New Appointments Announced in Department of Health

    Secretary Dennis R. Schrader announced appointments to five new senior positions in the Maryland Department of Health Tuesday morning.

    Most of Tuesday’s appointees have played integral roles in the state’s response to the pandemic.

    “Today’s appointments are part of our efforts to elevate seasoned Maryland Department of Health staff into senior leadership positions,” Schrader said in a statement.

    Bryan Mroz, former assistant secretary for the Department of Health, now will serve as the director of the MDH Healthcare System. Early in the pandemic, Mroz helped plan for the state’s hospital surge.

    His new position will charge Mroz with supervising the agency’s adult psychiatric facilities, Regional Institutes for Children and Adolescents, facilities for people with developmental disabilities and the state’s chronic (disease care) hospitals.

    Tara Hargadon, the department’s former director of constituent services, has been appointed to serve as the assistant secretary of customer experience.

    In this new role, Hargadon will oversee modernization of the agency’s website, the MD GoVax Support Center and the state’s “211 press 1” opioid response and suicide prevention helpline.

    Over the past several months, Hargadon has led efforts related to mass vaccination pre-registration, the state’s No Arm Left Behind campaign and the MD GoVax Support Center.

    Heather Shek has been appointed director of the Office of Governmental Affairs, where she previously served as both assistant and deputy director. In her former role, she helped augment hospital bed surge capacity and stand up the state’s COVID-19 testing infrastructure.

    As director, Shek will act as the Department of Health’s legislative liaison to the General Assembly, the governor’s office, advocacy groups and other state agencies.

    Former director of the Department of Health’s Contact Tracing Unit Dr. Katherine Feldman will serve as the agency’s chief public health scientist, to bolster the state’s public health infrastructure.

    New to the department, Mahesh Marepalli — former senior vice president for digital enterprise analytics at pharmaceutical distributor AmerisourceBergen — has been appointed director of the Maryland Department of Health’s Data Office.

    “We look forward to their contributions in our fight against COVID-19 and other critical priority areas that enable us to keep Marylanders healthy and safe,” Schrader said.

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    Hannah Gaskill
    Hannah Gaskill received her master’s of journalism degree in December 2019 from the University of Maryland. She previously worked on the print layout design team at The Diamondback, reported on criminal justice in Maryland for Capital News Service and served as a production assistant for The Confluence — the daily news magazine on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR member station. Gaskill has had bylines in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, among other publications.Before pursuing journalism, she received her bachelor’s of fine art degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016. She grew up in Ocean City.