Minority Health Month

By Jameson Roth, Communications Intern

Each April marks the beginning of Minority Health Month at UMMC, when we strive to celebrate and acknowledge the initiatives in place to reduce health disparities among minority groups in the greater Baltimore area. UMMC also seeks to honor the service of the individuals who work tirelessly to bring these initiatives to deserving communities across the city.

One of these hardworking individuals is Anne Williams, DNP, RN, whose current role is director of community health improvement at University of Maryland Medical Center.

Williams perfectly sums up her mission at UMMC, “I am committed to trying to decrease the levels of health disparities across West Baltimore communities.”

Thanks to the contributions of dozens of full time staff, UMMC can facilitate multiple community outreach programs designed to decrease health disparities of minority groups. These widely acclaimed programs include:

  • Stork’s Nest , a series of perinatal education classes for low-income, minority women
  • Violence Intervention Program, an R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center initiative that aids victims of violent injuries
  • MD Health Men program, a citywide health initiative to decrease rates of hypertension in African American males
  • Breathmobile, a custom-built asthma and allergy clinic that provides preventive asthma care to over 500 children in 2016, increasing access to critical evaluations, testing and ongoing treatment

“We are able to offer care to individuals age 2-18 at 17 schools in Baltimore,” said Lisa Bell, MSN, CPNP, AE-C, and Breathmobile nurse practitioner. “The outcomes we measure are ER visits, hospitalizations and missed schools days; all of which significantly decrease after participating in the program.”

While the Breathmobile is responsible for serving Baltimore city youth, the MD Healthy Men program, of which Williams is especially proud, is responsible for serving the population of African American adult males.

“With MD Healthy Men, 35% of the African-American men who participated decreased their blood pressure,” said Williams. “Two individuals who participated in the program were sent directly to the emergency room after evaluation because their blood pressure was so high that they were in immediate danger of experiencing major cardiac events. This program provides immediate and impactful health benefits to African-American males in West Baltimore.”

Mariellen Synan, UMMC’s Community Outreach Manager, is responsible for the coordination, staffing and operation of UMMC community health fairs. As a 34 year veteran of community outreach, Synan is regularly tasked with administering blood pressure screenings at community outreach events. One of Synan’s major upcoming events to debut in August is the back to school community health fair, designed to provide immunizations and encourage school attendance in children who attend the Samuel Coleridge Taylor Elementary and James McHenry Elementary schools in West Baltimore. This community health fair will feature fun, games and health education alongside critical vaccinations.

“With this outreach event, we hope to reach the kids before school starts so that more children are able to attend school without interruption,” said Synan. “My favorite part of my job here at UMMC is being able to make a difference in reducing unhealthy behaviors in the lives of West Baltimore residents.”

For more information on UMMC’s community outreach programs, please visit: http://www.umm.edu/about/community

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