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Sunday, October 4, 2015

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UMD Study Finds Connecting Uninsured Patients to Primary Care Could Reduce ER Use

May 6, 2015

Kelly Blake 301-405-9418
Hillery Tsumba 301-628-3425

Montgomery County, Md. Initiative Could Improve Health, Reduce Costs

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – An intervention to connect low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to a reliable source of primary health care shows promise for reducing avoidable use of hospital emergency departments in Maryland. A University of Maryland School of Public Health study evaluating the results of the intervention was published this week in the May issue of the journal Health Affairs

For twenty years, use of hospital emergency departments has been on the rise in the United States, particularly among low-income patients who face barriers to accessing health care outside of hospitals, including not having an identifiable primary health care provider. Almost half of emergency room visits are considered “avoidable.” The Emergency Department-Primary Care Connect Initiative of the Primary Care Coalition, which ran from 2009 through 2011, linked low-income uninsured and Medicaid patients to safety-net health clinics. 

“Our study found that uninsured patients with chronic health issues – such as those suffering from hypertension, diabetes, asthma, COPD, congestive heart failure, depression or anxiety – relied less on the emergency department after they were linked to a local health clinic for ongoing care,” says Dr. Karoline Mortensen, assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health and senior researcher. “Connecting patients to primary care and expanding the availability of these safety-net clinics could reduce emergency department visits and provide better continuity of care for vulnerable populations.”  

Funded by a grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the initiative engaged all five of the hospitals operating in Montgomery County, Maryland at the time, and four safety-net clinics serving low-income patients. Using “patient navigators,” individuals trained to help patients find the care they need and can afford, these hospitals referred more than 10,000 low-income, uninsured and Medicaid patients who visited emergency departments to four local primary care clinics, with the goal of encouraging them to establish an ongoing relationship with the clinic and reduce their reliance on costly emergency department care. 

Two hospitals in Montgomery County who participated in the intervention continued the program after the initial grant period concluded because of the benefits they saw for patients and for reducing emergency department visits and associated costs. These hospitals are currently testing a new version of the intervention specifically deigned to link emergency department patients with behavioral health conditions to appropriate community-based services. 

While hospital administrators and health policy experts throughout the country are recognizing that access to primary care improves continuity of care for patients and reduces avoidable use of emergency departments, the implications of this project are particularly important for hospitals in Maryland, which are now operating under a unique all-payer model for hospital payments. Within this new payment structure, Maryland hospitals will have to meet ambitious spending, quality of care, and population health goals. Reducing avoidable use of emergency departments can help in reaching these goals.

The project provides promise not only for hospitals in Maryland but throughout the nation to improve health care experiences and outcomes for their patients. Shared learning systems were an integral component of the project so participants were learning from each other and sharing best practices throughout the project and that learning has now been documented and can be replicated in other communities.

“This was an incredibly rewarding project to work on,” says Barbara H. Eldridge, Manager of Quality Improvement at the Primary Care Coalition. “We created a learning system that permits us to sustain improved communication between patients and their providers, between hospital discharge planners and community based clinics, and across five hospitals operating in Montgomery County.” The initiative has proven successful in Montgomery County, Maryland and is being replicated in communities in other parts of the country. 

“Linking Uninsured Patients Treated In The Emergency Department To Primary Care Shows Some Promise In Maryland” was written by Theresa Y. Kim, Karoline Mortensen, and Barbara Eldridge and published in the journal Health Affairs

University Launches Dynamic, Interactive Information Website UMD Right Now

December 4, 2012

Crystal Brown 301-405-4618 crystalb@umd.edu

College Park, Md. – Today, the University of Maryland launched a brand-new multimedia news and information portal, UMD Right Now, which provides members of the media and the public with real-time information on the university and its extended community.

UMD Right Now replaces Newsdesk, which previously served as the university’s news hub and central resource for members of the media. The new site is aimed at reaching broader audiences and allows visitors to keep up with the latest Maryland news and events, view photos and videos and connect with the university across all of its social media platforms.

“We designed UMD Right Now to be a comprehensive, vibrant site where visitors can find new and exciting things happening at Maryland,” said Linda Martin, executive director, Web and New Media Strategies. “Through social media, video, photos and news information, we hope to engage visitors and compel the community to explore all that Maryland has to offer.”

The new website, umdrightnow.umd.edu, contains up-to-date news releases and announcements, facts and figures about the university, a searchable database of faculty and staff experts, information highlighting innovation and entrepreneurship at UMD, additional resources for news media and other campus and athletics news.

“UMD RightNow is the place to go to find out all the things happening on and around campus on any given day,” said Crystal Brown, chief communications officer. “This website brings real-time news, events and information right to your fingertips.”

For more information and contact information for the Office of University Communications, please visit umdrightnow.umd.edu.

New Residential Community to Open in UMD Research Park

October 1, 2015

Katie Lawson 301-405-4622

Dynamic Mixed-Use Project Next to College Park/UMD Metro Station Part of University of Maryland's Greater College Park Initiative

COLLEGE PARK, MD – The University of Maryland today announced plans for a 370-unit housing and retail community adjacent to the College Park/UMD Metro and proposed Purple Line stations. The apartments will be located in the university’s Research Park in the new College Park-Riverdale Park Transit District.  The University of Maryland Research Park was also named Outstanding Research Park by the Association of University Research Parks at the AURP National Conference today in Buffalo.  

The apartment community is designed to appeal to recent graduates and professionals who seek easy access to the 3,000 jobs in the Research Park, public transit and a vibrant college town. It begins to diversify the area’s housing options, which are currently comprised of mostly single-family homes and student housing.  This housing and retail project is part of the university’s Greater College Park initiative to enhance the academic campus and the surrounding communities. 

“This project moves us toward a more vibrant Greater College Park where work, play, home and transit all connect,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “It offers a mix of amenity-rich apartments, retail and strategic location.”

The development proposal includes 370 apartment units, 5,000 square feet of retail space and 395 parking spaces. The residential units will be located in a five-story structure above a garage. The amenity areas for the apartments are planned to include an integrated clubhouse with boutique hotel feel, large fitness center, great room, cyber café, and a landscaped courtyard with pool and concierge services.

A bridge over the Metro and MARC rail lines will be built to link the Research Park to the adjacent Whole Foods and related development, now under construction in Riverdale Park Station.

The development team, led by Ronald D. Paul, has signed a letter of intent to lease university property located at 4301 River Road. “I am thrilled to be part of helping develop a walkable community to serve the Research Park, university, and larger community,” said Ronald D. Paul, developer.

“We are at the beginning of a vibrant transformation for our community. The Hotel at the University of Maryland, FlexEl Inc. headquarters, and mixed-use housing opportunities are creating a serious buzz.  It is an exciting time for College Park, and it's a great to see so many partners come together who share in the vision of creating a world-class university town,” said Ken Ulman, the university’s top economic development advisor.

Greater College Park ties together the many efforts supporting the university’s goal of becoming a premier college town.  It focuses on three inter-related components: 1) Dynamic academic spaces; 2) A vibrant downtown community; and 3) A public-private research hub that brings together businesses and the university’s academic community in the research park and innovation district. The vision for Greater College Park is the result of collaborative partnerships with Prince George’s County, the City of College Park, the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, the College Park City-University Partnership, UMD alumni and local developers.

University of Maryland Research Park Named Top in the Nation

October 1, 2015

Katie Lawson 301-405-4622

Association of University Research Parks honors UMD with 2015 Outstanding Research Park Award

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland Research Park has been honored as the Association of University Research Parks’ 2015 Outstanding Research Park. Presented today at the AURP Annual Awards of Excellence, this award recognizes the achievements of outstanding university research parks and those who direct them, and encourages the development of best practices.

The M Square Research Park is a public-private partnership between the University of Maryland and Corporate Office Properties Trust.  UMD works with all Research Park companies to provide synergistic and collaborative opportunities. The Research Park offers locations from incubator space for start up companies to build-to-suit options for larger technology clients. 

“Not only is our Research Park the largest in the state, but it stimulates major partnerships among private, federal, and academic scientists,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “It helps make Greater College Park a major international hub of climate, food and language research, and the park will only grow in importance as our new startup innovation district develops next to it,” he added.

“As one of the most research-intensive states in the nation, we are honored with the Association of University Research Parks’ (AURP) recognition of the University of Maryland Research Park as the nation’s Outstanding Research Park for 2015," said Governor Larry Hogan.  "The University of Maryland Research Park has attracted more than 3,000 jobs by partnering with federal agencies and the private sector, addressing major national needs, including climate prediction, foreign languages, cyber security, food safety and high performance computing. With this recognition, and the University’s role in graduating the largest number of STEM students in the region, Maryland continues to be a great place of innovation and discovery."

“Earlier this week I spoke at the University of Maryland where a real estate symposium was held that attracted nearly 500 developers and real estate executives discussing the amazing transformation of Prince George’s County, College Park and the University of Maryland and its research park,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “It is fitting that as the state of Maryland celebrates Economic Development Week that the University of Maryland Research Park receives this national recognition and honor.  I want to congratulate the University of Maryland, the City of College Park, and our private sector, non-profit, and federal partners for implementing and fulfilling their vision of this critical development to the future of Prince George’s County.”

To learn more about the UMD Research Park, visit http://msquare.umd.edu

UMD Extension Encourages Residents to Get Walking

September 30, 2015

Sara Gavin 301-405-9235

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – University of Maryland Extension (UME) is partnering with the state Department of Mental Health and Hygiene and the state Department of Education to sponsor Walk Maryland Day on October 7th, calling on Marylanders of all ages to lace up their sneakers and participate in the state’s official exercise. 

Historically, October 7 has been designated national Walk to School Day, a day when students of all ages are encouraged to get to school on foot rather than drive or ride the bus. This year, UME is taking the event a bit further, expanding it to involve all Marylanders as part of the organization’s Walk MD! program that encourages participants to “Get Fit! Get Healthy! Get Moving!” 

Individuals, teams and schools can register to log their miles, keep track of where they walk on the site’s 500 mile statewide map, and create inter-group challenges and competitions to accomplish school and office activity goals.

Walk Maryland Day coincides with the U.S. Surgeon General’s most recent Step It Up! call to action promoting walking as a means to overcome health challenges such as heart disease and diabetes. Health experts say walking can also reduce blood sugar and blood pressure levels, improve cholesterol, maintain a healthy body weight, enhance mental well-being, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis and other diet-related chronic diseases.

“Walk MD is about more than increasing an individual’s physical activity through walking,” said Lisa Gonzalez, a UME Family and Consumer Sciences Agent. “It is our hope that this collaboration for Walk Maryland Day will also promote and support safe and accessible walking opportunities in Maryland through enhanced state agency coordination.”

Here are some easy ways to get involved in Walk Maryland Day:

  • Grab a friend and catch up over a stroll through the neighborhood. 
  • Organize an event at your school to encourage kids to walk to school or take a school-wide walk during lunch. 
  • Get your community or worksite together by hosting a walking event. 
  • Participate in the Walk MD! challenge to travel 500 miles on a virtual walk throughout the state.

Individuals, groups and schools are encouraged to register online and get walking!

University of Maryland Announces Significant Investment in the Department of African American Studies

September 28, 2015

Graham Binder, binderg@umd.edu, 301-405-4076
Laura Ours, lours@umd.edu, 301-405-5722

Key Appointments Will Focus on Exploring Solutions to Issues Facing the African-American Community

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland today announced a milestone investment in its Department of African American Studies with the appointment of two leaders with deep experience in the field. Pursuant to UMD’s land-grant mission of providing service to the state, the new leadership will advance this academic discipline on campus and work to address problems facing the African-American community in Prince George’s County and statewide.

This evening, the University will host a reception honoring two key figures, both integral players in the University’s on-campus and subsequent community-focused efforts. They will unveil their vision as heads of UMD’s Department of African American Studies, and as director of a new community-focused center founded to support education, justice and ethics, all of which are important policy issues for Prince George’s County and the statewide community.

Dr. Oscar Barbarin, Chair of UMD’s Department of African American Studies, and the Honorable Alexander Williams Jr., director of the new Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice and Ethics, have been tapped to lead this important University charge. Barbarin is working to refresh the mission and vision of the Department of African American Studies, while Williams will spearhead efforts to develop solutions for and provide a forum for discussing and tackling the prevailing issues facing underserved, minority communities today.

“This evening, we look forward to celebrating the investments that have been made to date by the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and welcome both Oscar Barbarin, and Judge Williams and his center into the UMD fold,” stated Dr. Gregory Ball, UMD’s Dean of the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences. “Thus far, BSOS, in conjunction with the Provost’s office, has committed to hiring 4 to 5 additional faculty members—the first of which is Dr. Barbarin—and will invest more as progress is made at the Center and here on-campus.”

“Our investment in our Department of African-American Studies and the resources of the Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice, and Ethics will not only benefit our students, but will strengthen our outreach efforts in Prince George's County and beyond,” said University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh. “This is our home and we are committed to enhancing Prince George's County's public education, economic development and community resources.”

The University of Maryland continues to be a higher education leader in the areas of diversity and inclusion, most recently being recognized with a national award from Insight Into Diversity magazine. UMD is a model example of engagement both on-campus and off to promote equal opportunity for students, faculty, staff, and county and statewide residents.

About the Department of African American Studies at the University of Maryland

Founded in 1969, the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland offers a truly interdisciplinary program of excellence focused on the black experience in the United States, Africa and the African Diaspora. We work closely with interdisciplinary partners across campus, throughout the region and across the nation, including the Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity; the Maryland Population Research Center; the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; and the National Institutes of Health. Our proximity to the nation’s capital helps us transform the student experience through our unique research and internship opportunities, programming and site visits with entities including the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Museum of American History and the Library of Congress. Learn more at www.aasd.umd.edu.

About the Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice and Ethics

The Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. Center for Education, Justice and Ethics at the University of Maryland researches, develops solutions for and provides a forum for discussing the prevailing issues facing underserved, minority communities today. The Center especially focuses on: educational preparedness and bridging the achievement gap; justice and fairness in social, civic, economic, jurisprudential and media matters; and ethical guideposts for building integrity and community values.

Dr. Oscar Barbarin recently joined UMD as Chair of the Department of African American Studies and as a member of the faculty of the Department of Psychology. His research has focused on the social and familial determinants of ethnic and gender achievement gaps beginning in early childhood. Dr. Barbarin has developed a universal mental health screening system for children Pre-K to age 8. He was principal investigator of a national study whose focus is the socio-emotional and academic development of boys of color. His work on children of African descent extends to a 20 year longitudinal study of the effects of poverty and violence on child development in South Africa. Dr. Barbarin was recently awarded a Wilson H. Elkins Professorship at UMD. He previously served as the Lila L. and Douglas J. Hertz Endowed Chair in the Department of of Psychology at Tulane University.

Judge Alexander Williams, Jr. was nominated by President Bill Clinton to serve on the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. Following his confirmation by the United States Senate, Judge Williams served as a federal judge from September 2, 1994 to January 3, 2014. Prior to his appointment to the federal bench, Judge Williams was Chairman of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, and also served two terms from 1987 to 1994 as the elected State's Attorney for Prince George's County, Maryland. Judge Williams is also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the Judge Alexander Williams, Jr., Center for Education, Justice, and Ethics, Inc. Judge Williams is a native of Washington, D.C. and has practiced law in both the State of Maryland and the District of Columbia. Judge Williams presently teaches at the Howard Law School.


UMD Joins Coalition to Improve College Admission Process

September 28, 2015

Julie Peterson, Coalition for Access, Affordability and Success, 773-612-1515
Katie Lawson, University of Maryland, 301-405-4622

Diverse group of universities nationwide collaborate to recast admission process, broaden access, and encourage college-going mindset for all students

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland has joined a diverse coalition of public and private colleges and universities from across the country coming together with the goal of improving the college admission application process for all students.  The Coalition for Access, Affordability, and SuccessCoalition for Access, Affordability, and Success is developing a free platform of online tools to streamline the experience of planning for and applying to college. The initial iteration of the planning tools will be available to freshmen, sophomores and juniors in high school beginning in January 2016.

In creating this platform, the participating colleges and universities hope to recast the college admission process from something that is transactional and limited in time into a more engaged, ongoing and educationally reaffirming experience. They also hope to motivate a stronger college-going mindset among students of all backgrounds, especially those from low-income families or underrepresented groups who have historically had less access to leading colleges and universities.

“The fact that some highly motivated and well prepared students do not apply to and enroll in the college they are best suited for is a persistent problem,” said Barbara Gill, UMD's associate vice president for enrollment management. “This Coalition is working to mitigate this problem by empowering students from disadvantaged backgrounds to immediately identify a diverse set of schools that are likely to provide considerable financial support and will invest in their academic success.”

The Coalition currently includes more than 80 public and private universities and colleges across the United States that have made a commitment to make college affordable and accessible for students from diverse backgrounds, and for students to be successful in completing their education. The Coalition, which continues to add members, will be working over the next few months to develop tools and processes that are intended to address many of the barriers that prevent students from attending college or successfully earning a degree.

Later this year, the Coalition will share details about new college planning and application tools that will streamline the admission and financial aid processes and allow students to begin planning for college much earlier in their high school years. The online tools—which will include a digital portfolio, a collaboration platform, and an application portal—seek to reshape the process of applying to college as the culmination of students’ development over the course of their high school careers, reducing the unfamiliarity of the application and leveling the playing field for all students. The application will add another option to all the ways that students currently apply for college. Many Coalition schools will accept applications through the portal in the summer of 2016, while others are still deciding when and how to use the application feature of the new system.

"Starting to think about college earlier reduces some of the pressure of the application process, but more importantly, it sets the expectation that students should aspire to attend college," said Seth Allen, vice president and dean of admissions at Pomona College. "There are so many talented students who should aim for a great school, but they often don't understand the path to get there."

Research has found that students from disadvantaged backgrounds often do not participate effectively in the college application process, struggle with applying for financial aid, and often do not get awarded all the financial aid they qualify for. As a result, even the most highly qualified students either do not attend college, attend a college that does not engage their full potential, or do not complete their degrees. Attending a high school with a college-going culture greatly increases students’ college success.

The Coalition hopes to address these findings through its free online tools and increased transparency around admissions and financial aid.

Members of the Coalition include a diverse group of public universities that have affordable tuition along with need-based financial aid for in-state residents, and private colleges and universities that provide sufficient financial aid to meet the full, demonstrated financial need of every domestic student they admit. Coalition schools graduate at least 70 percent of their students within six years, with many having much higher graduation rates.

"Coalition schools offer students incredible choice in location, size, selectivity, and mission, but we all share a commitment that the students we admit can afford to attend and will have a high likelihood of graduating," said James G. Nondorf, vice president for enrollment at the University of Chicago. "That should give students confidence that college is within their reach, and that they can be successful. We hope this effort will ultimately be successful in persuading many more students to aim for college and help ensure that they are prepared to do so."

The Coalition’s online portfolio of college planning tools will be open to high school students starting in January 2016. Additional details about the application process enabled by the platform will be announced before summer of 2016. More information, including a full list of participating institutions, can be found at coalitionforcollegeaccess.org.

Outsourcing Manufacturing to China Results in High CO2 Emissions

September 28, 2015

Laura Ours, 301.405.5722

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Despite the increasingly fervent debate regarding the trade relationship between China and the United States and its implications for the global political environment, it is evident that manufacturing goods in China and shipping them to developed countries has real-world consequences, particularly for the environment. University of Maryland researchers, in collaboration with others, have begun to quantify the magnitude of those impacts.

In a study published today in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists from UMD, UCI and Harvard demonstrate that buying a product made in China causes significantly higher carbon dioxide emissions than purchasing the same product made elsewhere.

“International trade has become the fastest growing driver of global carbon emissions and China has the largest share in it. About one third of all emissions embodied in trade are through China,” said co-author Klaus Hubacek, University of Maryland professor of geographical sciences.


“The amazing increase in Chinese manufacturing over the past 15 years has driven the world economy to new heights and supplied consumers in developed countries with tremendous quantities of lower-cost goods,” said co-author Steven J. Davis, University of California Irvine assistant professor of Earth system science. “But all of this has come at substantial cost to the environment.”

The researchers from University of Maryland, the University of California, Irvine, and Harvard University quantified the reasons Chinese exports result in such high CO2 emissions. They found that “emissions intensity,” the quantity of CO2 emitted per dollar of goods produced, is by far the leading contributor to greater carbon pollution from Chinese manufacturing. China has a high emissions intensity score because of antiquated manufacturing processes and the fact that they get most of their energy from coal.

“The CO2 emissions related to China’s exports are large not just because they export a lot of stuff or because they specialize in energy-demanding industries, but because their manufacturing technologies are less advanced and they rely primarily on coal for energy," said Hubacek.

“A huge amount of emissions are from a small number of provinces and sectors in China and other developing countries, thus targeting these provinces and sectors by improving their emissions intensity provide excellent opportunities to reduce the overall world emissions at lower costs than setting ambitious mitigation goals in developed countries,” added co-author Kuishuang Feng, a research assistant professor of geographical sciences at the University of Maryland.

For this study, researchers paid particular attention to Chinese provinces with high emissions intensity. Steel mills, mineral processors and petrochemical plants in Guizhou, Inner Mongolia, Ningxia, Yunnan, and Shanxi are China’s dirtiest industries. Davis and his colleagues suggest that developed economies could do a lot to alleviate carbon pollution by helping improve manufacturing practices in these provinces.

“This analysis can help policy makers in China and internationally identify the industries and provinces in which efforts to identify and promote less energy-intensive manufacturing equipment and practices would have the largest leverage to reduce CO2 emissions,” said lead author Zhu Liu, a research associate at Harvard University and a Resnick Prize postdoctoral scholar at Caltech. “Given the differences we observe within industries and across provinces in China, many opportunities would involve creating incentives to promote the adoption of Chinese best practices.”

President Loh Forms Byrd Stadium Naming Work Group

September 24, 2015

Brian Ullmann 301-314-6650
Crystal Brown 301-405-4618

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Last spring, a student petition requested the University rename Byrd Stadium, a request endorsed by the Student Government Association.  The University and the President’s Office take seriously the matters raised in the petition and remain committed to strengthening a culture of equity, diversity, inclusion, and safety on our campus.  The University will flourish by learning from our history and focusing on the future we will create together, predicated on the aforementioned core values.
President Wallace Loh today announced the Byrd Stadium Naming Work Group, to be chaired by Bonnie Thornton Dill, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities.  Comprised of esteemed faculty, staff, students and alumni, the Work Group represents the diversity of opinions within our campus community.  The group is tasked to provide President Loh with a thoughtful and balanced assessment of possible options, considering that existing names on all buildings represent the University’s long history and culture.   
The first meeting of this Work Group will be held on Monday, September 28, 2015 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the President’s Conference Room, 1110 Main Administration Building.
The decision to name or to change the name of a building is, ultimately, the decision of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents, made after a recommendation is submitted by the president.   The Work Group’s final report is due by December 11, 2015, and will help inform any decision or recommendation forwarded by the President to the Chancellor.
The members of the Work Group are listed below.

  • Bonnie Thornton Dill; Dean, College of Arts and Humanities (Chair)
  • Wanda Alexander; President, UMD Alumni Association Board of Governors
  • Dorothy Beckett; Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry
  • Ira Berlin; Distinguished University Professor, History
  • Willie Brown, Chair, University Senate
  • Mary Burke; Assistant Vice President, University Relations
  • Damon Evans; Associate Athletic Director, Intercollegiate Athletics
  • Nick Hadley; Professor, Physics
  • Warren Kelley; Assistant Vice President, Student Affairs
  • Steve Klees; Professor, Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education
  • Melanie Killen; Professor, Human Development and Quantitative Methodology
  • Patricio Korzeniewicz; Chair, Sociology
  • Randy Ontiveros; Associate Professor, English
  • Sandra Quinn; Associate Dean, School of Public Health
  • Kumea Shorter-Gooden; Chief Diversity Officer
  • Craig Thompson; Member, University of Maryland College Park Foundation Board of Trustees
  • Mark Rivera; Graduate Student
  • Akeel Alleyne; Undergraduate Student
  • Sarah Niezelski; Undergraduate Student

University of Maryland Study Reveals How Opposition to Pornography Has Shifted Over Time

September 24, 2015

Andrew Roberts 301.405.2171

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - A new study by sociologists at the University of Maryland and published in Social Currents examined gender differences in opposition to pornography from 1975 to 2012, measured by support for legal censorship of pornography. The researchers analyzed the General Social Survey, a sociological survey used to collect data on demographic characteristics and attitudes of residents of the United States.

The study, led by Ph.D. student Lucia C. Lykke, found that both men’s and women’s opposition to pornography have decreased significantly over the past 40 years, suggesting a cultural shift toward “pornographication” affecting attitudes. However, women remain more opposed to pornography than men, and men’s opposition has declined faster, so the gender gap in opposition to pornography has widened.

“With the rise of cheap or free Internet pornography, you might expect that men’s and women’s attitudes would be growing more similar,” Lykke said. “But we found that men are becoming more accepting of pornography more rapidly than women are. As a result, the gender gap in attitudes toward pornography has been widening over time.”

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Beyond observing the changes in opposition to pornography, the researchers sought to discover connections between trends in public opinion and the evolving trends in pornographic content.

“Previous research has already shown that women are especially concerned about the negative effects of pornography. So, as pornography has become more accessible, and more violent and degrading towards women, this remains a serious concern for many American women,” said Philip N. Cohen, Professor of Sociology in UMD’s Department of Sociology and co-author of the study. “Pornography has become so ubiquitous that most people probably don’t realize that a large portion of Americans still favor laws against the distribution of pornography—38% of women and 26% of men in 2012.”

Lykke and Cohen believe these findings may have substantial implications for cultural and legal issues pertaining to pornography—especially on the Internet where its cheap or free availability raise new questions about the efforts to suppress its prevalence.

“In the current legal climate, pornography is usually protected by the First Amendment,” Lykke said. “But in the future, the increasingly violent or degrading content could potentially be challenged under obscenity laws, or if someone can make a claim of specific harm.” 

The legal environment surrounding pornography may or may not shift to reflect popular opinion, however researchers will remain interested in its impact on our culture and the intersection of pornography and gender dynamics.


October 2
Former System Chancellor and University President to be honored where academic career began. Read
October 1
Dynamic mixed-use project next to College Park/UMD Metro Station part of the university's Greater College Park... Read
October 1
Association of University Research Parks honors UMD with 2015 Outstanding Research Park Award. Read
September 30
UMD Extension will partner with the state Department of Mental Health & Hygiene and the state Department of... Read