Investing in Public Health Infrastructure

Investing in Public Health Infrastructure

Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM

The State of Maryland has significantly cut funding to public health since 2009.  A summary report from MACo (MD Association of Counties) during the 2019 legislative session, Re-prioritizing Public Health: Counties Call for Increase in Local Health Funds – Conduit Street (, states  “Core Funding is still historically significantly lower than it once was due to state fiscal constraints, cost containment measures, and new interpretations of inflationary increases. Funding reached a high of $67 million in FY 2008. It is only $51 million in FY 19. That is 23% below where it was 10 years ago.” Our funding levels are still below FY 2009 for 2021 which is simply unacceptable during a pandemic. After years of disinvestment it is time for a campaign approach to shake the system—public health is ‘running on fumes’.  Do we need a ‘Kirwan’ equivalent campaign for public health?

The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted Black and Brown Marylanders, and at the same time highlighted longstanding disparities in access to high quality healthcare, thus affecting health outcomes. Delivering health services cannot be successful if systems that perpetuate inequities continue.  We must address all health equity: diabetes, mental health, heart/blood pressure, gun violence, historical trauma. Our public health systems need to be strengthened and prepared for the next pandemic, not ‘flying the plane, while building.’  This is the time to create a new age public health system to ensure that all Marylanders - no matter what age, what they look like, or where they live - have access to the health and social resources necessary to thrive. 

Please join Maryland Philanthropy Network and our distinguished experts:

  • Christopher Meyer, Research Analyst, and  Taneeka Richardson, Policy Analyst on Health and Housing, Maryland Center on Economic Policy
  • David Bishai, M.D., M.P.H., PhD, Health Officer, Harford County Health Department
  • Kim Dobson Sydnor, PhD, Dean in the School of Community Health & Policy, Morgan State University, Director, Urban Health Equity Center at Morgan State University
  • Lawrence Polsky, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.O.G., Health Officer, Calvert County Health Department/ Maryland Department of Health

Our speakers will give direction on how we can collaborate and support a coordinated, equity-focused advocacy agenda to create change in the funding appropriations for public health infrastructure at the state and local levels. Maryland’s public health policy cuts across all sectors: housing, transportation, education, public works, planning, and community development, and renewed investment in public health is critical to ensure the strength and vitality of all of these sectors.   

This program is for Maryland Philanthropy Network members and invited guests only.