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County's health officer retiring after 22 years; Boyd says she'll return to practicing pediatrics


After 22 years as Howard County's health officer, Dr. Joyce Boyd is retiring Feb. 1 to return to practicing pediatrics, she says.

"I've been thinking for several years that I wanted to go back to take care of babies and children and work with parents directly," the 61-year-old physician said. "Time was marching on."

Boyd, who lives in Columbia with her husband, David, a surgeon, said she told County Executive James N. Robey about her plans after his election in November. A committee is seeking her replacement, according to the county public information office.

Robey was sorry to see her go, according to Victoria Goodman, county public information officer.

"Joyce Boyd's achievements have benefited our citizens tremendously," Robey said in a statement. "She has helped make our Health Department a leading agency in Maryland. It won't be easy to find a successor to equal her service."

Amid the changes occurring in health care, Boyd said, "The Health Department is in the process of doing less actual direct care. The private sector is taking over."

That's what's happening to Howard's mental health program, as the private Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital takes over operation of the county's Riverwood outpatient clinic in Columbia.

County Councilwoman Mary C. Lorsung, a Columbia Democrat and Boyd's neighbor, praised her for keeping the department focused.

"I think Joyce has really made some significant contributions and provided significant leadership to Howard County in times that were really tough," Lorsung said, referring to the mid-1980s, when state money for health services was difficult to obtain.

Boyd became acting health officer in 1976 and was named official head in March 1977. Under her stewardship, the department started treating drug addicts at the county jail and established a community health education program, the AIDS alliance and the Coalition for Smokefree Howard County. She also expanded the mental health program, focusing on people with serious illnesses and emotionally disturbed children.

The search committee will submit names to Robey, who will recommend one for County Council approval. The official appointment is made by Dr. Martin P. Wasserman, the state secretary of heath and mental hygiene. Boyd's state salary is $87,497.

After a year of retraining, Boyd said she hopes to work in a community health center.

Pub Date: 1/11/99

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