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    First Md. service honor named after Dr. Ulder Tillman awarded to Debbie Goeller

    Worcester’s health officer has worked 25 years to improve Marylanders’ lives

    Baltimore, MD (June 26, 2017) – Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Deputy Secretary of Public Health Dr. Howard Haft has presented the first Dr. Ulder Tillman Commemorative Annual Award for Public Health Officers Community Service to Debbie Goeller, Worcester County’s health officer. Dr. Tillman served as Montgomery County’s health officer for 13 years, until her unexpected death in January. The award, titled, Dr. Ulder Tillman Commemorative Annual Award for Public Health Officers Community Service – Above and Beyond Duty, will be displayed in the department with successive winners’ names inscribed on it.

    Goeller has served as health officer for Worcester County Health Department for 25 years, making her the longest-tenured health officer in Maryland. Her leadership facilitated her health department becoming Maryland’s first accredited health department.

    “Dr. Tillman left a legacy of tireless, caring education and service in the field of public health,” said Haft. “We are proud to honor Debbie Goeller for her work, including her persistent and focused leadership, which has paved the way for new programs and specialty services now offered by Worcester’s health department.”

    Goeller’s accomplishments for the Worcester County Health Department include:

    • Helped open the Center for Clean Start – an intensive program for pregnant and postpartum women with issues involving substance use disorder. It is a regional program including women from Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties. It provides dual diagnosis treatment and therapy, family education, onsite childcare and halfway housing for some of the women who participate.
    • Helped form a crisis response team – Formed in 1998, the 24/7 crisis response team has responded with law enforcement to assist people with psychiatric or substance use disorders who are in crisis.
    • Helped establish tele-med services – These services, provided in conjunction with Sheppard Pratt Health System in 2004 to assist with a psychiatrist shortage, long before telemedicine services were available on the Eastern Shore.
    • Helped create the Delmarva Avian Influenza Joint Task Force – This task force, formed in 2004, comprised a multi-state, multi-agency, public/private industry group tasked with developing a practical guidance document incorporating U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s recommendations related to avian flu infection, control and surveillance for human illness.
    • Helped create Maryland Access Point – Since 2005, this service has coordinated the services of the county’s health department, Department of Social Services, and Commission on Aging to better serve senior Marylanders.
    • Helped provide primary care services – Begun in 2012, this effort provides behavioral health assistance to clients who lack a primary care provider.
    • Helped establish a tri-county care coordination team – This effort sought to reduce diabetes-related utilization of hospitals’ emergency department in 2013.
    • Helped create a Lower Shore health insurance assistance program – This effort led to the provision of outreach, education, eligibility and enrollment assistance into insurance plans offered through Maryland’s health exchange for Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties.
    • Helped establish a dental clinic – This Worcester clinic, started in 2008, serves pregnant women and children who are low income, uninsured or who have participated in Medical Assistance programs.

    “Health and Mental Hygiene honors Debbie Goeller for her vision and service. She has been a champion for public health services and her dedication to the citizens of Worcester County has been unwavering,” said Haft.

    Goeller plans to retire this month from the Worcester County Health Department. The Worcester County Commissioners recently announced nurse Rebecca L. Jones as Goeller’s successor. She is a nurse program manager who has worked at the county health department for 16 years.