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University of Maryland School of Medicine Expands Office of Public Affairs to More Effectively Communicate Advances in Discovery and Innovation

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Christopher Hardwick, M.A.
 Christopher Hardwick, M.A.

New Appointments, Expanded Broadcast and Digital Capabilities Enable Robust Communications of Breakthroughs in Science and Medicine

University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean E. Albert Reece, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.A., is expanding the School of Medicine’s Office of Public Affairs as the School continues to elevate its national profile, and communicate more broadly about its major discoveries and breakthroughs in biomedical research and clinical innovations.

The dean recently appointed Christopher Hardwick, M.A., as the new assistant dean of Public Affairs and Communications. Mr. Hardwick has more than 25 years of national public relations and communications experience, including working as a senior manager and consultant with major colleges and universities, and Fortune 500 corporations. He is joined by Veronica Anderson, M.A., who has just been appointed as the new Public Affairs Coordinator. Ms. Anderson has worked in media and public affairs at Vanguard

Veronica Anderson, M.A.
Communications in Washington, D.C.. She has a B.A. in communications and an M.A. in integrated marketing communications, both from Florida State University.

Most recently, the dean has also appointed Julie Wu, Ph.D., a research scientist and medical communications professional, from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Julie Wu, Ph.D.
Dr. Wu, who joins the School as medical science editor, will work closely with the Dean’s Office and the Office of Public Affairs on a broad range of scientific, business and medical research communications initiatives. At the NIH, Dr. Wu worked as a technical writer-editor covering the areas of allergy, immunology and transplantation in the Office of Communications and Government Relations at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the second largest institute at NIH. She played an instrumental role in the public launch of major NIAID initiatives, including the Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Food Allergy in the United States: Report of the NIAID-Sponsored Expert Panel. Through her efforts to build relationships between NIAID and the patient advocacy community, Dr. Wu increased the involvement of NIAID staff in relevant programs on Capitol Hill helped and promoted the efforts of the NIAID Primary Immune Deficiency Clinic.

Dr. Wu received her doctoral degree at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS) in molecular and cell biology, specializing in the field of reproductive immunology. Prior to USUHS, she worked in a microbiology laboratory and developed a technique to disrupt MRSA biofilms. Dr. Wu is co-author on numerous scientific publications, co-inventor on a patent, and recipient of several NIAID Director’s Awards and an NIH Plain Language, Clear Communications Award.

“It is more important than ever that we effectively communicate the School’s research achievements and clinical innovations, and their impact on human health to our key stakeholders,” says Dean Reece. “As we increase our clinical and biologic breakthroughs, we must use a wider range of media to tell these compelling stories to research funding agencies, alumni, corporations and the public at large. As funding pressures and competition for resources continue, this will be essential,” he adds.

Dr. Wu succeeds Jim Swyers, M.A., who served as senior medical/science editor at the School for the past five years before accepting a position at the University of California- San Francisco. “I am deeply grateful to Jim for his years of outstanding service to the School of Medicine,” said Dean Reece. “We wish him great success as he moves to the Bay Area and joins UCSF, a great institution that is fortunate to have him.”

The Office of Public Affairs is making additional changes that will help the School enhance its national and international visibility and communicate the breadth and impact of its discovery and innovation. The Office has created a new Division of Digital & Web Communications to broaden the School’s web and digital communications activities, and optimize its use of new vehicles to reach external audiences and increase the School’s presence on the internet. The division will be under the direction of former broadcast news journalist and 13-year School of Medicine veteran Larry Roberts, M.B.A., who takes on the new role of director of public affairs & digital communications. The new division will produce video medical news segments that will be featured on the website, on the internet and in national news media.

The Office has also established a new Division for Visual & Broadcast Media. The new division will mobilize and leverage the School’s unique broadcast studio to feature the School’s faculty and groundbreaking biomedical research. The studio has state-of-the art broadcast news capabilities, including uplink to major news networks. This new division will also expand its use of photographic images across the School’s print and online publications and will continue to manage print and digital signage – including the integration of regular video news segments into the flat-screen monitors located around the School’s facilities.

“The University of Maryland School of Medicine is at the forefront of advances in crticial areas of medicine – such as cancer, diabetes, brain injury, transplant, infectious disease,” Dean. Reece adds. “We are excited about the new opportunities we have to tell these stories of innovation that are impacting the health and well-being of all our citizens.”

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Established in 1807, the University of Maryland School of Medicine is the first public medical school in the United States, and the first to institute a residency-training program. The School of Medicine was the founding school of the University of Maryland and today is an integral part of the 11-campus University System of Maryland. On the University of Maryland's Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine serves as the anchor for a large academic health center which aims to provide the best medical education, conduct the most innovative biomedical research and provide the best patient care and community service to Maryland and beyond. www.medschool.umaryland.edu.

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