As Baltimore County’s director of Health and Human Services and health officer, SJC Brooklyn alum Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch ’87 is leading the Maryland county’s fight against COVID-19.
Dr. Branch, M.D., MBA, CPE, FACP, continually reminds staff, community partners and county residents that addressing this pandemic is a marathon – not a sprint — and that is a race that will be won by persistently practicing strategies to contain the spread of the disease.
“We are our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers and we all need to do our part to protect each other,” said Dr. Branch, who as director of Health and Human Services is responsible for programs and services that touch the over 850,000 residents of Baltimore County. “Practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing and sheltering in place is key to helping our communities heal.”
A desire to heal was instilled in Dr. Branch at an early age by his father.
“I grew up in the Gowanus Housing Projects, and my father was an ambulance driver. One day, I saw him revive a neighbor who had overdosed on drugs,” Dr. Branch said. “That inspired me to pursue a career in medicine.”
His first stop on a lifelong journey of healing brought him to SJC Brooklyn, where he graduated cum laude and earned a degree in biology. Like so many SJC science graduates, Dr. Branch credits one person in particular as being integral to his academic success.
“I am forever indebted to Dr. Carol Hayes for all her love and support,” he said. “She is a giant upon whose shoulders I stand. I will never forget her.”
Dr. Branch went on to graduate from medical school at SUNY Buffalo and completed his residency in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Over the years, he has continued to advance in his career, taking on various roles of increasing responsibility.
As Baltimore County’s health officer, Dr. Branch leads the charge to combat the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic and protect the health and safety of county residents. These days, he ends every phone call, every email, and every interaction with a simple reminder: “Wash your hands.”
This story is part of OnCampus’ “Answering the Call” series, focusing on St. Joseph’s College students and alumni working outside their homes in essential jobs during the coronavirus pandemic.