County Awards Special Populations Team for Their COVID-19 Response Efforts

County Executive Marc Elrich and Chief Administrative Officer Andrew Kleine recognized the county’s Special Populations Team for exceptional service during the COVID-19 pandemic on July 10. 

“This group of remarkable leaders have been nothing less than heroic,” Elrich said in a recent newsletter. “They have provided vital services and resources to our multilingual and multicultural communities and ensured that our most vulnerable community members – including people of color, immigrants and those who are linguistically isolated – receive services throughout the COVID-19 emergency response.” 

Elrich and Kleine awarded the Special Populations Team as High Risers, an award that began in May to recognize employees serving residents amid the COVID-19 health crisis. 

The Special Populations Team provides resources and services for vulnerable community members during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Ken Hartman, Bethesda Chevy-Chase Regional Service Director, leads the Special Populations Team. Hartman and the entire team have developed new programs in an effort to ensure that underrepresented communities get access to program and emergency information, according to the Office of the County Executive. 

“Ken’s work has made a lasting difference for many underserved multilingual and multicultural communities,” the office stated. 

Other members of the Special Populations Team include:

  • Director of the Office of Community Partnerships Diane Vy Nguyen-Vu
  • Community Liaisons at the Office of Community Partnerships Jessy Mejia, Kasey Kaseman, Yi Shen, Shawn Ellis, Harriet Shangarai, Yvonne Stephens, Julian Norment, Arwa Elboraei, Susan Hoffmann and Kaori Hirakawa 
  • Regional Service Center Directors Jewru Bandeh, Cathy Matthews, Luisa Montero-Diaz and Reemberto Rodriquez
  • Executive Director of the Commission for Women Jodi Finkelstein
  • Gilchrist Immigrant Resource Center Team
  • Volunteer Center Team

The Special Populations Team also comprises the first-ever translations unit in the county, which has 20 certified multilingual employees who offer support for residents impacted by COVID-19. 

“Their exceptional work ensured high-quality translations connected underserved communities with critical public-health services, information, and resources and laid the groundwork for the County’s translations for years to come,” the office mentioned. 

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About Shauneen Miranda

Shauneen Miranda was an intern at Montgomery Community Media during the summer of 2020 while she was studying journalism with a concentration in sociology at the University of Maryland.


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