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(April 5, 2023, Salisbury, Maryland) The Wicomico County Health Department recognized Mr. Shyam Bhayani from Community Behavioral Health and Maple Shade Youth and Family Services the 2022 Outstanding Public Health Leader for Wicomico County during the award ceremony held on April 4, 2023, at Salisbury University.  The 26th annual award ceremony was held in recognition of National Public Health Week (April 3-9, 2023).

Shyam Bhayani has been recognized for serving as the Chief Administrator of Community Behavioral Health and Maple Shade Youth and Family Services. During his time, Mr. Bhayani has secured more than $1 million in grant funding brought into the Eastern Shore, particularly into Wicomico County. Mr. Bhayani has worked with Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the University of Maryland to create a large-scale outreach program that was successful in vaccinating more than 1000 people, including the extremely vulnerable Haitian and Hispanic communities. Mr. Bhayani’s efforts of gaining such funds and working with these communities and its leaders have been critical in addressing vaccine hesitancy and misinformation. Mr. Bhayani’s efforts to address trauma-informed care, prevent teen drug addiction, reduce truancy, and improve resilience in children have been exemplary. The programs implemented through Community Behavioral Health and Maple Shade Youth and Family Services have demonstrated effectiveness in promoting positive mental health outcomes and reducing substance abuse among vulnerable youth. Mr. Bhayani is truly an exemplary public health leader in Wicomico County, and for the Eastern Shore of Maryland.  

In addition to the Outstanding Public Health Leader award, three Health Officer’s Awards of Excellence were presented to the following individuals:

  • Michelle Ennis, Executive Director of Tri Community Mediation, for serving as a pillar of hope for vulnerable communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic and for serving as the lead facilitator for the Vulnerable Population Task Force, an all-inclusive group of organizations, leaders and providers across the lower Maryland Eastern Shore that work together to discuss housing needs, healthcare needs, and public health issues.
  • Katherine Rodgers, Director of Community Health Initiatives in the Population Health Management Department at Tidal Health, for helping the community obtain access to health care and working with various organizations to address public health needs such as infant mortality, chronic disease, healthy equity and more.
  • Debbie Smullen, with Worcester Goes Purple, for dedicated service in partnership with Wicomico Goes Purple, raising awareness about the dangers of substance misuse and abuse and working tirelessly to fight against it.

Pictured: Shyam Bhayani and Cynthia Calixte, MD, MPH Deputy Health Officer of Wicomico County



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