UMAB's Quest for Quality

April 24, 1994

When regents at the University of Maryland selected a new president for its Baltimore campus, they left no doubt what they wanted to see happen at their professional schools campus. Dr. David J. Ramsay's mission, starting in June, is to boost research and entrepreneurial enterprises while ending internal factionalism at UMAB.

Judging from his credentials and his accomplishments, Dr. Ramsay comes to this job prepared for the challenge. For over a decade he has been the No. 2 administrator at the University of California at San Franciso, a campus whose reputation as a top-notch public health-sciences institution has soared during that period. Among other things, UCSF is renowned within academic circles for the huge sums of medical research dollars it attracts: it vies with Johns Hopkins each year for the top spot nationally in these research grants.

The new UMAB president, a physiologist, remains an active researcher. His latest submission for publication: "Effect of Stimulating Baroreceptors in the Right Heart on Hypotension-Induced Secretion of AVP, ACTH and Renin in Conscious Dogs." His forte, though, has been his ability to get students, faculty members and administrators to work together in a diverse health-sciences setting.

He will need that skill. UMAB has been stymied by a string of unfortunate administrative and management disputes. The campus also has had trouble integrating its health-sciences segments (medicine, law, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy) with its non-science schools (social work and law). Dr. Ramsay's goal is to stimulate cooperative efforts and bring a unified focus to the graduate schools.

Quietly over the past half-dozen years, UMAB has started down the path the regents and Dr. Ramsay want to follow. Research dollars have doubled, to $110 million, and now exceed the level of state funds. The number of invention disclosures from UMAB scientists has risen from 5 to 47 since 1989; patents filed went from 0 to 14. A $61 million health sciences building with space for medical research is nearing completion. A $33 million health sciences library is also under construction.

UMAB is an important institution for Baltimore. As the campus enhances its status as a top-quality research center and as its entrepreneurial efforts start to pay off, this city will be a big beneficiary. Dr. Ramsay not only has to lead the charge in this direction but he also has to expand UMAB's ties to the Baltimore community. When he arrives in June, he had better hit the ground running.

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