MDs say public health workers ‘don’t like the fact’ they are being called public health
MDs in Maryland say public servants are “very uncomfortable” with being called “public health workers” and are “not thrilled” about being called by that title.
“There is a real sense of discomfort, there’s a real feeling of entitlement to the word ‘public health’ in terms of what we do,” said Dr. Robert Todaro, MD, chief of the Division of Public Health at Johns Hopkins.
“It’s not a nice term to use,” Todarro said.
“I mean, it’s not pleasant.
We are all public servants.
We all have our own jobs.”
Todaro said the word “public” comes up when he talks to MDs and others about the state’s public health agency.
He said he has been asked why he would use the term, and he says he would be embarrassed to say it, especially given the stigma attached to the term in Maryland.
“We are not going to talk about public health,” he said.
“I just don’t like being called that,” Totaro said.
He said he is frustrated by the lack of communication about the term and how it has come to define the state.
“When we start talking about this, the whole thing starts to get politicized,” he added.
“And that’s when we have a problem.”
The state has about 500 public health employees, and they are working in a variety of different roles in various areas.
Some of the jobs include treating respiratory diseases, helping people with dementia and other diseases, and monitoring the health of the people who are sick.
The public health department employs more than 8,000 people.
Todaron said that number could go up as the state expands its workforce.
“If you look at the history of MDs, they are very comfortable in the term ‘public,'” Todaros said.
But in a statement, MDs have a message for the state when it comes to public health: don’t make us feel like we have to choose between our health and your job.”MDs have made a decision that we do not want to have to answer for, but we are going to keep working to keep MDs accountable and to be a resource for our community,” the statement said.
The state also encourages people to get their vaccinations as soon as possible.
But the public health division is taking a wait-and-see approach to public safety, because public health has a limited capacity.
“Right now, MD’s are not as trained as we are in how to respond to an outbreak,” said MD spokesperson Nicole Schmitz.
“They’re not prepared to respond quickly, and we have not gotten the response we would like.”
The department is also working with other agencies to address some of the states biggest challenges, including mental health and substance abuse issues.