SACRAMENTO, Calif. (WJZ) — A California health official who spent decades of his career in Maryland is stepping down amid the COVID-19 pandemic, weeks after using a racist term referring to Asian Americans.
Dr. Peter Beilenson, Baltimore City’s Health Commissioner between 1992 and 2005, came under fire in November after using the phrase “yellow folks” to describe Asian Americans during a Sacramento County Board of Supervisors meeting, CBS Sacramento reported.READ MORE: Some States Say They Are Not Getting Their Covid-19 Test Kit Orders As White House Rolls Out At-Home Testing Effort
He later apologized for what he said was a mistake.
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Beilenson, the director of the Sacramento County Department of Health Services, said family emergencies prompted his resignation, not the pressure of the job.
“So we, unfortunately, had a couple of family emergencies requiring us to move back to Baltimore so we’re going to be doing that in the next couple, two-and-a-half weeks,” Beilenson said to CBS San Francisco.
According to a 2018 news release announcing his hiring, Sacramento County officials said Beilenson also served as the Howard County Health Director from 2007 to 2012. After that, he served as the CEO, president and founder of Baltimore-based Evergreen Health.MORE NEWS: ‘Tremendous Loss’ Violence Prevention Worker Killed In East Baltimore Mass Shooting
Beilenson also got his Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, according to an alumni biography.