Anne Arundel Health Officer Dr. Nilesh Kaylanaraman is taking a key leadership post as the new Deputy Secretary of Public Health Services at the Maryland Department of Health. Dr. Kaylanaraman brings with him a deep understanding of the challenges facing local health departments and their needs, including the importance of collaborative public health infrastructure, a topic which he presented on at the 2023 MACo Winter Conference.
“We all knew that Dr. Kalyanaraman was a superstar when we hired him, and he turned out to be exactly the leader that we needed. Dr. Kalyanaraman led with compassion, strength, and brilliance, integrating public health into every corner of local governance, and leading our defense against a virus that took the lives of 1,255 county residents,” said County Executive Pittman.
“I am thrilled that the Moore administration recognized Dr. Kalyanaraman’s talents and is putting him into a position where he can continue to deliver not only for the nearly 600,000 residents of our county, but also for the 6 million residents of Maryland. I look forward to working with him in his new role.”
During his four years as Health Officer, Dr. Kaylanaraman championed the county’s efforts to expand accessibility to health services, led its response to the COVID pandemic, and worked to address the social determinants of health.
He led early initiation of contact tracing and case management, resulting in the county having the third-lowest death rate from COVID in the state, and developed the Community Health Ambassadors program which invests in community and faith based organizations to conduct health outreach as trusted members of their communities. Under his leadership, the department launched the award-winning Office of Health Equity and Racial Justice to identify and address health disparities along racial/ethnic, income, and geographical lines.
“We’ve accomplished a lot, including responding to a global pandemic, that improved the health of all residents in Anne Arundel County, particularly those with the greatest needs,” said Kalyanaraman. “I look forward to the opportunity to continue advancing public health at the state level.”
Dr. Kalyanaraman also tackled a number of issues plaguing communities on a national and local level, including leading the development and implementation of the Gun Violence Intervention Team to address gun violence as a public health issue. He also worked to increase the County’s scope of opioid interventions, leading to a multiyear decrease in opioid overdoses and deaths through an expansion of treatment options and harm reduction services.
Anne Arundel County Council Chairman Pete Smith said, “I was proud to work with someone so dedicated to serving the residents of our county.”
Under his leadership, the Department of Health also relaunched the Healthy Anne Arundel Coalition to address community identified health priorities. The Department expanded services in South County at Lula Scott Community Center, provided clinical care for substance use disorder and tuberculosis, and produced its first strategic plan and integrated and comprehensive behavioral health plan.
Dr. Kalyanaraman’s knowledge and leadership has been invaluable over the last four years when we have had to make some tough decisions to ensure the resilience of our communities,” said Council Vice Chair Allison Pickard. Dr. Kalyanaraman’s last day as Anne Arundel County Health Officer is March 21, 2023.
Additional information about the appointment of a new health officer will be shared in the coming days.