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DHMH Press Releases : University of MD School of Medicine

MD Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and University of MD School of Medicine to Sponsor May 19th Conference Highlighting State’s Groundbreaking Health Enterprise Zones Initiative;

Event focuses on successes of Zones in first year of implementation and lays groundwork for key programs and milestones in year two

BALTIMORE, MD (May 16, 2014) — The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UM SOM) will sponsor a conference on May 19, entitled “Maryland Health Enterprise Zones (HEZ): Using Incentives to Drive Local Progress.” This unique event, supported with a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will bring together more than 200 local, state and national stakeholders to collaborate on ways to ensure health equality and improved health care for all Marylanders. The conference will be held May 19 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, Southern Management Corporation Campus Center Ballroom, 621 West Lombard Street.


Maryland’s first five HEZs were designated from a pool of 19 applicants in January 2013. Each of the five HEZs receive specific incentives, benefits and grant funding designed to reduce health disparities, leverage community health resources, expand access to health care and reduce health care costs.


“Health Enterprise Zones are an innovative way of addressing the health disparities that have plagued our communities for too long,” said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown, who led the effort to establish the nation’s first HEZs. “By utilizing incentives and innovation to expand access to care and address the geographic and racial disparities that exist in our most underserved communities, we are working towards ensuring all Marylanders have access to the care they need to lead healthier lives.”


The conference will kick-off with keynote presentations by respected thought leaders in health care issues including: Jeffrey Brenner, MD, Executive Director of New Jersey’s Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers; Robert Greenbaum, PhD, Associate Director at The Ohio State University’s Center for Urban and Regional Analysis; and Gerard Clancy, MD, President of the University of Oklahoma, Tulsa.


Dr. Brenner will focus on the value of data as a key tool in improving health and reducing costs. Dr. Greenbaum will provide strategic insights on addressing health disparities and will discuss the importance of evaluation and long-term analysis of key data. Dr. Clancy will offer real-life applications by highlighting the accomplishments of Tulsa’s team-based model for health care and education built on the use of academic medicine to improve the health of individuals and communities in Oklahoma.


Panelists with a diverse set of expertise in economic and social enterprise initiatives will share their experiences and provide guidance on key considerations for promoting health equity. Interactive panel and audience discussions will address the challenges and opportunities of HEZs and provide insights into ongoing efforts to address health disparities.


The state’s first five HEZs utilize diverse partnerships that integrate medical care, disease prevention, and public health to address the social determinants of health specific to each zone. Their efforts focus on specific health outcomes, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity and asthma.


Successes achieved by the HEZs in the first year include:

  • A total of 47 practitioners (38.1 FTEs) have been recruited exceeding the collective year-one recruitment goal of 38;
  • A total of 8 health care delivery sites have been opened or expanded services; and
  • A total of 87 jobs have been added in the HEZs. 

“The resources and incentives made available under the HEZ Initiative will help reduce health disparities, expand health care access, and reduce hospital costs,” added John A. Hurson, Chairman, Maryland Community Health Resources Commission. “We are excited to work with the HEZs as they complete their first year of implementation and move towards year two of the program.”


“The implementation of Health Enterprise Zones demonstrates the incredible potential when the government and academic health centers partner with community leaders to improve all patients’ lives,” said E. Albert Reece, who is the Vice President of Medical Affairs for the University of Maryland and the John Z. and Akiko Bowers Distinguished Professor, as well as Dean of the UM SOM. “This conference serves as further evidence of our ongoing dialogue with local health leaders to identify the best approaches to measurably impact our citizens’ health and wellbeing.”


Senior Program Officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Dr. David Krol said, “The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is excited by the opportunity to support this conference so that these groundbreaking efforts from Maryland can be shared with the nation.”


“This conference will further the innovative work underway in Maryland to reduce and eliminate health disparities,” said Secretary Sharfstein. “We are grateful to Robert Wood Johnson for their support and making this conference possible.”


The conference agenda is available at:


For more information about the HEZs, visit