Ways to prevent suicide, the numbers of homeless children, education levels — even how many teeth people have — all factor into Frederick County's overall health assessment.
The assessment drives the county health department and Frederick County Healthcare Coalition as they identify what the community lacks and ways to supply medical treatment and preventive services.
The department and coalition have released a draft assessment and will accept comments about it online and in person at scheduled public meetings between now and Jan. 22.
The latest draft takes into consideration that 8.8 percent of the county's children were living in poverty as of 2011, the highest rate since 2003, and a growing number are homeless: 145 to 568 between 2004 and 2011, according to the Maryland State Department of Education.
The public has a chance to review the statistics and the proposed action plans designed to improve public health. The plans have timelines and outline provisions for mental health services, general medical care, education, housing, prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, immunizations, smoking cessation and dental care.
They follow the lead of the international Healthy People initiative, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The initiative outlines a comprehensive, nationwide health promotion and disease prevention agenda and is designed to serve as a guide for improving the health of all people in the United States during the first decade of the 21st century: http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/.
— Patti S. Borda
IF YOU GO
Public feedback sessions:
n 5:30 to 7 p.m. Jan. 15, Frederick County Health Department, 350 Montevue Lane, Frederick
n 5:30 to 7 p.m. Jan. 16 , Thurmont Library, 76 E. Moser Road, Thurmont
For details and to offer feedback online: www.FrederickCountyMD.gov/LHIP
Action plan topics:
Wellness and prevention
Health inequities awareness
Access to care
Early childhood growth and development