Homeless Advocate Picked to be New Anne Arundel Health Chief

    Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman (D) announced Thursday that he will nominate Dr. Nilesh Kalyanaraman as the county health officer at the Sept. 3 meeting of the County Council.

    Kalyanaraman is currently the chief health officer for Health Care for the Homeless, a nonprofit that provides health care and housing support to 10,000 people annually.

    “Anne Arundel County’s long quest for a permanent health officer is finally over, and I am confident that we’ve found the right person for the job,” said Pittman, who took office in December. “The work that Dr. Kalyanaraman did in Baltimore demonstrates that he knows how to confront not only the acute health needs of residents, but also the underlying social determinants of public health.”

    Kalyanaraman has a bachelors of science degree from Yale University and received his doctor of medicine from SUNY Brooklyn School of Medicine. He is board certified in internal medicine and has nearly 10 years of senior health management experience.

    “We know that by addressing how people live, work, play, eat, and by understanding how these factors are connected to childhood traumas, education, economic stability, and access to health care, we can make tremendous strides toward reshaping communities where the highest disparities exist,” Kalyanaraman said in a statement.

    Last year, he ran unsuccessfully for a seat in the House of Delegates from Baltimore City’s 43rd legislative district.

    Kalyanaraman’s appointment was applauded by MedChi, the Maryland Medical Society.

    “His longstanding work in the public health trenches will serve Anne Arundel County as he tackles important issues facing the county like drug prices, the opioid epidemic, and improving the healthcare of Anne Arundel County,” said Gene Ransom, the medical society’s CEO.

    Pittman will formally nominate Kalyanaraman by introducing a resolution to the County Council on Sept. 3, and a public hearing will follow. Passage of a Council resolution in favor of Kalyanaraman’s nomination will give Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) the authority to appoint Kalyanaraman as Anne Arundel’s health officer.

    Upon his appointment, Kalyanaraman will replace Billie Penley, who has served as acting health officer for the past year. She will resume her previous role as chief financial officer for the health department.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.