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UMB President Reviews Actions to Promote Safety, Widen Collaboration

Jay A. Perman MD, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), urged members of the University community to avoid talking and texting on cellphones while walking on campus. "You make yourself a target," he told those gathered during his Q&A session on Jan. 22.

The session, held in the auditorium of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, also included a review of developments related to the initiative University of Maryland: MPowering the State.

On the subject of safety, Perman held up his own wallet to drive home a point. By displaying a phone, someone might as well be holding out a wallet to a would-be robber given the "very lucrative market" that has developed for stolen phones, he said.

Of nine robberies that occurred on the UMB campus during 2012, eight involved smart phones or cellphones. "We're a data-driven campus," he said, explaining the recent push to improve safety by curtailing public use of phones. Signs have been posted across campus, and people are asked to speak out when they see colleagues and classmates start to talk or text on the street.

"I need everybody's help," Perman told the group, going on to discuss more broadly the ways the University is bolstering public safety through increased resources for campus security.

UMB Police Chief Antonio Williams, MS, said 166 crimes occurred on campus during 2012, four more than in 2011. Of those incidents, 140 were thefts, and he urged people to be smart about leaving laptops and other valuables out in the open for the taking.

Williams urged people to be more alert to their surroundings, to wear their University identification badges so that strangers would be easier to notice, and to use the police escort service. "Bother us, please," he said, encouraging people to notify police of suspicious activity or to request an officer to escort students and staff to their destinations.

University faculty, staff, and students can call for a police escort by dialing 410-706-6882. Walking escorts within the campus area are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Williams also reviewed the steps the University is taking to increase resources and promote safety. Perman recently described some of the details in a statement. Williams also suggested those seeking information about crime and tactics may visit the Web page of the UM Police Force.

Perman also presented a general overview of progress on the University of Maryland: MPowering the State initiative, UMB's pioneering and structured collaboration with the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP).

  • UM Ventures, which combines the technology transfer/commercialization functions of the two universities, is an effort to take discoveries and innovations from campus laboratories to the marketplace. James L. Hughes, MBA, has been named director of UM Ventures, but is continuing in his capacity as UMB's chief enterprise and economic development officer and vice president.
  • The Center for Health-Related Informatics and BioImaging will have space in the Health Sciences and Human Services Library at UMB. The new center combines advanced computing resources at UMCP with clinical data and biomedical expertise at UMB. It could soon revolutionize the efficiency and effectiveness of health care in the state of Maryland and beyond, Perman said.
  • The Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI) is a partnership of the School of Pharmacy at UMB and the A. James Clark School of Engineering at College Park. CERSI involves students as well as faculty and is funded by a $3 million grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to upgrade and modernize regulatory sciences.
  • Leadership of both campuses and the University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Service have formed a partnership with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene called the Institute for a Healthiest Maryland. It emphasizes the study and learning about links between obesity and health and will be focusedý in rural counties, said Perman. The institute is supported by a $10 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Perman said that the two campuses are continuing their joint competitive Seed Grant Program for research. It fosters teams of investigators crossing disciplinary boundaries and campuses, establishes research foci capable of resulting in preliminary data relevant to future public health improvements and potential commercialization, and fosters collaborations between junior and senior investigators.
  • Accreditation is being sought for a collaborative school of public health, which will combine the strengths of the School of Public Health in College Park with the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the School of Medicine in Baltimore. "From a student perspective that will be very beneficial," Perman said of a combined Master of Public Health program at each campus.
  • He also said that MPowering the State includes shared use of the libraries across the two campuses.
Posting Date: 01/23/2013
Contact Name: Patricia Fanning
Contact Phone: 410-707-7946
Contact Email: pfanning@umaryland.edu