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Baltimore renames Department of Health after first Black Health Commissioner

Posted at 7:39 PM, Mar 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-20 20:17:21-04

BALTIMORE — Baltimore is renaming their Department of Health after the Dr. Maxie Collier to honor his countless contributions to the city. The psychiatrist dedicated his life to pioneering and expanding mental health care and psychiatry in black communities.

He graduated from University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1977 and opened a private practice in 1980, offering patients his expertise in family therapy.

In 1987 he became the Chief of Psychiatry for the Johns Hopkins Health Plan. That same year, Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke appointed Collier as the first Black Health Commissioner in Baltimore. He served until 1990.

Dr. Collier also started several projects to expand health services and studies in the city. Such as the Black Mental Health Alliance, "The Baltimore Project," a prenatal care program aimed at reducing infant mortality and unwanted pregnancies, and the Health Expo, which recruits high school juniors and seniors into the field of health. He also created the Office of Minority Health to conduct research and education to orient Baltimore Health Department services to better serve minorities.

Collier passed away suddenly in 1994. His wife attended the dedication on Monday and told us he would have never expected this kind of recognition.

He would be very humbled, he would not have expected this , he saw himself as a public servant and when your a public servant your not thinking about how you'll be rewarded, so I think he'd just be shocked.
- Katherine Collier