December 4, 2013

Local Health Improvement Coalition Weekly Digest

Dear Howard County LHIC Members –
Please find below this week’s LHIC digest and corresponding attachments.  Additionally we welcome you to submit any news or events that you would like to share with the group.  The deadline for submissions is Monday by 5:00pm to  We are experimenting this week with a more abbreviated digest.  Please let us know know what you think of this shorter format by emailing LHIC director Alisha Wolf at Thank you!

LHIC Items:
We're on Facebook!

Check out our new Facebook page!  Visit the page for health, Howard County and LHIC updates.  If you'd like tp post something on our page, email LHIC Director Alisha Wolf at Check out our page here, "like" us and spread the word!  It is pretty bare right now, but we will have lots more updates soon!

Menu Labeling Drives Customers to Healthier Restaurant Options
Customers who dined at restaurants with nutrition information printed on menus purchased items with fewer calories compaired to customers who dined at unlabeled restaurants, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine. A research team led by the Drexel University School of Public Health found that customers who ate at restaurants that made nutrition information available purchased 155 fewer calories, 224 milligrams less sodium and 3.7 grams less saturated fat than customers at restaurants without labeling.

Could Good Health Be Contagious?
A study released this week at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions provides early evidence indicating that social networks can be leveraged to spread good health. The study, which is the first long-term randomized trial of its kind in the U.S., recruited friends and families in rural Kentucky into "microclinic" social network clusters. Together, the microclinic groups attended weekly social events, such as physical activity sessions and nutrition classes.  Collectively called Team Up 4 Health, these activities were supported with gifts from Humana, a health care company focused on wellness, as well as funding from the Mulago Foundation and the Goldsmith Foundation. Microclinic members lost more weight and more inches from their waistlines than those who received standard individual care. Microclinic participants sustained these results over time, lasting beyond the 10-month program period to even six months later.

Connection Update, Friday, November 27, 2013
Since October 1, there have been more than 480,000 unique visitors to the health benefit exchange website. Total enrollment in qualified healthplans have increased to a total 3,024 individuals, reflecting the greatest increase in a week to date. Including Medicaid pre-enrollment, new Medicaid eligibles, and people who have selected pre-qualified health plans, over 95,000  Marylanders will be enrolled in health insurance starting January 1, 2014. For more details, read the full report here.

Maryland Health Connection Call Center
Maryland Health Connection has opened the first phase of its state-of-the-art customer call center in Baltimore to provide support for residents and small employers statewide. The call center assists Marylanders with general questions about health coverage and the process of enrollment. The call center will operate seven days a week during the open enrollment period, which began on October 1, 2013 and ends on March 31, 2014. The toll-free phone number is 855.642(MHC).8572, and 1.855.642(MHC).8573 for TTY service.


Mastering the Illusions of Stress {free}
December 4, 7-8:45 pm

Gain insight into how your perceptions influence your stress. Discover secrets that will allow for more peace and well-being in your life. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD. Free.  Sign up here.
Knitting and Crochet Support Group {free}
Every Wednesday, 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Attention cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers: join us on Wednesday each week for instruction, directions, and good times for beginning or advanced knitters. Located at The Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, 21044. For more information call 410-740-5858.

Living with Diabetes
December 6 and 10, 8:30 am-2:30 pm
Have you recently been diagnosed with diabetes or have you been living with diabetes and would like to improve your health? Our diabetes specialists will teach you how to change your habits, give you practical, attainable solutions for staying healthy and design a diabetes management plan to fit your lifestyle.  Living with Diabetes is a two-day, interactive group course taught by an endocrinologist, diabetes nurse educator, dietitian, physiologist, podiatrist, and exercise specialist.  Most insurance companies cover all or part of the program. The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at Howard County General Hospital. For more information, or to register, check out the website here, or call 443-718-3000.

Together We Thrive
December 7, 10-11:30 a.m

Held the first Saturday of each month this patient support group is for men and women diagnosed with cancer. Participants can share, explore and be encouraged in a safe environment. Registration required. Facilitated by Mary Dowling, LCSW-C. (410) 740-5858 for more information.

Celebration of Hope {free}
December 8, 4:30-5:45 pm

Celebration of Hopestroll through the lights on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 4:30-5:45 p.m. is open to current cancer patients and survivors. All walkers must begin by 5 p.m. This event is free, but space is limited. Registration and tickets required, 410-740-5858.

Medicare 101: What You Can Expect From Medicare {free}
December 10, 10- 11:30 a.m

Are you currently on Medicare or soon will be? Do you provide care to someone covered by Medicare? This presentation will review Original Medicare (Part A Hospital and Part B Medical) and Prescription Drug Coverage (Part D). Learn what is covered, your costs, how Medicare works, and available benefit programs. Presented by the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), Howard County Office on Aging. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD. Learn more and sign up here.

Symphony of Lights
December-January 5

Symphony of Lights is a spectacular display of 70 larger-than-life, animated and stationary light creatures.  It is a long-standing community tradition and a "must-see" during the holiday season. For more information, visit


Additionally we welcome you to submit any news or events that you would like to share with the group.  The deadline for submissions is Monday by 5:00pm to

 Our mailing address is: 8930 Stanford Boulevard Columbia, MD 21045