The Johns Hopkins Northeast Regional Academic Environmental Public Health Center
Mr. Thomas M. Thomas, a native Marylander, received his Bachelor's Degree in Accounting from Loyola College, served in the Army Reserves, married, and raised five children. He began as an Auditor Trainee for the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in 1960, serving in various accounting and auditing positions for twenty years. In the fall of 1981, Mr. Thomas was recruited by the Harford County Board of Health to be the first non-physician health officer in Maryland. Under his leadership, the Health Department began making new partnerships with other county agencies and closing the communications gap that existed between the department and the County Council at the time.
Mr. Thomas faithfully and admirably served as the Health Officer for the Harford County Health Department for twenty-two years. He was the epitome of a true public health leader. During his long career, Tommy addressed many issues including emerging public health issues, reduction of disease, privatization of local health departments, fiscal management, budget threats, layoffs, and local politics. He approached all problems by saying "we can do that" and supported staff and co-workers in implementing their programs. Tommy believed in and demonstrated the concept of "teamwork" before it ever became popular. He was a very "hands on" health officer and an all around “down to earth” guy.
Tommy also has a long history working with the faculty at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He was a regular lecturer in the Public Health Practice course for many years; delighting students with “real world” public health practice stories and encouraging them to enter the public health practice field. He was also an active member of our Center for Excellence in Community Environmental Public Health Practice Advisory Committee, most recently working with on our Profile of Maryland Environmental Public Health Practice report.
Tommy passed away on Saturday, June 4th, 2005. His many talents and passion for local public health will be greatly missed.
In honor of Tommy's work and commitment to public health practice, we have established a student fellowship in his name to start in the Fall of 2005. The Tommy Thomas Environmental Public Health Practice Student Fellowship will encourage students to pursue careers in environmental public health practice and help to build and expand the pipeline of bright and enthusiastic environmental public health professionals dedicated to improving the environmental health and well-being of present and future generations.