The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) was named the 2018 Local Health Department of the Year by the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). The annual award recognizes local health departments for outstanding achievements in innovative public health and safety improvements.
BCHD’s work on the opioid epidemic in Baltimore City was among the initiatives NACCHO recognized. Open Society Institute has a long history of working with the Health Department, and in particular, Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen, on these initiatives. In 2000, OSI worked with the Health Department to establish an overdose prevention program. In 2015 OSI-Baltimore grantee Behavioral Health System Baltimore (BHSB) began working with the Health Department and the Baltimore City Police Department (BPD) to train officers to administer naloxone. This past summer, Wen wrote a blanket prescription for naloxone for all Baltimore City residents. In 2016, OSI released a white paper, “Baltimore’s Response to the Overdose Epidemic: An Open Society Institute-Baltimore Brief,” including an opening letter from Dr. Wen.
OSI recently recognized Dr. Wen’s contributions to public health with our “Bold Thinker” award at our most recent 20th Anniversary event.