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Colmers, Wilson to Lead Key Departments in State Government

BALTIMORE – Governor-elect Martin O'Malley today announced the nomination of John M. Colmers for Secretary of the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and Shari T. Wilson for Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment.

“John Colmers and Shari Wilson are both highly competent and well-respected professionals within their fields, and I am honored that they have agreed to serve in the O’Malley-Brown Administration,” said Governor-elect Martin O’Malley. “As we work to expand health care for Maryland families, protect our environment, and safeguard open space, John and Shari will play an instrumental role in moving our State forward.”

At the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), Colmers will manage $7 billion in projects – the most of any state agency – and a workforce of approximately 8,000. Wilson will be responsible for over $200 million in state funding and 1,000 employees at the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE).

Currently, Colmers serves as Senior Program Officer for the Milbank Memorial Fund, a national foundation that provides nonpartisan analysis, study, research, and communication on significant issues in health policy, where he has earned a national reputation in Medicare and Medicaid finance. Prior to joining the Fund in 2000, he spent 19 years in Maryland State government where he held various positions, including executive director of the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) and the Health Services Cost Review Commission, the agency overseeing Maryland’s all-payer hospital rate setting system.

A graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the University of North Carolina, Colmers also serves on the boards of directors for Academy Health and CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield and is a contributing editor to the American Journal of Public Health.

“I look forward to serving the Citizens of Maryland under Governor-elect O’Malley to find new and innovative ways to support Medicaid funding, improve public health, expand access to health care, enhance the quality of care and improve services at our community hospitals,” Colmers said.

In his capacity as Secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, Colmers will be the governor’s primary advisor on health care policy. He is also responsible for managing the state’s Medicaid budget, directing public health programs, and regulating hospitals and long-term care facilities in Maryland. He resides in Baltimore with his wife and two children.

“This is an exceptional appointment,” said Philip B. Down, CEO of Doctors Community Hospital in Lanham Maryland. “John Colmers is one of the most knowledgeable and respected health care leaders in the country. His expertise in health care finance and his skill in building consensus as a regulator helped create the modern Doctors Hospital and make it a success.”

Shari Wilson is currently a chief solicitor for the Land Use Division of the Baltimore City Department of Law and represents the city in environmental, land use, and zoning cases, and has served as a Division Chief in the Baltimore City Department of Planning. She is currently an Adjunct Instructor at the Johns Hopkins University, Whiting School of Engineering.

Previously, Wilson was Director of Policy Management at the Maryland Department of the Environment, Program Director for the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, and an Assistant Attorney General focusing on civil enforcement and cost recovery in environmental pollution cases. Wilson has received degrees from the University of Richmond, the University of Virginia, and the University of Baltimore School of Law.

“I am grateful to Governor-elect O’Malley for the opportunity to help protect and preserve the environment in Maryland,” said Wilson. “Over the next four years, we will bring real accountability and performance measurement to environmental management through programs like BayStat as we work to protect public health in Maryland and improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay.”

Wilson will be responsible for managing the state’s water, waste, and air and radiation administrations. She will promote smart growth, community revitalization, and environmentally-sensitive economic development.

Source: O'Malley Transition Team

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