Department of Health Announces Five Senior Leadership Appointments

Maryland Department of Health logoThis week, the Maryland Department of Health (MDH)  announced five new senior leadership appointments.​​

“Today’s appointments are part of our efforts to elevate seasoned Maryland Department of Health staff into senior leadership positions,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “We look forward to their contributions in our fight against COVID-19 and other critical priority areas that enable us to keep Marylanders healthy and safe.”

Tara Hargadon has been appointed Assistant Secretary of Customer Experience. In this role, Hargadon will continue to oversee and expand the Department’s constituent services program, MDH website modernization and maintenance, Maryland’s “211, Press 1” opioid response and suicide prevention helpline and the MD GoVAX Support Center.

Hargadon previously served as the Director of Constituent Services at MDH; over the past eight months she has led on COVID-19 matters involving mass vaccination pre-registration, appointment referrals and scheduling, community outreach and engagement, the No Arm Left Behind campaign and the MD GoVAX Support Center. Hargadon brings more than 15 years of private sector experience in project management, customer service and strategy to her new role. Prior to her tenure at MDH, Hargadon served as Chief of Staff and Ombudsman for City of Annapolis Mayor Michael Pantelides. She also served as Human Relations lead on the Anne Arundel County Opioid Intervention Team under Governor Hogan’s Opioid Operations Command Center. Hargadon received her Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a focus in Public Relations from East Carolina University.

Bryan Mroz has been appointed Director of the MDH Healthcare System. In this role, Mroz will lead the MDH healthcare system, including the state’s adult psychiatric facilities, the Regional Institutes for Children and Adolescents (RICAs), chronic hospitals and facilities for individuals with developmental disabilities. He will focus on creating a unified state hospital system that provides the best care possible for all patients.

Mroz previously served as MDH Assistant Secretary, leading the Maryland COVID-19 vaccination effort and serving various other aspects of Maryland’s COVID-19 response, including hospital surge planning and testing. Previously, he served as the Deputy Director of Hospitals for MDH and was the CEO of the RICA Baltimore for five years. Mroz has been a registered nurse for the past 25 years and is committed to improving the health of Marylanders, particularly through his work in the behavioral health field, in addition to his recent experience in pandemic response.

Heather Shek has been appointed Director of the Office of Governmental Affairs. In this role, Shek, who has been with the Office of Governmental Affairs since 2019, will provide leadership and expertise on State legislative, regulatory and budgetary issues having an impact on MDH and its programs and services. Additionally, Shek will serve as the legislative liaison between MDH, the Governor’s Office, the Maryland General Assembly, State agencies and various advocacy groups and organizations.

During her time with MDH, Shek has served as the Assistant Director and Deputy Director of the Office of Governmental Affairs, where she played an integral role in the COVID-19 pandemic response, helping to build surge hospital bed capacity and building the infrastructure to ensure every Marylander who wanted a COVID-19 test was able to get one. Prior to joining MDH, Shek worked as a family law attorney. She holds her Juris Doctorate from the University of Maryland Law School, and a Master of Science in Forensic Psychology, Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the University of New Haven.

Dr. Katherine Feldman has been appointed Chief Public Health Scientist. In this role, Feldman will lead a number of initiatives and activities to strengthen Maryland’s public health infrastructure and continue to support the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Most recently, Dr. Feldman served as Director of the MDH Contact Tracing Unit. Her previous experience includes serving as the State Public Health Veterinarian and Chief of the Center for Zoonotic and Vector-Borne Diseases at MDH, in addition to leading complex projects for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a Principal Epidemiologist with the MITRE Corporation. She completed applied epidemiology and preventive medicine fellowships with the CDC and the California Department of Public Health. Dr. Feldman received her veterinary degree from Cornell University and Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis in epidemiology from the University of California, Berkeley. She is a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Preventive Medicine, where she also earned her certification in epidemiology.

Mahesh Marepalli has been appointed Director of the MDH Data Office. In this role, Marepalli will lead the Department’s data services.

Marepalli brings more than 25 years of business intelligence and analytics implementation experience to the Department, having recently worked as the Enterprise Data Analytics senior vice president for a FORTUNE 10 company. His experience centers on aligning strategy, technology and organization to streamline processes, reduce cost and achieve competitive advantage. Marepalli holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics and Computer Science from the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi, India.

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