May 1st

Local Health Improvement Coalition Weekly Digest

Dear Howard County LHIC Members –

We hope that you had a great week.  Please find below and attached 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 .  Again, we thank you for your continued support and participation as we work to achieve health equity in Howard County and to identify and reduce health disparities.  

New meeting schedule.  
Upcoming meetings:

Next LHIC meeting Monday, May 13th from 10:00am to 12:00pm.  Click here for calendar invitation.


Many Americans Still Unaware of or Confused About the Affordable Care Act {new}
Signup for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Health Insurance Marketplace begins in October, but a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation finds that many Americans are still confused about the law, which will require virtually all Americans to sign up for health insurance coverage that will take effect January 1, 2014. For full article, click here.
Key poll findings include:
  • More than 40 percent of Americans aren’t aware that the ACA is the law of the land.
  • Of those who aren’t aware that the ACA is now law, 12 percent think the law was repealed by Congress and 7 percent think the law was overturned by the Supreme Court.
  • About half of the respondents said they did not have enough information about the health reform law to understand how it will impact their family.
  • People who are currently uninsured and those in low-income households were the most likely groups to say they did not understand how the ACA benefits them and their families. 
Single Can of Sugary Soda Can Increase Diabetes Risk 22 Percent{new}
Drinking even a single 12-ounce can of sugary soda once a day can up the risk of diabetes by 22 percent, according to a new study out of Imperial College London. Researchers looked at the data of approximately 350,000 European residents. "Given the increase in sweet beverage consumption in Europe, clear messages on the unhealthy effect of these drinks should be given to the population," said study leader Dora Romaguera, according to Reuters. Click here for full article.

Walking Minutes Help People Make Healthier Menu Choices {new}
When menus present them with how many minutes of brisk walking it takes to burn off the calories contained in different food options, people tend to choose lower calorie meals. These were the findings of a new study presented at the Experimental Biology 2013 meeting in Boston on Tuesday. For full article, click here.
USPSTF Recommends HIV Screening for All Americans 15-65 {new}
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) now recommends that all Americans ages 15 to 65 be screened for HIV, according to new guidelines appearing in the Annals of Internal Medicine. USPSTF’s previous 2005 guidelines recommended screening for only those people categorized as high-risk. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention already recommends this course of action. Experts noted that the change will likely mean that testing will be covered as a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act. For full article, click here.

Early Obesity Dramatically Increases Men’s Risk of Poor Health, Death {new}
Obesity in the early 20’s can dramatically increased a man’s chance of suffering from serious health problems or even dying by the age of 55, according to a new study in the journal BMJ Open. A study tracking Danish men found that approximately half of the participants who were obese at the age of 22 had developed diabetes, developed high blood pressure, had a heart attack, had a stroke, or experienced blood clots or died by age 55. Each unit increase in body mass index raised the risk of heart attack by 5 percent; high blood pressure and clots by 10 percent; and diabetes by 20 percent. For full article, click here.

Are ERs Becoming De Facto Psych Wards? {new}
A research letter to be published in the May issue of Annals of Emergency Medicine argues that pre-authorization process is akin to health care "rationing by hassle factor".  "An emergency department is just about the worst place for a psychiatric patient to wait for an inpatient bed, and yet that is exactly what the pre-authorization process forces on millions of these vulnerable people," said senior author J. Wesley Boyd, MD, PhD of the Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, Mass. For full article, click here.

New York City Moves to Ban Cigarette Sales to People Under 21 
A bill introduced to the New York City Council would ban cigarette sales to anyone under the age of 21. The current age limit is 18. "Too many adult smokers begin this deadly habit before age 21," City Council Speaker Christine Quinn said. "By delaying our city's children and young adults access to lethal tobacco products, we're decreasing the likelihood they ever start smoking, and thus, creating a healthier city." Though not introduced by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, he does support the bill. For full article, click here.
Exercise, Healthy Eating Helps Keep Sleep Apnea in Check
The combination of exercise and healthy eating is a simple way to ease the effects of mild sleep apnea, according to a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine. The key is weight loss. Researchers “found obese study participants who went through a one-year lifestyle intervention were about half as likely to see their sleep apnea progress to more severe disease,” according to Reuters. For full article, click here.

CDC: Cutting Smoking in Subsidized Housing Would Save $521M Annually
Eliminating the ability to smoke in U.S. subsidized housing would save approximately $521 million each year in health care, renovation and fire-related costs, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This includes public housing and rental assistance programs. Secondhand smoke can be especially problematic in multi-unit buildings with at-risk populations and smoking in common rooms. "Many of the more than 7 million Americans living in subsidized housing in the United States are children, the elderly or disabled," said Tim McAfee, MD, MPH, director of the Office on Smoking and Health at CDC. "These are people who are most sensitive to being exposed to secondhand smoke. This report shows that there are substantial financial benefits to implementing smoke-free policies, in addition to the health benefits those policies bring." For full article, click here.

Senate OKs Mental Health Amendment To 'Effectively Derailed' Gun Bill
The amendment, which was added to the gun control bill a day after the broader measure that included background checks on gun purchases was rejected by the Senate, would expand a range of mental health programs.The amendment, introduced by Sens. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), expands federal mental health programs, including in education, suicide prevention, substance abuse and trauma centers. For full article, click here.
Small Amounts of Daily Exercise Can Help Teens Quit Smoking 
As little as 30 minutes of daily exercise can help kids quit smoking, according to a new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health. It can also help to reduce tobacco use. Researchers found that daily smokers were more likely to reduce or quit smoking if they combined a fitness program with a smoking cessation program, rather than just a cessation program alone. For full article, click here
Sustainable Communities State Designation Opens Funding Opportunities for Community Health
A new State-led neighborhood revitalization designation called Sustainable Communities provides a planning framework and funding for local governments and other community stakeholders to improve community health.  "Sustainable Communities" are eligible to apply for competitive grants and loans toward capital projects, tax credits, and other benefits. For more information on the designation, consult the Sustainable Communities website or click here to e-mail Mary Kendall. To see if you are located in a Sustainable Community, click here.
Job Vacancy
Part Time Director of Programs and Development for NAMI Howard County
Must be organized, energetic, and have good people skills.  Email resume and cover letter to: or fax to: 410-772-9307 by May 1st.
Visit for more information. No phone calls, please.
HCC is Approved IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Site
HCC is partnering with the IRS to offer income tax assistance to individuals with income under $51,000. This free service is available to anyone, including HCC employees and students. There are trained volunteers available who will assist in your tax preparation. For more information, click here.

Network of Care for Behavioral Health
Network of Care for Behavioral Health is an online information place for individuals, families, and agencies concerned with mental and emotional wellness, substance abuse and developmental disabilities. This online community provides critical information, communication, and advocacy tools with a single point of entry. It ensures there is "No Wrong Door" for those navigating the system of behavioral health services, those working to avoid the need for formal services, and those ready to transition out of the behavioral health system.
For more information, click here.

Howard County Health Department Tobacco Treatment Program and Volunteer Opportunities 
Wednesdays, 6:00pm – 7:00pm {free}
Quit Smoking Today!  FREE Tobacco Treatment Program open to anyone who lives or works in Howard County.  This is a 4 week program, 1 session per week.  A physician evaluation for medication support will be offered from 5:00pm -8:00pm, by appointment only.  Walk-in clinics for a one-on-one counseling session with a Tobacco Treatment Specialist, offered in English and Spanish will be offered on Thursdays, 1:00pm - 4:00pm.  For more information, click here.

Office on Aging Information - MAP and SHIP 
Maryland Access Point (MAP)
MAP is Howard County’s Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC). We help identify a person’s strengths, needs, situations and preferences and help them make informed decisions through a service known as Options Counseling. In addition to our telephone assistance, we can make home visits or meet a person in an alternate location such as a senior center or library.  To contact MAP call 410-313-5980 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. or visit the statewide searchable database at
Senior Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) 

SHIP offers one-on-one counseling and assistance to people with Medicare of any age and their families. Counseling is a free service and assistance is given via telephone and face-to-face interactive sessions, public education presentations and programs, and media activities. To contact SHIP call 410-313-7392 Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Cancer Prevention Study-3 Comes to Howard County
Help the American Cancer Society create a world with less cancer!  The American Cancer Society is seeking cancer fighters in Howard County to participate in Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3), a historic, nationwide study to help researchers better understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer, which will ultimately save lives.

2-1-1 Maryland
2-1-1 Maryland is a toll-free, 24-hour hotline that provides information on local and national health and human service resources. We serve the entire state of Maryland and are available simply by dialing 2-1-1 or 800-492-0618. The hotline is staffed by trained and nationally certified Information and Referral Specialists who assess callers' needs and then link them with appropriate resources and services. Many of you are already included in our database but others may not be included. Please use the following contact information to update current forms or submit new program forms.  Kate Schulz, Information and Referral Specialist and Howard County Outreach Coordinator.  Contact number: 410-895-1452.  Brandi Nieland, Database Administrator 

Powerpoint Presentation
2-1-1 Maryland Fact Sheet
2-1-1 MD Inclusion Exclusion Guidelines
New Program Form

Saturday, May 4,  6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
The Wilde Lake Interfaith Center

Come experience the art, music and food of the Haitian culture while also helping to support schools, libraries and clinics. Purchase your tickets online: $50 per person at

Caregiver’s Support Group {free} {new}
May 7, 3:30 p.m
Meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. or the third Saturday of each month at 10:30 a.m.- noon. Registration is required.  Call the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center at 410 740-5858 for more information.

Pre-Diabetes {new}
May 9, 7:00 -9:00 p.m. 
What is Pre-Diabetes and what can you do about it? This program will answer your questions. Our certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian will teach you how to make changes to prevent or delay an actual diabetes diagnosis. $15. HCGH Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia.
Click here to register, or call 410 740-7601 for more information.

HCGH Farmers’ Market – Opening Day {new}
May 10, 2-6:00 p.m.
Join us for the Opening Day of the HCGH Farmers Market. Keep your family healthy with fresh fruits, vegetables, bread, cheese, eggs, meat and other farm products grown and produced on local Howard County Farms. New vendors this year include Misty Meadows Milk and a jewelry vendor once a month. Free HCGH grocery tote bags to first 50 customers and seasonal recipes. Market is at the rear of Visitor Lot C at HCGH.

Hills of Milltown 5K Challenge {new}
May 12, 8:00 a.m. 
Scenic, challenging, historic race route with cash and gift certificate prizes totally more than $500. Proceeds to benefit Howard County General Hospital’s Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center. Ellicott City – Lot F off of Ellicott Mills Drive.  The entry Fee of $35 includes a race t-shirt.
For more information or to register, click here.

Healthy Weight, Healthy You, Part 2 –Kitchen Wisdom {free} {new}
May 13, 7-8:30 p.m.
They say that variety is the spice of life! In part two of our Healthy Weight, Healthy You series, sample foods and learn how to spice up healthy meals with herbs and spices for a variety of taste.  Register for one or both parts. HCGH Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia.
Click here to register, or call 410 740-7601 for more information.

Skin Cancer Screening {free} {new}
May 14 or May 16, 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Worried about a funny looking mole? Our HCGH dermatologist will examine your area of concern. (Due to time limitations, a full-body exam will not be performed.) Appointment are slots available between the hours of 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. HCGH Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia. Click here to register, or call 410 740-7601 for more information.
Baltimore City Resource Sharing Event!{free}
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013 from 1:00-3:00pm
Paul C. Wohlman Assembly Hall, War Memorial Building, 101 North Gay Street, First Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202
This event is sponsored by the Maryland Community Services Locator (MDCSL) Project at the University of Maryland, College Park and the Baltimore City Department of Social Services (BCDSS).  It will feature a presentation on how to use the MDCSL (, and a presentation on BCDSS programs.  We invite your agency to bring information to share at this event.  
 For information about parking  and registration for the event as an organization or attendee, click here.

Breast Cancer Support Group {new}
May 15, 7:00-8:30 p.m.
Facilitated by Mary Dowling, LCSW-C. Meets the third Wednesday of each month. Registration is required. Call the Claudia Mayer Cancer Resource Center at 410 740-5858 for more information.

2013 Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health Conference
May 15-17, 2013 in Downtown Annapolis, MD
The Mid-Atlantic Behavioral Health Conference has become the premier event in the region for behavioral health care and somatic health care professionals including substance abuse counselors, mental health practitioners, physicians, nurses, licensed professional counselors, physician's assistants, justice system personnel, teachers, school counselors, and nurse practitioners.  Click
here for more information and to register. 

Anxiety  {free}
May 15, 2013
7:00 — 9:00 PM at NAMI Metro Baltimore
This event will be conducted by Linda Kohler, Executive Director of NAMI MB. For more information or to register, click here.
2013 NAMIWalk Maryland
Saturday May 18, 2013 at Baltimore Inner Harbor - Rash Field
Check-in: 10:00 am
Start Time: 11:00 am
NAMIWalks is the largest mental health education and fundraising effort in America. NAMIWalks brings together thousands of individuals and supporters to celebrate mental illness recovery, to honor those who have lost their lives to mental illness and to help raise funds, combat stigma and promote awareness. Join the thousands of people across Maryland to help raise awareness about mental illness and to raise money for the free vital support programs that NAMI offers to individuals with mental illness and their families. All the funds collected by Walkers will be used to fund NAMI’s programs here in Maryland. For information about this event, click here.


Developed by: Maryann Thomas


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: 7178 Columbia Gateway Dr., Columbia, MD 21046