Tierney Youngling got her public health career started more than a decade ago, but the Westminster resident had no idea how important her first experiences would become years later.
Youngling began in the Carroll County Health Department’s Public Health and Preparedness Response Program, which develops plans to protect its communities amid cases of emergency whether they be natural or man-made. When the H1N1 influenza virus spread across the area in 2009, Youngling said she was working in that emergency management role and assisting the health department amid a pandemic.
She served as assistant director of nursing for four years, and earlier this month took over at the department’s director of nursing when longtime director Cindy Marucci Bosley retired Nov. 30.
Carroll is in the midst of a different pandemic, but Youngling said she’s ready to help the county put an end to the COVID-19 outbreak in her new position.
“Having that experience working in the public health preparedness and response program really helps during this time as we’re going through this pandemic,” said Youngling, who became director of nursing Dec. 4. “I did have a wonderful mentor. Through the years, as the assistant director, we worked side by side. She was my supervisor ... a mentor, a guide. I feel extremely privileged because I was able to work alongside of her to really prepare me to step into this role.”
In addition to overseeing the nursing bureau’s many programs, Youngling also serves as head of operations for the health department’s COVID-19 response.
“I am confident that Tierney will bring outstanding technical and leadership skills to this position and is ready to lead the Nursing Bureau through the rest of this pandemic and into the future,” Ed Singer, Carroll County’s top health officer and head of the health department, said in a recent news release.
“I feel very blessed to have such a wonderful team here at the health department.”
Youngling received her undergraduate degree from Towson University in Mass Communication. She earned her Registered Nursing degree from Carroll Community College and her master’s degree in Nursing and Clinical Nurse Leader certification from Sacred Heart University. Her nursing experience has also included cardiovascular and critical care.
Youngling said she’s overseeing all of the health department’s programs, and looking forward to gaining some assistants to help her along the way. Maintaining the department’s connection to the community is one of Youngling’s missions for 2021 and beyond, she said.
“I feel like that foundation has truly helped,” she said. “As it has been said, we’re all in this together. And we all cannot do this without one another. Our community is an amazing community. All the efforts that our community has taken, I definitely agree with that.”
A vaccine will likely go a long way toward putting an end to the coronavirus, and Youngling said while people are looking at the medicine rollout as “that light at the end of the tunnel,” the health department will also be looking into what other actions need to be taken for normalcy to spring forth once more.
Youngling said she wonders what “normal” will look like in the future, and how people will continue to adhere to health and safety protocols at certain times of the year, or in larger gatherings.
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“What are our next steps? What does it mean for our future?” Youngling said. “It’s all just, we take it one day at a time. It’s something that will be interesting to see what the future holds.”