“I was an English major in college, but between my junior and senior years in college, I worked with Dr. Vernon Mountcastle, an eminent pioneering neurologist at Johns Hopkins University and found it fascinating. Although I had intended to enter teaching, my husband-to-be convinced me to go to medical school.”
Chris Van Hollen
“PUBLIC HEALTH ADVOCATE, TEACHER, MENTOR AND CARING PHYSICIAN”
A self-described "medical nomad" because of the many responsibilities she assumed over the years as a family physician, teacher, mentor, health services advocate and public health officer, Carol Wilson Garvey, officially retired but still very involved as a volunteer in numerous health services councils and coalitions, has dedicated her life to helping others through medicine.
From the moment she earned her M.D. from Columbia University, in 1969, assuring access to health care services became a career priority. She worked in the federal Bureau of Community Health Services in the 1970s and chaired the Public Health Committee of the Montgomery County Medical Society for several years before becoming the society's president in 1992-93. As president, she worked with numerous community groups to found the Primary Care Coalition of Montgomery County, which seeks to assure access to care for low-income county residents.
"I loved helping my patients, as well as making a difference in the structure of health care for the underserved," says the Baltimore native, who graduated from Radcliffe College, in 1963, and took her Master's degree in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 1975. "I can't think of any career so personally rewarding or one which offers such a variety of opportunities for young women."
Nominating Garvey as a Local Legend, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD-8) noted that her "distinguished career of service to the public over three decades exemplifies the highest standards of service both to the medical profession and to our community as a whole."
From 1995 to 2003, Garvey was Montgomery County Health Officer, the top medical position in one of the largest and most diverse counties in the country. Describing her eight-year tenure, Rep. Van Hollen said, "She was a distinguished and inspiring leader on issues ranging from infant health care to infectious diseases to emergency preparedness in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks." In recognition of her many contributions, she was named Physician of the Year in 2000 by her colleagues in the Montgomery County Medical Society. She served as president of the Maryland Association of County Health Officers in 2001 and 2002.
At the time of her appointment as Health Officer, Garvey had practiced family medicine for more than two decades and was a family physician for the George Washington University Health Plan, holding the title of associate clinical professor of health care sciences. She was also an assistant professor of community and family medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine. In 1997 she closed her private practice.
Health promotion and disease prevention remain high priorities for Garvey, who always encouraged healthful lifestyles for her patients and now advocates for prevention programs as Chair of the Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families, and as a member of the Board of the Primary Care Coalition, Proyecto Salud, the Advisory Board of the Center for Health Disparities Research and Education at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, the Montgomery County Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Board, the Child Assessment Center Board, and several others which address health disparities and child health issues.
Fellow, American Academy of Family Physicians
Appointed Medical Officer, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, becoming, in 1980, Deputy Associate Bureau Director for Family Planning
Opens private practice in family medicine, Montgomery County
Fellow, American College of Preventive Medicine
Elected President, Montgomery County Medical Society
Appointed Health Officer, Montgomery County, one of the nation's largest, most diverse counties
College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University