Legislative Budget Review
|University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) President Jay A. Perman, MD, and
other UMB leaders concluded two days of testimony before the Maryland
General Assembly in Annapolis on the University's Fiscal Year 2015 budget Feb.
20. In testimony to the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee's
Subcommittee on Education, Business and Administration, he expressed
support of University System of Maryland (USM) Chancellor William E. Kirwan's
budget request, and Maryland Governor
Martin O'Malley's budget. "Your investment in us enables us to
train what we estimate to be 60 percent of the state's doctors,
pharmacists, nurses, and other health care professionals."
Earlier in the 2014 legislative session, the General Assembly's Department of Legislative Services (DLS)
recommended that the legislature reduce the governor's higher education
budget, proposing a cut of $7 million from the roughly $1.2 billion
allocated to USM schools. Noting an uptick in tuition revenues, DLS
analysts suggested USM schools could fund employee's cost of living pay
increases without state assistance.
DLS policy analyst Sara Baker
apprised subcommittee members of some of the recent developments at
UMB. Baker told the subcommittee that professional and graduate school
student debt has affected career choices and cited a recent dip in
enrollment at the University of Maryland
Francis King Carey School of Law. She explained, however, that the
law school was taking measures to improve enrollment, including the
launch of a new Master of Law program aimed at non-legal
professionals. Baker also noted that $950,000 was allocated in
the FY 2015 budget for accreditation of the University
of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) - UMB Collaborative
School of Public Health, with the expectation of accepting students
in the fall of 2015.
UMB's Perman, along with Kathleen M.
Byington, MBA, chief administrative and financial officer and vice president,
appeared next, extolling the value of investment in UMB for all
Marylanders. "Your support of the Cigarette
Restitution Fund (CRF) has allowed us to protect, preserve, and grow
the Greenebaum Cancer Center (UMGCC)
as a leader in cancer prevention and treatment in the nation," he
said. "We believe that this investment has helped us reduce
cancer incidence and mortality in Maryland below the national average."
In 2000, the General Assembly created the CRF program with funding from
the 1998 Master Tobacco Settlement Agreement with the tobacco industry.
The goal of the program is to implement strategies to reduce the burden
of tobacco-related disease in Maryland, emphasizing tobacco use
prevention and cessation, and cancer prevention, early detection, and
Perman added that state investment, and the success it has enabled at
the UMGCC, has fostered a partnership with private industry to provide
another great resource for Marylanders, the Maryland
Proton Treatment Center (MPTC). "This will provide our citizens
with a cutting-edge radiation facility," Perman told the
subcommittee. Scheduled to open for patients at the University of Maryland BioPark
in 2015, the MPTC will allow University of Maryland School of Medicine
oncologists to treat even very difficult to reach cancers with greatly
reduced side effects.
State Senator Ulysses Currie (D-Prince
George's County), asked about the BioPark, and how businesses
based there support the University. "Many of them take advantage
of the proximity to the University," Perman explained, citing a UMB-led
team that recently secured a five-year, $6 million partnership with the
giant drug manufacturer MedImmune.
Perman also explained how the nearly two-year-old USM budget-supported
partnership with UMCP, The University of
Maryland, MPowering the State,
has flourished to the benefit of Maryland's economy. "Since
MPower was launched, technology licensing has grown by nearly 50
percent," he said.
Another example of a return on investment in MPower includes the Institute for Bioscience and
Biotechnology Research, in which UMB and UMCP partner with the
federal government's National Institute of
Standards and Technology (NIST) to leverage their collective
research strengths to foster integrated, cross-disciplinary team
approaches to scientific discovery and education, and to serve the
expanding economic base of biosciences and technology in the state of
Maryland and the nation. "We are committed to the research economy of
Montgomery County and the I-270 Corridor, and also to the surrounding
counties," Perman told the subcommittee. In similar fashion, MPower's Center for Excellence in Regulatory
Science and Innovation (M-CERSI) works closely with scientists at
the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
to modernize and improve the way drugs and medical devices are reviewed
The state's investment in higher education and the MPower collaboration
is also poised to offer Marylanders a powerful tool for the future of
healthcare: personalized medicine. The Center
for Health-Related Informatics and Bioimaging (CHIB) combines
College Park's computer science expertise with UMB's bioimaging
scientists. "Huge data sets emerge from our clinical care,"
Perman said, which will enable researchers to determine the most
effective treatments for patients. The research is already on the cusp
of extensive grants. "Our researchers have submitted more than $70
million in research proposals," he said.
But UMB's outreach to the state is not limited to its MPower partnership
with UMCP. As an example, Perman described for the subcommittee
UMB's collaboration with Anne Arundel Community
College, where students training to be physician assistants are
enrolled in a Master of Health Science curriculum, with much of the
coursework available online. A greater supply of well-trained physician
assistants is expected to be needed to fill in the gaps in health care
as more Americans are added to health insurance rolls in conjunction
with the Affordable
Even the manner in which health care professionals are trained is
changing at UMB. "Last year we established the Center for
Interprofessional Education with the intention that our students learn
to provide team-based care." The National Institutes
of Health (NIH) describes team-based care, wherein professionals
from various disciplines apply their expertise collaboratively, as a
critical element of primary care practice transformation.
Not only the future of Maryland higher education, but the health of
Marylanders is at stake, Perman told the subcommittee. "Any cut to the
budget means having to cut back from programs just as they are coming
to fruition for the state."
|Posting Date: 02/24/2014
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