Harford County Ranks Among Top 300 Healthiest Communities According To U.S. News & World Report National Study

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University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health Leaders Say Focus On Community Health Initiatives Is Showing Results

Multiple community health initiatives implemented by the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health (UM UCH) are showing success, as Harford County has been identified as one of the healthiest counties in Maryland and among the top 300 healthiest counties in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Healthiest Communities rankings. The rankings list the top 500 healthiest communities in the nation.

University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health’s Population Health programs are dedicated to promoting health and wellness outside the hospital and to increasing the quality of life in local communities. Focusing on prevention and improving health outcomes, the team of professionals provide an expansive variety of health education, screenings, lifestyle management classes and information on referrals and local resources. These programs compliment the array of programs also in place for those in the community experiencing chronic conditions and illness.

“UM UCH’s continual dedication and work in the community focusing on health promotion and disease prevention is truly making a difference in the health and well-being of our county’s residents,” said Leslie Clark, Vice President, Population Health & Clinical Integration at UM UCH. “We are proud to see that the many efforts of UM UCH and its partners are being recognized in the Healthiest Communities rankings. We remain committed to expanding the impact of our outreach, prevention and intervention programs to improve well-being.”

In support of UM UCH’s vision to create the healthiest community in Maryland, the hospital system’s Community Outreach and Health Improvement Programs offer various health screenings, education and support groups to people in the community, often free of charge or at a nominal fee. The team reaches out to neighborhoods to promote healthy lifestyles, improved eating habits and physical activity because medical care and support of good health and wellness takes place inside and outside the hospital.

For the U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Healthiest Communities report, metrics in 10 categories were used to determine the rankings: Population health, equity, education, economy, housing, food and nutrition, environment, public safety, community vitality and infrastructure. Harford County ranked number 283; among their top scores were those focusing on the economy, public safety, food and nutrition, population health, the environment and infrastructure. The rankings were created in collaboration with CVS Health. Data collection and analysis were performed by the University of Missouri Extension Center for Applied Research and Engagement Systems.

“Through the power of partnerships, we are proud to be making such progress toward making Harford County one of the healthiest communities in Maryland and in the nation,” said Mark Shaver, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Physician Services for UM UCH. “As part of the University of Maryland Medical System, we provide the most comprehensive rangeof preventative, primary and specialty care both here in Harford County and through the state’s largest health system.”

Among UM UCH’s top initiatives are:

  • Providing comprehensive access to primary care and prevention programs serving over 36,000 community members in Harford County
  • Establishing the county’s only Care Transformation Organization, partnering with 14 UM UCH employed and private practice primary care locations as part of the Maryland Primary Care Program
  • Working to reduce smoking rates through a partnership with UM UCH’s Community Outreach, Kaufman Cancer Center and the Harford County Health Department including ramping up “Quit Tobacco” classes available locally  
  • Working to reduce the incidence of diabetes in the community through increased outreach and education
  • Reducing minority health disparities through education, programs and partnerships
  • Partnering to address food insecurity in Harford County, coordinating food access and funding support by UMMS for over 80,000 meals this past year

UM UCH partners with Healthy Harford, a community nonprofit established in partnership with the Harford County Health Department, to support and promote numerous programs reinforcing healthy living including Walk with a Doc on the first Sunday of each month at 10 a.m. and expanding soon from Bel Air to Edgewood and Joppatowne. Other opportunities to improve health include free diabetes prevention classes and diabetes self-management classes offered by UM UCH’s Community Outreach throughout the county. “Quit Tobacco” classes, spearheaded by the Kaufman Cancer Center, will be offered on a continuing, rotating basis so they are always available.

More information about these and other programs may be found at www.healthyharford.org. For more information about U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Healthiest Communities rankings, visit https://www.usnews.com/news/healthiest-communities/rankings.

About University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health
University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, part of the University of Maryland Medical System, includes the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and the Patricia D. and M. Scot Kaufman Cancer Center on its Bel Air campus. Most recently, it opened The Klein Family Harford Crisis Center in Bel Air offering services for behavioral health. The Senator Bob Hooper House in Forest Hill is an assisted living facility that specializes in hospice. The University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital has been operating in the community for over a century and is located in Havre de Grace. The leading health care system and the second largest private employer in Harford County, UM Upper Chesapeake Health offers a broad range of health care services, specialty care, technology and facilities to the residents of northeastern Maryland. Visit www.umms.org/uch for more information.

About the University of Maryland Medical System

The University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS) is a university-based regional health care system focused on serving the health care needs of Maryland, bringing innovation, discovery and research to the care we provide and educating the state’s future physician and health care professionals through our partnership with the University of Maryland School of Medicine and University of Maryland, Baltimore professional schools (Nursing, Pharmacy, Social Work and Dentistry) in Baltimore. As one of the largest private employers in the State, the health system’s more than 29,500 employees and 4,000 affiliated physicians provide primary and specialty care in more than 150 locations, including 12 hospitals and 10 University of Maryland Urgent Care centers. The UMMS flagship academic campus, the University of Maryland Medical Center in downtown Baltimore, is recognized regionally and nationally for excellence and innovation in specialized care.  Our acute care and specialty rehabilitation hospitals serve urban, suburban and rural communities and are located in 13 counties across the State. For more information, visit www.umms.org.

About Healthy Harford

Founded in 1993 by community leaders from University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health, Harford County Health Department and Harford County Government, Healthy Harford works to improve health and wellness in Harford County by promoting healthy lifestyles and building community partnerships. Visit www.healthyharford.org for more information.

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