Jul. 22—The Frederick County Health Care Coalition has named Malcolm Furgol — the former director of community impact and grants for the county's United Way chapter — its first executive director through a partnership with Frederick Health Hospital.
Furgol said what excites him most about his new position is the chance to have a "demonstrable impact" on the place where he and his wife are raising their family.
"It's where I live, and it's where my kids are going to grow up," he said. "I want every household in Frederick County to have access to quality health care and a high quality of life and quality of health for their families."
The county health department announced Furgol's new position Wednesday in a news release about the launch of a countywide health survey, which is part of its community health needs assessment process. He joined the health care coalition in this role last month to strengthen collaboration between county organizations on critical public health needs, according to the release.
The formation of the county's health care coalition goes back to a summit on access to care convened by the county health department and hospital in May 2006. Five years later, it achieved 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and became registered as a Maryland charity in 2012, before developing its strategic plan in June 2020. Today, 16 community leaders — including county health officer Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Rick Weldon and Asian American Center Executive Director Elizabeth Chung — comprise its board of directors.
As executive director for the coalition, Furgol will be working to attract funding for the nonprofit's efforts and helping direct its non-legislative advocacy work, which will involve raising awareness for what the county has identified as critical health issues and ensuring they are taken into account during policy discussions.
Another big part of Furgol's role will be ensuring that the hospital, health department, local businesses, nonprofits and other county organizations are all "rowing in the same direction" when it comes to improving the health of the community — something that was also a big part of his job during the seven and a half years he spent at United Way.
It's only with these sorts of strong community partnerships, Furgol said, that Frederick County will be able to tackle such immense challenges as health disparities exacerbated by systemic racism, access to transportation and housing affordability.
But Furgol isn't worried. The Frederick County community — from its nonprofit employees to its business leaders — has the interest and passion to do so, he said.
"I love people and this job, I mean, it's a dream job for me," Furgol noted. "I get to work with all my favorite people to work toward achieving a better quality of life for every single Frederick County resident. I mean, what more could I ask for?"
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