As the nucleus of public health efforts in the state, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) has successfully addressed a number of socially relevant matters through public policy creation and funded initiatives. In recent years, the DHMH has focused its work on everything from overdose prevention to enrolling children in health coverage.
The professionals of the DHMH—who range from public health nurses and environmental scientists to program coordinators, epidemiologists, and beyond—partner with communities, nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and businesses in the private sector to apply research and promote health, advance health equality, and create policies, all of which are designed to enhance health across the lifespan. Many times, the achievements of the DHMH and its partner agencies have resulted in national attention and recognition.
For example, Maryland recently received a $2.4 million State Innovation Model Grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to develop a new Community-Integrated Medical Home Initiative. The Initiative will coordinate with public health resources in local communities across Maryland and create detailed maps that will highlight areas with poor health status, high healthcare utilization, and poor outcomes.
As of fiscal year 2013-14, Maryland’s state public health budget was $216 million, with another $169 million provided to the state through the CDC. Some of the largest public health programs in Maryland, in terms of state and federal funding during this time, were:
- Birth defects, developmental disabilities, disability, and health: $3.9 million
- Chronic disease prevention and health promotion: $23 million
- Emerging and zoonotic infectious diseases: $4.7 million
- Environmental health: $2.6 million
- Viral hepatitis, HIV/AIDS, STI, and TB prevention: $24 million
- Public health preparedness and response: $13.7 million
- Vaccines for children: $66 million
- Public health scientific services: $8 million
- Injury prevention and control: $3.7 million
- Immunization and respiratory diseases: $9.3 million
Jobs for Public Health Professionals in Maryland
The coordinated efforts of Maryland’s public health workforce are vast, as is evident from the sheer number of professionals who work in this sector. Just a few of the public health experts and specialists who work in Maryland’s public health sector include:
- Community Health Educator: Plans, develops, implements, and promotes health education projects designed to further public awareness and understanding of the factors that influence health status and community health activities and services
- Coordinator, Special Programs: Provides community-based case management and identifies intervention needs of children, adolescents, and adults; also performs assessments, provides recommendations, and connects individuals with appropriate resources
- Environmental Health Specialist: Works at a local health department, performing inspections and investigations so as to ensure compliance with environmental health laws and regulations
Thanks to the diligent and often demanding work of the professionals of the DHMH and the many partner agencies throughout Maryland, a host of public health initiatives and programs have become a reality. Just a sampling of some of the recent public health programs that have been set in motion in Maryland includes:
- Health Enterprise Zones: The state’s chosen Health Enterprise Zones (five locations have been identified) will receive a range of incentives, benefits, and grants that address unacceptable and persistent health disparities.
- Behavioral Health Integration in Pediatric Primary Care Program: Enables primary care providers from around the state to receive expert consultation so as to support the efforts of pediatric primary care providers that address and manage mental health concerns
- Project Connect Maryland: Maryland was just one of six states selected for a competitive grant to fund Project Connect Maryland, a program designed to help providers protect women from domestic violence.
- Million Hearts Symposium: The Maryland Million Hearts Symposium, the first of its kind, was an opportunity for public and private partners to discuss public health solutions to fighting heart disease and stroke, two of Maryland’s leading causes of death.
Degree Programs for Public Health Careers in Maryland
Not all degree programs are created equal, particularly in the field of public health. With an increased awareness and appreciation for public health initiatives across the U.S., employers are now seeking professionals who have a profound understanding of the comprehensive nature of public health.
Although this type of knowledge is, of course, obtained through experience in the field, an advanced education provides public health professionals with an unparalleled understanding of concepts related to public health. More specifically, the Master of Public Health (MPH) has become the gold standard for public health professionals, particularly those in senior-level positions.
Just a few of the recent job descriptions within the DHMH that reflect the trend toward the advanced degree and the MPH include:
- Public Health Preparedness Coordinator: Requires a bachelor’s degree in nursing, social work, psychology, education, counseling or a related field, along with at least 5 years of experience in health services; candidates with a master’s degree in health or human services are eligible to have some of the required experience waived
- Community Health Nurse Program Supervisor: Requires a bachelor’s degree in nursing and at least two years of experience as a community health nurse; a master’s degree in nursing or a related field may be substituted for two years of experience
- Coordinator, Special Programs, Health Services: Requires a bachelor’s degree in nursing, social work, psychology, education, counseling, or a related field; applicants with a master’s degree in a health or human service field can substitute education for the required experience
- Grants Management Coordinator: Requires a bachelor’s degree in health planning, public health, health science, hospital administration, or healthcare administration and three years of experience in health planning; a master’s degree may be substituted for some of the experience
There are a large number of careers in public health outside of the DHMH in Maryland, as well, most of which also require an advanced level of education:
- Clinical Information Systems Specialist, St. Mary’s Hospital, Leonardtown: Requires a bachelor’s degree in information technology, management, or a related field; a master’s degree in public health or business administration is strongly desired
- Program Coordinator, Open Society Foundations, Baltimore: Requires a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, although a master’s degree is preferred
- Research Assistant, John Hopkins University, Baltimore: Requires a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline, although a master’s degree in a field such as biostatistics, epidemiology, health policy, and management is helpful
Resources for Public Health Jobs in Maryland
The DHMH employs public health professionals through its local health departments, which are located throughout the state. Just a few of the local health agencies in Maryland include:
- Allegany County Health Department, Cumberland
- Baltimore City Health Department, Baltimore
- Calvert County Health Department, Prince Frederick
- Washington County Health Department, Hagerstown
- Kent County Health Department, Chestertown
Just a few of the organizations outside of the DHMH in Maryland that employ public health professionals include:
- State of Maryland, Public Health Laboratory
- Maryland School of Public Health, Institute for Applied Environmental Health
- Center for a Healthy Maryland, Baltimore
- Altarum Institute, Rockville
- Avar Consulting, Rockville
- DB Consulting Group, Silver Springs