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Janeen L. Birckhead

Janeen L. Birckhead

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Major General, Maryland National Guard

The Adjutant General, Maryland Major General Janeen L. Birckhead took her role as leader of the state’s vaccine equity task force seriously.  Birckhead’s mission was to partner with local health departments and community stakeholders to improve health outcomes throughout the state and to increase Marylanders’ access to the COVID-19 vaccine.

“The communities throughout Maryland were so welcoming and we had the privilege to work hand-in-hand to get the vaccine where it was needed,” Birckhead wrote. “Through partnerships with trusted leaders in the communities they served, we were able to make in-roads where others could not. We needed to meet people where they were to assist in breaking down the barriers too many Marylanders faced.”

Birckhead’s call sign is “Resilient Six” because her mission is to strengthen her force’s resilience. “Army Strong requires us to lean on our core Army Values and remain resilient,” she said. “Resilience will not make your problems disappear. Resilience gives you the ability to work through your problems and find solutions. It allows you to adapt to adversity and challenging situations, protect you from stressful conditions and protect your mental health.”

Birckhead had an excellent role model in her mother, Fannie W. Birckhead, who became the Eastern Shore’s first Black mayor in Snow Hill, the county’s first Black orphan’s court judge and the first Black to win a countywide election.

“She was an inspiration, encouragement and a guiding light that was always there for me,” Birckhead wrote.

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