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University of Maryland School of Medicine to Collaborate in New Center for Sports Medicine, Health and Human Performance

July 28, 2015

E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA

The New MPowering the State Initiative Will Leverage Research, Education and Clinical Strengths at UMB and UMCP Campuses to Study and Treat Sports-Related Injury

University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, announced today that the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) will collaborate with the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) on a new Center for Sports Medicine, Health & Human Performance.  The Center will develop innovative diagnostics and treatments for a broad spectrum of athletic injuries. Faculty physicians and physical therapists from the UM SOM, will treat sports-related injuries in UMCP student-athletes, other students and the general public. Research efforts will focus on a range of areas, including concussion, traumatic brain injury, muscle-brain physiology and biochemistry, functional recovery and rehabilitation, exoskeleton-robotic treatments and clinical and medical biomechanics.

UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD, and UMCP President Wallce D. Loh, PhD, recently announced that the new Center will be designated as an MPowering the State Initiativeas it  brings together leading research, education and clinical strengths of the two campuses to study athletic performance and health.

The center will be part of a larger project to build a cutting-edge academic, research and athletic facility at UMCP. The $155 million project will renovate and expand Cole Field House to include the Terrapin Performance Center, the Center for Sports Medicine, Health and Human Performance and the future home of the Academy of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Construction is planned to begin in December 2015, with completion expected by 2018.

School of Medicine Leadership

In particular, the UM SOM Department of Orthopaedics, under the leadership of Andrew N. Pollak, MD, the James Lawrence Kernan Professor and Chair, will collaborate with research centers within the UM SOM as well as with the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Department of Kinesiology and the A. James Clark School of Engineering's Fischell Department of Bioengineering on projects to prevent and treat athletic injuries of all types.

Dr. Pollak has long experience in sports medicine treatment and research. From 1996 to 2001 he served as an associate team physician for the Baltimore Ravens, and since 2002, he has served as a consulting orthopaedic surgeon to the team.

“Our School of Public Health is pleased to join our colleagues in the A. James Clark School of Engineering and the University of Maryland School of Medicine in promoting health across the lifespan through physical activity, exercise training, and sport, in conjunction with state-of-the-art healthcare and assistive ‘smart’ technologies for the prevention and rehabilitation of injury,” said Jane E. Clark, PhD, Professor and Dean of UMCP’s School of Public Health. “Our Kinesiology department’s expertise in exercise science, biomechanics and motor neuroscience will contribute unique and innovative approaches to achieve our collaborative goals.”

"This is a unique partnership between two major research campuses in the State of Maryland to accelerate our understanding of sports science and medicine, human performance, nutrition and rehabilitation to help our student athletes and society,” said Darryll J. Pines, MS, PhD, Farvardin Professor and Dean, at UMCP’s A. James Clark School of Engineering.  “The Clark School is delighted to develop and create engineering solutions that might enhance human performance and speed recovery." 

Bradley D. Hatfield, PhD, FACSM, FNAK, who is Professor and Chair of the Department of Kinesiology as well as well as Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs in the UMCP School of Public Health, is very excited about the multi-disciplinary work that will take place across UM campuses.  “The is a perfect example of  how the University of Maryland is a leader in implementing ‘Team Science’ to address critical issues that are at the intersection of medicine, engineering and public health,” he said.  “The applications of this research agenda around health and human performance have tremendous implications for a broad range of audiences – including patients, athletes, the military and first responders.”

Maryland’s Continued Rise

UM SOM, through its Departments of Orthopaedics, Family Medicine, and Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science, will also collaborate with UMCP to create a cutting-edge sports medicine facility that will not only conduct injury-related research,  but will also provide clinical care for students, student-athletes and the general public. 

“We are going to build a center for sports medicine that includes world-renowned experts, and that will be available to Prince George’s County residents, students and Maryland student-athletes,” Dr. Pollak said. “Everyone will get the same elite level of care.”

The facility also brings together the University’s athletic programs with the academic mission of the institution, as Maryland continues its rise as a major research university.

“We are excited that Maryland athletics can play such as a central role in supporting the academic and research efforts for the College Park and Baltimore campuses,” said Kevin Anderson, Director of Athletics at the University of Maryland. “The knowledge and innovation that will come from this partnership will greatly enhance our competitiveness on the field but also impact our greater community.  We are excited to help build a legacy for the state and add to our new Big Ten Conference consortium of top research universities.”

The Center builds on the UM SOM’s research, academic and clinical leadership in the field of orthopaedics and sports medicine. UM SOM physicians now serve as the official team physicians for all UMCP teams. “We have an outstanding team of sports medicine physicians, in both the department of orthopaedics and the department of family medicine, who work with the student-athletes at the University of Maryland,” said David L. Stewart, MD, chair of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. “This new center will leverage our broad expertise in sports medicine, orthopaedics and clinical care.”

As chair, Dr. Pollak has fostered the growth of the department, strengthening its research, clinical and educational activities. The department has ongoing research programs in a range of areas including sports medicine, shoulder and elbow surgery, pediatric orthopaedics, orthopaedic traumatology and spine surgery. Some of this work, which is funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), focuses on understanding basic bone and muscle function.  Knowledge gained from this type of research can eventually be used to develop new treatments for a variety of common orthopaedic problems.

Within the UM SOM, the Department will bring together a range of research areas to collaborate with the Center, including shock trauma and anesthesiology, physical therapy and rehabilitations science, and family and community medicine.

Focus on Brain Injury and Trauma

In the UM SOM, the Center for Shock Trauma and Anesthesiology Research Center (STAR), Director Alan Faden, MD, a neurologist and professor of anesthesiology, will play a key role.  His research has made significant breakthroughs on how chronic brain damage and neuropsychiatric problems after trauma are to a large degree caused by long-term inflammation in the brain. His research has shown that inflammation is a key culprit behind the many symptoms that have been linked with traumatic brain injury and mild traumatic brain injury, including brain atrophy, depression and cognitive decline.  The STAR Center is a world-class, multi-disciplinary research and educational center focusing on brain injuries, critical care and organ support, resuscitation, surgical outcomes, patient safety and injury prevention. It is the first research center in the nation dedicated exclusively to the study of trauma, its complications and prevention.

In addition, within the UM SOM, physical therapy research will be led by Mark W. Rogers, PT, PhD, chair of the Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Science, who will play a major role in the endeavor. “PTRS is excited about the opportunities for forging new initiatives in clinical practice and research focused on health, sports medicine, and human performance with our colleagues within SOM and at UMCP. Our department’s expertise in preventive and restorative physical therapy and movement rehabilitation science research in neural control, biomechanics, and motor behavior directed at function, will contribute uniquely to the clinical, health, and research missions of the center.”

Research Collaborations Already Underway

Dr. Pollak notes that the UM SOM has been working with the UMCP Department of Mechanical Engineering for several years on better ways to treat broken bones with innovative implants. This work has already attracted funding from the biotech industry. The UM SOM Department of Orthopaedics and the UMCP Department of Kinesiology are also working together to better understand muscle function. “This project will facilitate these types of collaboration and allow the two campuses to bridge the geographic gap that divides them,” Dr. Pollak said. “Through these types of partnership, we can work synergistically to improve our competitiveness.”

“This partnership promises to deliver benefits for everyone involved, including researchers, clinicians, athletes, students and patients at large,” said Dean Reece, who is vice president for Medical Affairs, University of Maryland, and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor and Dean of the School of Medicine. “Bridging the gap between our campuses will allow researchers in both locations to accomplish more.”

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

The University of Maryland School of Medicine, chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States, continues today as a leader in accelerating innovation and discovery in medicine. The School of Medicine is the founding school of the University of Maryland, and is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland. Located on the University of Maryland’s Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine works closely with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide a research-intensive, academic and clinically based education. With 43 academic departments, centers and institutes and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians and research scientists, plus more than $400 million in extramural funding, the School is regarded as one of the leading biomedical research institutions in the U.S.A., with top-tier faculty and programs in vaccine development, cancer, brain science, surgery and transplantation, trauma and emergency medicine, and human genomics, among other centers of excellence. The School is not only concerned with the health of the citizens of Maryland and the U.S.A., but also has a global presence, with research and treatment facilities in more than 35 countries around the world.

About MPowering the State

The University of Maryland: MPowering the State brings together two universities of distinction to form a new collaborative partnership. Harnessing the resources of each, the University of Maryland, College Park and the University of Maryland, Baltimore will focus the collective expertise on critical statewide issues of public health, biomedical informatics, and bioengineering. This collaboration will drive an even greater impact on the state, its economy, the job market, and the next generation of innovators. The joint initiatives will have a profound effect on productivity, the economy, and the very fabric of higher education.




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