Howard County has released it road map for the next two years for improving health among residents and reducing disparities among groups.

The 2012-2014 Local Health Improvement Action Plan was drafted by Howard County’s Local Health Improvement Coalition, which includes County Health officer Dr. Peter Beilenson. It aims to address three key areas: increasing access to affordable care, obesity prevention and behavioral health.

“Creating this action plan has truly been a collaborative effort across all segments of the Howard County community,” says Dr. Beilenson. “Implementing the 2012-2014 plan is sure to significantly improve the health of all county residents and, importantly, reduce critical disparities that exist.”

The coalition was convened last December and received $50,000 in start-up funding from the Maryland Hospital Association. The group is soliciting public and private funding for implementation. 

Other counties in Maryland have formed similar health coalitions, with the support of the State Health Improvement Process, an initiative of the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The agency provides planners and data to help the localities come up with plans for action.

For more information on the Howard County plan and the coalition, go to www.hchealth.org and click on “Special Initiatives.” For more information about Maryland’s health improvement process, click here