June 16, 2016

Partnership between University of Maryland, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, and Doctor’s Community Hospital will serve community needs and provide hands-on learning for UMD students.

The Catholic Charities-Susan D. Mona Center, under construction in Temple Hills, Md., will provide a broad range of health and wellness services to the people of southern Prince George’s County. Informed by the best and latest scientific evidence about health promotion and disease prevention, the innovative center will serve those most at risk for premature illness and preventable death in a respectful and trusted setting.

The Mona Center, a partnership between Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Washington, Doctor’s Community Hospital and the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity in the School of Public Health, will provide medical, dental, and legal services to the underserved, but also programs that address job readiness, physical activity, nutrition literacy and access to healthy foods.

“This comprehensive health center will help address health disparities in the state of Maryland by providing preventive health services and emergency resources for those in crisis,” said Dr. Stephen Thomas, director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity (M-CHE), in the University of Maryland School of Public Health. “We’re very excited to engage the community in our mission to eliminate health disparities, and that our students will have the opportunity to put public health principles to work as we design and transform health care delivery in one of our local communities.”

Highlights of the Mona Center’s services include:

  • Medical Clinic to provide health services with a focus on primary care and endocrinology.
  • Dental Clinic to address the significant need for dental care services, while reflecting growing evidence of links between oral health and chronic disease.
  • Evidence-based interventions to prevent and control diabetes and hypertension through healthy eating and physical activity.
  • Community-engaged research designed to ensure clinic patients’ voices are heard in public health research.
  • Teaching kitchen for job readiness and nutritional literacy, which will provide marketable culinary skills to community members and nutrition workshops.
  • Wellness community garden with space for up to 50 plots to provide fresh produce to individuals, families, and for the teaching kitchen.
  • M-CHE Health Promotion Suite featuring physical activity classes, smoking cessation, ACA navigation assistance and other health education workshops.

The health and wellness center will serve as a platform for student teaching, learning and research. Maryland students will help provide services at the center, ranging from the School of Public Health’s Couple and Family Therapy program graduate students offering free counseling services to kinesiology students leading a range of physical activity classes. The Mona Center will also be the subject of a new UMD “Fearless Ideas Course,” called Redesigning Health Care: Developing a Clinic to Meet Community Needs, which launches Fall 2016.

“By advancing health equity, serving the community, and providing real-life learning opportunities for our students, the Mona Center demonstrates the core values of the School of Public Health,” Dr. Thomas said.

“Through our partnership with Catholic Charities of Washington and the Doctor’s Community Hospital, as well as collaborations across University of Maryland campuses, this center has the opportunity to address a broad range of health disparities and improve quality of life for underserved Prince George’s County residents,” Dr. Thomas added.

The Mona Center’s facilities are expected to open in phases over the next year to serve residents in Temple Hills, Md., and nearby communities.

Related Links

Washington Post: Farmers market part of new health and wellness effort in Temple Hills

Related People
Stephen B. Thomas