Strategic Plan Successes

In an effort to facilitate communication regarding the strategic plan's successes, we are posting our success stories. We hope you find this informative.

Procedures Library Opens - July 2015 

With the implementation phase of the University’s 2011-2016 strategic plan now in its final year, we have another success story to report.

Few things at work are more frustrating than being unable to place your hands on a particular form or piece of information that is needed. You know it exists; you just don’t know WHERE.

Now, thanks to the work group overseeing the strategic plan theme to “create an enduring and responsible financial model for the University,” there is a one-stop place, the Procedure Library, to simplify the search for routine UMB business processes. New, easy-to-use procedures are being developed, easing frustration and improving efficiency.

When complete, “the Procedures Library will allow employees to gather information and access appropriate forms of all kinds,” says Shannon Dawkins Wrenn, JD, policy specialist, who is coordinating this effort. “For example, an investigator could gather information on how to hire a graduate assistant, relocate a biosafety cabinet, and process a sole source procurement through a single search location, among other procedures.”

At this time, the library contains standard operating procedures for the Office of Environmental Health and Safety. The next unit to go online is Management Advisory Services, which is scheduled this month. Thereafter, expect to see new department procedures added approximately every 60 to 90 days.

The Procedures Library’s roots date to the work group responsible for the strategic plan theme to “create an enduring and responsible financial model for the University” led by Kathleen M. Byington, MBA, chief administrative and financial officer and vice president, and Louisa A. Peartree, MBA, senior associate dean for finance and resource management and chief financial officer at the School of Medicine. One of the work group’s broad objectives was to enhance standard operating procedures for all routine business processes for users that will be paperless, where appropriate, and utilize best practices.

So a Business Process subcommittee was formed in July 2012 with co-chairs Anthony Bibbo, MBA, senior administrator, Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, and John Jensen, director, Central Administration Support Services, Facilities Management. The subcommittee set out to understand the most pressing needs and priorities for the University community. Utilizing town halls and focus groups, the group heard a call from users for a centralized, one-stop shop virtual system.

One of Wrenn’s first initiatives was to tackle the development of a centralized resource of standard operating procedures for all central services business processes. In addition, what would become the Procedures Library had to be an easy, searchable tool capable of connecting customers on campus with dependable support services ensuring efficient and seamless operations.

“Incorporating information acquired through feedback sessions consisting of the UMB end user community and other stakeholders over a period of several months, we developed a prototype for the proposed website,” says Wrenn. After a series of usability testing with select users, the Procedures Library went live on May 15, 2015.

This initiative has far more impact than just making information available online. It will serve to ensure uniformity across the University, address compliance issues, and increase our institutional effectiveness and efficiencies. It also will serve to foster UMB’s core values of accountability, collaboration, excellence, knowledge, and leadership.

“The University has succeeded in the past with each employee training their successor, or the new person hired in the office next door, in ‘how things are done around here.’ We are too big and our mission is too critical to continue that way into the future,” Byington says. “Standard business processes, documented and accessible to anyone at the University, will allow our staff to more quickly do the vast majority of everyday functions, leaving more time to focus on solving challenges that are truly unique.”

To learn more, visit the Procedure Library or contact Shannon Dawkins Wrenn.


UMB Web Gets Major Upgrade - October 2014 

Words like better, easier, compatible, and flexible and phrases such as saves time and money, and accessibility compliant are being used to describe the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s new content management system (CMS), which is being launched in the next few weeks.

Enhanced two-way communication is a fundamental element in the University strategic plan. The new CMS (TERMINALFOUR) joins the launch of The Elm in September 2013, the University’s mobile app the month before, and the University’s common calendar in May 2014 as huge steps by the Office of Communications and Public Aairs (CPA) to achieve its strategic plan goals. The CMS falls under the strategic plan goal to improve visibility and reputation of the UMB brand.

Amir Chamsaz, MS, heads the CPA team that for several months has led a Universitywide effort to enhance, streamline, and migrate UMB’s 17,610 web pages to the new system.

Previously UMB schools and administrative units all used dierent content management systems that supported various programming languages. Now, the whole University will use the same CMS, which, like a computer United Nations, can understand different programming languages and applications, resulting in cost savings and increased effciency. 

“The new system has many advantages,” says Chamsaz, CPA’s managing director of web development and interactive media. “Ease of use, flexibility, integrated marketing, workflow processes, standardization of guidelines, and content consistency, for starters. In addition, it will provide advanced features such as a tool that tells us how compliant we are in following accessibility standards outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act, for instance. It is a major upgrade.”

One of the advanced features automatically contacts a manager for one-click sign-off when new web content is ready to be approved. Previously, this procedure required a string of emails between manager and web person.

The University’s Center for Information Technology Services (CITS) team worked with TERMINALFOUR (T4) on the cloud hosting component that offers advantages, such as:  

•   lower University IT costs for hardware and software   

•   fast upgrades as needed without new infrastructure or additional IT staff  

•   protection against computer hacking and viruses. Companies that provide cloud hosting have invested a signicant amount of time and resources toward  security and infrastructure.  

•   data backup and recovery are handled by the vendor

This is the largest content migration in the University’s 207-year history. In addition to changing the CMS, Chamsaz’s team redesigned and reorganized the information architecture of the websites.

Chamsaz is proud of the new CMS’ “ease of use and the capability to create custom modules called content types that allow end users to add things such as image galleries and embedded videos to their websites without much technical knowledge.”

Chamsaz lauds “the invaluable assistance” he has received from CPA web colleagues Clare Banks, MFA, Steve Bossom, Jonah Penne, and Libby Sanders, MS, as well as CITS’ Kathryn Heilman, who worked extensively with CPA. The Offce of Communications and Public Affairs is also grateful to those  who provided cross-campus support for this project, especially the CMS web leadership team that represents all the schools.

Jennifer B. Litchman, MA, chief communications officer, vice president, and special assistant to the president, sees the CMS as a major step forward for the University.

“The research, design, and implementation of the T4 content management system was a Herculean task,” she says. “I’m  very proud of how Amir and his team have collaborated with colleagues across the University to make this transition as efficient as possible.

”If you see a problem once the new CMS goes live, please contact the communications web team at

Research HARBOR Grows - September 2014 

Success stories abound from the University’s 2011-2016 strategic plan. Occasionally in The President’s Message, we bring them to you. The following is an update on the November 2013 success story on the Research HARBOR.

Sometimes it takes others to show you how far you have to go to reach your goal. Maybe it’s a high school athlete who wants to be an Olympian or a PhD student who aspires to be a senior scientist.

Such was the case when the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s Research HARBOR (Helping Advance Research By OrganizingResources) hosted a symposium in April 2014 featuring nationally renowned leaders from the Vanderbilt University Office of Research Informatics. The guests shared their expertise and portal, StarBRITE, in a presentation at the Southern Management Corporation Campus Center attended by roughly 60 researchers from all UMB schools.

“StarBRITE, Vanderbilt’s biomedical research integration,translation, and education portal, serves as an exemplar for what UMB’s Research HARBOR could grow to become,” says Kathryn Lothschuetz Montgomery, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, associate dean for strategic partnerships at the School of Nursing and one ofthe leaders of the achieving pre-eminence as an innovatorcommittee of the strategic plan.

The symposium showed the UMB attendees the potential of the Research HARBOR, and informatics activities across the campus, as well as joint opportunities with UMB’s primary MPowering partner, the University of Maryland, College Park. The enthusiastic response to the symposium supplies further evidence that the HARBOR is in the process of becoming an important UMB commodity.

Called a “one-stop shop for informatics research support needs,” by Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS, chief academic and research officer and senior vice president at UMB, the Research HARBOR is actively engaged in usability testing and creating procedures and processes for campus researchers desiring entrance to HARBOR resources. “Navigating the many data resources, research support resources such as statistics support, and the many regulatory requirements is complexand certainly not consolidated in one location,” Jarrell adds. “As the first step, the Research HARBOR aims to aggregate these resources.”

Institutional Review Board-approved studies are using the capabilities of the HARBOR right now. As an educational tool, existing informatics course materials for UMB students will becomepart of the Research HARBOR. Also, and in collaboration with the University of Maryland Medical System, the data sources available to access are expanding. Resources available in addition to access rights to the Research HARBOR include study design support, data mining, and analytics through experts in the School ofMedicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, where the Research HARBOR is based.

The number of UMB schools using the HARBOR also is expanding. “In our efforts to strengthen the fabric of society, social work has an interest in understanding health equities and identifying vulnerable populations or underserved communities; the HARBOR provides the resources to advance this work,” says Bethany Lee, PhD, MSW, associate dean for research at the School of Social Work.

Lee also is encouraged that the HARBOR is expanding UMB’s capacity and infrastructure for supporting “big data” projects — that is data too large and complex to manipulate with standard methods or tools. This is an evolving area in science and in health care that presents new security and privacy issues.

Frank Pasquale, JD, professor at the Francis King Carey School of Law, recently was named to the national Council for Big Data, Ethics, and Society, which works in collaboration with the National Science Foundation to provide critical social and cultural perspectives on big data initiatives.

“We are particularly well-positioned to make fundamental contributions to the development of the learning health care system and interprofessional use of big data here at UMB,” Pasquale says.

A strategic plan work group and invited guests will hold a fall forum on Oct. 28 to examine the current practices from national and state “thought leaders” and work on developing UMB recommendations.

“We hope to provide leadership in shaping our use of big data and contribute to shaping the national standards for its use and governance,” Montgomery says of the forum, which will include national leaders on health privacy and security. “A work group has been formed to design the necessary data security and safeguards for privacy, which will be further informed by the fall forum.”

Thanks to ongoing commitment from campus leadership, providing strategic planning funding and other dollars, the University is making major headway with its Research HARBOR. Expect to hear more about this important resource-intensive initiative in the months to come.

Addressing Accountability - April 2014 

On its face value alone, the State of the University Address President Jay A. Perman, MD, will give on April 24 is a major accomplishment. It is the first such address in a quarter century at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB).

The address also is a great leap forward for UMB’s 2011-2016 strategic plan. One of the metrics, or objective measures, of the strategic plan’s theme to “Foster a Culture of Accountability and Transparency” is to have “the Office of the President annually disseminate the President’s State of the University report to the University community.

”That will happen in the School of Nursing auditorium when Perman will discuss what the University as a whole has achieved in the past year.

The address is not the only progress made in the theme to “Foster a Culture of Accountability and Transparency.”

Perman also formally approved the creation of the Office of Accountability and Compliance and named Roger Ward, EdD, JD, MPA, the University’s chief accountability officer, in addition to his duties as vice president of academic affairs and vice dean of the Graduate School.

Under Ward’s direction, the Office of Accountability and Compliance is leading an effective enterprise riskmanagement (ERM) structure that identifies, prioritizes, and mitigates issues that can adversely affect UMB in all of its operational areas. The ERM initiative connects functional area leaders across the campus and has produced a list of priorities that align with initiatives under the strategic plan.

To sustain and support these and other activities, this office is investing in resources to educate and develop University employees in areas such as conflict of interest, research integrity, and Title IX compliance.

“We are proud of what our efforts are producing regarding the strategic theme of ‘Foster a Culture of Accountabilityand Transparency,’” says Ward, who is co-chair of the theme with Peter N. Gilbert, MSF, chief operating officer and senior vice president. “This involves every school and central administrative unit within the institution. We will be unable to achieve our strategic priorities without taking a broad and earnest look at how we operate as an institution. So we need to look objectively at those things the University can do better.”

This pursuit of improvement also ties into some of the theme’s other goals such as “develop a training program to make accountability a personal obligation” and “define, promote, and reward excellent service.”

Ward expects members of the UMB community to continue to play a role in this transformation. “Connecting as seven schools | one University on the issue of accountability requires each of us to embrace and perceive accountability and compliance as an essential management activity that leads to organizational improvement,” he says.

Promoting Diversity - February 2014 

José Bahamonde-González, JD, smiles often as associate dean t the Francis King Carey School of Law. But if you really want to see him beam, bring up the Open House that the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) held in April 2013.

The fact that the event envisioned by the President’s Diversity Advisory Council (DAC), which Bahamonde-González chairs, drew more than 700 prospective students to the campus in its first year was satisfaction enough. But his day really was made when a colleague came running up and said, “José, José, José, you have to meet this family. They flew in all the way from Puerto Rico!”

For Bahamonde-González, who was born in Cuba, raised inPuerto Rico since the age of 2 and, thus, considers himself Puerto Rican, it was proof that his work with the DAC waspaying big dividends.

“I couldn’t believe it! You don’t know with social media where your message is going to end up,” says Bahamonde-González, recalling the family from Puerto Rico. “Their daughter was interested in physical therapy or pharmacy. I did try to encourage her to go to the law school [where he oversees administrative affairs and compliance] to no avail. Nevertheless, clearly the Open House was a success.”

It also led to UMB receiving a 2013 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) national award. “Not onlywere we able to attract a large number of talented and diverse future applicants, but as a team we succeeded in promoting UMB as one University with seven schools, with diversity as one of its core values,” Bahamonde-González says.

In addition to being one of UMB’s core values, promoting diversity and a culture of inclusion also is a theme of the University’s 2011-2016 strategic plan. Theme co-chair Roger Ward, EdD. JD, MPA, who is UMB’s chief accountability officer and vice president of academic affairs, shares Bahamonde-González’s pride in the HEED award. “HEED recognizes institutions that are committed to diversity and have an agenda to move forward in that regard.”

UMB certainly qualifies in that respect, especially now that the strategic plan diversity team is partnering with the DAC.

Among the tactics moving forward in the strategic plan are “assign to the President’s Diversity Advisory Council oversight and support of the diversity and inclusion initiatives” and “appoint in each school a senior administrator or faculty member to liaise with the Diversity Advisory Council on diversity and inclusion initiatives.”

Step one has been completed, with the DAC, for instance, making recommendations for Diversity Recognition Awards that were given out at UMB’s Black History Month celebration this month, and step two is under way.

“Dr. Perman’s vision is to have a diverse, inclusive campus,”Ward says. “The Diversity Advisory Council and the strategic plan group are working toward the same end, but using different and complementary strategies. What the liaisons do is bring some coordination to some of these strategies.”

Bahamonde-González also credits President Perman for the growth of diversity and inclusion on campus. In particular, he recalls October 2012 when Perman accepted a health care leadership award from the Baltimore Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America only under the condition that he be allowed to speak against the organization’s then-opposition to openly gay children and adults. Bahamonde-González, who at Perman’s request set up a meeting with a group of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students at UMB todiscuss his plans, was invited to the award ceremony. “Dr.Perman got a standing ovation,” he recalls. With help fromthe DAC, Perman “turned something that could have been explosive into a phenomenal, wonderful, positive thing.”

The rest of UMB’s leadership team also has been very supportive of diversity and inclusion, which UMB defines very broadly, including diversity of thought and experiences, says Ward, who is joined as co-chair of the strategic plan theme by UMB Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President Peter N. Gilbert, MSF. Two other strategic plan tactics to “include promotion of diversity and inclusion among performance criteria in the reviews of all University leaders” and “promote diversity among faculty and leadership” have been well-received and are just a start, Ward says.

“We begin with the leaders because if your leadership thinks something is important, it will get attention and resources,” Ward says. “But once we have the leaders’ support, absolutely there are things that others at every level of the organization can do, especially as it relates to creating that positive environment. They are ambassadors for the institution. Students don’t encounter me on a daily basis. But they encounter those folks. It’s the people out there who are demonstrating the values, who make it work.”

However, Ward isn’t ready to say UMB is where it needs to bein diversity and inclusion.

“At the executive level on the academic side, we are well-represented with deans such as Phoebe Haddon and Natalie Eddington [both African-Americans] and Al Reece [born in Jamaica],” says Ward, who is from Trinidad and Tobago and is UMB’s first minority vice president. “But when you look lower down, when you look at tenured faculty and you look at race and gender, it’s not where we need to be for an institution with our standing and aspirations. So we have an issue there and we must actively seek to address it. We also have an issue in some schools’ enrollment of under-represented minorities. You can’t just sit back and say you’re committed to diversity and inclusion; you have to go out and find those good and qualified students and be pro-active about getting them to come here.”

But he and Bahamonde-González are confident UMB willcontinue to grow in this area — in time.

“The theme says our goal is to promote diversity and a culture of inclusion,” says Ward. “It takes time to change a culture. Early in the strategic plan process, Dr. Steve Bartlett [co-chair of the plan’s formative phase] kept asking, ‘How will we know once we get there?’ in regard to diversity and inclusion. This isn’t something you can simply check off. It’s a process. So for people who are looking for immediate results, that’s not what’s going to happen. It takes time, it takes a commitment, it takes resources. We have to keep working at it."

Signs of Progress - January 2014 

The task was formidable: to create a sense of identity for  University located in the heart of downtown, without cordoning it off from the city housing its 71-acre campus.

The solution took some time, but with help from its strategic plan work groups, its schools, and some of its many partners, the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) has carried out the first phase of a signage project that more clearly defines what and where UMB is.

“The signs help us to create this community and sense of place. They also are important so people know where they are going and which buildings are which,” says Angela Fowler-Young, MRP, director of capital budget and planning at UMB and co-chair of the strategic plan theme of “Creating a Dynamic University Community.” “The signage also is starting to mark our boundaries within the city of Baltimore. Many people have commented on the gateway pylons along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard; the deans already have asked that we look into putting those kinds of signs along the east and south edges of the campus as well.”

“We have been getting great feedback,” says Laura Kozak, MA, assistant vice president of the Office of Communicationsand Public Affairs (CPA) and co-chair of the signage project with Fowler-Young. “The new signs help to showcase who we are to our external constituents and that we are neighbors. Internally, the new signs are helping to build our UMB pride.

”The signs can be found outside UMB buildings, on University vehicles including the UM shuttle, on walking paths, in Plaza Park, on light poles, fliers, and tablecloths, and more. The signs include several styles, several sizes, and can be made of permanent or temporary materials. They can announce events or direct visitors or patients. But ALL of them bear the same type fonts and colors.

“When people are riding or walking down the street, they see the black sign with the red and white letters and they know, ‘A-ha, it’s a University of Maryland, Baltimore building!’” says Fowler-Young. “It’s a positive feeling for patients, visitors, and employees alike. The signs excite and energize students and staff and help create a vibrant, well-cared-for environment, which reduces anxiety for patients. Signage is just a piece of a larger effort to ‘Create a Dynamic University Community,’ but it’s an important piece.

”The signage also ties into the strategic plan’s “EnhancedTwo-Way Communications” goal of “improve the visibility and reputation of the University of Maryland brand.”

“Our students, faculty, and staff are our brand and deliver a brand experience to our community through our advertising, marketing, public relations, customer service, and visual identity,” says Mike Ruddock, director of branding communications in CPA. “When our community constituents interpret the UMB brand experience favorably, it builds our reputation and name recognition.” (For more on this, watch our UMB branding video.)

Although the signage is contemporary with its crisp new look and Davidge pillared logo that was unveiled in May 2011, the campaign’s roots extend back to 2002, when a sign plan was developed and approved — but not funded. Fowler-Young, who was part of that original development team, admits she was “a little dubious” when the topic of signage was again raised in 2012. “But with a new president and leadership team came the understanding that branding and place-making are important.

“I think the strategic plan has challenged the deans, vice presidents, and the entire University community to focuson issues and opportunities that cross traditional school boundaries; an example is exterior signage,” she says. “It really is something that improves and enhances the entire campus. We were waiting for more than 10 years forfunding for signage; so I think it is fair to say that without the strategic plan the exterior signage would not have happened.”

Funding for the current signage was a group effort with UMB schools, the Office of Communications and Public Affairs, and the University of Maryland Medical Center contributing. The strategic plan’s Executive Implementation Committee voted unanimously to approve a $30,000 allotment for Fiscal Year 2014, which will go toward designing the next phase of the signage campaign — way-finding. This is an incremental system where signage steers drivers toward UMB garages and guides pedestrians to and from mass transit to University buildings.

“We’re working with the city and state on proper phrasing for highway and city trailblazer signs to get people to the University campus,” says Fowler-Young. "Then the University’s way-finding program will take over.”

The signage committee, which in addition to Fowler-Young, Kozak, and Ruddock includes Luke Mowbray of capital planning and Terry Morse, Anthony Consoli, and Andre’ Butler of UMB’s Architecture, Engineering and Construction area, also is working to remove outdated signage and develop large-scale branding opportunities.

“The committee is comprised of a lot of talented people,” Kozak says, “and we couldn’t accomplish what we have without all of their contributions.”

Fowler-Young is proud of the group’s progress. “You go someplaces and they have these dull, ugly, brown signs,” she says. “Ours are vibrant, and convey a sense that we’re proud of where we are, we’re proud of what we do. That UMB is a good place to be, for students, patients, faculty, and staff."

GCA Is a Quiet Power - December 2013 

The Office of Government and Community Affairs (GCA) is much like the Oscar nominee lauded as “best in a supporting role.” For the GCA staff and its student interns toil quietly behind the scenes, promoting members and causes of theUniversity of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) community.

Government and community affairs was identified as one of four “fundamental elements” in the 2011-2016 UMB strategic plan — areas that underpin, facilitate, and form the foundation of UMB’s operations. “Many people think our duties are confined to the General Assembly session each year,” says government relations specialist Rachel Tabakman, MA, “but our government affairs role goes far beyond that, let alone what Brian Sturdivant and his community outreach team do.”

Indeed, GCA is a major player in Annapolis. During the 2013 session, GCA tracked more than 780 bills that could impact UMB or its partners, and it guided testimony at more than 80 hearings during the 90-day session. But GCA’s growing responsibilities outside the state capital led to the recurring $125,250 strategic plan funding in Fiscal Year 2013 that, among other things, created Tabakman’s position.

“Rachel’s addition will allow us to develop new pipelines of opportunities,” says Kevin Kelly, JD, director of government affairs. “Furthermore, she is focusing on developing advocacy strategies on federal policy issues that support our mission, such as student financial aid and research funding. Her presence will allow us to be more proactive with our major association partners in Washington, D.C.”

Another part of GCA’s strategic plan goal to “identify, build, and strengthen the University’s relationships with elected and appointed officials at the federal level” was having a federal consultant meet with UMB deans one-on-one to discuss a desired federal agenda.

That same goal led GCA to assist in organizing two joint events featuring students and pharmacists from the School of Pharmacy’s Maryland P3 (Patients, Pharmacists, Partnerships) Program and Congressman John Sarbanes. The medication therapy management events, held in May at the Pascal Senior Center in Glen Burnie and the Praisner Community Center in Burtonsville, offered free blood pressure screenings, medication consultations, and comprehensive medication reviews.

“I am very pleased to sponsor events like this with the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy,” said Sarbanes. “I often hear from seniors who struggle to keep track of their medications .Pharmacists can provide a critical service and drastically improve health outcomes.”

GCA also is making progress in pursuing its strategic plan goal to “raise visibility of University profile by providing expertise to federal, state, and local officials and key collaborators.” It assisted in obtaining faculty appointments to serve on several state agency and legislative work groups; worked with the School of Pharmacy to provide recommendations to federal elected officials on the Pharmaceutical Compounding Quality and Accountability Act; and arranged visits to UMB by state legislators and the City Council and visits by faculty to Capitol Hill.

For instance, when Governor Martin O’Malley appointed 17 members to the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Council, he included three from UMB: Banghwa Casado,PhD, MSW, School of Social Work; Karen Kauffman, PhD, CRNP-BC, FAAN, School of Nursing; and David Loreck, MD, School of Medicine.

“I think people would be surprised at the range of issues that GCA touches,” says Kelly. “It is never the same, which makes it exciting.”

Barbara Klein, MPA, chief government and community affairs officer and associate vice president, is retiring this month after serving UMB for 17 years. She is confident sheis leaving GCA in good hands.

“I am very pleased that the strategic plan has afforded the University the ability to promote the incredible expertise of our faculty with the Maryland delegation members and key federal agencies,” she says. “Kevin Kelly and Rachel Tabakman are building a strong foundation that will create robust relationships and new opportunities for UMB.”

Research's 'One-Stop Shop' - November 2013 

If there were a ship sailing on the University’s new Research HARBOR, she would have to be named Streamline because that is what this strategic plan initiative is all about. Part of the theme to achieve pre-eminence as an innovator, the Research HARBOR provides a centralized hub through which researchers at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) can move full speed ahead.

“It’s a one-stop shop for research support needs,” says Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS, chief academic and research officer andsenior vice president at UMB. “Navigating the many data resources, research support resources such as statistics support, and the many regulatory requirements is complex and certainlynot consolidated in one location. As the first step, the Research HARBOR aims to aggregate these resources together.

”Based in the School of Medicine’s Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH), the Research HARBOR seeks to live up to its acronym (Helping Advance Research By Organizing Resources). Using the consolidated HARBOR, UMB researchers and their staff will be able to access a data warehouse, identify and access research support resources, tools and services, find experts, access regulatory support, and much more.

“The HARBOR can advance our capacity and agility in response to complex research questions and allow for exploration of hunches or pilot projects rapidly,” says Kathryn Lothschuetz Montgomery, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, associate dean for strategic partnerships at the School of Nursing and one of the leaders of the achieving pre-eminence as an innovator committee. “The HARBOR makes ‘idea to innovation’ a shorter journey, increases the capacity for meaningful collaboration using the most advanced methods and design, generates innovations faster, and dovetails with potential for greater scientific impact in the literature and media as wellas commercialization."

Imagine arriving as a new UMB faculty member and wanting to either launch a program of research (the case for junior faculty) or move an active program of research without losing productivity (the case of senior researchers recruited to UMB). The Research HARBOR provides a central virtual space in which to identify potential collaborators, gain access to data, access research support, and find educational and career development opportunities at all levels. The HARBOR’s centralization of assets into a single portal will increase the ease and efficiency with which researchers can make those critical connections to accelerate research success.

The strategic plan’s Executive Implementation Committee showed its commitment to the Research HARBOR in Fiscal Year 2013 by awarding it $400,000 in one-time funds and arecurring $250,000.

The HARBOR has its roots in the Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) and is the brainchild of Kathleen Tracy, PhD, associate professor and vice chair of research services in EPH and one of the achieving pre-eminence as an innovator committee members. With encouragementfrom E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, vice president for medical affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, and CTSI co-directors Stephen Davis, MBBS, chair of the Department of Medicine, and Alan Shuldiner, MD, associate dean for personalized and genomic medicine, Tracy and her partners are taking the Research HARBOR from a dream to reality.

Montgomery is quick to point out that the theme to achieve pre-eminence as an innovator is about more than the Research HARBOR. Educating the health, human, and legal services work force of the state, working with the University of Maryland Medical System to develop an innovative integrated health care delivery model and research enterprise, and promoting a culture in which innovation and scholarship are the focus are all parts of the theme as well.

But the Research HARBOR is a big step forward.

Says Jarrell: “As we make progress on aggregating these resources, the next step is to provide advice and assistance to investigators, staff, and students as they design and execute their project. Ultimately we would like for the HARBOR to be able to help guide an investigator through all kinds of studies. That is how we at UMB will become more innovative.”

The committee members urge patience. “The Research HARBOR has the initial building blocks in place, but maintaining the resource with new data and technologies will be an ongoing task,” says Owen White, PhD, director of bioinformatics at the Institute for Genome Sciences and professor in EPH.

Continue to look for announcements and updates about the HARBOR in the coming weeks.

Engaging the Community - October 2013 

Taking something good and making it better is one of the overarching goals of the strategic plan at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB). This certainly rings true for UMB’s new Center for Community Engagement (CCE) and its director, Jane Lipscomb, PhD, RN, MS, FAAN, professor in the schools of nursing and medicine at UMB.

The new CCE not only will allow UMB to expand its service and educational opportunities in West Baltimore, but it will be an opportunity for personal growth, Lipscomb says.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to apply much of what I have learned as a community-based researcher to enhance student learning and service while they pursue health profession education at UMB,” says Lipscomb. “Faculty, staff, and students have done and continue to do great work with our West Baltimore partners. Community/university partnerships with local schools and through the Promise Heights initiative are just two examples of how the University is working to positively impact our community.

“The goal of the new center is to identify and facilitate opportunities for synergy across schools and initiatives and ultimately enhance the impact of this work in our Baltimore community. This will be especially helpful to our community partners. Imagine you’re running a school and would like your students to benefit from the University of Maryland Hospital for Children’s Breathmobile, the School of Dentistry’s Give Kids a Smile Day, and the D.A.R.E. drug prevention program run by the campus police. Once the CCE is up and running, you’ll be able to make one call to find information on all of these resources,” says Lipscomb.

Based on the third floor of the Southern Management Corporation Campus Center, the CCE will pursue that goal by coordinating and enhancing student, faculty, and staff involvement in community engaged service, learning, and research. Among the activities planned is maintaining a communications portal for UMB-supported community-based service, developing criteria for evaluating the impact of center activities, and developing and administering a public scholar award and a pilot grant program.

Lipscomb, UMB’s 2008 Research Lecturer of the Year, brings impressive credentials to the new center. She is recognized internationally for her expertise in occupational and environmental health. Her research has attracted more than $10 million in funding since she joined the University. Prior to joining UMB in 1997, Lipscomb was a senior scientist at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

The Center for Community Engagement, which in Fiscal Year 2013 received a recurring $71,000 in strategic plan funding, falls under the theme to develop local and global initiatives that address critical issues. One of the theme’s goals is to strengthen UMB’s social integration with local and global communities by supporting genuine and sustainable partnerships. This builds on the community engagement work previously being done by the President’s Outreach Council. In addition, now that the outreach council will be part of the CCE, it will benefit from the additional resources devoted to local initiatives.

Among the partnerships the CCE will strengthen are interdisciplinary ones at UMB with the Center for Global Education Initiatives and the Center for Interprofessional Education. Lipscomb and the center’s associate director, Lisa Rawlings, MBA, former head of work force initiatives at the BioPark, are excited by UMB’s latest collaborative venture.

“We see the Center for Community Engagement not only as a way to leverage our faculty’s and students’ creativity and passion in working with our community,” says Rawlings, “but also a way for our community to engage with and inform the University on the critical issues that affect all of us.”

IDR Grants Awarded - September 2013 

A hallmark of the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) strategic plan is “excelling at interdisciplinary research” by promoting the goal of “seven schools | one University” working together to answer critical questions that impact human health and well-being. The first step toward attaining this goal came about with the successful awarding of the 2013 UMB Pilot & Exploratory Interdisciplinary Research (IDR) seed grants to faculty teams in July. The IDR project is an outgrowth of the strategic plan tactic to “identify, assess, enhance, and support interdisciplinary research programs.”

Choosing just four projects from among the 38 submitted proposals was not an easy task for the IDR Committee and its two co-chairs, Carroll Ann Trotman, BDS, MA, MS, formerprofessor and associate dean for academic affairs at the Schoolof Dentistry, and E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, theUniversity’s vice president for medical affairs and the John Z.and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and dean of theSchool of Medicine.

“It was wonderful to receive so many collaborativeinterdisciplinary applications for the four grant awardsavailable,” says Trotman, who left UMB in late August tobecome chair of orthodontics at Tufts University School ofDental Medicine and will be replaced as IDR Committeeco-chair by Mark A. Reynolds, DDS, PhD, MA, interim deanof the School of Dentistry. “Dean Reece and I truly expect thatthese awards, together with future IDR initiatives that are partof the strategic plan and its implementation process, will primethe pump for interdisciplinary research across the schools.”

The IDR grants will pay $75,000 each over two years. Each ofthe funded projects represents new collaborations across UMB.

For their project titled “Development of an Intervention toMinimize Financial Burden at the End of Life,” six investigatorsfrom four schools will combine talents: John Cagle, PhD,MSW, and Jodi Jacobson Frey, PhD, MSW, of the School ofSocial Work; Jack Guralnik, MD, PhD, MPH, of the School ofMedicine; Anita Tarzian, PhD, RN, of the Francis King CareySchool of Law; and Ilene Zuckerman, PharmD, PhD, andBruce Stuart, PhD, of the School of Pharmacy. The researchersplan to identify factors that may negatively impact financialsecurity at the end of life and develop an intervention to helpsupport families in need.

Garry Myers, PhD, of the School of Medicine, and PatrikBavoil, PhD, of the School of Dentistry, will study theessential and non-essential genes ofChlamydia trachomatis,the bacterium that causes one of the most common sexuallytransmitted infections. They hope this research will lead to thedevelopment of aChlamydiavaccine.

Bogdan Stoica, MD, of the School of Medicine, and FengtianXue, PhD, of the School of Pharmacy, received an IDR grantto study the treatment of traumatic brain injury, a public healthproblem that results in 1.5 million new cases and 50,000 deathsannually in the U.S.

Lastly, Jay Unick, PhD, MSW, of the School of Social Work,and Seth Himelhoch, MD, MPH, and Julie Kreyenbuhl,PharmD, PhD, of the School of Medicine, will collaborateto develop a manual and training program for community-based social workers on how to use M-Pathy, a real-time videoconferencing system that links social workers with office-basedpsychiatrists over mobile phones, to conduct medication-monitoring sessions with clients.

Reece is impressed by the potential of the four studies.

“The faculty who received the inaugural IDR awards arethinking out of the box and taking a multidisciplinary approachto tackle some big questions, ranging from building a bettervaccine, to brain injury, to the feasibility of telemedicine, to endof life,” he says. “We plan to hold a special forum to highlightthe progress on these new projects as well as the robust ongoingcollaborations across our campus accelerating the pace andscope of discovery in biomedical research.”

Mobile App Is Nearly Ready to Go - August 2013 

The tag line “put UMB in your pocket” is hard to believe. It would take one massive pocket to fit the University’s 65 buildings stretched across 71 acres. But that is precisely what the free UMB mobile web application achieves. By downloading the UMB app from the Apple app store or Google Play to their smartphone or tablet, students, faculty, staff, visitors, and neighbors—or anyone for that matter—who interact with UMB’s campus and community will be just a touch away from University news, events (through a much-anticipated common calendar), campus maps, neighborhood dining options, UM shuttle schedules, parking information, videos, UMB social media, The Elm and all its offerings, and much, much more.

“Say you are sitting in a meeting and the group decides it needs to reserve a room at the Campus Center,” says Amir Chamsaz, senior web developer in the Office of Communications and Public Affairs. “Now, without leaving the meeting, you can call up the form and reserve the room on your phone or tablet.”

The UMB mobile app, a collaborative effort of UMB’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs, UMB’s Center for Information Technology Services, and external vendor Modo Labs, is compatible with Android and Apple iOS operating systems.

Though the app is only in its initial stages, Chamsaz revels in its launch and has high hopes for its potential. “We can publish new mobile content on the fly, and we have a lot of flexibility in how it can grow,” he says. “In the future, we hope students can use it to check their grades and follow their schedules. Registering for classes by using the UMB mobile app could one day be possible. The app allows you to see all kinds of University information on the go. We’re very proud of it.”

Enhanced two-way communication is a fundamental element in the University strategic plan. The mobile app fits into the second goal to “increase and enhance internal communications to foster more collaborative relationships and build an internal senseof community.”

“The strategic plan has challenged us to rise to the next level with our communications, both internal and external,” says Jennifer B. Litchman, MA, chief communications officer, vice president, and special assistant to the president. “Creation of the UMB mobile app is just one of many innovative initiatives we look forward to sharing with the University community in the coming months.”


For more information about our Strategic Plan, please read our archive of past newsletters.

Fall 2015

Fall 2013

Spring 2013

June 2012

May 2011

March 2011