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Renowned Journalist Nicholas Kristof Speaks on Justice and Society

May 03, 2018

Dr. Leana Wen, Dr. Tracy L. Bale & Nicholas Kristof

Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen, Former Sen. Barbara Mikulski Among Those Attending

Renowned New York Times journalist Nicholas Kristof spoke on May 3 at the Peabody Library in Baltimore on the need to build a fairer society.

The event was sponsored by The University of Maryland School of Medicine’s Epigenetic Research in Child Health and Brain Development.

Tracy L. Bale, PhD

Among those attending were Baltimore Commissioner of Health Dr. Leana Wen, former Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Robert L. Caret, chancellor of the University System of Maryland. The program also featured Dr. Wen, who spoke about public health in Baltimore.

‌The research is led by neuroscientist Tracy L. Bale, PhD, a Professor in the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Department of Pharmacology. She focuses on improving health through translational research in neuroscience, mental health, obstetrics, and pediatrics. 

Leana Wen, MD‌“Throughout his career, Nicholas Kristof has focused consistently on the intersection of science, human development, society and public health,” said Dr. Bale. “This is exactly the area that are new center will be focusing on as we move forward. So this event is a perfect fit.”

Kristof has been a journalist for the New York Times since 2001. He is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, and writes a column for the newspaper twice a week.

‌“I am honored to welcome a friend and mentor, Nicholas Kristof, to Baltimore. Thank you to the University of Maryland School of Medicine for organizing an important event around improving health outcomes for our children,” said Dr. Wen. “I applaud their commitment to promoting a greater understanding of how environmental factors impact the health of children. It is fitting that Mr. Kristof, who has devoted his career to improving the well-being of women and children in the United States and around the world, was invited to share his experiences.”

 Left to right: Gary Attman, Dr. Elizabeth Zoltan, Robert L. Caret, and former Senator Barbara MikulskiThroughout her career, Dr. Bale has focused on the links between stress and neuropsychiatric disease. She has examined the association of stress experience in parents with an increased risk for neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism and schizophrenia, in offspring. She recently found that in mice, a father’s lifetime stress affects the brain development of his offspring. This research provides a clearer understanding of how the environment dynamically impacts a father’s germ cells and his child’s brain development. Scientists had already known that a mother’s environment during pregnancy, including factors such as poor diet, stress or infection, can negatively impact offspring, but uncovering a role for dad is an exciting new direction.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Commemorating its 210th Anniversary, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 43 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs; and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished recipient of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically-based care for more than 1.2 million patients each year. The School has over 2,500 students, residents, and fellows, and nearly $450 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding. As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total workforce of nearly 7,000 individuals. The combined School and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of nearly $6 billion and an economic impact in excess of $15 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine faculty, which ranks as the 8th-highest public medical school in research productivity, is an innovator in translational medicine, with 600 active patents and 24 start-up companies. The School works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit


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