Ciotola named Ru­ral Mary­land Cham­pion

Kent County News - - OPINION - By KRIS­TIAN JAIME [email protected]­pub

CEN­TRE­VILLE — Dr. Joseph Ciotola, health of­fi­cer for the Queen Anne’s County Health Depart­ment, was hon­ored Tues­day, Dec. 11.

Linda Kohler, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of Ch­e­sa­peake Char­i­ties, pre­sented the Queen Anne’s County Com­mis­sion­ers with Ciotola’s ex­ten­sive work in the com­mu­nity start­ing with his ad­vo­cacy for the el­derly poor in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties. The county Mo­bile In­te­grated Com­mu­nity Health Pro­gram, his ini­tia­tive, is now statewide ben­e­fit­ing count­less res­i­dents.

“We knew at Ch­e­sa­peake Char­i­ties that he was a spe­cial in­di­vid­ual in the county and the state,” said Kohler. “Ev­ery year, the Ru­ral Mary­land Coun­cil, which is es­tab­lished and funded by the state, looks to honor those go­ing above and be­yond. So we pre­pared a nom­i­na­tion for their high­est award, the Ru­ral Cham­pion Award.”

Through the MICH pro­gram, pub­lic health nurses and paramedics visit im­pov­er­ished in­di­vid­u­als in their homes and link pa­tients to com­mu­nity re­sources, im­prov­ing health out­comes and re­duc­ing trips to hospi­tal emer­gency rooms for those with com­plex med­i­cal con­di­tions.

Aside from his du­ties at the Health Depart­ment, which he joined in 2012, Ciotola also serves as the med­i­cal di­rec­tor for the Depart­ment of the Emer­gency Ser­vices since 2005. His par­tic­i­pa­tion in state health com­mit­tees has led to him tes­ti­fy­ing be­fore the leg­is­la­ture on health poli­cies.

He and Deb­o­rah Mizeur, a health pol­icy ex­pert and Kent County res­i­dent, served as co-chair­men of the Ru­ral Health Care Work­group that was cre­ated dur­ing the 2016 Gen­eral Assem­bly ses­sion.

The Mary­land Health Care Com­mis­sion panel over­saw a study of health care de­liv­ery in the Mid-Shore and to de­velop a plan to meet health care needs of res­i­dents on the Eastern Shore. Among its con­sid­er­a­tions, the work­group sought ways to pre­serve ser­vices at Univer­sity of Mary­land Shore Med­i­cal Cen­ter at Chester­town.

Ciotola prac­ticed at the Or­tho­pe­dic As­so­ci­a­tion of Cen­tral Mary­land P.A., Bal­ti­more, from 1978 to 2006.

“We sub­mit­ted his name and there were hun­dreds of ap­pli­ca­tions and he was se­lected for this award. There was a pre­sen­ta­tion and Gov. (Larry) Ho­gan pro­vided a ci­ta­tion to Dr. Ciotola,” Kohler said.

Ciotola was quick to note that the honor was not a sin­gu­lar ef­fort as the many in Queen Anne’s County were re­spon­si­ble for the achieve­ment.

“This is not just a one-man show. This is some­thing that was ac­com­plished by the ded­i­ca­tion of many in­di­vid­u­als in this county,” Ciotola said. “These in­di­vid­u­als come from the Depart­ment of Emer­gency Ser­vices and the Depart­ment of Health and not in the least way, the com­mis­sion­ers of this county who had the faith and con­fi­dence to start the MICH pro­gram.”

The county pro­vided the pilot pro­gram that fa­cil­i­tated the statewide it­er­a­tions of the pro­gram.

“We’re still fight­ing that bat­tle for sus­tain­abil­ity, but it is a pro­gram that truly ad­dresses the needs of our el­derly, our vul­ner­a­ble, and those that most need med­i­cal help,” he said.

CON­TRIBUTED PHOTO

Da­mani is a male cat in need of a for­ever home. For more in­for­ma­tion on Da­mani and other adopt­able pets at the Hu­mane So­ci­ety of Kent County, visit www.ken­thu­mane.org/adopt. The HSKC shel­ter is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tues­day through Satur­day. Con­tact the HSKC at 410-778-3648 or [email protected]­thu­mane.org.

PHOTO BY KRIS­TIAN JAIME

Dr. Joseph Ciotola, health of­fi­cer for the Queen Anne’s County Health Depart­ment, ad­dresses the need for out­reach to un­der­served pop­u­la­tions.

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