WICOMICO COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT
Making a Difference in the Lives of Others. Everyday.
Maximize the health of citizens by providing access to opportunities that promote physical, behavioral, and environmental health through preventive, educational, assessment, clinical, monitoring and regulatory programs.
Healthy People in Healthy Communities.
History of the Wicomico County Health Department
Prior to 1929, public health services for Wicomico County were administered as part of a tri-county unit. One health officer served the counties of Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester. In September 1929, Wicomico County split from the tri-county health services program and formed a separate unit with three employees: health officer, public health nurse, and clerical worker.
The first office was located in the Building and Loan Building on Main Street. Shortly after that it moved to the Advertiser Building on East Main Street. Upon completion of the new Court House in 1937, an office for the Health Department was provided within its premises.
In 1941, the Health Department had rapidly grown in size and occupied the first two floors of a newly constructed building located on Locust Street next to Peninsula General Hospital. The hospital used the third floor of the building as a dormitory for student nurses. The structure was built and maintained by a memorial fund donated by a local citizen, Mr. Floyd Watson, in memory of his wife.
The Health Department moved to the William C. Fritz Health Center at 300 West Carroll Street in Salisbury, MD in December 1971. When this building became inadequate to house all existing programs, the Mental Health Clinic and the Housing unit moved to the Springhill Annex, a former nursing home owned by the county.
Since 1929, the Wicomico County Health Department has had only six health officers. Dr. Seth Hurdle served as the first health officer in 1930. Following Dr. Hurdle's retirement in 1962, Dr. William Fritz served until his death in 1973 followed by Dr. John Buchness, who served until 1982. In 1984, Dr. James Bowes began his term as health officer until 1990, followed by Dr. Judith Sensenbrenner until June 30, 2007. On July 1, 2007 Lori Brewster, was appointed Acting Health Officer and on April 15, 2008 she was appointed Health Officer and continues to serve today.
As the Health Department expanded and opened a second location, the dedication of the Seth H. Hurdle Center located at 108 East Main Street took place in June 1996. The Hurdle Center now houses: Administration, Addictions, Environmental Health, Mental Health and Prevention & Health Communications. The Fritz Health Center now houses: Community Health Services and Family planning. The Health Department also now has satellite offices located at the Village Dental Center, School Based Wellness Center and the WIC Office.
In an effort to meet the ever changing needs of the community, the Wicomico County Health will continue to look toward ways of protecting the health and environment of the people of Wicomico County.