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Healthy College Park Campaign: Maryland Center for Health Equity

Healthy College Park Campaign

One of the M-CHE’s missions is to improve the health of Marylanders, and particularly those who live in the neighborhoods surrounding the UMD College Park Campus.  In keeping with this mission, the M-CHE has established relationships with several neighboring communities as part of our Health College Park Campaign (HCPC).  In each of these communities, the M-CHE will provide a tailored approach to health promotion and disease prevention in collaboration with community members and stakeholders.    Each will involve community input through establishment of a HCPC Workgroup and the participation of selected members from each community on the Maryland Community Research Advisory Board (MD-CRAB).

To date, the communities in our Healthy College Park Campaign include:

  • Embry Center for Family Life: The Health Lakeland Project
  • Al-Huda School: Healthy Al-Huda 2020
  • Mary’s Center

Embry Center for Family Life: The Healthy Lakeland Project

In July 2013, the M-CHE established a partnership with the Embry Center for Family Life. This partnership, titled “The Healthy Lakeland Project” is dedicated to developing mutually beneficial programs, projects and activities to support the health and well-being of residents of Lakeland, MD, the historic African American neighborhood established in 1890, on the doorstep of the University of Maryland in College Park. The M-CHE will provide resources, support, and expertise to The Embry Center for Family Life to help them accomplish their goal of improving the lives of community members through education, training, counseling, and support.  The M-CHE will assist the Embry Center for Family Life with the preparation of grant proposals, provide materials, opportunities, and institutional support for community-based projects such as Health Expos and Community Forums, information sharing on research data related to health equity and nutrition, and support in developing and conducting a health needs assessment.

Al-Huda School

Located in the North College Park area, The Al-Huda school is a cornerstone institution in the Dar-us-Salaam community and an independent K-12 school that serves Muslims from across the National Capital Region. The M-CHE, in partnership with the Al-Huda school, has launched Healthy Al-Huda 2020, series of activities designed to transform school infrastructure and culture to promote healthy lifestyles (physical activity and healthy eating) with a focus on the incoming 2014 10th grade class.  Results of this initiative include the production of:

  1. A health promotion physical activity curriculum tailored to Muslim traditions, and
  2. A cookbook to showcase the culinary and cultural diversity across the diaspora of Muslim families with children attending the Al-Huda School.

The M-CHE is also working with the school to conduct a Public Health Education Needs Assessment and will award $20,000 in community mini-grants to neighborhood organizations to fund projects to promote health and well-being. 

For more information about the Al-Huda school, go to:

What do you get when you mix a School of Public Health with a traditional Muslim School?

The Dar-Us-Salaam Healthy Al-Huda Cookbook!

In May 2015 the M-CHE and Dar-Us-Salaam Al-Huda School community published the first edition of a cookbook that honors the diversity of the Muslim community with over 70 recipes representing traditional dishes from 24 countries!

When the M-CHE and the Dar-Us-Salaam Al-Huda School community first began their relationship in 2013, the idea of a cookbook emerged in one of our earliest meetings as an opportunity to express our commitment to health within a framework appropriate to acknowledge and respect the great diversity of the community’s cultural traditions. The cookbook also became a platform for the entire Al-Huda community (students, parents and teachers) to work in collaboration with faculty, staff and students in the University of Maryland Center for Health Equity.

All recipes were submitted by members of Al-Huda school community.  Several recipes include personal stories about what the dish means to the family that provided it and give context to the power of food traditions.  During the process, the community gathered for an Eat, Meet & Greet event during which recipes from the cookbook were prepared, tasted, and photographed for the final cookbook.

The cookbook honors of the diversity of the Al-Huda School community and the families and students from all parts of the world that have come together to advance the education of young people. Like all communities, we come together and find common ground in our commitment to one another through sharing stories and food.

Mary's Center

Mary’s Center is a Federally Qualified Health Center dedicated to addressing the health care needs of underserved, poorly served and never served populations in Adelphi, MD.  During the 2012-2013 fiscal period, Mary’s Center provided services to 2,633 pregnant women, 88% of which were Latina. The Mary’s Center provides high-quality bilingual primary care to these women during pregnancy and during follow-up visits after childbirth. In the two Maryland sites, around 50 to 65 women come for postpartum visits each month after childbirth.  Mary’s Center is a trusted participant of the Latino community in Prince George’s County.

The M-CHE and Mary’s Center will work together to provide geo-mapping of the Mary’s Center patient base, support the use of mobile units at jointly sponsored events such as health fairs and other health promotion events, identify potential funders for Mary’s Center/M-CHE projects, and prepare grant proposals to local and national foundations, federal and state agencies and private sector businesses to secure funds needed to develop and sustain innovative public health education programs designed to advance the goals of health promotion and disease prevention activities tailored to the needs of Maryland residents with a specific emphasis on the growing Latino population in Prince George’s County.

To learn more about Mary's Center, visit their website at