American Heart Health Month

February 8, 2016


(L-R) Dr. Winakur, Ms. Robinson-Dawkins, Dr. Wen, Fellow Joyce Roller, Go Red for Women spokeperson, Ali Blais, Mayor Rawlings-Blake, Dr. Baker-Smith and Dr. Fisher.

By: Allie Ondrejcak, Communications Intern

Last week, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake held a Press Conference recognizing American Heart Month. The event featured: Dr. Leana Wen, Health Commissioner at the Baltimore City Health Department; Dr. Shannon Winakur, Medical Director at the Women’s Heart Center at Saint Agnes Hospital; Ali Blais, Director of Development for Go Red for Women; Alfreda Robinson-Dawkins, a heart disease survivor; and University of Maryland Medical Center’s Dr. Stacy Fisher. UMMC Cardiologist Dr. Carissa Baker-Smith was in attendance as well.

Dr. Fisher specializes in complex heart disease with special interests in adult congenital heart disease, heart disease during pregnancy and pulmonary hypertension. She spoke about several important issues at the conference:

  • The differences in heart disease between men and women
    • Heart risks and heart disease during pregnancy—because women are having children at older ages, and with complex heath conditions like diabetes and obesity, they are at a higher risk of developing heart disease
    • If you have a known condition, talk to your health provider before planning a pregnancy and to continue to discuss any symptoms you experience throughout
  • The importance of knowing your family history and heart-related sudden death.
    • it is important to be screened, and to have your children screened, for heart conditions
    • Being screened and knowing your history can help to prevent heart-related sudden death

In the United States, 1 in 3 women die of heart disease and it is the leading cause of death for both men and women. But the good news is 80% of heart disease and strokes can be prevented! The American Heart Association gives us 7 easy ways to lower your risk and improve your heath:

  1. Get Active
  2. Control Your Cholesterol
  3. Eat Better
  4. Manage Your Blood Pressure
  5. Lose Weight
  6. Reduce Your Blood Sugar
  7. Quit Smoking

Visit the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Heart and Vascular Center
for more information about our services and resources.

Also, check out UMMC’s “Never Skip a Beat” Heart Health Awareness Campaign for health tips, insights and information.

(L-R) Dr. Baker-Smith, Fellow Joyce Roller, Dr. Fisher and Dr. Winakur



By: Allie Ondrejcak, Communications Intern

Do you first think of medication, surgery or vaccinations when thinking about the field of medicine? If so, you are thinking of conventional medicine. This system of medicine, used by medical doctors and other health professionals, is a medical model of evidence-based practice used to treat symptoms and diseases. In the United States, conventional medicine is considered the mainstream approach.

If you did not think of medication, surgery or vaccination, did you think of acupuncture, supplements or nutrition? These unconventional approaches to medicine fall under the umbrella of complementary medicine. Beginning in the mid-90s, frustrated with therapies used to suppress but not treat symptoms, the public began to develop a growing interest in additional forms of treatment to enhance traditional medicine.

The University of Maryland Medical Center, in partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine, provides a combination of these approaches to its hospitalized patients, called Integrative Medicine. The University Of Maryland School Of Medicine is home to the Center for Integrative Medicine (CIM).  The center specializes in holistic, individualized care and offers a wide range of both conventional and complementary options to patients. The CIM aims to enhance traditional medical practices by re-focusing on the original values of medicine – whole-person care, relationship care, self-care and evidence-based care.

These values are the foundation of the CIM’s approach to medicine. Another core belief is in collaboration–patient and practitioner should be partners in the healing process and patients should be active participants in their own care. When patients are active participants in their medical care, the CIM believes that physicians and practitioners are able to educate patients to make smarter and healthier life choices.

The CIM provides care for a wide-variety of illnesses and conditions through Outpatient Services. People affected by physical ailments (i.e. chronic pain, arthritis, fatigue and cancer) and those challenged by ailments of the mind (i.e. mood disorders and stress management) are able to receive treatment through services such as: Acupuncture, integrative behavioral health and psychotherapy, nutritional counseling, physician care and chiropractic manipulations and physical therapies such as: Massage, rolfing, reiki, reflexology and breathwork.

The Integrative Medicine Team provides direct support to the University of Maryland Medical Center’s inpatient population with Inpatient Care. The team helps patients to cope with stress and discomfort caused by hospitalization, surgery or recovery from trauma. They also assist with pain management, anxiety and sleep problems. By request, patients at UMMC are able to receive Integrative Medicine Services by the CIM’s Care Team.

If you or a loved one is hospitalized at UMMC and would like to receive inpatient services from the Integrative Care Team or would like additional information, please call the Patient Resource Center: 410-328-9355.

Outpatient Services are available at the University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute. Please contact Patient Services for more information.
Phone: 410-448-6361
University of Maryland Integrative Medicine, LLC
University of Maryland Rehabilitation & Orthopaedic Institute
2200 Kernan Drive, 2nd Floor
Baltimore, MD 21207


Annual Volunteer Trip Takes UM Surgical Team to Fiji to Treat Patients with Head and Neck Conditions

University of Maryland head and neck surgeons Rodney Taylor, MD and Jeffrey Wolf, MD have seen first-hand how devastating cancer and other conditions of the head and neck area can be for some patients.  Not only do certain types of conditions undermine their health, but they can also be disfiguring and carry social stigmas.

Dr. Wolf

Dr. Jeffrey Wolf

Dr. Taylor

Dr. Rodney Taylor

“Many times people with head and neck conditions are ostracized from their communities and go into hiding. These conditions can be life-altering,” says Dr. Wolf. He and Dr. Taylor are associate professors of otorhinolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Maryland School of Medicine who treat patients at the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.

The doctors are determined to help. Each year, a team of University of Maryland Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists (led by Drs. Taylor and Wolf) travel to a different under-served part of the world to provide their services free of charge. The team pays 100 percent of their own way, including airfare, shipping costs for their equipment and the cost of purchasing additional supplies not available onsite.

This year, the UM medical mission boasts 12 volunteers – surgeons, anesthesiologists, residents and nurses. This specialized ENT team will travel a total of 29 hours by plane, boat and car to Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu. There they will operate out of the Mission at Natuvu Creek, a nonprofit model community that provides medical and educational services to rural people of Fiji.

This visit will mark the first time Vanua Levu has been visited by ENT, head and neck surgeons, and the team is eager to start helping those in need. They expect to see a lot of patients with disfiguring conditions, such as cancer, and those with goiters (enlarged thyroids) and parotid tumors (on the salivary glands). The team will care for as many patients as they can during their week-long stay in Vanua Levu.

The trek will be long, and the medical team is hopeful the surgeries will be successful.

The team heads to Fiji on February 12.

Donations will help defray the cost of travel and other expenses. Learn more about how to donate here:

For more information on the Mission at Natuvu Creek, visit their website:

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March of Dimes Thanks UMMC During Day of Gratitude

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Greenebaum Cancer Center Recognizes Compassion, Humility in Two Staff Members

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Two University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center staff members were recently honored with 2015 Greenebaum Compassion Awards.  Medical assistant Heather Thomas and clinical nurse Thi Nguyen, RN, were nominated by their coworkers for exemplifying the qualities of compassion and humanitarianism while providing care for their patients. Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum, for whom the […]

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A Season of Giving at UMCH

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Yesterday was an exceptionally exciting day at the Medical Center. Shock Trauma patients welcomed two violinists to the wing. USNA Midshipmen 1st Class Michelle de Vente and Deborah Mullen played a selection of holiday music for patients. Patients even made requests and de Vente and Mullen happily obliged. Thanks for bringing the sounds of comfort […]

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Double Listing: A Promising Option for Certain Patients

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We recently participated in Mediaplanet USA’s “Hepatitis & Liver” campaign where industry professionals and associations came together to draw attention to the importance of liver health, while highlighting hepatitis awareness, testing education, and treatment to erase the stigma and judgments attached to the disease. Dr. Rolf Barth, director of Liver Transplantation, was featured in an […]

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Paper Cranes Bring Hope to Children Fighting Cancer

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Last week, as part of a global initiative to bring hope to children fighting the battle against cancer, Tina Allen of the Liddle Kidz Foundation presented 2,000 folded origami paper cranes from Japanese children fighting cancer to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC)’s Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Team and their patients. In Japan, cranes symbolize hope, […]

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