Maryland Commission on Health Equity Convenes for First Time

On Monday, October 18th, the Maryland Commission on Health Equity (MCHE), established as a part of the Shirley Nathan Pulliam Health Equity Act of 2021, held its first meeting to develop a statewide plan to improve health outcomes and increase health equity in Maryland.

Maryland Department of Health logo

The meeting occurred soon after the Maryland Department of Health’s (MDH)
announcement of the Commission’s membership, which includes:

  • Steven R. Schuh, Deputy Secretary for Health Care Financing, Maryland Department of Health (Chair)
  • Mary Washington, Maryland Senate, District 43
  • Sheree Sample-Hughes, Maryland House of Delegates, District 37A
  • Leonard Croft, Elder Rights Program Manager, Department of Aging
  • Cassie Shirk, Director of Legislation and Governmental Affairs, Department of Agriculture
  • David R. Brinkley, Secretary, Department of Budget Management
  • Juliane Woepke, Executive Director, Maryland Economic Development Commission, Department of Commerce
  • Robert L. Green, Secretary, Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
  • Kirsten Robb-McGrath, Director of Health and Behavioral Health Policy, Department of Disabilities
  • Dr. Sylvia Lawson, Assistant Superintendent, Maryland State Department of Education
  • Erica S. Chapman, Special Assistant to the Director, Land and Materials Administration, Department of Environment
  • Jennifer A. Edwards, Director of Emergency Management, Department of General Services
  • Danielle Meister, Senior Policy Officer, Homelessness, Department of Housing and Community Development
  • Stephanie Cooke, Director, Child Protective Services and Family Preservation, Social Security Administration, Department of Human Services
  • Lance Schine, Deputy Secretary,  Department of Information Technology
  • Keva S. Jackson, Executive Director, Office of Clinical Services, Department of Juvenile Services
  • Mary Keller, Special Grants Administrator, Division of Workforce Development and Adult Learning, Department of Labor
  • Michelle Ramirez, Multicultural Outreach Coordinator, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • Kanishk Sharma, Director of Planning Data and Research, Department of Planning
  • Derek B. Peck, Captain,  Maryland State Police
  • Gregory Slater, Secretary, Department of Transportation
  • Roslyn Jones, Women Veterans and Inclusion Manager, Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Dr. Aliya Jones, Deputy Secretary for Behavioral Health, MDH
  • Dr. Jinlene Chan, Deputy Secretary for Public Health, MDH
  • Kathleen A. Birrane, Commissioner, Maryland Insurance Administration
  • David Bishai, Harford County Health Officer, Maryland Association of County Health Officers

Commission members will be specifically charged with addressing racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic health disparities. The Commission will have two subcommittees informing its work: a data advisory committee and a health equity policy committee. According to the Daily Record, the Commission will also collaborate with outside health equity-related entities:

Maryland already has a number of groups committed to examining health disparities, such as the Population Health Management Group and the Racial Disparities in Overdose Task Force, Schuh noted. Part of MCHE’s purpose will be leveraging the research conducted by and the initiatives launched by these other groups in its own work; it will also aim to unite the work of different task forces and groups to ensure that they are working towards common goals.

Earlier this month, the Maryland Department of Health announced the Pathways to Health Equity program, another piece of the Maryland General Assembly’s ambitious equity-focused 2021 legislative slate.

Read the full Daily Record article.

Read the full MDH press release.

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