Hospital News

Maryland Secretary of Health Dennis R. Schrader visits UPMC Western Maryland vaccine clinics


Maryland Secretary of Health Dennis R. Schrader and UPMS Western Maryland Senior Practice Manager Natalie Fisher-Perez discuss the COVID-19 vaccine process at the UPMC Outpatient Center in Frostburg.

On Thursday, April 22, Maryland Secretary of Health Dennis R. Schrader visited a pair of UPMC Western Maryland clinics to evaluate and observe the early stages of a program to make the vaccine more accessible in the fight against COVID-19.

Secretary Schrader visited the UPMC Outpatient Center in Frostburg where he learned about the vaccination process in an urgent care setting. He also visited Dr. Sunil Gupta’s practice in Cumberland, where vaccinating in a primary care setting was analyzed.

During the visit, UPMC Western Maryland President Michele Martz explained the process of getting the vaccines from the state and disseminating them throughout UPMC Western Maryland’s urgent and primary care clinics. Secretary Schrader also had the opportunity to learn firsthand the logistics and benefits of offering the vaccine in a clinic.

“UPMC Western Maryland is extremely proud to be accepted as the pilot program in our area for primary care providers and urgent care clinics to administer the vaccine,” said Jeff O’Neal, Executive Director, Clinics, Practices, and Behavioral Health Services. “The primary care setting allows individuals who may have been reluctant to receive the vaccine an opportunity to speak one-on-one with a provider about getting vaccinated and also allows them to make the decision that is best for them. Additionally, offering the vaccine at our urgent care locations in Maryland gives individuals access at more convenient times like evenings and weekends.”

Getting the vaccine program into the clinics has been a team effort spearheaded by Senior Practice Managers Natalie Fisher-Perez and Karen Ullery.

“I have seen our UPMC Western Maryland urgent care employees go above and beyond during all phases of these unprecedented times,” Fisher-Perez said. “Most recently, this meant taking personal ownership to make as many community members as possible aware of our upcoming vaccine clinics. They made calls, hung flyers, and reached out to businesses and individuals alike. I have had the privilege to see them serve their communities over and over, and we are very blessed to have such an incredible team.”

“Our primary care providers are educating our patients and encouraging them to be vaccinated. I am very proud of our staff and their dedication to be a part of vaccinating our family, friends, and neighbors,” Ullery added.

Within the first two weeks of implementing the vaccine program at its urgent and primary care clinics, UPMC Western Maryland has administered 138 vaccines to patients at these locations. UPMC Western Maryland recognizes the importance of safely distributing the COVID-19 vaccine to its community members and is pleased to be able to offer this additional option along with the other opportunities now available in Allegany County. For the latest information on vaccination opportunities at UPMC Western Maryland, visit