August 26, 2020

Media Contact: 

Scott Peterson, Director of Communications, Office of Public Information, 202-277-9412 

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Last night, County Executive Calvin Ball hosted a Health & Wellness Townhall with nine Howard County health professionals. The distinguished health leaders answered questions and discussed pressing health topics including COVID-19, behavioral and mental health, and innovations in healthcare. The event was attended online by more than 2,000 people, who brought up issues such as mental health for young residents, the impact and future of a COVID-19 vaccine, and the racial disparities highlighted by COVID-19. Video of the event can be viewed here. 

“Healthcare extends beyond our traditional institutions – we have an entire ecosystem of support, care, and prevention services that exemplify the importance of private-public partnerships which are essential in combatting this global pandemic,” said Ball. “I think we take for granted during these times of staying at home and isolation to not see how all the different levers of our systems are working together and cohesively to combat this virus, but all of our health leaders tonight exemplified the importance of holistic health and wellness to keep our residents safe and healthy.” 

“Howard County Health Department is grateful to be part of such a dedicated healthcare system,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer. “We are thankful to our residents who continue to wear facial coverings, physically distance, stay at home and encourage all to get a flu shot.”

"The Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services continues to actively collaborate with both public and private partner organizations in our shared mission of providing the highest quality emergency medical care to Howard County,” said Dr. Matthew Levy, Medical Director for the Department of Fire and Rescue Services. 

“APL is an organization that focuses on the most critical challenges facing our nation in national security, space exploration, health, and other highly technical areas,” said Dr. Ralph Semmel, Director of Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (APL). “And clearly, this pandemic has posed plenty of critical challenges. While our primary focus is at the national and international levels -- from the JHU Coronavirus Map to research on the virus genome for vaccine development -- we take pride in our role and responsibilities as members of the Howard County community.”

“I appreciate County Executive Ball’s leadership in bringing healthcare professionals together to review the multi-disciplinary efforts that are underway to care for our community,” said Steve Snelgrove, President of Howard County General Hospital. “I was grateful for the chance to explain how Howard County General Hospital has worked with partners to close health equity gaps that the coronavirus has exacerbated. The townhall demonstrated again how this community comes together in times of great challenges.”

“Howard County General Hospital remains ready to care for our community,” said Dr. Patricia Pugh, Vice Chair of the Emergency Department for Howard County General Hospital. “We are committed to keeping you safe and healthy; please do not delay in seeking care for what ails you. We will see this through together!”

“Proud to live in a community that comes together to tackle the greatest health challenge of our lifetime,” said Dr. Yvette Oquendo-Berruz, Medical Director for CareFirst and Horizon Foundation Board Member. “The Horizon Foundation and CareFirst have both responded to the needs of our communities to help close gaps in minimizing food insecurity, access to medical and behavioral health and other needs of the populations that have been disproportionately impacted during this pandemic.”

“Proud to be part of the Horizon Foundation and their goal of creating and supporting policies that will create lasting positive changes for the entire community,” said Dr. Celián Valero-Colón of One World Healthcare. “We are excited to continue to provide the necessary support to our community.”

"Unless you are made of steel, it's fair to say that the pandemic has had a very real impact on our mental health as individuals,” said Denise Giuliano, Executive Director of NAMI Howard County. “Just know that it's OK not to be OK. We need to try to show ourselves -- and each other -- some grace as we work through this difficult time together."

“Chase Brexton Health Care is looking forward, continuing our work with partners in Howard County to harness the shared responsibility to care for everyone,” said Lisa Pearson, LCSW, Director of Behavioral Health at Chase Brexton.

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