In April 2001, the National Minority Health Month Foundation inaugurated National Minority Health Month. The goal is to raise awareness about the health disparities that affect racial and ethnic minorities and to strengthen the capacity of local, state, and federal organizations to reduce those disparities. Prevention, early detection, and control of disease complications are important keys to advancing health equity. This year the theme focuses on prevention: Prevention is Power: Taking Action for Health Equity. Chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, to name a few, are among the most common and more importantly preventable of all health problems in the United States.

This April you can take action for a healthy heart. Heart disease and stroke are a leading cause of death for all racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Some of the things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease are eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, limit alcohol use, and do not smoke.  Take a moment to read the CDC fact sheet on heart disease, which includes information on signs and symptoms, risk factors and prevention. Howard County offers wellness activities, workshops, walks, nutrition education, health screenings, and more through Get Active Howard County. You can also find many books on heart disease at one of the Howard County Library System (HCLS) branches.

Some minority populations including African Americans, Hispanic Americans, and American Indians are at a higher risk of developing diabetes and related complications. This April is the perfect time to develop strategies including diet and lifestyle changes to prevent the onset of diabetes.  Visit the Johns Hopkins Diabetes Center for more information on the disease, diabetes education, including classes, and nutrition, including education and counseling.  If you or a loved one is living with diabetes, HCLS has an extensive collection of materials to help navigate your meal planning, exercise, and diabetes education.

A leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States is tobacco use. Smoking cigarettes causes devastating disease and premature death across all races and ethnicities, but smoking is more prevalent in some racial and ethnic minority groups. The US Surgeon General said, “Smoking cessation represents the single most important step that smokers can take to enhance the length and quality of their lives.”

If you live or work in Howard County, there are free smoking cessation and tobacco treatment programs offered through the Health Department. Visit here or call 410-313-6265 for more information. Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine will be offering Smoke-Free Lungs seminars this summer.

Immunizations are a powerful way to prevent disease. In April you can ensure that your immunizations and your family’s immunizations are up to date. Immunizations not only help the recipients, they also help persons who come in contact with them.  Protecting children from vaccine-preventable diseases is an effective tool for advancing health equity.  You can see the vaccine requirements for children attending school in the state of Maryland here. Also, take a moment now and mark your calendar to remind yourself and every member of your family to get the flu vaccine this fall.

If the fact that you are under-or uninsured is preventing you from taking the steps to help manage or reduce your risk for chronic disease, please visit the Howard County Health Department or call 410-988-3737 for more information on health care programs and services that may be available to you and your family. Also, HCLS will host a class to help older adults and individuals with disabilities navigate the MAP & SHIP programs, presented by the Howard County Office on Aging’s Aging and Disability Resource Center in May.

This April, do yourself and your loved ones a favor by taking action for a healthy you. Educate yourself and ask your doctor about disease risks more common to your racial or ethnic background, and learn what you can do to prevent those conditions. Knowing your risks gives you power. Reducing those risks can lead to a healthier you and longer life.

Nancy Targett is an Instructor & Research Specialist at the Miller Branch. She lives in Columbia and is the proud mom of three boys and a girl and a Siamese cat.

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calendar_2014smApril 12, 10:00 a.m.- noon. Care Giver’s Support Group. Meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. or the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m.- noon. Registration is required.  Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia MD. Call 410-740-5858 for more information

April 16, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Breast Cancer Support Group. This group, facilitated by Mary Dowling, LCSW-C meets on the third Wednesday of each month. Free. Registration requested. Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia MD. Call 410-740-5858 for more information.

April 16 & 17, 6:00- 9:00 p.mLiving with Diabetes: Executive Summary. Have you recently been diagnosed with diabetes or have you been living with diabetes and would like to improve your health? Our diabetes specialists will teach you how to change your habits, give you practical, attainable solutions for staying healthy and design a diabetes management plan to fit your lifestyle. An interactive, group course taught by an endocrinologist, diabetes nurse educator, dietitian, psychologist, podiatrist, and exercise specialist, Living With Diabetes Executive Summary is a condensed evening program. Most insurance plans cover all or part of this program.  The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at Howard County General Hospital. For more information or to register, please call 443-718-3000

April 17, 11:00 a.m. I’m Going to Be a Big Brother or Sister at Glenwood Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. Well & Wise event. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Register online or by calling 410.313.5579.

April 18 & 22, 8:30 a.m.- 2:30 p.m. Living with Diabetes. If you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes–or even if you have been living with diabetes for some time and would like to make a commitment to improve your health–this course will teach you how to change your habits and will give you practical, attainable solutions for staying healthy. Our diabetes specialists will empower you with information and design a diabetes management plan to fit your lifestyle. Living with Diabetes is a two-day, interactive, group course taught by an endocrinologist, diabetes nurse educator, dietitian, psychologist, podiatrist, and exercise specialist.  The class is held at The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at Howard County General Hospital. Day classes will be held Friday and the following Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Most insurance plans cover all or part of this program. For more information or to register, please call 443-718-3000.

 April 22, 5:00- 6:30 p.m. Weight Loss Through Bariatric Surgery. Learn about weight loss surgery from the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery. For individuals (and their friends and families) interested in learning more about the surgical weight loss options available at the Johns Hopkins Center for Bariatric Surgery. You’ll also learn about our program requirements and how to navigate the insurance approval process.  For more information and to register, call 410-550-KNOW (5669) or register online at Hopkinsmedicine.org/jhbmc/bariatric. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive Columbia, MD.

 

 


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A friend I’ve had since college and I always talked about how we were finally going to be “cool” when we were in our 40s. We have always been a bit geeky and weird and certainly a little on the fringes. In our 20s and 30s this didn’t win us any popularity contests (and, if truth be told, by the time we hit our mid-20s, we didn’t really care anymore). But we continued to joke that when we hit our 40s, we’d really have our acts together. We’d be fit, poised, and prized for our “unique sensibilities.”

Well, we’re there now, and we aren’t any of those things (well, we are prized by the people who love us). We’re not completely surprised by this lack of celebrity. We kind of knew forty-somethings weren’t where people usually looked to find trendsetters and rock stars. We are a little disappointed that we’re not in better shape, but really only have ourselves to blame for that. But the last thing we expected was to be almost invisible. Society doesn’t exactly seem to embrace women of our age, especially if we don’t look half as young as we actually are.

I know, I know, I’m sounding whiny and self-pitying (a far cry from poised and cool). But I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately, mainly because I feel like I’m having to find greater balance between some of the most important and stressful things I’ve ever done in my life. Well, there’s not a lot I can do about some of the societal perils of my age, but I can probably do some things so I at least feel a bit better about myself physically and mentally. Some new help on that front may be available for me (and anyone else, 40 or not) from Dr. Pamela Peeke.

Dr. Peeke is an expert on nutrition, stress, fitness, and public health, but she mainly caught my attention with the book entitled Fight Fat After Forty: The Revolutionary Three-Pronged Approach that Will Break Your Stress-Fat Cycle and Make You Healthy, Fit, and Trim for Life. How could I not be drawn to that title? Now, Dr. Peek doesn’t just limit herself to the 40+ crowd of the world. She recently published The Hunger Fix: The Three-Stage Detox and Recovery for Overeating and Food Addiction. She also has written Body-for-LIFE for Women: A Woman’s Plan for Physical and Mental Transformation; and Fit to Live: The 5-Point Plan to be Lean, Strong & Fearless for Life.

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.And, if you’re still curious about what Dr. Peeke can teach us, she’s coming to HCLS. She’s visiting June 9, 7 p.m. at the Miller Branch. Registration for the event opens on May 2. I think with some of Dr. Peeke’s help, I may able to turn into that cool forty-something yet!

Joanne Sobieck-Lingg is glad to blog about her many, disparate interests (though expert in none, except maybe parenthetical asides). In past lives, she was a writer, proofreader, editor, project manager, teacher, and even co-coordinator of a certain health blog. She has been happily ensconced among the fiction and teen books at the Central Branch of HCLS since 2003.

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calendar_2014smApril 5, 10-11:30 a.m. Together We Thrive. Held the first Saturday of each month this patient support group is for men and women diagnosed with cancer. Participants can share, explore and be encouraged in a safe environment. Registration required. Facilitated by Mary Dowling, LCSW-C. (410) 740-5858 for more information. Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia MD. Call 410-740-5858 for more information.

April 7, 3:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Glenwood Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital. Well & Wise event. No registration required.

April 7, 6:30 p.m. Move with Games at Elkridge Branch. Exercise while competing with your friends on the Wii or XBox Kinect. Healthy snack provided. Ages 11-17. No registration required.

April 7, 7:00 p.m. Guided Meditation at Miller Branch. Enjoy a guided mindfulness meditation designed to impart a feeling of peacefulness and connection. Please bring a cushion or meditation pillow. Presented by Star Ferguson, M.Ac., L.Ac. Well & Wise event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

April 8, 7-9:00 p.m.  Maybe Baby: Health Issues to Consider before Pregnancy. Are you considering starting a family?  If so, there are important choices to consider! Topics discussed during this free class will include information about the changes that will occur to your lifestyle, the importance of parent wellness, health care matters, and emotional, physical, environmental and social considerations. Presented by Dana Baras, M.D. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive Columbia, MD.

April 8, 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Blood Pressure Screening at Elkridge Branch. Free, walk-in blood pressure screening and monitoring offered by Howard County General Hospital. Well & Wise event. No registration required.

April 9, 2:00 p.m. Compiling Your Medical Family History at Miller Branch. Learn the first steps to preserve this potentially life-saving history. Presented by Dottie Aleshire, member of the Howard County Genealogical Society and instructor at Howard Community College and the Family History Center in Ellicott City. Cosponsored by Howard County Genealogical Society. A “History Lives” event. Register online or by calling 410.313.1950.

April 10, 5:30-9:00 p.m.  Adult/Child/Infant CPR and AED. Learn the skills needed to clear an airway obstruction, perform cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Earn a two-year American Heart Association completion card. This is not a health care provider course. $55. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD.

April 12, 10:00 a.m.- noon. Care Giver’s Support Group. Meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. or the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m.- noon. Registration is required.  Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia MD. Call 410-740-5858 for more information

 


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calendar_2014smMarch 29, 9:00- 11:00 a.m. Home Sweet Home (Children’s Stay Home Alone Course). Is your child almost ready to stay home alone?  What do you need to do to make it a safe environment?  What does your child need to learn before he can be left alone? This free course for parents and children ages 8-12 will teach safe and fun ways for children to stay at home alone. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD.

April 1, 12:30 p.m. Once a Warrior, Always a Warrior at Howard Community College. Charles Hoge, M.D. and Colonel, U.S. Army (Ret.) is a national expert on post-traumatic stress disorder, mild traumatic brain injury, other war-related mental health issues and treatment strategies. Now retired from military service, he advocates for reducing the stigma of mental health care while continuing to work with servicemembers, veterans, and their families. Hoge, author of Once a Warrior – Always a Warrior, presents the latest knowledge about combat stress and physiological reactions to war. This is an A+ Partners in Education event cosponsored by Howard Community College’s Office of Student Life, Wellness Center, and Divisions of Health Sciences; Science, Engineering, and Technology; and Social Science and Teacher Education. A “Meet the Author” event. Howard County Book Connection. No registration is required. HOWARD COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Duncan Hall, Kittleman Room (443.518.1420), 10901 Little Patuxent Parkway, Columbia, MD.

April 1, 3:30 p.m. Care Giver’s Support Group. Meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. or the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m.- noon. Registration is required.  Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia MD. Call 410-740-5858 for more information

April 3, 7- 9:00 p.m. What is Pre-Diabetes? Has your doctor told you that you have pre-diabetes or risk factors for developing diabetes? This program will answer your questions. Our certified diabetes educator and registered dietitian will teach you how to make changes to prevent or delay an actual diabetes diagnosis. $15. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD.

April 5, 10-11:30 a.m. Together We Thrive. Held the first Saturday of each month this patient support group is for men and women diagnosed with cancer. Participants can share, explore and be encouraged in a safe environment. Registration required. Facilitated by Mary Dowling, LCSW-C. (410) 740-5858 for more information. Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia MD. Call 410-740-5858 for more information

April 8, 7-9:00 p.m.  Maybe Baby: Health Issues to Consider before Pregnancy. Are you considering starting a family?  If so, there are important choices to consider! Topics discussed during this free class will include information about the changes that will occur to your lifestyle, the importance of parent wellness, health care matters, and emotional, physical, environmental and social considerations. Presented by Dana Baras, M.D. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive Columbia, MD.

April 10, 5:30-9:00 p.m.  Adult/Child/Infant CPR and AED. Learn the skills needed to clear an airway obstruction, perform cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Earn a two-year American Heart Association completion card. This is not a health care provider course. $55. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD.

 

 


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Check out these Howard County classes that will put you on the path to Well & Wise

calendar_2014smMarch 21, 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Move with Games at Glenwood Branch. Exercise while competing with your friends on the Wii or XBox Kinect. Healthy snack provided. Ages 11-17. No registration required.

March 21, 6:00-9:00 p.m. Living with Diabetes. Have you recently been diagnosed with diabetes or have you been living with diabetes and would like to improve your health? Our diabetes specialists will teach you how to change your habits, give you practical, attainable solutions for staying healthy and design a diabetes management plan to fit your lifestyle. Living with Diabetes is a two-day, interactive, group course taught by an endocrinologist, diabetes nurse educator, dietitian, psychologist, podiatrist, and exercise specialist.  Day classes are held Friday and the following Tuesday from 8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Most insurance plans cover all or part of this program.  The Bolduc Family Outpatient Center at Howard County General Hospital. For more information or to register, please call 443-718-3000

March 21, 2:00- 3:00 p.m. Healthy Aging and Care ManagementLearn about healthy aging behaviors as well as the challenges and management options to ensure your family member’s function and quality of life. Presented by Susanne Gibbons, CRNP, Ph.D. and Joseph Gibbons, M.D.  Light healthy refreshments. Registration is recommended but walk-ins are welcome. Registration is recommended but walk-ins are welcome. Elkridge Senior Center, 6540 Washington Blvd., Elkridge.

March 24, 10:30 a.m. I’m Going to Be a Big Brother or Sister at East Columbia Branch. Prepare for the arrival of a baby in this class for new siblings. Enjoy stories, activities, and bring a favorite doll or stuffed animal to practice holding your baby. Resources for parents, too. Families; 30 – 45 min. Well & Wise event. In partnership with Howard County General Hospital: A Member of Johns Hopkins Medicine. Register online or by calling 410.313.7730.

March 24, 5:30-9:00 p.m.  Adult/Child/Infant CPR and AEDLearn the skills needed to clear an airway obstruction, perform cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). Earn a two-year American Heart Association completion card. This is not a health care provider course. $55. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD.

March 25, 6:30- 8:30  p.m. Weighing in on Your Child’s WeightWhat can you do to help your overweight child? Join a panel discussion with pediatrician Edisa Padder, M.D.; psychiatrist Robin Toler, M.D.; dietitian Ashli Greenwald; and exercise specialist Suzie Jeffreys to hear ideas, tips, and tools to help your child reach a healthier weight. Submit your questions ahead of time here. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD.

March 26, 4:00 p.m. Diabetes Screening and BMIAre you concerned about your risk factors for diabetes? Meet with a registered nurse to receive a free diabetes screening which includes a glucose blood test, BMI (body mass index) measurement, and weight management information. Receive immediate results. Fasting 8 hours prior to test is recommended. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD.

March 27, 7:00- 8:30 p.m.  Choose Your Pediatrician and Promote Your Newborn’s HealthPreparing for your new baby includes finding the right pediatrician for you before you deliver. Learn factors to consider and questions to ask when choosing your pediatrician. Discussion will also include ways you can promote the health of your newborn. Presented by Melanie Bhatnagar, M.D. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD.

March 27, 7:00-8:30 p.m. Living with Cancer Support Group. Designed to meet the needs of men and women cancer patients diagnosed with Stage IV or Metastatic Disease. We offer a safe and welcoming place that provides encouragement, support and education. The support group meets on the 4th Thursday of each month and is facilitated by Mary Dowling, LCSW-C. Please call 410 964-9100 to register for this free support group. Claudia Mayer/Tina Broccolino Cancer Resource Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia MD.

March 27, 7:00 p.m. Medicare 102: Why Medicare Isn’t Enough. Learn about Medicare Advantage/Health Plans (Part C) and Medicare Supplement policies (Medigap). What should you consider when deciding which Medicare choices are right for you? Understand how plans vary, your costs, and when is the best time to enroll. Presented by the State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP), Howard County Office on aging. Hosted by Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD.

March 29, 9:00- 11:00 a.m. Home Sweet Home (Children’s Stay Home Alone Course). Is your child almost ready to stay home alone?  What do you need to do to make it a safe environment?  What does your child need to learn before he can be left alone? This free course for parents and children ages 8-12 will teach safe and fun ways for children to stay at home alone. Howard County General Hospital Wellness Center, 10710 Charter Drive, Columbia, MD.

 

 

 

 


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