Health Matters: Navigating an Enhanced Rural Health Model for Maryland (2017)
The five-county Mid-Shore region of Maryland, comprised of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot counties, faces unique health challenges similar to many rural communities, such as higher rates of poverty and people living with chronic diseases. To help better meet health care needs in the Mid-Shore region and provide recommendations that could be applied to other Maryland rural areas, the Maryland Health Care Commission (MHCC) and the Department of Health established a workgroup on rural health care delivery to oversee a study, hold public hearings and recommend policy options. At MHCC’s request, the University of Maryland School of Public Health and the Walsh Center for Rural Health Analysis at NORC at the University of Chicago partnered to conduct the study and to work in collaboration with the workgroup. "Health Matters: Navigating an Enhanced Rural Health Model for Maryland, Lessons Learned from the Mid-Shore Counties" is the executive summary and report detailing the findings of the group's studies. The executive summary presents high level themes, considerations and recommendations for addressing the health needs of residents and improving the health care delivery system in Maryland’s five-county Mid-Shore region, and potentially could be applied to other rural Maryland communities.
Developed by the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the report examines the relationship between exposure to extreme weather events and risk of selected health outcomes including food and waterborne illnesses (caused by Salmonella and Campylobacter), hospitalization for heart attacks and asthma, and motor vehicle accidents. Using historical climate data along with health data, researchers were able to describe relationships between exposure to extreme events and risk of these selected diseases. These data, along with the climate projections, were used to calculate health burdens among Marylanders in future decades.
In addition, the report recommends actions that individuals, families and communities can take to minimize the negative health burdens. It describes how the negative health burdens are not equally distributed across race/ethnicity or geographical areas of Maryland. The report concludes that local and state level strategies to build healthy and resilient communities must take into account these differential burdens.
Key findings of the Maryland Climate and Health Profile report include:
Extreme weather is on the rise: Summertime extreme heat events more than doubled in Maryland during the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s compared to the 1960s and 1970s.
Extreme weather increases risk of foodborne illnesses: Both extreme heat and extreme precipitation events significantly increase the risk of Salmonella infections in Maryland. The increases in risk associated with extreme weather events is considerably higher among coastal communities compared to more inland communities.
Extreme heat raises heart attack risk: Exposure to summertime extreme heat events increases the risk of hospitalization for heart attack in Maryland. Non-Hispanic blacks have a much higher risk compared to non-Hispanic whites.
Extreme precipitation raises accident risk: Exposure to extreme precipitation events increases the risk of motor vehicle accidents, particularly during the fall and summer months.
According to the report, the increases in frequency of extreme weather events during summer months in the future (2040) are projected to result in higher rates of asthma and heart attack hospitalization as well as Salmonella infections. The magnitude of these increases will likely vary considerably across the 24 counties in Maryland.
The Maryland Climate and Health Profile report is based on and developed in conjunction with the DHMH Maryland Public Health Strategy for Climate Change project, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of its Climate-Ready States and Cities Initiative. Research studies led by Dr. Amir Sapkota in the UMD School of Public Health informed many of the report’s key findings. This Climate and Health Profile report summarizes a collaborative effort between the DHMH, local health departments, and the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health. The report utilized the CDC’s Building Resilience Against Climate Effects (BRACE) framework to identify vulnerable populations and use this data to inform interventions and increase resilience.
Commissioned by the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Maryland Department of the Environment, the report on the potential public health impacts if fracking was allowed in Maryland, was produced by UMD public health and environmental justice experts, with input from residents of Maryland’s Garrett and Allegany counties, which hold the untapped natural gas reserves, and a variety of other stakeholders. It was the first report of its kind to be used in guiding state policy decisions about whether and how unconventional natural gas development (UNGD) should take place and found that significant potential hazards to air quality, social determinants of health, water quality, occupational health and healthcare infrastructure. Maryland was the first state with gas reserves to pass a ban through legislative action in 2017, according to a report by the Washington Post.
Transforming Health in Prince George's County (2012)
Commissioned by Prince George's County, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), the University of Maryland Medical System and Dimensions Healthcare System, the Public Health Impact Study of Prince George's County was conducted by a team of senior researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. "Transforming Health in Prince George's County, Maryland: A Public Health Impact Study" is the summary report detailing the findings of this unique group of studies that will inform the design of a new system to improve health and health care in Prince George's County. Click on the report cover image below to download the PDF summary report document.
Section II of the Public Health Impact Study of Prince George's County report includes technical reports that document the methods, findings, limitations and a summary for each of the seven study components. We also include copies of the study instruments, where appropriate. While the findings of these study components formed the basis for the integrated answers to the study's five framing questions, the technical reports include more detailed data than was possible to include in Section I, and also provide insights for the study as a whole.