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MPHL : About The Labs

Your public health laboratory system is prepared to confront such serious community threats as emerging and reemerging infectious diseases, growing antimicrobial drug resistance, contaminated and overburdened water supplies, and foodborne pathogens associated with new and imported food products. The State laboratories are also improving disease prevention and control by implementing new molecular and genetic technologies to identify and track infectious microorganisms responsible for disease outbreaks, by detecting cancers associated with microorganisms and hazardous chemicals, by monitoring gene mutations associated with treatable genetic defects, and by implementing new equipment and procedures to help limit and control the effects of bioterrorism. Since 9/11, Maryland's Laboratories Administration has greatly expanded the analytical support it provides to federal agencies. We are a regional and national, as well as a State resource.   
 
The Laboratories Administration in the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene provides diagnostic and reference services to Maryland hospitals, as well as support to our local health departments. Environmental testing is committed to safeguarding the health of Maryland citizens. This testing also supports the enforcement of the Federal Food and Drug Act, Chesapeake Bay Program, Pasteurized Milk Ordinance, the Federal Safe Drinking and Clean Water Acts.  
 
We envision a future in which all citizens of Maryland are protected from infectious diseases, environmental hazards, treatable hereditary disorders and substandard consumer products through analytical testing, surveillance, data management, enforcement of standards, assessment and leadership skills provided by the State’s public health laboratory.
 
 
General Information:
The Laboratories Administration consists of a Central Laboratory in Baltimore and Regional Laboratories in Cumberland and Salisbury. It employs approximately 230 scientists and support staff. The Central Laboratory is organized into several divisions with over 13 specialty laboratory sections and units.
The Regional Laboratories employ approximately 40 employees and perform basic public health testing for surrounding counties. Specimens for complex testing are sent to the Central Laboratory.
Your public health laboratories perform over 10 million laboratory tests annually on human specimens and environmental samples submitted by county health departments and clinics, private physicians, hospitals, correctional facilities, private medical laboratories, and the Maryland Department of the Environment

 

 
Mission:
It shall be the mission of this administration to promote, protect and preserve the health and well-being of the people in Maryland from the consequences of communicable diseases, treatable hereditary disorders, and from unsafe food, drugs, and consumer products by promoting and enforcing standards of quality in cooperation with both public and private agencies at the local, state, and federal levels. This mission shall be accomplished with maximum public benefit at a minimum cost to the people of Maryland.

 

History:
 
1898: Established with $2500 and 1 employee
1910: First separate State lab facility
1915: First regional lab in Cumberland
1942: Syphilis testing for military
1946: Cytology and clinical chemistry established
1948: Consolidated three central lab sites
1957: Virology Section established
1964: Absorbed Baltimore City’s Public Health Lab
1965: First hereditary disorder screened
1971: Environmental Chem. Division established
1974: Moved into current central lab
1985: HIV Section established
1994: Lab Licensure Division transferred
1996: Cytology and Biochem. privatized
1998: 100th anniversary celebration
2000: Lab Emergency Prepardness program established
2001: First terrorism event (anthrax)
2003: Began planning for new central lab
2005: Procured funding for new LIMS system
2006: New laboratory programming document
2007: Two RFPs for new lab awarded
2012: New Lab Construction Begins
2013: Construction Continues
2014: Move into New Lab