Author Archives: Jenna Mulliken

County Health Rankings

County Rankings St. Mary's

Positive Report for St. Mary’s

LEONARDTOWN, MD (March 26, 2015) – St. Mary’s County ranks as the fifth healthiest county in Maryland, according to the sixth annual County Health Rankings, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. This ranking reflects an improvement from eighth in 2014.

The County Health Rankings are an annual report that grade the overall health of nearly every county in the United States. The Rankings provide a snapshot of a community’s health, and helps to identify issues and implement solutions to create healthier places to live, learn, work and play. The St. Mary’s County ranking was positively impacted by local improvements in social and economic factors, quality of life, and premature death.  Since the 2011 Rankings, premature death in the county has decreased by 13 percent.

“Community partners, county leadership, health care providers, and our residents should take pride in knowing that work done to improve their own health, as well as the health of our community, has yielded such positive results,” said Dr. Meena Brewster, St. Mary’s County Health Officer. “The rankings also reaffirms priority areas that our local health improvement coalition, the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership, has identified and continues to address—access to care, healthy eating and active living, behavioral health, and tobacco-free living.”

The Rankings allow for relative comparisons between counties within a state on overall health and well-being. These comparisons are based on an assessment of four areas that influence health: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment. These factors are rated using local-level data from 30 measures that include smoking, education, physical inactivity, preventable hospitalizations, and the availability of primary care physicians.

Rates of adult smoking and obesity, preventable hospitalizations, and the ratios of residents to health professionals, including primary care physicians, dentists and mental health providers were areas where St. Mary’s County ranked low when compared to the other 23 Maryland counties.

“While the trend of an improving county health ranking for St. Mary’s is very encouraging,” said Dr. Brewster, “I am concerned about the challenges we face with access to care and risk factors leading to chronic illness. With the help of community stakeholders and the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership, we continue to seek solutions for these issues.”

The Rankings are available online at www.countyhealthrankings.org. For additional information visit the health department’s website at www.smchd.org or the Healthy St. Mary’s Partnership website at www.healthystmarys.com.

Quit Tobacco

Smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the United States, killing more than 480,000 Americans each year. Smoking causes immediate damage to your body, which can lead to long-term health problems. For every smoking-related death, at least 30 Americans live with a smoking-related illness. The only proven strategy to protect yourself from harm is to never smoke, and if you do smoke or use tobacco products, to quit. Quitting smoking has immediate as well as long-term benefits for smokers and their loved ones.

How to Quit

One of the keys to a successful quit is preparation. A great way to prepare to quit smoking is to create a quit plan.

FREE Quit Tobacco Classes and other resources are offered locally for persons who are ready to quit using tobacco through the St. Mary’s County Health Department.

All tobacco users can also take advantage of the FREE  Maryland Tobacco Quitline available 24 hours a day, seven days per week by calling 1-800-QUIT-NOW.

Quit Tobacco

Text QUIT to 47848, answer a few questions, and you’ll start receiving support to help you quit via text.

Click here to access more information and resources, as well as to hear tips from former tobacco users.


Content Sources: Centers for Disease Control, St. Mary's County Health Department, Smokefree.gov

Fraudulent ID Training

Spread the word about this FREE training that is being offered by the Community Alcohol Coalition (CAC) in partnership with the St. Mary’s Sheriffs Department.

This training will educate servers, sellers, management, and owners on correct alcohol and tobacco sales and service practices.

If you or your staff are responsible for serving and/or selling alcohol or tobacco, then you know compliance is critical. Keeping informed and up to date on the most recent requirements can be challenging. This training program is designed to educate servers. seller, management and owners on correct alcohol and tobacco sales and service practices.

There are TWO sessions scheduled, a morning and an afternoon option to allow for flexibility. This is an opportunity for those involved in the sale of alcohol and tobacco to be informed on the most current polices and to network with peers and county officials.

Participants receive a “Certificate of Completion” and resource materials will be available.

All participants arc also eligible to receive door prizes.

Location
Bay District Volunteer Fire Department 46900 S Shangri-La Drive Lexington Park, MD
Date
Thursday, March 26, 2015
Two Time Slots Available 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM 1:00 – 3:00 PM
Trainer
Cpl. James R. Stone
Alcohol Enforcement Coordinator Special Operations Division

Participants MUST RSVP by March 24th to:
Kendall Wood Program Coordinator
Phone: 240-434-7659
Fax: 30,475.6143
Email: Kendall.E.Wood@medstar.net

Youth Drug Prevention Summit

Prevention Summit

On March 10, 2015, over 150 St. Mary’s County students participated in and facilitated the first student run

Youth Drug Prevention Summit!

The Youth Drug Prevention Summit featured interactive learning programs, information from community organizations, and keynote speaker Frank Kros from the Upside Down Organization.

The purpose of the summit was to increase awareness and educate community students about the risk and dangers associated with substance misuse. Furthermore,  student organizers and adult mentors hoped to generate discussion about future projects and engage youth in local prevention efforts that will serve to bring further understanding to all St. Mary’s County school age students about this issue.


Drug Summit Links

Youth Prevention Drug Summit Home Page

Student Fact Sheet

Upside Down Organization

Community Vendors

Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids

Community Alcohol Coalition

MedStar Family Choice

NAMI Southern Maryland

St. Mary’s County Department of Aging &and Human Services

St. Mary’s County Health Department

St. Mary’s County Library

Walden

Drug Summit News

SMCPS Drug Summit Article

SoMdNews Drug Summit Coverage

Official Drug Summit Press Release

Maryland Opioid Misuse Prevention Survey

St. Mary’s County was recently awarded a grant from the Behavioral Health Administration to implement the Opioid Misuse Prevention Program (OMPP) to address opioid misuse. As part of the OMPP,  we are participating in a statewide survey about prescription opioids and heroin in our community. The result will provide valuable data for a planning process going forward.

Please take 10 minutes to complete this survey. HSMP members are encouraged to share the survey link and info in any ways possible (contact lists, listservs, facebook pages, websites, etc.). Survey participants must be Maryland residents who are 18 years or older.

Take the Survey

At the end of the survey you will be able to enter a weekly drawing for a $50 gift card, as well as a one time $100 grand prize gift card. Your contact information for the drawing will be collected in a separate location and can never be linked to your survey responses.

 

Thank you for your commitment to addressing this issue in our community.

Smart Medicine

 

Substance Use Prevention Update

Spotlight: Substance Use Prevention and Control Funding

On Tuesday, September 16, 2014 the Board of County Commissioners for St. Mary’s County voted to approve the $100,000 plan for FY 2015 non-recurring county funds to address the substance abuse issues affecting St. Mary’s county residents. The plan proposed to include several local efforts in distribution of the funds, including:
  • Local health communications and education efforts, led by the Department of Aging and Human Services, targeted to youth and other at risk populations.
    • Some funds are being utilized to support the student sponsored drug summit focusing on youth substance abuse prevention in March 2015.
    • Remaining funds will be used for the development, production, and distribution of health education materials focusing on substance use prevention and control. Efforts will target all middle and high school students (public and non-public) in St. Mary’s County.
  • Building local capacity to provide life skills training and mentoring for youth
    • More information coming soon!
  • Training local primary care providers and school counselors in Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT).
    • Walden has been selected as the local training provider.
    • Group and individual provider training is now available!
    • Training for SMCPS middle and high school counselors has been scheduled for February 2015.
    • 5 local primary care providers have been trained so far!
  • Implementation of a local health needs assessment on the topic of substance abuse prevention and response.
    • Health Resources in Action has been selected as the contractor to implement this project.
    • HRiA has been working with the Behavioral Health Action Team to administer focus groups and key informant interviews for April 2015.
  • Providing Intensive Outpatient Services for female inmates at the St. Mary’s County Detention Center.
    • Walden has been selected by the Sheriff’s Office to provide this service
    • 66% of women served have a primary opiate addiction diagnosis.
  • Implementation of the Overdose Response Program (ORP) for law enforcement officials in St. Mary’s County. Through the ORP, qualified individuals are trained, certified and equipped to administer Naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdose.
    • The Health Department has trained, certified, and equipped 130 law enforcement officials to administer Naloxone.
    • Additional training is scheduled for March 2015.

Keeping Kids Healthy

Healthy Kids

Healthy Kids St. Mary's CountyAt a very young age, children develop the habits and behaviors that will influence their life-long health.

Parents and caregivers play a key role in making healthy choices for children and also in teaching them to make healthy choices for themselves, which helps them grow into healthy adults!

Use the tools below to help guide your kids in making choices that will lead to healthier lives.


Tips for Healthy Eating

 Healthy kids need healthy foods!

download
Myplate: Healthy Eating Resource for Parents and Professionals 

Tips for Parents: Ideas to Help Children Maintain a Healthy Weight

Southern Maryland Farmers’ Market Guide

The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program


Get Active in St. Mary’s

Healthy kids need to get up and move!

CDC – How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need?

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Content Sources: Centers for Disease Control, ChooseMyPlate.gov, St. Mary's County Tourism, HSMP Partners

Workplace Wellness

Workplace Wellness

Your health is important wherever you go! And now that many people are spending most of their day sitting at a desk or inside an office, implementing health programs at the workplace has become vital to ensuring healthy lifestyles.  


What is Workplace Wellness?

“Workplace Wellness” is a term used to describe efforts by businesses to improve the health of its employees through use of program offerings and incentives. Working Marylanders spend an average of 9.2 hours per day at work leading to a decrease in the amount of time available for exercise and healthy eating. In part, this has led to an increase in the burden of chronic disease, much of which is preventable. Rising rates of chronic disease contribute to skyrocketing healthcare costs, which affect both employers and employees.

Workplace Wellness initiatives support employees and their families to make healthier choices so we can reduce chronic disease and our collective healthcare costs. These programs tend to focus on healthier food choices, increasing physical activity in and out of the workplace, and smoking cessation. By eating healthy, being physically active, and not smoking we can drastically reduce the human and economic toll of obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

A comprehensive employee health management strategy will help to prevent and control chronic disease and other conditions that are identified to be a problem for your workforce.  Preventing and controlling chronic disease improves quality of life and a company’s bottom line.

Need a Wellness Program at Your Office?

Ask your employer if they offer a wellness or health promotion program. If not, suggest implementing one at your office. One way to start is by joining Healthiest Maryland Businesses (HMB).

Healthiest Maryland Businesses are taking the first step towards creating an environment that supports healthy employees, an economic driver of your business’ fiscal health! Having a wellness program ensures that everyone wins – employees and their families are healthier, and companies save on health care costs and absenteeism.

Benefits of Joining Healthiest Maryland Businesses:

  • Consultation with certified work-site wellness personnel
  • Access to HMB e-news and training events
  • Technical assistance on how to implement policies and programs
  • Connection to evidence-based resources
  • Peer-to-peer support from neighboring businesses
  • Promotion as a member in this leading, statewide initiative

For more information, contact dhmh.healthiestmaryland@maryland.gov.

Additional Resources:

Workplace Health Promotion – CDC Toolkit

Healthiest Maryland Businesses – NEW WEBSITE!

Exercise at Your Desk – WebMD Feature

Stairwell Toolkit – Workplace Wellness Initiative


 

Content Sources: Centers for Disease Control, Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene