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University of Maryland School of Medicine Appoints New Assistant Dean for Public Affairs and Communications

Monday, August 20, 2012

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National Media Relations and Communications Expert Selected to Lead the Office of Communications and Public Affairs with Focus on Science and Discovery

University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., has appointed Chris Hardwick, M.A., as assistant dean and director of the Office of Public Affairs and Communications.  In his new role, Mr. Hardwick and his team will work to promote publicly and widely all of the School of Medicine’s groundbreaking and incredible research discoveries, clinical accomplishments and academic advancements.

An experienced public relations professional, Mr. Hardwick will develop new strategies to increase the visibility of the School of Medicine and its faculty in the national and international media. Working collaboratively with the University as well as our clinical partner – the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) – Mr. Hardwick will lead the development and distribution of newsworthy information for the print, broadcast, internet and social media. 

“In light of possible cuts to federal research funding, it is even more important for the public to understand the impact of the scientific advancements and discoveries made by our faculty,”
says Dean Reece, who also is vice president for medical affairs at the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko K. Bowers Distinguished Professor at the School of Medicine. “I am confident that Mr. Hardwick will aggressively seek placement for our groundbreaking stories to the widest possible audience. I extend my sincerest gratitude to Mr. Larry Roberts, who served effectively as interim director.  Mr. Roberts will continue as a senior leader in the Office of Public Affairs.”

Mr. Hardwick will leverage the power of the joint media relations team, which includes writers and editors from both the School of Medicine and UMMC.  Together, team members cover the clinical and research news generated by our faculty in our more than 40 academic units: departments, programs, centers and institutes. Recently, the joint media relations team launched a new satellite broadcast studio at the School of Medicine. Through this medium, School of Medicine faculty physicians and scientists can be interviewed worldwide live on network news broadcasts at a moment’s notice.

In addition to overseeing media relations at the School of Medicine, Mr. Hardwick will also supervise internal communications, website operations and publications. The School’s monthly publications, SOMnews and The Buzz, highlight the accomplishments of faculty, staff, trainees and students.  These accomplishments include grant and contract awards, publications, lectureships, promotions, discoveries and other events. Mr. Hardwick will also assist with the State of the School Address and publication, and serve on the editorial board of the alumni magazine – University of Maryland Medicine Bulletin.

The Office of Public Affairs also produces a joint Annual report with the University of Maryland Medical System.  This report emphasizes the excellent partnership between the two organizations, and provides an overview of the previous year’s accomplishments in patient care, biomedical research, education, community service, and philanthropy. The annual report also includes snapshots of operating budgets for the fiscal year, the school’s grants and contracts, and information about the financial health of system’s 12 hospitals.

Mr. Hardwick has a wealth of experience in communications, media relations, marketing and public affairs. Most recently, Mr. Hardwick worked as Executive Vice President for Communications Strategy at Carnegie Communications in Westford, MA.  From 2005 to 2008, he was Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. He has worked for CIT Group, Aramark Corporation, and The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  At the Wharton School, he served as Director of Communications and Public Affairs and Director of Media Relations. He began his career at Burson-Marsteller, a leading international public relations consulting firm.  Mr. Hardwick holds a masters degree in journalism and communications from the University of Maryland, and a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin.

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