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Washington County coalition to hold 'health summit'

The meeting will help in quest to develop five-year roadmap for community's most critical health needs

January 26, 2012

A new Washington County coalition is holding a “health summit” Saturday to discuss community health needs and how to address them.

The event, which is open to the public, is being organized by the Washington County Health Improvement Coalition, a new group co-led by the Washington County Health Department and Meritus Health.

The coalition also includes representatives of the Community Free Clinic, Teens Have Choices, and the Washington County Department of Social Services.

Saturday’s meeting will be one of the first steps in the coalition’s quest to develop a five-year roadmap for the community’s most critical health needs, the coalition said in a news release.

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“In the past, as a health care system, we’ve held small focus groups representing interest groups, but this time we aim to get primary data, and hear directly from people in the community,” Allen Twigg, Meritus Health’s administrative director for health management, said in the release.

 “The coalition is a community collaboration that desires the input of our community’s citizens who will further help us identify needs and gaps.”

The coalition will be working to meet the objectives of the Maryland Health Improvement plan, a blueprint for addressing community health needs under way in each jurisdiction in the state, the release said.

The group will be able to expand on the health care-related findings in the Strategic Community Impact Plan completed last year by the United Way and the Community Foundation of Washington County.

The SCIP highlighted health needs such as childhood obesity, challenges that affect children and access to health care.

The coalition will also use data from the state, and conduct its own research through focus groups and a communitywide needs assessment that will take place later this year, the release said.

“This will give us a very comprehensive view of the health needs of the community, and with the expanded process we’ll come out with actionable goals,” Washington County Health Officer Earl Stoner said in the release.

The summit Saturday will begin with an overview of the goals of the Health Care Coalition and the State Health Improvement Plan, and then break into focus groups to discuss issues, the release said.

The public is invited to present its concerns and ideas, the release said.

If You Go...
What: Community Health Summit
When: Saturday, Jan. 28, 9 a.m. to noon
Where: Robinwood Professional Center, room 142
More information: Contact Earl Stoner, 240-313-3260

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