Shock Trauma’s Violence Intervention Specialists Help Break the Cycle and Change Lives After Violent Injury

It’s heard in the news cycle pretty often in Baltimore – the victim of a gunshot wound or stabbing is taken to Shock Trauma, where they survive their injuries.

However, it’s NOT often you hear about what happens to these survivors. How are they recovering from their injuries, mentally and emotionally? What are our teams doing to help them get access to resources to avoid violent injury again?

That’s where Leonard Spain and David Ross come in.  They’re both Violence Intervention Case Managers at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center.  Anytime someone suffers a violent injury and survives their injuries at Shock Trauma, they are seen by Spain and Ross.

Spain and Ross work to connect victims of violence with resources to get them on the path to success – including employment and schooling opportunities, mental health support, legal assistance and more.

Cut from the Same Cloth

Leonard Spain grew up in West Baltimore and, as a young man, was involved in the drug trade.

“The population that we serve – I was them. I sold drugs, I was a victim of gun violence and I spent time in prison,” Spain says.

That time in prison is what caused Spain to change his way of seeing things. When he arrived home, Spain realized the lack of resources available to help people like him get back on their feet.

He went to several career and job centers, attended job fairs and tried to do everything he could to stay out of trouble. After working a temp job for minimum wage for three years, Spain knew he wanted more for him and his daughter.

He enrolled at Sojourner Douglass College and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services. He always knew he wanted to get into violence intervention and came to Shock Trauma after an internship with the Baltimore City Health Department.

When approaching patients at the beside, Spain focuses on building a relationship with patients as the first step of starting the case management process.

“I try to let them know I am just like them, just not out on the streets anymore,” Spain says. “Sometimes I gotta pull my shirt up and say ‘I got bullet holes just like you.’”

Poetry in Motion

Ross, also a Baltimore native, is a spoken word artist by trade.  He was discovered by the Shock Trauma team after performing at an anti-violence rally at Mondawmin Mall.

At first, Ross was a volunteer with the hospital with another friend.  By commission, he would come and talk with victims of violence and worked with the peer support group.  He then rose to his current position.

Now, when Ross learns of a new potential client, he will get background information on social media and online court records before meeting with them at the bedside.

“I’ll have that information in the back of my mind, but my next step is to speak and have a conversation with them and get their perspective,” Ross says.

Ross says he likes to ask the clients what they would like to gain from the situation and what they see as barriers.

“It’s not an easy thing to get them to trust you, and I understand that completely,” Ross says. “We’re usually asking them to change major aspects of their lives – and it definitely has to be broken down so we can work on one thing at a time.”

Usually, Ross starts with helping his clients get registered for health insurance so they can get their medication and get healthy. Next, they tackle employment. If it’s a criminal record holding the client back, they work to see if anything can be expunged. If it’s the lack of formal education, he works to get them in a GED class to receive a high school diploma at the least.

“I try to remove the obstacles to get them from point A to B,” Ross says. “Then, once we get them to point B, we see what other obstacles we can remove to get them to C.”

Spain and Ross both acknowledge that they are asking their clients to make massive life changes with not many resources, but overall, know it’s worth the trouble in the long run.

Spain is getting his Master’s in Conflict Resolution in University of Baltimore, and Ross is working towards his Master’s in Social Work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

Learn more about Shock Trauma Center’s for Injury Prevention and Policy.

Greenebaum Cancer Center Recognizes Compassion, Humility in Two Staff Members

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 Cancer Center is named, established the special award in 2007 to recognize staff members who go well beyond their normal duties and demonstrate extraordinary compassion, hope and dignity.

Thomas, a medical assistant at the Stoler Outpatient Lymphoma clinic, received not just one nomination, but four. Sharon Otto, RN, Seung Tae Lee, MD, Jennifer Cash, RN, and Arnob Banerjee, MD, PhD, all described Thomas as willing to go the extra mile for her patients, no matter the circumstances. She has been known to call patients to see how they are feeling or even simply to wish them a Happy Birthday.

“[Thomas] anticipates their needs and really makes them feel understood and cared for,” Cash says. “She will stop whatever she is doing if a patient stops her to see if she can help them. She is a wonderful team player, and I have never heard her say ‘no’ to anyone.”

Otto describes Thomas as the “epitome of calmness” and adds “our patients, our staff and the physicians all feel safe and comforted when Heather is involved.”

Nguyen works in the Greenebaum Cancer Center’s aphaeresis lab , providing treatments such as stem cell collection, photophoresis and leukodepletion. Nominated by Kathy Holden, RN, Nguyen inspires her coworkers to strive for the outstanding level of commitment, empathy and passion she displays on a daily basis. Holden says Nguyen is always looking for ways to make her patients’ procedures more effective and less taxing. Her passion for healing goes beyond her written job description.

“During conversations about the sometimes long hours and overtime, Thi has expressed to me: ‘I don’t care about that. I think about the patient and how they need that to survive, so I will do it. I don’t even care if I get paid,’” Holden says.

Nguyen’s concern for the patient’s welfare also doesn’t go unnoticed by those she helps treat. Holden says she has seen patients with tears in their eyes, thanking Nguyen for “saving their lives.”  Nguyen also becomes “overwhelmed with heartbreak” when a client has complications, and “noticeably rejoices with them for reaching milestones for recovery.”

Greenebaum Cancer Center staff members nominate their own colleagues for the annual Compassion Awards, are nominated by and a committee representing various Cancer Center departments selects the winners. As award recipients, Nguyen and Thomas each received a $2,500 cash award, and had their names added to the Compassion Award display in the Stoler Pavilion waiting area.

UMMC Community Partnership with Building STEPS

Continuing his efforts to support the Baltimore community, President and CEO of UMMC and UMMC Midtown Campus, Jeffrey A. Rivest, lays out one of our partnership programs with Building STEPS and addresses the need for further action.

Read his message to all UMMC employees:

Dear Colleagues,

In my letter to you on Monday, I promised more information about how UMMC will play an essential role in the recovery and the rebuilding the fabric of our community after the events of last week. As one of Baltimore’s largest employers, we are deeply immersed in our community’s challenges and successes. We are very proud of the many community programs to which we contribute time, people, healthcare information and financial support — you can learn about many of those in our 2014 Community Benefits Report.

Today I’d like to highlight one particular program in which we are involved, Building STEPS, which exemplifies our commitment to Baltimore’s youth and helping them develop career ideas and opportunities for better lives. Last month, Building STEPS recognized UMMC for 15 years of partnership.

steps_logo

Building STEPS (Science Technology and Educational Partnerships Inc.) is a non-profit built on one simple premise: a college education changes a person’s life. The multi-year program, supplementing students’ classroom learning, exposes bright, underserved high school students from Baltimore City and County to science and technology-based careers, and helps them excel in these fields where people of color are overwhelmingly underrepresented. Juniors visit businesses and institutions, such as UMMC, which rely on science and technology. Each seminar includes a site visit and guest speakers, providing exposure to a variety of professional opportunities. These seminars encourage the students to consider careers that might have otherwise seemed unimaginable.

A few more facts about Building STEPS:

  • More than 80 percent of Building STEPS students have earned or are on track to earn a college degree
  • Almost half of Building STEPS’ college graduates go on to earn an advanced degree
  • 85 percent of Building STEPS students are the first in their family to go to college.

In the last 4 years alone, UMMC has hosted nearly 70 Building STEPS students to get a glimpse of the life-changing care we provide to patients every day. We have employed 20 of these students as paid summer interns, and have joyfully watched many of them to go on to thrive in college, including a young man named Victor. Victor was an intern in our IT department back in the Summer of 2007, and continued working with us throughout his senior year of high school. Victor graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2013. In Victor’s words:

Through the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Career Development, I have learned from others that life is not about the adversities we go through, but about how we overcome those adversities and use them to build character that will positively impact others… Every day I strive to be an individual who makes a difference, no matter how small it is. I know that the University of Maryland Medical Center has and will continue to be a part in my effort to make a difference.”

We take pride in our participation in programs such as Building STEPS, as we open doors of inspiration and opportunity to the youth in our community. It is our responsibility as a major regional employer and civic leader to help wherever we can, and there is no better time than now to recommit ourselves to the important and fulfilling task of providing critical partnerships for job readiness, skill development, community health, and career opportunities. I am proud of what we have done, but there is much more to do to help our city and our neighbors.

I will continue to share information with you about our relationships with our community on a regular basis. Thank you again for all you do for UMMC and our City.

rivest_jeffreySincerely,

Jeffrey A. Rivest
President and Chief Executive Officer

Healing with Baltimore

Following the events in Baltimore over the past week, UMMC and UMMC Midtown Campus President and CEO, Jeffrey A. Rivest, expressed his gratitude to all those UMMC employees who helped keep the Center’s mission in mind during such a difficult time. UMMC plays an integral role in the Baltimore community and will continue to work for the betterment of the city and the nation moving forward.

Read his message to all UMMC employees:

Dear Colleagues,

The past week is one we will never forget. Today, our city begins to recover and heal. But while we begin the healing process, let us not forget the valuable lessons we have learned about the need for all who live and work in our city to be partners for change.

FB-OneBaltimore_1While we begin a long healing process, let me thank you again for your unwavering dedication to our mission and to our role in supporting quality of life through taking care of people in their time of need. Many of our colleagues did not miss a single hour of work, despite their need to plan for the safety of their families. They faced difficulty in getting to and from work, and for some, there was no ability to reach their homes safely. Yet while the city was in crisis, each of you remained fully committed to the needs of our patients. Despite enormous challenges, we continued to operate all hospital services normally, and most importantly, were here for those in our community who needed us.

Our ability to stay united around the singular mission of caring, despite high emotions and differences of opinion, speaks to the core of who we are and what we do. I am grateful to each of you and I am inspired by your dedication to make life better for others. We are all fortunate to have this opportunity and once again, all here at UMMC showed tremendous teamwork, respect, civility and professionalism.

I also offer my sincere thanks to our hospital Security team and our Incident Command team who worked tirelessly for over six days to support all of us, keep us informed, and keep us safe. This team exemplifies professionalism, adaptability and a commitment to serve.

It is a new week in Baltimore. The city-wide curfew has been lifted, National Guard troops are phasing out, and we can be energized by the wonderful examples of love and community we witnessed in our city this weekend. This gives us hope. However, there is a long journey ahead, and many things in our culture must change–here in Baltimore and in our nation.

Later this week, I will provide you additional information about UMMC’s essential role in the recovery and the rebuilding of the fabric of our community. As one of Baltimore’s largest employers, we have been deeply involved in our community and its challenges and successes. We have all learned lessons this past week and together with others, UMMC will recommit to providing critical partnerships for job readiness, skill development, community health, and career opportunities. While we have done much, our city and our neighborhoods need much more. We must be a part of doing more and doing it better.

rivest_jeffrey

Thank you again for all you do here at UMMC.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey A. Rivest
President and Chief Executive Officer

Volunteering at a Medical Center

By: Andrea Rizkallah, Editorial Intern

AndreaVolunteering is a rewarding activity, which is why I love my position as editorial intern in the Corporate Communications department at the University of Maryland Medical Center. I thought that I had to be a medical student in order to volunteer at a medical center, but luckily I was wrong. I was able to get an administrative position that still makes a difference and offers me great experience.

The Corporate Communications department coordinates blood drives that help save lives, updates the website with valuable information for patients and families, keeps Medical Center employees updated on training events and interviews patients to communicate their stories. Even though we are not transplanting lungs or performing surgery, we are still deeply involved with the hospital. I have completed projects that really make me feel like I am part of the team, and these contributions make me feel accomplished and useful.

The volunteer program here at the University of Maryland is great because I am getting hands on experience. I get to learn how the hospital works and what goes into the everyday functions of a medical center.  Although my role is an administrative one, I feel that I am making a difference, and that is a lot to take away from a volunteer position.

Volunteers work in all areas including the Emergency department, Shock Trauma Center, Medical Records department, Dental Clinic, Psychiatry department, and many more.  There are some requirements to volunteering at the hospital:

  • You must be at least 13 years old and be able to commit to four hours a week.
  • To receive credit, recommendations or certificates, you must volunteer at least 75 hours of time.
  • All prospective volunteers must return the required paperwork to the volunteer office prior to interviews.

Learn more about how to have a rewarding volunteer experience.

Art Exhibit Showcases Talent of UMMC Staff

In 2013, the University of Maryland Medical Center’s C2X Healing Arts Team and the National Arts Program co-sponsored the hospital’s first employee art exhibition. In response to the overwhelmingly positive feedback, this year’s exhibit will remain open two weeks longer than the 2013 exhibition, giving patients, visitors and employees alike extra time to view these one-of-a-kind pieces. The art will remain mounted in the Weinberg Atrium through Nov. 5.

This year’s exhibition features 192 pieces of artwork by UMMC staff and their families, a significant increase in participants from the previous year. Hospital staff from nearly every service area contributed projects, including submissions from 34 artists who contributed to last year’s display.

 

The artists submitted a wide selection of works, including paintings, photography, crafts, sketches, mixed media and various forms of sculpture. A notable number of submissions carry a distinctive Baltimore theme. “These artists have immeasurable talent, and we are fortunate to showcase their work in our hallways,” said Rachel Hercenberg, supervisor of oncology operations for the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.

Baltimore artists Cinder Hypki, Will Williams and Robert McClintock returned from the previous year to judge the competition and presented awards to the winning artists at a ceremony on October 2. Hypki, a community artist and faculty member in the MFA Program in Community Arts at MICA, explores art and ritual as a means of overcoming loss or pain. She has assisted the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center in the cultivation of healing art for over five years. Williams is a MICA graduate with a background in fine arts, illustration and portrait painting. His award-winning work is featured in Massachusetts and Maryland galleries. McClintock is a self-taught visionary and combines photography and digital painting into iconic representations of Baltimore. He is a three-time finalist at MacWorld’s annual juried digital art competition.

The judges distributed $2,400 in National Arts Program awards to 21 winning artists from five categories: Youth, Teen, Adult Amateur, Adult Intermediate and Adult Professional. McClintock also presented a special Best in Show award to a 7-year-old recipient. Black-and-white photography and modern paintings featured prominently among the wining pieces. After the closing of the exhibit in November, the People’s Choice Award will be presented to the artist with the most votes from exhibition guests. UMMC employees and visitors can vote by placing their ballot in the box on the exhibit’s glass display case.

The award ceremony featured a guitar prelude by Matt Peroutka, a member of UMMC’s Integrative Care Team and C2X Healing Arts Team. Following the awards, guests enjoyed refreshments – hors d’oeuvres and piano-shaped cookies – while Baltimore jazz pianist Lieutenant Israel Cross gave the 100th performance on the hospital’s piano.

The C2X Healing Arts Team, led by Hercenberg, is composed of hospital employees who are dedicated to using art for healing and wholeness. Kerry Sobol, MBA, RN, director of patient experience and the Commitment to Excellence program for UMMC, and Marianne Rowan Braun, director and vice president of the Commitment to Excellence program and patient experience, oversee and mentor the group. The C2X Healing Arts Team sponsors the yearly Healing Arts Exhibit and coordinates musical performances in the Healing Garden.

The 2014 Healing Arts Exhibit award winners are:

Best in Show

  • Isabel Mena, 7 (Daughter of Christine Mena, RN, Nurse ROP Coordinator, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit): “Scary”

Youth (12 and Under)

  • First place: Ethan Luu, 9 (Son of Rosanna Dinh, RN, Nurse Medication Diversion Specialist, Pharmacy): “Happy Koi”
  • Second Place: Anna Eyler, 7 (Daughter of Kristin Eyler, MPT, Senior Physical Therapist, Rehabilitation Services): “Fireworks over the city”
  • Third Place: Braydon Barski, 9 (Son of Sharon Barski, AS, Student Nurse, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology): “Super Heroes”
  • Honorable Mention: Lara Therese Eugenio, 12 (Daughter of Lovella Eugenio, BSN, CNOR, Senior Clinical Nurse I, General Operating Room): “My Dog”

Teen (13-18)

  • First place: Taylor Motley, 18 (Daughter of Jennifer Motley, BSN, PCCN, Senior Clinical Nurse II, Multi Trauma Intermediate Care Unit): “Hay Stacks”
  • Second Place: Christopher Fieden, 17 (Son of Mary Fieden, RN, Clinical Nurse II, Bone Marrow Transplant Unit): “Easy Rider”
  • Third Place: Grant Zopp, 15 (Son of Joan Zopp, OTR/L, Advanced Occupational Therapist, Psychiatric Occupational Therapy, 12 West and Harbor City Unlimited): “Self Portrait”
  • Honorable Mention: Leena Singh, 13 (Daughter of Ila Mulasi, MD, Assistant Clinical Professor, Family and Community Medicine): “Teapot”

Adult Amateur

  • First place: Laura White (RN, OCN, Senior Clinical Nurse I, Stoler Pavilion, Marlene & Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center): “Chincoteague Wild”
  • Second Place: Sarah Connolly (Daughter of Mary Ellen Connolly, NP, Nurse Practitioner, Pediatrics): “Untitled”
  • Third Place: Yoav Bachrach (Husband of Christine Bachrach, MS, CHC-F, Chief Compliance Officer, Corporate Compliance): “Cedar Bowl – Imperfection Makes Beauty”
  • Honorable Mention: Matthew Smith (MLIS, Assistant Director of Prospect Research & Management, University of Maryland Medical System Foundation): “Jordanian Sunrise”

Adult Intermediate

  • First place: Adrian Rugas (Husband of Marianne Rugas, RN, Clinical Nurse II, Cardiac Surgery Stepdown ): “Gilded”
  • Second Place: Stephanie Heydt (MT (ASCP), Medical Laboratory Scientist, Blood Bank): “Sulking”
  • Third Place: Rupal Mehta (MD, Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology): “Man with Stool”
  • Honorable Mention: Nadia Gavrilova (MD, Resident, Family Medicine): “The Healing Garden: Orchids. Life finds a way to thrive”

Adult Professional

  • First Place: Deborah Kommalan (Mother of Martha Hoffman, RN, BSN, CNOR, Senior Clinical Nurse I, Perioperative Services ): “Make Lemonade”
  • Second Place: Linda Praley (Creative Director, Communications and Public Affairs): “Untitled 1”
  • Third Place: Annemarie DiCamillo (Daughter of Jennifer DiCamillo, Critical Care Pediatric Transport Clinical Nurse II, Maryland ExpressCare): “Tough Faith”
  • Honorable Mention: Karen Trimble (Wife of Kimball Cutler, LCSW-C, Program Coordinator, Program of Assertive Community Treatment ): “English Sky”

Two University Farmers’ Market Vendors Rank Among “Baltimore’s Best”

By Malissa Carroll
Web Content Developer

Editor’s Note: Both Mallow Munchies and Max’s Empanadas are featured in the August 2010 edition of Baltimore Magazine. Pick up a copy at a local retailer or visit the magazine’s Web site for more information and to see all of “Baltimore’s Best.”

Great things are happening at the University Farmers’ Market!

You might remember meeting Roy Skeen, the Charm City Farmer who was recently featured on CNN. He’s one of over a dozen vendors participating in the second annual University Farmers’ Market held every Tuesday from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. in Plaza Park. Now, two other Farmers’ Market vendors are making headlines of their own.

Baltimore Magazine has named both Mallow Munchies and Max’s Empanadas among “Baltimore’s Best” when it comes to serving customers like you fantastic food and delicious desserts.

Voted Baltimore’s “Best Sweet Snack,” Mallow Munchies serves up a one-of-a-kind twist on the standard rice crispy treat. The marshmallow is made from scratch with all natural ingredients, and with names like CaraMallow Munch, Marble Munch, and Crunch Munch, who wouldn’t want to indulge in one of these tasty treats?

Joining Mallow Munchies among the ranks of “Baltimore’s Best” is Max’s Empanadas, which has been named Baltimore’s “Best Lunch (Casual).” Not only are the savory empanadas available each week at the Farmer’s Market, they can also be found at Max’s Empanadas in Baltimore’s Little Italy, a restaurant located at 313 S. High Street, where customers can enjoy a variety of fresh, authentic Argentine-inspired empanadas, paninis and desserts.

So, what are you waiting for? Stop by the University Farmers’ Market and sample some of the “best” Baltimore has to offer.