a critical strategy for achieving civil rights goals.

  • Date: Monday, Feb. 25
  • Time: Noon-1 p.m.
  • Site: School of Nursing, Room 130
  • Note: Reception to follow
  • RSVP: Go to this link.
Giordana SegneriClinical CareFebruary 5, 20190 comments
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Good Oral Health

Library Supports Children’s Dental Health Month

Did you know that selected children’s oral health books can be checked out from the Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL) to use when you talk with children?

Children’s Dental Health Month is a perfect opportunity to select from the list of 22 recommended children’s books on oral health care, visiting the dentist, and general information about teeth. Many of the books also are  available in Spanish. The book list was created by the Maryland Dental Action Coalition in conjunction with the HS/HSL.

To view the list, click here.

Parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles are welcome to check out the books, too!

Everly BrownClinical Care, Community Service, Education, PeopleFebruary 5, 20190 comments
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UMB Police with B.B. St. Roman

Compassion, Connection Urged at Homeless Outreach Symposium

B.B. St. Roman says she carries a weapon in her role as executive director of the Homeless Assistance Unit of the New Orleans Police Department, but it’s not what you might think.

“In my job, my smile is my weapon,” says St. Roman, who has been leading her department’s homeless outreach efforts since 2004. “In working with the homeless, the most important thing is that you go out there with a smile, showing that you’re happy to see them. You need a friendly, calm, and kind approach, because that’s what they’re missing. They’re missing that attention. They’re missing that love.”

Compassion was a major theme as St. Roman shared stories of her work and suggestions for how to confront homelessness during a symposium Jan. 31 at the University of Maryland School of Social Work. The 90-minute event, which drew a crowd of 60-plus, was sponsored by the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Police Force and its Campus Outreach and Support Team (COAST), which was launched last fall by Chief Alice Cary, MS.

Cary attended the symposium along with COAST leader Lt. Matthew Johnson, other UMB police officers, members of the Baltimore Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT), and University students, staff, and faculty. Johnson introduced St. Roman, who spent a week in Baltimore observing the homeless outreach efforts of UMB and city agencies and offering insights from her 15 years of service in the Big Easy.

Connecting the homeless to services was stressed, as was the need for police, local government, nonprofits, and the community to work together. Indeed, after the event, attendees milled around sharing contact information and a student who chairs a homelessness council at the School of Social Work was gathering names and numbers.

“We’ve got to start talking to each other,” says Cary, who considers the launch of the COAST unit as the proudest moment of her first six months on the job. “We need forums like this, because look at all the networking that’s being done. It’s the start of good things, just improving our communication with Baltimore City partners.”

St. Roman began her talk stressing that it’s important to find out the homeless person’s backstory, recalling a man who couldn’t renew his riverboat captain’s license because of diabetes, a bricklayer who became blind, and a mother of five who suffered from schizophrenia.

“If you ever get a chance to sit down with a homeless person and find out what they used to do, you would be so surprised at how they had regular lives,” St. Roman says. “They had jobs, families, everything was going fine, and then suddenly — bam! — they fell out of the situation and they’re out in the street with nothing.”

Transportation is a major issue for the homeless, so St. Roman uses a 10-passenger van in New Orleans to take people to medical appointments, shelters, and government agencies to get state IDs, which are needed to receive services. She also hands out cards with information about emergency or domestic violence shelters, detox facilities, permanent housing programs, meals, veterans’ services, mental health centers, and more.

“From talking to people in Baltimore, there seems to be a bit of a gap here in the area of transportation,” St. Roman says. “You might have some good services available around the city, but you need to get the homeless there, instead of having them walk everywhere, which is often discouraging for people.”

Making Strides in New Orleans

St. Roman touted the success of a new “low-barrier” homeless shelter in New Orleans that features 100 beds, places no restrictions on length of stay or sobriety, and is open around the clock for both men and women. She says it follows the model of Haven for Hope, a successful program in San Antonio that features an array of homeless services located in one physical space.

“If you have mental health issues, if you have substance abuse issues, or if you need just a place to stay, it can be all in one area,” says St. Roman, who also advocates for a tent-city approach, where the homeless can be concentrated under individual tents.

Cary, who worked in Oregon before coming to UMB, says tent cities are more prevalent on the West Coast. She calls herself “a strong proponent” of the concept but recognizes there are negatives and that the idea is controversial. Last year in Baltimore, an encampment that had sprouted under an I-83 overpass was dismantled by the city, which worked to move the population into shelters.

“A tent city is a common place for the homeless to go and for them to get one-stop shopping, so to speak,” Cary says. “But we need to consider sanitary issues, because it can get messy, and the main obstacle we face is ‘Not In My Backyard.’ But between the city, the HOT team, and UMB, maybe we could get together and find a best-case scenario, because I think the concept needs to come to the East Coast.”

Joining the Fight

Nate Fields, vice president of public space maintenance for the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, praised Cary’s outreach initiative and pleaded with the audience to get involved. He lamented the “Not In My Backyard” attitude and urged more cooperation to better disseminate information to the homeless and to the public at large about available services.

“We go out there fighting tooth and nail to connect people to services, but there are many barriers,” Fields says. “We need a homeless outreach team in every single district of the city. We’re trying to educate more and more people every single day about the different drop-in centers and locations you can go to.”

Praising St. Roman, he added, “We need more people like everybody in this room to stand up and talk to your city councilman, talk to your local government, and let them know there are people trying to win the fight against homelessness. And when I get enough people who want to fight with me, versus people who want to see them removed, then we can see the city change.”

UMB Pfc. Yale Partlow, who is taking up the fight as the COAST team’s homeless liaison, called the symposium “highly productive.”

“It’s a great opportunity for a lot of representatives of different agencies to connect,” he says. “Some of our officers have done ride-alongs with the Baltimore City HOT team, to get a feel for their program. We’re looking to expand on what they’re doing, tailoring it to the needs of our jurisdiction. I’m optimistic, because a lot of fresh ideas are being put forward.”

— Lou Cortina

Lou CortinaCollaboration, Community Service, For B'more, People, UMB NewsFebruary 5, 20190 comments
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Visual DX

VisualDx Clinical Support Tool Now Available

VisualDx is a visual diagnostic clinical support tool that includes over 2,800 adult and pediatric conditions and thousands of images. Search by a diagnosis, build patient-specific differentials, or review medication reactions and adverse events. This versatile tool delivers speed and diagnostic accuracy in your clinical work.

Find it in the Databases list on the Health Sciences and Human Services Library’s website. Download the iOS or Android app from the library’s VisualDx account for use off campus.

  • Access over 40,000 medical images. See the variations of disease presentation by age, skin type, etc.
  • Build a differential diagnosis in seconds.
  • Review succinct disease information.
  • Provide patients with images and information designed to improve follow-up.

To learn more, watch these VisualDX video tutorials.

Everly BrownClinical Care, Education, People, Research, TechnologyFebruary 5, 20190 comments
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UMB Scholars for Recovery-Sunrise

UMB Scholars for Recovery: Substance Use Disorder Peer Support Group

The mission of UMB Scholars for Recovery is to create a recovery-friendly environment on campus and increase peer support among students suffering with, and in recovery from, substance use disorders. Student input is welcome as we build this community.

Please join us each Monday, Feb. 25 to May 6, from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for our substance use disorder peer support group at the School of Social Work, Room 3E29H. Attendance at our peer support meeting is open to all students in recovery from or seeking recovery from substance use disorders.

Rebecca GibsonPeople, University LifeFebruary 4, 20190 comments
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Me and White Supremacy Workbook

Join Us in March for the ‘Me and White Supremacy Workbook’ Circle

Part education, part activation, the Me and White Supremacy Workbook by Layla F. Saad is a first-of-its-kind personal anti-racism tool for people holding white privilege to begin to examine and dismantle their complicity in the oppressive system of white supremacy.

The Me and White Supremacy Workbook is meant to be completed over the course of 28 days, which includes reading and completing journal prompts each day.

The Anti-Oppression Work Group, the Alliance for Anti-Racist Social Work Practitioners, and the Intersectional Feminist Social Workers are working together to organize a weekly meeting in March where a group can meet to reflect upon this journey and this work.

Attendance at the meetings is not required to complete the workbook and you are more than welcome to join the groups as much or as little as you would like during this process.

What’s next? For now, the Anti-Oppression Work Group is collecting information to come up with a plan for these weekly meetings. If you are interested, please fill out our Google form and you will be included in the emails as we finalize our plans for the group.

To look further into the work and the author, and to download the entire workbook for free, go to this link.

Please contact if you have any questions.

Chelsea GrayBulletin Board, Collaboration, Education, People, University LifeFebruary 4, 20190 comments
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Hello ... Hola

Spanish Language Conversation Group Meeting Schedule

The Spanish Language Conversation Group welcomes all UMB students who want to learn or practice Spanish.

Meeting dates:

  • Monday, Feb. 11, 5-6 p.m.
  • Friday, Feb. 15, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Friday, March 8, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Monday, March 11, 5-6 p.m.
  • Monday, April 15, 5-6 p.m.
  • Friday, April 19, 12.30-1.30 p.m.

Monday meetings: School of Social Work, Room 3E29H
Friday meetings: SMC Campus Center, Room 311

Katie GoldenCommunity Service, EducationFebruary 4, 20191 comment
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Larry Gibson

School of Law’s Gibson Wins MLK Faculty Award

The Elm is featuring stories on the keynote speaker and three Diversity Recognition Award winners leading up to UMB’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at MSTF Leadership Hall. You can register to attend the event here.

Today: Outstanding UMB Faculty Larry S. Gibson

Larry S. Gibson, LLB, has filled many roles in a lifetime dedicated to advancing equality, justice, and opportunity for African-Americans: law professor, civil rights attorney, political strategist, author, historian, and deputy attorney general of the United States, just to name a few.

But there’s another role that hits home at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law, where he teaches: mentor.

“There are countless examples of people who have attributed their success to Professor Gibson,” says Andrew Altshuler, MS, director of alumni engagement in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at Maryland Carey Law. “He’s always willing to assist students and alumni, no matter their background, in making connections, providing mentorship, and supporting them in any way he can, in a selfless manner, for their betterment.

“As someone who meets with staff and alumni frequently, whenever Professor Gibson’s name comes up in my conversations, it is always in the most positive way,” Altshuler adds. “He has truly impacted many people throughout his career and will continue to do so.”

Gibson founded and organizes the Black Law Alumni Reunion & Symposium, which has been held every five years at Maryland Carey Law since 2003. The most recent symposium, held in September 2018, provided opportunities for former classmates to reconnect and featured an event that honored the founding members of the Black Law Students Association as well as faculty presentations titled “Frederick Douglass’ Escape from Maryland” and “Racial Epithets in the Workplace.”

For his efforts in organizing the symposium, as well as his distinguished career of promoting civil rights and social justice, Gibson earned the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) Diversity Recognition Award as Outstanding UMB Faculty and will be honored at the University’s Martin Luther King Jr. and Black History Month ceremony Feb. 6.

“Ever since Professor Gibson started at Maryland Law more than four decades ago, promoting equality, justice, and opportunity for all has been one of his main goals,” Altshuler said in his nomination. “The Black Law Alumni Reunion is a celebration of the history of  African-American alumni and law students. It highlights the ability to enact change through legal justice both in the Baltimore community and in the world, providing the ability for all individuals to be treated equal. Attendees of the reunion and other alumni who have had the opportunity to learn from Professor Gibson have greatly benefited from being part of his network.”

The seeds of that vast network were planted in Baltimore, where Gibson grew up, earned his high school diploma from Baltimore City College, and was the school’s first African-American class officer. In 1964, he graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he was the student body president and chair of D.C. Students for Civil Rights. In 1967, he earned his law degree from Columbia University in New York.

In 1972, Gibson became the first African-American law professor at the University of Virginia, and two years later he accepted a faculty position at the University of Maryland School of Law.

He was associate deputy attorney general of the United States under President Jimmy Carter and has run local, state, and national political campaigns, including as Maryland chairman for the Clinton-Gore presidential ticket in 1992.

Gibson’s extensive civic engagement includes serving on the Board of Trustees of the Maryland Historical Trust, as chair of the Commission to Coordinate the Study, Commemoration and Impact of the History and Legacy of Slavery in Maryland, and on the Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners. He also has researched, written, and designed numerous exhibits, articles, newspaper serial stories, and other presentations on the history of civil rights and African-American lawyers in Maryland.

Gibson was the principal advocate for the 2005 law passed by the Maryland General Assembly that renamed the regional airport BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. His 2012 book, Young Thurgood: The Making of a Supreme Court Justice, was the first to focus exclusively on Marshall’s formative years in Maryland.

In a 2012 Baltimore Sun article about the book, Gibson’s law partner and best friend, Ron Shapiro, said, “It takes people like Thurgood Marshall to change history by changing the law. And it takes people like Larry Gibson to use activism to implement those changes in the streets and homes and lives of African-Americans.” 

 Learn more about UMB’s Black History Month Celebration and read about all the 2019 Diversity Recognition Award winners.

Communications and Public AffairsCollaboration, Education, People, UMB News, University LifeFebruary 4, 20190 comments
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Nurse and elderly man spending time together

Workshop Offers Tools to Help Enhance Patient Outcomes

Are you aware of your patients’ ability to understand and act on the information you give them? There is evidence that health care providers overestimate what patients are able to understand. Low health literacy is associated with higher mortality, higher rates of hospitalization and readmission, and poor self-management skills for chronic disease.

To learn how to better communicate with patients, attend the Enhancing Patient Outcomes Through Clear Health Communication workshop on March 14, 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., or on April 23, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., at the Health Sciences and Human Services Library (HS/HSL), Classroom LL03.

Each workshop will cover the basics of health literacy, provide suggestions for putting difficult medical jargon into plain language, and introduce tools that will assist you in creating easy-to-read materials.

For details and to register, visit the HS/HSL workshop schedule webpage.

Lauren WheelerClinical Care, Community Service, Education, PeopleFebruary 4, 20190 comments
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