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University of Maryland Statement Against Hate and Bias

November 5, 2017

 Katie Lawson, 301-405-4622

Statement Against Hate and Bias 
Joel Seligman, AVP for Communications and Marketing - November 5, 2017

UMD sincerely regrets the overwhelming misunderstanding resulting in the #UMDNotAHome social media conversation. The statements on social media connected to this hashtag do not reflect the positions of the university or our leaders' mutual commitment to diversity and inclusion on campus and across our nation.

To put it plainly, the UMD administration stands against hate and bias in all of its forms and wants every Terp to feel welcome, safe and at home at the University of Maryland. 

In recent months, there have been instances of intentional provocation by hateful, far-right groups spreading targeted messages that the administration finds despicable. These outside agitators want to divide our campus community into factions that are in conflict with one another from within UMD, rather than see our campus stand together in opposition to the broader forces of hate, white supremacy, anti-immigrant xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia and anti-semitism. 

It is understandable that some members of our community are also disturbed by remarks by university officials, even when the comments are quoted entirely out of context and in a manner that misrepresents the meaning. UMD has seen an example of one of our longtime colleagues unfairly criticized for her efforts to provide legal advice to the University Senate Campus Affairs Committee literally at the same time she is working to advance the cause of inclusion.

The administration encourages all members of our community to work together—students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni—to increase respect, inclusiveness, and cohesiveness on our campus. A comprehensive list of efforts underway by UMD administration is available at umd.edu/umdreflects 



UMD Named a 2017 Best College by MONEY Magazine

July 12, 2017

Jennifer Burroughs, 301-405-4621

COLLEGE PARK, Md.  The University of Maryland ranked No. 11 among public universities according to MONEY Magazine’s 2017 list of Best Colleges. UMD ranked No. 20 overall among U.S. institutions. 

To calculate rankings, MONEY assessed more than 700 colleges in the U.S. based on three equally-weighted categories, including educational quality, affordability and alumni success. MONEY measured 27 factors within these categories covering areas such as instructor quality, measuring the study-to-faculty ratio, affordability for low-income students and value-added earnings, which measures if the school is launching students to better paying jobs. 

Earlier this year, UMD was also ranked a Best Value College by ForbesPrinceton Review and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

UMD Capitol Hill Forum Addresses Health Disparities Research & Action for Equity

September 23, 2016

Contacts: Elise Carbonaro, 301-405-6501

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland, in collaboration with Rep. John P. Sarbanes and the Big Ten Academic Alliance, recently convened more than 100 people for a Research on the Hill forum focused on strategies to achieve health equity at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Moderated by Stephen B. Thomas, Ph.D., professor and director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity in the UMD School of Public Health, the panel discussion engaged experts from academia, federal health agencies and the private business sector in a candid conversation about how to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities among vulnerable populations.

“Our exploratory research holds the solutions to many of the most challenging problems of our day,” said UMD Vice President and Chief Research Officer Patrick G. O’Shea, Ph.D. “As a university, it is our mission to create and understand knowledge to develop better ways to house and heal and fuel and feed our people in advanced societies that are just, secure, and free. Achieving health equity touches on the ‘heal’ aspect of that mission.”

The topics ranged from the progress that has been made in access to medical care as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to challenges that still remain in improving quality of care and in making the medical care system incorporate public health and address the social determinants of health that prevent people from acting health promotion and disease prevention recommendations. 

“The state of Maryland has embraced the ACA and there is clear evidence that the new incentives are indeed moving hospital systems away from a fee-for-service business model to one that rewards quality care and positive health outcomes over the volume of procedures,” said Thomas. “While the transition is not perfect, our state is a national leader for what the future of health care will look like.”

Panel members shared examples of effective and innovative community-based health interventions and public-private partnerships that are making a difference through culturally-tailored health promotion and disease prevention services, and highlighted the emergence of social determinants of health such as poverty, discrimination and residential segregation as factors that must be overcome.

 “I’m convinced that if you address racial and ethnic disparities with respect to the delivery of health care and health care coverage in this country, you will build the best health care system we can possibly have because diversity is our country’s hallmark,” said Congressman Sarbanes, who, as a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, has been a tireless advocate for improving healthcare quality and addressing health disparities.
To achieve health equity, researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders must address broader issues beyond the traditional biomedical model and build trust between those who control health care delivery system and those who have lost hope in the system, said members of the panel. 

The panelists recommended that health equity be incorporated into all public policies, not just those related to health care, to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities. 

Panel members included:

  • Margo Edmunds, Ph.D., Vice President, Evidence Generation and Translation at Academy Health;
  • J. Nadine Gracia, M.D., M.S.C.E., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health and Director of the Office of Minority Health within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services;
  • Julia Huggins, President of Cigna Mid-Atlantic;
  • Kolawole Okuyemi, M.D., MPH, Professor of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Director of the Program in Health Disparities Research and Inaugural Endowed Chair for Health Equity at the University of Minnesota; and
  • Eliseo Pérez-Stable, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities at the National Institutes of Health.

House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer, who represents Maryland’s 5th Congressional District and is a distinguished UMD alumnus, also joined the event and emphasized that as an interconnected community, we should all care about health disparities.
“It is unacceptable that in the United States, where all are created equal in the words of our Declaration of Independence, that one’s access to healthcare may be higher or lower as a result of race, gender, or income,” said Congressman Hoyer. “Everybody being healthy is of concern to each and every one of us.”
He discussed how we must continue to defend the patient protections that Americans are benefiting from thanks to the ACA, such as the no-cost access to preventive services like mammograms and immunizations, as well as remind people of the dramatic increase in the number of people, particularly people of color, who now have health coverage as a result.

The event was held as part of the University of Maryland’s Research on the Hill series, which is aimed at raising awareness of research with great societal significance.

View the conversation at: https://youtu.be/HPedKr0jZLQ

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.

UMD Researchers Receive $1.3M Grant to Build App Targeting Underserved Populations

October 10, 2018

Kelly Blake, 301-405-9418

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- A team of University of Maryland researchers is developing a new mobile app to help people without regular access to health care cut through the thousands of fitness, nutrition, brain health and other offerings by providing a sort of one-stop wellness shop.

UMD School of Public Health researchers are tailoring the app for African-American and Spanish-speaking users of smartphones, who will be able to set personal goals, enter personal and family health histories and access a variety of evidence-based information on disease prevention and health promotion. The project is supported by a new four-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine.

“Increasing amounts of health information and services are online, and many people have only a mobile phone, not a desktop or laptop computer,” said Cynthia Baur, an endowed professor and director of the Horowitz Center for Health Literacy who’s overseeing development of the app. “Designing a smartphone app for multiple health topics, instead of one for a specialized purpose, allows the app to be more relevant and useful in everyday life.”

Dr. Baur is a recognized leader in developing easy to use tools for health promotion including CDC’s health literacy website, which provides resources and online training to improve health literacy and public health and the CDC Clear Communication Index, a set of scientific criteria for creating clear public communication materials. Her approach is based in communication science and focuses on providing diverse audiences with information in ways they can understand and use.

The intended users frequently lack convenient access to doctors or hospitals, and only a handful of Spanish-language health promotion apps now exist. Researchers hope the app empowers these vulnerable populations to make the best health decisions.

The multidisciplinary team working on the free app includes faculty members in the departments of Behavioral and Community Health and Health Services Administration and the Center for Health Equity, as well as faculty from the Department of Computer Science. They will work with a community design team and conduct a yearlong field test with the people who will be its end users.

“We're working with community partners to include user feedback throughout,” Baur said. “we're using health literacy principles to make the app, navigation and content easy to understand and use.”

October is Health Literacy Month. The Horowitz Center for Health Literacy is one of the sponsors of the Health Literacy in Action Conference on Oct 25-26 at UMD. 


UMD Celebrates Homecoming 2018

October 8, 2018

Natifia Mullings, 301-405-4076

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland will host its annual Homecoming Week from Sunday, October 7 to  Sunday, October 14, 2018. UMD’s campus-wide celebration is centered around the Maryland Terrapins Football Game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Saturday, October 13 at noon at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. This year’s Homecoming celebration will also offer dozens of Fearless and family-friendly events, including alumni gatherings, artistic performances, service projects and athletic competitions. 


Homecoming Week will kick off on Sunday, October 7 at 9:45 a.m. with a Terps Against Hunger Homecoming Service Project at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union. The two-day event will bring together volunteers from across campus and the local community to package 400,000 meals for local children and families suffering from food insecurity. 


A Conversation with AOL Co-founder Steve Case will take place on Tuesday, October 9 from 5 to 6 p.m. at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center. Organized by the Robert H. Smith School of Business, Case will share stories about his career as a founder, investor, presidential advisor, best-selling author and philanthropist. To register for this event, visit https://go.umd.edu/SteveCase.


On Wednesday, October 10 at 7 p.m. at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium, Maryland Athletics will host a Mid-Field Homecoming Gathering, a rare opportunity to take a commemorative photo midfield under the lights while enjoying free Maryland Dairy ice cream.


The Homecoming Comedy Show, presented by Student Entertainment Events, features Ali Wong this year. The show will include a book reading and a Q&A session. There are two scheduled shows on Thursday, October 11 at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. at Ritchie Coliseum. 


On Friday, October 12, Maryland will host Terp Carnival on McKeldin Mall, offering rides, games, prizes and entertainment for students, families, and the local community from 4 to 8 p.m. Guests will also enjoy a fireworks and laser light display on McKeldin Mall. 


To view the full Homecoming Week schedule, visit https://homecoming.umd.edu/. Follow the celebration and join in on social media with #UMDHomecoming.

Tropical Frogs Found to Coexist with Deadly Fungus

October 5, 2018

Matthew Wright, 301-405-9267

COLLEGE PARK, Md.-- Amphibian biologists from around the world watched in horror in 2004, as the frogs of El Copé, Panama, began dying by the thousands. The culprit: Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, a deadly fungus more commonly known as chytrid fungus. Within months, roughly half of the frog species native to the area went locally extinct. 

A new study led by University of Maryland researchers suggests that, within a decade, the species remaining in El Copé developed the ability to coexist with chytrid fungus. In a field study spanning the years 2010-2014, the researchers found that frogs infected with the fungus survived at a nearly identical rate compared with uninfected frogs. 

The results, published October 3, 2018 in the journal Ecological Applications, suggest that frog populations in El Copé underwent ecological and/or evolutionary changes that enabled the community as a whole to persist, despite severe species losses. According to the researchers, the results could mean good news for other hot spots of amphibian biodiversity hit hard by the chytrid fungus, such as South America and Australia. 

“Our results are really promising because they lead us to conclude that the El Copé frog community is stabilizing and not drifting to extinction,” said Graziella DiRenzo , Ph.D. ’16, biological sciences, now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the lead author of the research paper. “That’s a big concern with chytrid worldwide. Before this study, we didn’t know a lot about the communities that remain after an outbreak. In some areas, it’s still a black box.”

DiRenzo and her colleagues returned to the same small, 2-square-kilometer field site in El Copé every year from 2010 to 2014. They broke the field site down into smaller, 20-meter subsites, repeatedly sampling the subsites several days in a row within a season. Each time, the researchers tested individual frogs for the presence of the fungus while assessing the severity of any disease symptoms. 

The researchers then entered this data into a statistical model they developed to assess disease dynamics in communities beset by an outbreak. The frequent, repeated sampling of individual frogs in the field allowed the team to minimize biases by correcting the model for any animals that were present but unseen.  The results enabled the researchers to conclude that infected frogs were surviving at the same rate as uninfected frogs. This observation strongly suggested that the frog species remaining in El Copé developed the ability to tolerate the fungus and survive its deadly effects. 

“Our study found that, even though there are a lot of infected individuals, about 98 percent of them are infected at very low levels,” said Karen Lips, a professor of biology at UMD and the senior author of the study. “We know that, early on, several species played a key role in spreading infection, like Typhoid Mary. But some of these species are now gone, so the entire ecosystem is totally different. It’s almost not comparable to what was there before.”

DiRenzo, Lips and their colleagues suggest that the El Copé frog community stabilized through an effect known as “eco-evolutionary rescue.” In this scenario, some species may have evolved tolerance to the fungus while other highly infectious, “Typhoid Mary” species died off and stopped contributing to the spread of the pathogen. The fungus itself may have also become less virulent and the frog community as a whole may have undergone other types of restructuring.

The researchers note that, because the frog community in El Copé had been well-studied for years before the 2004 outbreak, the research site provides a rare window to assess changes to a frog community as a result of widespread chytrid infection. If the community has stabilized here, the researchers say, it is likely that other hard-hit frog communities elsewhere in the world may have undergone similar adaptations—even where disease has reduced the overall number of species and/or individuals. 

“The frogs of El Copé are not doing great, but they’re hanging on. The fact that some species survived is the most important thing,” Lips said. “If a species goes extinct right off the bat, it’s out of options. We know how all these species responded to the initial invasion. Now we know how the survivors are responding to continuing infection. We know there are several sites in the world that probably went through the same thing. If enough frog species in a given place can survive and persist, then hopefully someday a vibrant new frog community will replace what was lost.”

In addition to DiRenzo and Lips, Ana Longo, a postdoctoral associate in biology at UMD, also contributed to this research. DiRenzo completed part of the work while she was a postdoctoral researcher at Michigan State University. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (Award No. DEB 1120161). The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the views of this organization.

Photo (l): The emerald glass frog (Espadarana prosoblepon) is one of the most abundant species at the study site in El Copé, Panama, following an outbreak of chytrid fungus in 2004. Image credit: Graziella DiRenzo.

Photo (r): Frogs of the genus Diasporus, such as this individual, are among the most common nocturnal frogs in El Copé, Panama, to survive following an outbreak of chytrid fungus in 2004. Image credit: Graziella DiRenzo.







UMD Part of Multi-Institutional Team Awarded $14.4M to Develop Innovative Language Technologies

October 3, 2018

Tom Ventsias, 301-301-5933

COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- The University of Maryland (UMD) is part of multi-institutional team tasked with building a powerful set of language technologies that can unlock information that has previously been unsearchable, and ultimately unfindable.

The four-year project, funded by a $14.4M grant from the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), is expected to produce a language processing system that allows a user to type in a query in English and have information returned in English—even if the content is only available in a lesser-known language like Croatian.

The project involves faculty, postdocs and students from UMD, Columbia University, Yale University, the University of Cambridge, and the University of Edinburgh. Columbia is the lead institution, with Kathleen McKeown, the founding director of Columbia’s Data Science Institute, serving as principal investigator.

The interdisciplinary research—already underway—includes experts in natural language processing, speech processing, and information retrieval.

“Today’s internet bring us closer together than ever before, but the diversity and richness of human language remains a challenge,” says Douglas Oard, a professor in the College of Information Studies (Maryland’s iSchool), who is heading up the UMD research team. “Computers can be trained to transform human language in many useful ways, but today that training process is still too expensive to affordably be applied to all the world’s languages, and too dependent on the artisanal skills of a small number of experts.”

Joining Oard at UMD are Philip Resnik, linguistics professor, Marine Carpuat, assistant professor of computer science, and Hal Daumé (professor of computer science and Language Science Center). These four faculty all have appointments in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies (UMIACS), where they work together in the Computational Linguistics and Information Processing (CLIP) Laboratory, one of 16 centers and labs in UMIACS.

The system they are building, called SCRIPTS—which stands for System for Cross Language Information Processing, Translation and Summarization—will take advantage of the latest advances in computing technologies. This includes machine-learning algorithms that can sift through large amounts of human language, looking for commonalities in syntax and semantics.

When completed, SCRIPTS will be able to transcribe speech from multiple sources such as videos, news broadcasts and some types of social media. It will also process text documents like newspapers, reports and social media posts.

The system will use multiple strategies, such as matching an English query against translated documents and then summarizing the result. It will also be able to search and summarize directly in the foreign language, and then translate the selected summaries into English.

“The collection and analysis of information required to accomplish a specific intelligence task has increasingly become a multilingual venture,” says Carl Rubino, who is leading IARPA’s Machine Translation for English Retrieval of Information in Any Language (MATERIAL) program. 

For most languages, Rubino says, there are very few automated tools for cross-lingual data mining and analysis. “MATERIAL aims to investigate how current language processing technologies can most efficiently be developed and integrated to respond to specific information needs against multilingual speech and text data,” he says.

Currently, analysts must wade through multilingual document collections manually or use computers that are unable to translate languages that have a small digital footprint, known as “low-resource languages,” into English. In addition, many current systems don’t provide accurate translations of these low-resource languages.

For example, text written in Tagalog or Swahili—languages spoken by millions of people in the Philippines and East Africa, respectively—has far less digital content on which systems can be trained.

And if the language is originally retrieved from a news broadcast or other audio source, its pronunciation may not translate well to English, or there may be variable pronunciations for certain words, says Oard, who is an expert in cross-language retrieval.

“We’ve [already] built machines that learn from examples, but for these low-resource languages, we just don’t have enough examples,” he says.

This is where new technology will come into play. Using sophisticated “deep learning” systems, the SCRIPTS team will begin to compile documents in several low-resource languages that have been selected by IARPA as representative examples. They’ll develop new algorithms to analyze language patterns such as sentence structure and morphology, which is how words are formed and their relationship to other words in the same language.

Deep learning-based translation systems under development at UMD will take limited amounts of information from the low-resource languages, churn it with other language-related data from better-resourced languages, and come up with powerful new tools that will allow for the manipulation and transformation of content in those languages.

“In order for us to be able to do this kind of work, we need the ability to build new computing infrastructures that weren’t the same ones’ people were using as recently as five years ago,” says Carpuat, an expert in multilingual text analysis who is working on machine translation capabilities for SCRIPTS.

Perhaps of greatest significance, the researchers say, is that SCRIPTS is designed to incorporate four key areas of language processing—speech recognition, machine translation, cross-language retrieval, and information summarization—into one, robust platform.

“Translation, retrieval and summarization are all areas that CLIP has previously excelled in,” says Resnik, a computational linguist who is the current director of the CLIP lab. “But these tasks all needed to be done within separate systems. Now—with the use of deep learning neural networks—it allows us to combine functions and do a single ‘training’ of the system across multiple functions quickly and efficiently.”

Resnik says that in addition to the four UMD faculty, CLIP has added a postdoc and a research staff member to work on the IARPA project. There are also five UMD doctoral students involved with the research.

Looking ahead, the CLIP lab faculty envision even more powerful computing systems being used to assist with multilingual information management.

“Computational methods evolve rapidly,” says Oard, who notes that the Maryland team is already working across a full range of modern computing architectures—from high-performance computing, to the latest distributed processing systems, to deep learning clusters.

In the future, he adds, the researchers might even consider the next-generation quantum computing techniques being developed at UMD.

“We work together with sponsors like IARPA to leverage these technologies in the service of our society, to help transform the way we all can take best advantage of the increasingly information-abundant world in which we live,” Oard says.


About CLIP: The Computational Linguistics and Information Processing (CLIP) Laboratory at the University of Maryland is engaged in designing algorithms and building systems that allow computers to effectively and efficiently perform language-related tasks. CLIP is one of 16 labs and centers in UMIACS.

About IARPA: Launched in 2006, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity invests in high-risk, high-payoff research programs that address some of the most difficult scientific challenges faced by the U.S. intelligence community.

University of Maryland Resources on Football Program External Review

October 3, 2018

Katie Lawson, 301-405-4621

Updated as of October 3, 2018

University of Maryland student-athlete Jordan McNair was hospitalized following a team workout May 29, and passed away June 13. The University accepted legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes made in his care. We have made changes to how we practice and train across all of our sports, and have committed to implementing all the recommendations from the external safety review. More information about our pledge: umd.edu/commitment 

The below is a chronological listing of all the messages to our community and statements released by the University. 

  • Statement from university spokesperson on December 2016 email (October 3, 2018) 

     The anonymous December 2016 email has been given to the independent commission reviewing our football culture, and we defer to the commission to assess the content and handling of the email.  

     The President instructed a member of his staff to forward this email to the then-athletic director for his information. Members of the university’s cabinet are expected to handle emails sent on an informational basis as appropriate. Standard practice is not to respond to anonymous senders. 

      When this email was initially raised two years later, the President did not recall it.  

  • Statement on further details on the allegations around football culture (September 30, 2018)

Statement from President Wallace D. Loh

“When allegations emerged in August about our football program, we committed to an independent investigatory commission that is now overseen by the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. I have committed as President that we will take the appropriate actions based on the conclusions of the investigation. These allegations are upsetting and underline the importance of the independent review to ensure that all allegations are fully examined. I encourage anyone with information to contact the commission.”

Statement from Athletic Director Damon Evans

“These allegations, if true, are unacceptable. We will not tolerate any behavior that is detrimental to the mental or physical well-being of our student-athletes. When the commission completes its charge, we will act decisively and take all actions necessary to ensure the safety of our student-athletes. We have already accepted the resignation of our strength and conditioning coach when the allegations first came to light, and our head football coach and several athletic trainers remain on leave. We have changed the reporting lines so our strength and conditioning football coach reports to the associate athletic director for sports performance. We have also launched a new online platform where our student-athletes can provide real-time feedback on any concerns that they may have, and we have changed how we practice and how we train across all of our sports.”

Statement from a university spokesperson: 

“We are bringing this email to the commission so they consider it as part of the review of the culture of our football program.”  


  • External Review Update (September 25, 2018)

In the external review into the safety of our student-athletes, Rod Walters states “Information reported to UMD attorney, athletic director, and senior administration two days post event was not representative of activity and care on the field May 29, 2018. Review of videos confirm UMD administration’s concerns.”

Regarding this point in the report, Athletic Director Damon Evans said: 

"With Friday’s release of the Walters review, we now have an independent assessment of what happened at the May 29th workout. My intention with commissioning the external review immediately was to have an examination of all first-hand accounts and available documentation to establish the accurate timeline for the day and to determine whether the appropriate policies were followed.  With the report released by the Board of Regents, we now have confirmation that there were inaccuracies in the initial information shared with the university that informed my comments in the June 14th press conference. 

A point of concern for me is the question over whether Jordan completed the workout, as it was initially told to the university in the hours and days following Jordan’s hospitalization. What became clear through the Walters review is that Jordan did not complete the workout on his own.

Following the initial press conference, conflicting information about the timeline emerged and it became clear that the independent review would need to discern the most complete timeline possible - one that could be verified by multiple eyewitnesses and all sources of information available to us. 

I regret that those details, which were based off the information shared with the university at the time, contained inaccurate information. We learned through the preliminary findings that the appropriate protocols were not followed, and the university apologized for the mistakes made. We have committed to implementing the Walters review recommendations and taking further actions to enhance the safety of our student-athletes.” 


  • Our Commitment to Student-Athletes: Letter from University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh  (September 21, 2018)

Dear University of Maryland community,

I would like to share with you this update following today’s Board of Regents meeting on the tragic death of our student-athlete Jordan McNair. In August, Athletic Director Damon Evans and I met with Jordan’s parents to apologize personally for the mistakes made in Jordan’s care by our athletic trainers.

In June, we retained a national expert in sports medicine and athletic training, Rod Walters, to conduct a comprehensive review of the policies and protocols related to the health and safety of our student-athletes. We requested recommendations on what changes should be made to ensure a tragedy like this never happens again. We are committed to this.

The entire Board of Regents received the final report from Rod Walters today. Since he was retained, he has been also advising the Athletic Department on needed improvements, and they have already begun implementing some of his recommendations even before receiving the final report.

Actions to improve the safety of the training and conditioning sessions include: adopting new technology to improve how we monitor the ambient temperature and modify practices accordingly; implementing mandatory hydration testing and emphasizing longer and more frequent recovery breaks. The Athletic Department also increased the number of doctors and trainers present at football practices and games. In July, Rod Walters began expanded training for the staff on the implementation of the emergency action plan. An online portal was established so that our student-athletes could share any concerns. The Walters report highlighted the fact that we have a physician-directed model for athletics trainers, who are licensed by the state and are under the supervision of a licensed physician.

There are additional recommendations in the final report, such as establishing an athletic medicine review board that will review procedures and protocols regarding student-athlete safety. The Athletic Department has committed to implementing all of the recommendations.

Our actions, and our commitments, are available at www.umd.edu/commitment.

The Board of Regents also assumed control in August of a separate commission investigating allegations surrounding the culture of our football program. The Chair of the Board of Regents announced today that results of this commission will be forthcoming.

The safety and well-being of our students remains paramount. I will continue to update our community on all of these efforts.


Wallace D. Loh 

President, University of Maryland


  • Letter from Maryland Athletic Director Damon Evans (September 21, 2018)

Dear Terrapin Community, 

The passing of our student-athlete Jordan McNair in June shook us all to our core. Our student-athletes have demonstrated tremendous resiliency and strength by how they have come together over these past few months to honor Jordan and support each other through the healing process. 

President Loh and I have personally apologized to Jordan’s family for the mistakes made in his care. We continue to keep Jordan’s family, friends and teammates in our thoughts.  

Today, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents received the final report from the external review by Rod Walters. We commissioned the report immediately following Jordan’s death to examine the policies and procedures affecting the health and safety of our student-athletes. The final report includes many recommendations, and we are committed to implementing all of them. Based on the preliminary observations, we already have made changes to how we train and practice across all sports, including:

      • Changed how we practice, train and compete to prevent heat illness
      • Enhanced student-athlete assessments to more closely monitor their health
      • Increased the frequency of athletic department staff trainings across all sports-related health matters
      • Provided additional support measures and new ways to collect input from student-athletes 

You can review additional details outlining our actions and commitments to our student-athletes at www.umd.edu/commitment

President Loh and I are wholeheartedly committed to the safety and well-being of our students. We will do everything in our power to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.

I will continue to provide updates on our progress. 


Damon Evans

Director of Athletics


  • Our Commitment Website (September 21, 2018)

Learn about the University's actions and commitments following the tragic death of Jordan McNair: umd.edu/commitment


  • New Student-Athlete Reporting Tool (August 24, 2018)

The athletics department has launched a new online platform that provides student-athletes the opportunity to submit secure comments or concerns. Terps ICA Feedback allows students to detail their issue and choose if they want to be contacted by a sports supervisor, senior administrator or Faculty Athletics representative to discuss their feedback.

University of Maryland Athletic Director Damon Evans wrote in a letter to student-athletes: “As your new athletic director, I want to make sure you have the ability to communicate any issues or concerns you might have. Ensuring an atmosphere that is conducive to open and honest dialogue is of utmost importance. I encourage you to speak out if you have a challenge, concern or issue.”


  • Maryland Football Student-Athletes Announcement Video  (August 20, 2018)


  • Update on the External Review and Commission (August 17, 2018)

USM Board of Regents to Assume Authority and Control Over UMCP Investigations

The University System of Maryland (USM) Board of Regents today unanimously voted to assume authority and control over all aspects of the investigation into the tragic death of University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP) student-athlete Jordan McNair.  Separately, the board will assume control over the commission formed to investigate the culture of the UMCP football program. Today’s actions will allow the USM to provide guidance from the findings of the investigations to all system institutions.

These steps are being taken pursuant to its authority and duty under Section 12-104 of the Education Article of the Maryland Code.

The USM will announce additional details about the board’s plans next week.  Each of the two separate reviews will now be managed by the Board of Regents and report findings to the Board of Regents, as well as to UMCP.

The votes were taken during a 4-hour special meeting of the board. The board also asked the Office of the Attorney General to represent UMCP and USM on any and all legal claims related to Mr. McNair’s death.

“Everyone throughout the University System of Maryland was deeply saddened by the death of Jordan McNair,” said USM Board of Regents Chair James Brady.  “Our thoughts continue to be with his family and friends, and with everyone at UMCP, at this very difficult time.”

“Earlier today, the Board of Regents was fully briefed by UMCP President Wallace Loh about the circumstances of Mr. McNair’s tragic death, about the actions that have been taken since, and finally about the alarming allegations that have emerged in the last week related to the football program,” Brady continued.  “After a long and robust discussion, the board voted unanimously to assume responsibility for the investigations into these two separate issues.  Our goal is to ensure that all system universities, including UMCP, are actively working to protect the health and safety of every student and to foster a supportive culture in which everyone can flourish.”

UMCP President Loh issued the following comment: “We welcome the oversight of the Board of Regents at this critical time. We must thoroughly investigate the death of student-athlete Jordan McNair and understand the allegations of the culture of our football program so that we can ensure the health and well-being of every one of our student-athletes. We will continue to honor Jordan’s life, and we will work with our Board of Regents to ensure that a tragedy like this never happens again.”  


  • Information on Athletic Training Staffing Structures (August 17, 2018)

University of Maryland Statement on Athletic Training Staffing Structures (August 16, 2018):

The University of Maryland has a physician-directed healthcare model, which is widely adopted.

Our licensed athletic training staff are currently supervised by our University of Maryland School of Medicine supervising physician. To avoid conflicts of interest, all physicians who supervise the athletic trainers are employed outside the Athletic Department. Consistent with best practices, our coaches do not have direct responsibility for the hiring or supervision of any member of the sports medicine staff.

The proposal to outsource athletic trainers to another institution was made when our athletic trainers were already supervised by University of Maryland School of Medicine physicians. At the same time,because the trainers were university employees, we retained the ability to make necessary personnel decisions, as we did recently in placing members of our athletic training staff on administrative leave. 

The University of Maryland’s commitment to safety is paramount and resolute. We have commissioned an independent expert to assess all of our policies and procedures affecting the health and safety of our student-athletes, and we have already changed our practices based on his preliminary observations and recommendations. 


Statement from University of Maryland School of Medicine's Orthopedics Department Chair Dr. Andrew Pollak (August 17, 2018)

Dr. Andrew Pollak, Chair of the Department of Orthopedics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine said today: 

"You cannot draw a line between organizational structure and the death of student-athlete Jordan McNair. 

We share in the commitment to make sure a tragedy like this one never happens again, and we extend our condolences to Jordan's family. We can and will work with the university to implement changes that improve the environment and conditions where student-athletes compete and athletic trainers provide care." 


  • Tweet from Maryland Athletic Director Damon Evans  (August 14, 2018)


Tweed from Maryland AD Damon Evans







  • Press Conference Videos  (August 14, 2018)

Wallace D. Loh


Damon Evans


Media Q & A


Email mediainfo@umd.edu to request video files


  • Letter from Maryland Athletic Director Damon Evans (August 14, 2018)

Dear Terrapin Community,

When I was named Athletic Director in July, my highest priority was to investigate the events surrounding the death of our football student-athlete, Jordan McNair. Although that review is ongoing, preliminary findings from the independent review being conducted by national experts in sports medicine indicate that mistakes were made. The care provided to Jordan was not consistent with best practices, our trainers did not implement appropriately the emergency action plan, and they misdiagnosed the severity of Jordan's initial symptoms.

Based on these preliminary findings, we have taken immediate actions including:

    • Implemented additional safeguards for all of our athletic practices and training, not just football.
    • Added cooling stations and increased student-athlete breaks during practice taking place in the heat.
    • Placed members of our athletic training staff on administrative leave.

Additional actions will be guided by the recommendations of our independent experts. The University has also commissioned a second team of legal and sports experts who will look into recent allegations of unacceptable behavior within our football program. The alleged behaviors are not consistent with the values of our athletic program. I have placed our head football coach DJ Durkin on administrative leave, and as of today, we accepted the resignation of our head football strength and conditioning coach.

Make no mistake, we will not tolerate any behavior from any employee within our athletic program that is detrimental to the mental or physical well-being of our student-athletes. There is nothing more important to me than our student-athletes’ safety.

You will continue to hear from me with updates on our progress. I ask that you keep Jordan’s family, friends and teammates in your prayers.


Damon Evans

Athletic Director 


  • Letter from University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh  (August 14, 2018)

Dear University of Maryland community,

Today, Athletic Director Damon Evans and I met with the parents of Jordan McNair, a 19-year old lineman on our football team, who died in the aftermath of a workout on May 29. On behalf of the University, I apologized to them. They entrusted their son to us, and he did not return home.

An external sports medicine and athletic training expert is conducting a comprehensive review of the circumstances in this case, as well as of the policies and protocols followed by our certified athletic trainers in preventing, recognizing, and treating heat-related illness. The full report is expected to be completed by mid-September. It will be made public.

However, based on the expert's preliminary observations thus far, we know that the care provided to Jordan was not consistent with best practices. Also, our trainers did not implement appropriately the emergency action plan, misdiagnosed the severity of Jordan’s initial symptoms, did not assess vital signs, and did not promptly and properly treat for exertional heat illness.

These were mistakes on the part of some of the athletic training staff. The University accepts legal and moral responsibility for these mistakes.

Under the guidance of the experts leading our investigation, we have taken immediate steps to put additional safeguards in place for all of our athletic practices and training, not just football.

I made a commitment to Jordan's parents. I want to make the same commitment to the parents of all of our student-athletes, and to our entire campus community:

We will do everything within our power to ensure that no University of Maryland student-athlete is ever again put in a situation where his or her safety and life are at foreseeable risk.

The final report will recommend additional actions to make sure that our athletic programs are as safe as possible for all student-athletes. The implementation of these actions is one of the ways we will honor the legacy of Jordan.

I take very seriously the allegations reported in the media about the culture of our football program, citing instances of alleged intimidation and humiliation as ways to “toughen up” players. I am also mindful of other published reports in which some Maryland football players disagree with this portrayal of the program.

My office is usually informed via formal and informal ways of important issues or concerns. In this instance, upon learning of these allegations in the media, my senior staff and I acted upon them.

The University is committed to accountability, transparency and fairness. Athletic Director Evans promptly placed some Athletics personnel on administrative leave. Today, I am announcing a commission to conduct a full and expeditious review of the reported allegations of the conduct of the football staff and of the football program climate.

This commission is comprised of:

    • Ben Legg, retired Chief Judge, U.S. District Court for Maryland.
    • Alex Williams, retired Judge, U.S. District Court for Maryland and former Prince George's County State's Attorney.
    • Charlie Scheeler, senior counsel, DLA Piper; former prosecutor, U.S. Attorney’s Office for Maryland; lead counsel, investigation of steroid use in Major League Baseball; monitor of Penn State's compliance under its Athletics Integrity Agreement with the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference.
    • A retired and respected football coach and athletic administrator from outside the University, to be named soon.

The commission will interview student-athletes, their parents, staff, and other stakeholders in a manner that ensures confidential and candid responses.

We want a thriving and competitive football program that reflects the University's core values: the safety and welfare of student-athletes, and their success in the classroom, on the gridiron, and in life.

We will not countenance behaviors that are inconsistent with these values. We will take appropriate and decisive action, based upon the findings and recommendations of this commission and other information as it is made available to us.

Thank you for your continuing support of Maryland Athletics.


Wallace D. Loh

President, University of Maryland


  •  Letter from Maryland Athletic Director Damon Evans (August 11, 2018)

Dear Terps,

I am extremely concerned by the allegations of unacceptable behaviors by members of our football staff detailed in recent media reports. We are committed to fully investigating the program.  

At this time, the best decision for our football program is to place Maryland Head Football Coach DJ Durkin on leave so we can properly review the culture of the program. This is effective immediately. Matt Canada will serve as interim head coach. 

The external review into the tragic death of Jordan McNair continues, and we have committed to releasing publicly the report being prepared by an independent and national expert. 

The safety and well-being of our student-athletes is our highest priority. These alleged behaviors are not consistent with the values I expect all of our staff to adhere to and we must do better. 

You will be hearing from me as our work continues to rebuild the culture of respect in our football program. 

Damon Evans 


  • Letter from University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh  (August 11, 2018)

Dear University of Maryland community,

I am profoundly disturbed by the media reports yesterday about verbally abusive and intimidating conduct by Maryland football coaches and staff towards our student athletes on the team. 

Such behaviors contravene the educational mission and core values of our University. They are unacceptable. They will not be tolerated.  

All of our coaches and staff who work with our student athletes are also teachers. Our responsibility as teachers is to inspire and enable students to perform at their best and expand the boundaries of their potential, in the classroom and/or on the athletic field. Humiliating and demeaning a student is not only bad teaching and coaching, it is an abuse of the authority of a teacher and coach. 

I have directed Athletic Director Damon Evans to take actions necessary to ensure the safety and success of our student athletes. In addition, the University will retain an external expert to undertake a comprehensive examination of our coaching practices in the football program, with the goal that these practices reflect -- not subvert -- the core values of our University.

Today, Athletic Director Evans has placed Head Football Coach DJ Durkin on administrative leave while this comprehensive examination is conducted. This follows Athletic Director Evans' decision to place other athletics staff members on administrative leave. Matt Canada will serve as Interim Head Football Coach.

The University of Maryland is committed to a football program that is safe and humane, and where our student-athletes are successful in their academic and athletic endeavors. This commitment will be carried out with accountability, fairness, and transparency. 

I will follow-up with a progress update.


Wallace D. Loh

President, University of Maryland 


  • University of Maryland Statement (August 10, 2018)

Following the death of Maryland football player Jordan McNair in June, the University of Maryland commissioned an external review of the procedures and protocols surrounding athletes’ health and safety. Pending the final outcome of this review, the university has placed members of the Athletics staff on administrative leave. We will be able to speak in greater detail when the review is complete and shared with the public. Our thoughts remain with Jordan McNair’s family, friends and teammates. 


  • Update on External Review (August 3, 2018)

Today the university provided the contract with Walters Inc., to media outlets who had requested it under Maryland's Public Informtaion Act. To request a copy of the contract, please email mediainfo@umd.edu

In response to a question from the media, a university spokesperson said: 

"Every football student-athlete was invited and encouraged to participate in the external review, and they were offered the opportunity to speak confidentially and directly with Walters Inc." 


  • University of Maryland Statement (July 19, 2018)

All players have resumed workouts and official practices will begin August 3. We continue to think of Jordan's grieving family, as our community mourns his loss. 

The university immediately sought and secured experts to conduct a thorough and impartial review. We are making every effort to understand as much as we can about this tragedy, as the safety of our students is the highest priority. 

  • External Review Scope (July 12, 2018)

The University of Maryland proactively hired Walters Inc., to perform a review of the care our student-athletes receive before, during and after competition. The review is led by Dr. Rod Walters, a national leader in athletic standards of care.

Walters Inc., will  perform an independent evaluation of ICA's procedures and protocols related to the recent death of a University football player and review the football program's procedures and protocols involving student-athlete health and safety applicable to:planning and conducting team conditioning and practice sessions; and for responding to health emergencies during or after those sessions. 

  • Summary (As of July 12, 2018)

The team gathered for a scheduled, supervised workout at approximately 4:15 pm on May 29th and the temperature was approximately 80 degrees. The workout was held at the Varsity Team House Practice Fields. 

All of our eligible football players participated in the conditioning workout designed by our staff. Our team has done this particular workout the past two seasons. The workout consisted of a warm-up, baseline running drills and position-specific drills.

The workout was supervised by our strength and conditioning staff, and certified athletic trainers were present throughout. Coach Durkin was at the workout. 

Each student-athlete was given a gallon of water at the start of the day and weighed-in prior to the workout. Water, gatorade and snacks are available throughout the day and workout, and lunch was provided to the team. 

All players are required to receive a medical clearance at the start of the practice season. All players participating in the workout received their medical clearance from our team physician.

Following the completion of the workout, our trainers noticed Jordan was having problems recovering. They began supporting an active recovery and providing care. He was talking to our trainers throughout. 

He was then moved via gator to the athletic training room in the football team house for further observation and continued treatment. 

Staff contacted medical personnel and dialed 911. 

Emergency personnel began arriving on the scene at approximately 6pm and Jordan was transported to the hospital. 

All players have resumed workouts and official practices will begin August 3

The university is contracting with Walters Incorporated to conduct an external review. The review is evaluating relevant policies and protocols, as the safety and well-being of our student-athletes is the highest priority. 

  • Quotes from the Maryland Athletics Press Conference for the Athletic Director Announcement (June 26, 2018) 

“We are all still grieving for Jordan McNair who, as you know, tragically passed away at the age of only 19. Known as a gentle giant, we will forever remember him wearing number 79. We are all still grieving." - Wallace D. Loh, University of Maryland President

“We lost a member of our family. A young man who, just with his smile, warmed up a room. A young man who loved Chipotle Thursday, which his roommate is going to continue. At his services we got to see what he was really about by the people who filled the room. The people who showed up were a representation of his life. Let us not forget Jordan McNair because he will forever be apart of who we are.” - Damon Evans, University of Maryland Athletic Director 


  • University of Maryland Statement on External Review & Football Practice Schedule (June 19, 2018) 

The university is contracting with Walters Incorporated to conduct an external review, and the review will begin by week's end. The review will evaluate relevant policies and protocols, as the safety and well-being of our student-athletes is the highest priority. 

Football players have been informed that regularly scheduled practices are voluntary until further notice. First and foremost the focus is on the well-being of our student-athletes, and this time is for them to grieve. We will continue to provide the resources our student-athletes need, which includes counseling services and access to spiritual leaders, during this difficult time.


  • Tweets from University of Maryland President, Wallace D. Loh 

President Loh Tweet- Jordan McNair

Link to tweet (June 14, 2018) 

President Loh Tweet- Jordan McNair

Link to tweet (June 20, 2018)


  • Maryland Athletics Press Conference for Jordan McNair (June 14, 2018) 


  • Tweets From Maryland Athletics

UMTerps Tweet- Jordan McNair

Link to tweet (June 13, 2018) 


  • Message From UMD Executive Athletic Director Damon Evans on Jordan McNair: Maryland Family Mourns Passing of Jordan McNair (June 13, 2018)

Dear Terrapin Family,

We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our student-athletes, sophomore football player Jordan McNair. Jordan was a tremendous athlete, student, teammate and friend, and he will be sorely missed. We offer our deepest condolences to his parents, family and friends.

Jordan was hospitalized following an organized team workout on May 29 and passed away today, June 13. For those who had the opportunity to know Jordan, you understand the sadness we are feeling.

Coach DJ Durkin asked me to pass along the following thoughts on his behalf:

Our team is heartbroken with the loss of Jordan McNair. Jordan was an incredible young man, and his passion and enthusiasm made him an invaluable and beloved member of our team. Jordan was a hard worker and he always had a smile on his face. He was an extremely talented football player and a humble and genuine human being. He embodied the essence of what it means to be a teammate. Jordan was a fighter. Over the past few weeks, Jordan never gave up with his family, friends and team by his side. Our team will continue to be inspired by the spirit of this brave fighter. Please continue to pray for Jordan’s family during this difficult time.

Counseling services are available for our student-athletes and for our staff.

Our thoughts and support continue to be with his family as they grieve the loss of this outstanding young man.


Damon Evans

Executive Athletic Director










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