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UMB Takes Homeland Security Expertise to Capitol Hill

The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), boasts a wide array of experts among faculty, staff, and students, while also producing research that contributes to medical breakthroughs, best practices, and future educational courses on a daily basis. Among those who could benefit from the university's work are federal lawmakers. On July 16, 2014, the University's Office of Government and Community Affairs held a briefing for congressional staff to help answer the question "How Can UMB Help You Prepare for the Next Big Threat?"

The first in a quarterly series of presentations to bring UMB expertise to Capitol Hill, this session focused on important issues in homeland security and emergency preparedness. Bruce Jarrell, MD, FAS, chief academic and research officer and UMB senior vice president, opened the briefing by identifying accomplishments at the University related to protecting citizens in the event of a natural or man-made disaster. From the Center for Vaccine Development to the R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center's response to mass casualties, the University houses a vast pool of knowledge that could enlighten future congressional decisions.


Four experts from UMB joined Jarrell to discuss their specific work: Michael Greenberger, JD, founder and director of the University of Maryland Center for Health and Homeland Security (CHHS); Christopher Webster, JD, senior law and policy analyst at CHHS; Markus Rauschecker, JD, senior law and policy analyst at CHHS; and Thomas MacVittie, PhD, University of Maryland School of Medicine, departments of radiation oncology and pathology.


CHHS opened with just one employee in 2002, following a need for legal analysis and policy development surrounding critical post-9/11 emergency response changes. Today, the center employs more than 50 professionals on close to 90 contracts world-wide, and has developed five law and policy courses at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. "We are very fortunate to be at this campus," Greenberger emphasized while introducing the center to participants. "There is a lot of exciting work going on at [UMB], and a lot of expertise."


Among the center's inter-disciplinary focus ranging from emergency management planning to public health preparedness, cybersecurity and interoperability were highlighted during the briefing. Rauschecker outlined cybersecurity issues he saw as future hot topics, which he said will need to be addressed sooner rather than later by congress in order to maintain privacy as well as security for citizens, government, and private business alike. Webster discussed the need for a nationwide broadband network, in the works through FirstNet, to put digital data and resources directly into the hands of first responders. Through the Maryland Statewide Interoperability Program Management Office, CHHS is conducting outreach efforts as this network and its governance develops over the next several years.


As an internationally recognized expert on the effects of radiation, MacVittie explained to congressional staffers the importance of being able to treat lethal doses of radiation in the event of a nuclear terrorist attack. Medical Countermeasures Against Radiological Threats, a program within the UM School of Medicine, is addressing hurdles in the process taking products from initial efficacy screening stages through FDA-approved licensure.

Following the briefing, several Congressional staffers approached the speakers to learn more.The session was a first step in building a relationship that puts UMB on the map as a resource for preparing our nation for future disasters.
Posting Date: 07/21/2014
Contact Name: Danielle Lueking
Contact Phone: 410-706-3985
Contact Email: dlueking@law.umaryland.edu