Calvert County Health Department

Local (410) 535-5400, DC Metro (301) 855-1353, Annapolis (410) 269-2216

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About Our Agency: Health Officer

In Maryland the Health Officer is both a state and county official.  There is a Health Officer for each county, who is nominated by the county and appointed by the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health.  The Health Officer, in turn, appoints the staff of the county health department.  The Health Officer enforces throughout the county, under direction of the Secretary, state health laws and regulations.  As a county official, the Health Officer is Executive Officer and Secretary of the County Board of Health, and enforces rules or regulations that the Board adopts.   The Health Officer serves at the pleasure of the governing body of the county and the Secretary, and may be removed from office with the concurrence of both the governing body and the Secretary.

In order to be qualified, the Health Officer must have a license to practice medicine in Maryland and have a master’s degree in public health with at least two years’ work in the field of public health, although three additional years of public health work may be substituted for the master’s degree.  The Health Officer need not be a physician, in which case there is a Deputy Health Officer who is a physician and who meets the above qualifications.

The Health Officer is a state employee in the State Personnel Management System and receives a salary provided in the state budget, but may be provided additional salary by the county.  Being a health officer is a full-time job.  However, with approval of the local governing body, a physician health officer, or a deputy health officer who is a physician, may practice medicine privately.

Each Health Officer is a member of the Maryland Association of County Health Officers (MACHO), which is a tax-exempt affiliate of the Maryland Association of Counties.  MACHO advocates for public health in Maryland, takes positions on pending legislation, and makes recommendations to the state on public health issues.  The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is under contract to MACHO to assist MACHO in these undertaking

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