Catalyst Magazine

COVID-19 Response

The University of Maryland, Baltimore has long been a place where we come together to focus on and tackle the most important issues facing our community — and the world. UMB responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by redoubling our efforts to improve the human condition and serve the public good through education, research, clinical care, and service.

UMB researchers played key roles throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, conducting research, clinical trials, and large-scale testing.

COVID-19 Leadership

On the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic response, the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) provided regional, national, and global leadership. Faculty in the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health (CVD), the Institute of Human Virology, the Institute for Genome Sciences (IGS), and other departments conducted a large-scale COVID-19 testing initiative, clinical trials of all COVID-19 vaccines now approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as research and testing of therapeutics for COVID-19.

CVD Director and the Myron M. Levine, MD, DTPH, Professor of Vaccinology Kathleen M. Neuzil, MD, MPH, co- director of the White House’s COVID-19 Prevention Network, helped shape and lead COVID-19 vaccine research across the United States. Her team’s research ultimately helped lead to FDA emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccines.

Wilbur Chen, MD, professor of medicine and an adult infectious disease expert,
and David Marcozzi, MD, professor of emergency medicine and associate chair
of population health and community outreach, served in high-level advisory roles at UMB as well as at state and national levels. Their roles were critical in helping to control the pandemic and respond to hospital and emergency response capacity issues, placing Maryland as a national leader in responding to the pandemic. Chen serves on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, a critical part of the process in the final approval of vaccines for administration in the U.S.

Claire Fraser, PhD, the Dean’s Endowed Professor and director of IGS, and
Sanford Stass, MD, professor and chair of both the UMSOM Department of Pathology and Department of Medical and Research Technology, led efforts to test nearly 2 million patient samples for 100 institutions throughout the state and sequence the genomes of 17,000 viruses. This provided invaluable information about how and where the disease was spreading.

With a $1 million grant from the FDA, the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy’s PATIENTS Program collaborated with partners in West Baltimore to improve the inclusion of African Americans and minority populations in COVID-19 clinical trials.

Providing Excellent Patient Care

Throughout the pandemic, the University of Maryland School of Dentistry’s (UMSOD) clinics remained open for emergency dental care, treating nearly 40 patients a day for conditions including uncontrolled bleeding, diffuse soft tissue bacterial infections, and trauma that could potentially compromise a patient’s airway.

The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) graduated hundreds of entry-into-nursing students early to bolster the nursing workforce, which experienced increasing demands for personnel throughout the pandemic.

Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, led the effort to establish and directed a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in UMB’s SMC Campus Center. Faculty and staff from UMB and the University of Maryland Medical Center worked alongside student volunteers to administer more than 40,000 vaccines to Marylanders.

Supporting Our Community

With in-home internet access an absolute necessity, UMB partnered with Comcast to provide internet service for up to 1,000 families from 14 partner schools in West Baltimore for a full year, helping students participate in virtual learning and ensuring their parents had readily available access to telework capabilities, electronic bills, job applications, and more. The University of Maryland School of Social Work (UMSSW) provided tutorials to help children connect to online school.

The UMB Community Engagement Center found ways to collaborate
with neighbors, local businesses, and agencies
including United Way of Central Maryland, providing resources such as grab-and-go groceries and meals, school supplies, and other essentials as well as virtual programs, including health and fitness classes, line dancing, and job search assistance. Student volunteers assisted with signing up residents for vaccine appointments.

The University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law’s faculty and students adapted to mostly remote work and client interaction to continue serving residents through clinics in critical areas such as criminal defense, gender violence, immigration, juvenile advocacy, and public health.

UMB’s dedicated, essential front-line workers showed their extraordinary commitment to the University by keeping important functions and operations running throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

Student Assistance

UMSSW led UMB — and other universities throughout the nation — in establishing student emergency funds. These funds created the framework to support students facing urgent financial difficulties.

UMSOD’s Class of 2020 donated its treasury surplus, along with a matching gift from the UMB Foundation, to the school’s Emergency Student Assistance Fund, providing nearly $3,000 to support dentistry students.

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UMB Staff

CATALYST magazine

Executive Board

Lynne Henry, Laura Kozak, Larry Kushner, Jennifer Litchman, Thomas Sullivan, Kate Ostrowski


Lynne Henry

Managing Editor

Chris Zang

Assistant Editor

Kate Ostrowski

Photography Director

Matthew D’Agostino


Michelle Baffuto

Web Director

Amir Chamsaz

Marketing Manager

Kristi McGuire