Dr. Jinlene Chan to replace Deputy Secretary Fran Phillips; four other senior positions announced

News Release, Maryland Department of Health

Baltimore, MD – Governor Larry Hogan today announced several key additional appointments to the Maryland Department of Health’s (MDH) Public Health Administration (PHA). 

On Wednesday, the governor announced that Dr. Jinlene Chan will serve as Acting Deputy Secretary for Public Health, succeeding Fran Phillips, who is retiring. Phillips, who has held numerous leadership roles in public health over the years, has played a major role during the COVID-19 pandemic, appearing frequently alongside Governor Hogan at press conferences in Annapolis.

Dr. Chan, MDH’s Assistant Secretary of Health, has led the state’s COVID-19 Testing Task Force for the past five months, overseeing its expansion from a single testing site to a statewide network of more than 220 sites. As Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Chan served as chief medical advisor to the Secretary, oversaw two state chronic hospitals, and led Department initiatives including strategies to address hepatitis C virus and post-acute care needs for complex patients. 

In addition to Dr. Chan’s appointment as Acting PHA Deputy Secretary, the following public health appointments were announced:

Dr. Sohail Qarni was appointed Medical Director of the Prevention and Health Promotion Administration (PHPA). In this role, he will develop operational policies, evaluate services, coordinate and analyze data, and make recommendations and decisions to improve clinical service delivery. Dr. Qarni is a Public Health and Board Certified Family Practice physician, and served as Chief of the Communicable Diseases Division at the Baltimore County Health Department. Dr. Qarni previously provided care in private practice and as a medical consultant at the Anne Arundel County Health Department. 

Dr. Shelly Choo joined MDH as Director of the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Dr. Choo is a Public Health and General Preventive Medicine physician. She previously served as Chief Medical Officer for the Baltimore City Health Department, where she worked on various population and behavioral health initiatives. She also served as Senior Medical Advisor with B’more for Healthy Babies, where she oversaw provider outreach efforts and infant safe sleep initiatives.

Dr. Jeffrey S. Woolford has been appointed Director of Community and Facility Initiatives. In this role, he will lead all non-regulatory COVID-19 matters involving nursing homes, assisted living facilities, group homes and other congregate living settings. Dr. Woolford has more than 30 years of leadership experience. He received his MD from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and is Board Certified in preventive and aerospace medicine. He comes to MDH from the Maryland Department of Human Services, where he served as Chief of Staff. He currently serves as the Maryland Air National Guard Deputy State Air Surgeon.

Dr. Katherine Feldman joined MDH as Chief Public Health Scientist. In this role, she will provide subject matter expertise for COVID-19 and infectious disease surveillance, investigation and response and support COVID-19 response and recovery strategies. Dr. Feldman brings significant public health leadership, pandemic response experience, and quantitative, analytical and executive skills to lead these efforts. Having previously served as MDH’s State Public Health Veterinarian, she has returned to MDH after nearly three years with the MITRE Corporation.