Bmore Healthy Blog

Note from the Commissioner: Public health saves lives every day

Baltimore never takes a backseat to public health. Public health saves lives every day, but because there is no face of prevention, it is often difficult to make the case for our core services that protect and promote health for our residents.

This past week, the dedicated team at BCHD presented our programs and services to the Baltimore City Council. I always say that I have the best job in the world, and I was very proud to represent the dedicated women and men of BCHD who are on the frontlines every day to work on maternal and child health, senior services, trauma and mental healthcare, violence prevention, HIV/AIDS and STD services, environmental health, and much more.

Public Health Heroes: Baltimore’s Disease Detectives

In Baltimore, we have a special team of detectives working each day to save lives. They are not the usual detectives you may imagine; rather, these public health investigators make up our Acute Communicable Disease (ACD) team, a staff of 12, which examine routine and emerging infectious disease outbreaks, such as food-borne illness, rabies, meningitis, and ebola.

Note from the Commissioner: Get Naloxone Today

Every day in our city, two people lose their lives due to overdose. These are not random people—they are our friends, family, and fellow community members. These deaths are particularly tragic because there is a life-saving medication, naloxone, that can reverse an opioid overdose. 

Naloxone gives everyone the power to save a life, which is why I first issued a standing order to Baltimore’s 620,000 residents in October 2015. As a result, more than 800 lives have been saved from overdose by fellow residents. 

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Note from the Commissioner: Providing for Public Health

One of the biggest challenges in public health is securing funding for life-saving interventions. It is easy to envision a person saved in the E.R. or a person recovering with treatment from medicine prescribed, but what is the face of prevention? It is much more difficult point to someone who could have potentially been sick, but ultimately was not because of a successful public health program.

The federal budget cuts proposed this week will harm the health and well-being of hundreds of thousands of Baltimoreans, including seniors, children, and people with chronic illnesses.

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Note from the Commissioner: Medicaid Isn't about Policy, It's about People's Lives

Every day, I am proud to work at the Baltimore City Health Department with nearly a thousand dedicated women and men who support the most vulnerable in our community. We deliver core services such as preventing deadly outbreaks, ensuring sanitation in food service facilities, and caring for both human and animal residents in their time of need.

One of our core services is healthcare access, which is being threatened by the recent proposal passed in the House of Representatives to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. On Monday, I joined U.S. Representatives Elijah Cummings and John Sarbanes at a Town Hall to discuss the importance of Medicaid to Baltimore, and how it serves as the safety net for our most vulnerable residents, including our children, families, seniors, and those with mental illness and addiction.

Commissioner's Corner: Addressing health disparities across the life course

At the Baltimore City Health Department, we believe that where a person lives should

Commissioner's Corner: We need to fight for justice and the ACA

In public health, we have a responsibility to fight against injustice to ensure the health and well-being of all those around us. Unfortunately, all the progress we have made could be undone.

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a bill to repeal the protections in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). This proposal worsens an alreadycritically-flawed piece of legislation that was introduced in March and failed to pass. It will endanger millions of Americans, who will lose coverage for life-saving services. Millions more—including seniors—will no longer be able to pay for healthcare.

Commissioner's Corner: Mayor's Spring Clean Up-- Zika & Prescription Drug Take Back Day

This weekend is Mayor Catherine E. Pugh’s Spring Clean Up, which is a perfect reminder to take important steps to ensure that your home and community are healthy and safe. Zika season is right around the corner. Mosquitos can transmit Zika, West Nile, and other diseases, and the best way to prevent them is to stop them from breeding in the first place by removing any standing water from your property. Do a survey of your yard and make sure there are no empty flower pots, trash lids, or other containers that can harbor standing water. If you need assistance to eliminate standing water in your neighborhood, call 311 to report it.

Spring cleaning is also a good time to clean out your medicine cabinet. This Saturday is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, and today, I joined Baltimore City Police Commissioner Kevin Davis, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration Don Hibbert, and other leaders across the city to encourage residents to safely dispose of unused medications at one of the 10 permanent take-back boxes located at police stations across the city. Residents can drop off unused and unwanted medications year-round, no questions asked.

Public Health Heroes: Field Health Services Reflecting on Baltimore in the Post-Unrest Era

Baltimore City Health Department Field Health Services Michelle Haynes

Two years ago, Michelle Haynes, a phone operator with the Baltimore City Health Department’s Field Health Services Non-Emergency Medicaid Transportation (NEMT) program, was on the phone with a woman trying to arrange her normal non-emergency medical transport to a doctor’s appointment. At the time, Baltimore City was in the midst of unrest following Freddie Gray’s death. A number of pharmacies were closed and many residents were unable to access their necessary prescriptions.

Through labored breaths, the woman on the phone tried to tell Ms. Haynes that she had a shortage of her blood clot medication and could not ta