Department of Disabilities Newsletter                                                  March, 2018
A Successful Southern Maryland Day
Governor Hogan Brings State Government to Southern Maryland With A Regional Cabinet Meeting and Administration Visits     
Governor Hogan addresses full crowd in foreground with fire trucks in background
On Monday, March 12th, Governor Larry Hogan gathered his full administration for a regional Cabinet meeting at the Prince Frederick Volunteer Fire Department in Calvert County. The meeting was open to the public and featured presentations from various state agencies including an update on seafood and agricultural marketing initiatives, efforts to assist the local small business community, and an overview of supports for Maryland veterans.  Several local community members were honored with Governor's Citations. Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford also gave an update on the administration's continuing commitment to battling the heroin and opioid epidemic.  Following the meeting, the Governor's administration visited over 100 locations in the Calvert County area to listen to the concerns of residents and highlight progress through state initiatives.
Read more about the community locations and events hosted by the Maryland Department of Disabilities during Southern Maryland Day #SoMdDay at this LINK.  
Changing Maryland for the better logo with portion of MD flag and seal Governor Hogan Announces New Text to 9-1-1 System for Maryland
Upgrades State Emergency System Network with Life-Saving Technology
In February, Governor Larry Hogan announced the Board of Public Works' approval of a new Text to 9-1-1 technology for Maryland, helping to update 1960s-era emergency systems with life-saving technology and provide an alternative point of entry for Marylanders who require varying communication styles. This new Internet-based infrastructure allows citizens to send a Short Message Service (SMS) text message to 9-1-1. The Federal Communications Commission estimates that more than 70 percent of all 9-1-1 calls now come from cellular users.

"This new technology is a vital public safety tool that could potentially help save the lives of citizens who find themselves in an emergency situation," said Governor Hogan. "I want to commend the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services for their hard work to implement this system for all Marylanders."

Text to 9-1-1 supports 160 characters per message, but no multimedia messaging, such as photos or video. The Maryland Emergency Numbers System Board, under the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, is responsible for overseeing Maryland's emergency 9-1-1 system, including administering the 9-1-1 Trust Fund, which will fund the new technology. 

"We are thrilled to welcome this public safety tool for Maryland's 1.2 million deaf and hard of hearing residents, those with a speech impairment, and anyone in an emergency situation where a voice call would be dangerous or impossible," said Kelby Brick, Director for the Governor's Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing.
New Faces and New Places for Maryland Department of Disabilities Staff
Join the department in welcoming several new staff members poised to serve the disability community as we continue to work toward our mission changing Maryland for the better by promoting equality of opportunity, access, and choice for Marylanders with disabilities.
Close up of woman
Kimberly McKay,  Outreach and Communications Specialist 
We are pleased to announce that Kim McKay will be joining the department as the new Outreach and Communications Specialist.  Kim comes to us with 20 years experience in the disability and family support field.  Mostly recently, Kim was the Director of Employment and Day Services at Compass Inc., where she worked to increase employment options for adults with disabilities.  Kim was the first Program Manager for Project SEARCH at the Arc Howard County and developed the program and its internships with Howard County Government. 

Close up of woman Kirsten Robb-McGrath, Director of Health & Behavioral Health Policy 
We are happy to welcome Kirsten Robb-McGrath as the Director of Health and Behavioral Health Policy. Kirsten is a seasoned Independent Living Specialist and Project Coordinator with over 5 years of relevant professional work experience. She is a graduate of Towson University with a Bachelors Degree in Deaf Studies, and a Minor in Psychology.  

Close up of womanLori Markland, Access Maryland Coordinator
The department will be welcoming back Lori Markland in a new role as the Access Maryland Coordinator.  Lori is coming to us from Maryland ABLE where she was the Communications & Marketing Manager. In this position, Lori coordinated the communications, outreach, marketing, and development strategies for the program.  Previously, Lori served as the Director of Communications, Outreach, and Program Development with the Maryland Department of Disabilities, Technology Assistance Program. Lori holds a BA and MFA from the University of Baltimore.

And new places for one of our own. . . .
Close up of smiling woman A Note from Secretary Beatty "It is with a mixture of happiness and sadness that we announce, Maryland Department of Disabilities Communications Director, Carrie McGraw, will be leaving the department to pursue another opportunity in the disability field. Carrie has accepted a position as Executive Director of V-LINC a nonprofit group which promotes independence and inclusion for all people with disabilities by creating learning opportunities and designing custom technology solutions to the barriers that people with disabilities face daily. We wish Carrie much success in her new endeavor, but she will certainly be missed here at the department. Carrie did an outstanding job leading our external and internal communications and constituent services efforts. Among her many accomplishments, she did a wonderful job coordinating our ADA anniversary celebrations, leading the department's activities in line with the Governor's customer service initiative, and revamping our community outreach through events with state and community partners.  In a nutshell, she was an integral part of many of our successes over the past almost three years.  Best wishes, Carrie!"

If you have a communications or outreach question, please call our office at 410.767.3660.  Our receptionist has information on new department contacts in each outreach area.