Erie (N.Y.) County Executive Mark Poloncarz summarized how his jurisdiction in upstate New York where 71 percent of residents 18 and older received at least panel discussion Sunday, July 11 there remains a challenge for primary care physicians to bring their own dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
However, Poloncarz said during a COVID-19 pr practices to the inner city and rural communities where thousands of residents are uninsured. In his county of one million people, about 160,000 reside in the rural areas.
Prince George’s County Health Officer Ernest Carter said that data reflects the county’s “primary problem in health care.”
Carter, a physician with 25 years of experience in telemedicine, said the state of Maryland’s second-largest county with a population of 909,000 established a “HealthAssure” program that invests money to help uninsured residents pay for doctor visits.
Also, community health workers connect with residents through phone calls, home visits and other forms of communication to link them with health care professionals.
“We have to establish systems to help get people connected to care,” Carter said at the annual National Association of Counties conference at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center at National Harbor. “In Prince George’s County and in the state, we’re concentrating on how do we get people into care. How do we make sure that’s paid for and how do we keep them out of the emergency room and how do we make sure those folks also get vaccinated? A lot of different systems throughout the country have come to the same conclusion in working toward that.”
Carter joined several Prince George’s officials who offered advice and greeted conference attendees during the four-day conference housed at one of the most affluent Black communities in the nation.
George Askew, deputy chief administrative officer for health, human services and education, offered remarks Saturday, July 10 at a luncheon on advancing diversity, equity and inclusion in county government.
Askew, a certified pediatrician who moved to Prince George’s less than three years ago from New York, spoke at the luncheon with County Council Vice Chair Deni Taveras (D-District 2) of Adelphi.
“One of the things I’m most impressed about is the number and quality and smarts of the women of color in leadership in Prince George’s County,” he said in an interview. “It’s something I’ve never seen anywhere else. It’s such a great pleasure to walk into rooms of leadership and not be the only person of color, or one of two people, which I’ve often been in places where I’ve been. Here you have a county being led by people who look like the people they represent.”
Besides Taveras, who is a Dominican, the county has at least 10 Black women in leadership positions such as Chief Administrative Officer Tara Jackson.
In Executive Angela Alsobrooks’ absence, she takes the helm as second-in-command in the executive branch.
Jackson not only gave welcoming remarks at Saturday’s general session, but she also participated on a panel Sunday offering advice for women to overcome barriers in becoming government leaders. Two words she used: flexibility and multitasking.
She also praised Alsobrooks for creating a culture that allows for employees to spend time with their families.
“I just came from a baseball game,” Jackson said. “Sometimes I’m happy when my husband and my [7-year-old] son go do whatever they do.” County officials also received resources from other county leaders and resumed face-to-face conversations that they didn’t have for more than a year.
During welcoming remarks at the conference Saturday, county council member Monique Anderson-Walker (D-District 8) of Fort Washington mentioned a chat with neighboring Montgomery County councilmember Craig Rice on farmland grants.
In an interview, Rice said the county established a new farmer program four years ago.
According to Montgomery County’s Office of Agriculture, the program provides specialized training in marketing, accounting and sustainable farm practices.
According to the county’s Conference and Visitors Bureau agriculture contributes $287 million annually to the overall economy.
“Being able to spread that to other jurisdictions…makes complete sense,” Rice said. “With a large pocket of people of color, this is something [Prince George’s County] can also do and be incredibly successful in addressing some of the food insecurity [and] nutrition issues we are seeing primarily in people of color.”

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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