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Baltimore County News

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Keyword: dr. gregory wm. branch

Mobile Crisis Team Will be Available 24/7

Baltimore County Executive Don Mohler announced plans to significantly expand the County’s emergency mental health system by funding overnight hours for the Mobile Crisis Team that responds to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis, including those addicted to opioids.

The Baltimore County Crisis Response System, a collaborative effort between the County’s Health and Police Departments, works with The Affiliated Sante’ Group, Inc. to provide emergency mental health services to Baltimore County residents. The Mobile Crisis Team is currently available from 9:30 a.m. until 1 a.m. daily. The increased funding of $561,000, contingent on County Council approval, will bring the Mobile Crisis Team budget to $2.6 million and will help expand their services to 24 hours per day.

“Our Mobile Crisis Team provides a vital service to people in their most vulnerable moments; by pairing a mental health clinician with a police officer, they are able to respond in a way that deescalates situations, protecting both the individual and overall public safety,” Mohler said. “If approved by the Council, we will ensure that County residents who need these services throughout the night will now have access to them.”

“The increase in funding will mean an expansion in service hours, and having these services available around the clock is priceless,” said Director of the Department of Health and Human Services Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch.

The Mobile Crisis Team responds to severe behavioral health emergencies in the community, with the goals of diverting residents from unnecessary hospitalizations and/or entry into the criminal justice system, and reducing the number of emergency petitions. The team provided 2,343 interventions to County residents and their families in fiscal year 2018.

“This funding will allow constant coverage throughout the County to provide a resource to patrol officers dealing with those suffering from mental health issues,” said Chief of Police Terrence Sheridan. “Hopefully, this will continue our trend of peacefully resolving incidents involving individuals in crisis.”

“The Mobile Crisis Team has been a tremendous asset to the community and I support the expansion of their availability into the overnight hours, when many incidents take place,” said County Council Chair Julian Jones.

“Mental health crises don’t start in the morning and end at night,” concluded Mohler. “We have to take care of those in need.”

Facilitating Access to Mental Health Care

Another strength of the Mobile Crisis Team is that they help people take full advantage of the dynamic matrix of services in place to link County residents to preventative care options.

For more information on mental health services offered in Baltimore County, call the Baltimore County Department of Health at 410-887-3828. To access emergency mental health services, call the 24-hour Mobile Crisis Team hotline at 410-931-2214.   

Department of Health and Human Services Invites all Baltimore County Residents to Super Saturday Clinics

Today, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Director of Health and Human Services and “Sure Shot,” the Department of Health mascot, announced the County’s Super Saturday, free flu vaccination clinics.

On Saturday, October 21 from 9 a.m. to noon, the Department will hold public flu vaccination clinics at the follow locations in each of the seven councilmanic districts:

  • Drumcastle Government Center
    6401 York Road, First Floor
    Baltimore, Maryland 21212
  • Dundalk Middle School 
    7400 Dunmanway
    Baltimore, Maryland 21222
  • Hereford Middle School
    712 Corbett Road
    Monkton, Maryland 21111
  • Lansdowne Middle School
    2400 Lansdowne Road
    Baltimore, Maryland 21227 
  • Randallstown Community Center
    3505 Resource Drive
    Randallstown, Maryland 21133
  • Middle River Middle School
    800 Middle River Road
    Baltimore, Maryland 21220
  • Pikesville Middle School
    7701 Seven Mile Lane
    Pikesville, Maryland 21208

Free flu vaccinations will be available, while supplies last. Vaccines are given on a first come, first serve basis and no appointment is needed. Residents are asked to wear short-sleeve or sleeveless shirts for quick and easy access to the portion of their arm where the vaccination will be administered.

“Nobody wants to catch the flu and flu vaccines are a great defense against this common, but potentially dangerous illness,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “By having clinics located across the County, we are making it as easy and convenient as possible for people to get their free, annual flu shot on Saturday.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone six months of age and older get the flu vaccine - even if they were vaccinated last year - since immunity from vaccination declines over time and strains my change from year to year. The vaccine is safe, effective and readily available this season.

“I am urging all individuals six months and older to stay in the game and get a flu shot this year,” stated Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch. “As I remind residents every fall, the best defensive move against the flu is knowing the flu FACTS – Frequently wash your hands, Always get an annual flu shot, Cover your coughs, Take time off when you are sick, and Seek medical treatment if symptoms get worse.”

For more information on Super Saturday flu vaccination clinics, call 410-887-BCHD (2243) or visit

Seeking to strengthen families with evidenced-based, home visiting program

Yesterday, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Director of Health and Human Services Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch and Abilities Network Director of Program Development Tomeaka Jupiter announced the planned expansion of the Healthy Families Baltimore County. This program is designed to promote child well-being, support positive parenting practices and strengthen family functioning. The expansion proposal is pending Council approval.

Healthy Families Baltimore County, which utilizes the Healthy Families America model, is an evidence-based, home visiting program that optimizes child health and development. Eligible families are referred to the program by the Baltimore County Department of Health, local hospitals, community service agencies and self-referral. Healthy Families works to engage families as early as the mother’s first trimester of pregnancy, and sustains support through the child’s fifth birthday.

“I am grateful for Abilities Network and the work they have been doing to strengthen families for over a decade,” said Kamenetz. “My administration and I are committed to the well-being and equal opportunity of all families in Baltimore County, and are excited about the increased number of families this program will impact.”

The Abilities Network is the County’s vendor for delivering the Healthy Families Baltimore County program, which has been fully accredited by Healthy Families America since 2004. Over 600 families primarily on the east side of the County, have participated in the program since its inception in 1999. With an operating budget of approximately $800,000 from federal, state, and local government funding, the program was enhanced over the last few years to include a Baltimore County Department of Health public health nurse that works in tandem with an Abilities Network family support worker.

The public health nurse has specific roles to include monitoring the health of the mother during pregnancy; providing health education; addressing health factors for the mother-to-be; assisting the family with linkage to resources such as WIC, substance use disorder treatment, behavioral health programs if needed and support services through other agencies. Together the public health nurse and family support worker collaborate as a team to assist the mother with education regarding infant care and safety, nutrition, child development, positive parenting practices, breastfeeding support and reproductive health issues and planning.

“We have the unique opportunity to partner with parents early in their child’s life by providing voluntary, comprehensive, long-term support services right in their home,” said Tomeaka Jupiter. “For many families, this is exactly what is needed for them to achieve the positive outcomes they want for themselves and their children.”

Reducing infant mortality by expanding Healthy Families

Maryland’s infant mortality rates have consistently been higher than the national rate. Both race and socioeconomic status impact the rates. Most recent data released by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) in 2015 placed Baltimore County’s overall mortality rate for black infants at 9.8 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to a rate of 4.7 deaths for white infants. According to DHMH for the period from 2011 through 2015, the average black infant mortality rate was 11 per 1,000 live births compared to an average white mortality rate of 4.1.

“Expanding the Healthy Families Baltimore County program is a vital strategy in reducing the infant mortality rate in our County,” stated Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch. “I believe that a program like this gives our families and babies a fighting chance to live, grow and succeed.”

To expand the program, $386,775 from the County’s general fund is being requested. The County’s Local Management Board will allocate up to $120,000 in grant funding towards the countywide program expansion. The bulk of this funding will be dedicated to Abilities Network to increase program capacity. The additional funding will also support the hiring of a second public health nurse who will work in collaboration with Healthy Families Baltimore County.

During this fiscal year, the Healthy Families Baltimore County program is slated to serve 109 families. Pending approval from the Baltimore County Council, the program will be able to serve up to 75 additional families.

For more information about the Healthy Families Baltimore County or to see if you are eligible for the program, call the Abilities Network at 410-828-7700 1228 or send an email to

Revised September 11, 2017