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Worcester Health Receives New Funding to Address Health Equity

Snow Hill, MD - The Worcester County Health Department (WCHD) was recently awarded new funding from the Maryland Department of Health to address health disparities residents may have experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the pandemic, routine preventive health screenings and care were often delayed. The goal of this new project is to increase access to and participation in health screenings, education programs, and the adoption of healthy lifestyles. The project will address social determinants of health which are the environmental conditions where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship that affect health outcomes. This includes factors like socioeconomic status, education, physical environment, employment, social support networks, and access to care.

 “It is my hope that through this project we can help the community members reach their full health potential by ensuring they are aware of resources available including preventive screening, education, and community activities that offer health benefits,” said Debra Stevens, the Director of Community Health at the Worcester County Health Department.

Worcester County’s recent Community Health Assessment found that over one-third of adult residents are obese, one out of every eight have diabetes, one out of every ten experience food insecurity, and one out of every seven adults report poor physical or mental health on eight or more of the previous 30 days. This new project will educate residents about healthy eating, physical activity, stress management, as well as promote local resources to help with adoption of healthy choices and access to needed health screenings. Being active, eating healthy, not using tobacco, alcohol, or other illicit drugs, and practicing good stress management skills can improve overall health and reduce the risk of health problems and poor outcomes from diseases such as COVID and the flu. The project will include a media campaign, linkage to community resources, free community activity programs, and nutrition/cooking classes. Programs will be offered in person and virtually. WCHD plans to ensure residents are provided information on available resources to achieve a healthy lifestyle.