The month of July marked the beginning of the fifth year of implementing the African American Health Program (AAHP) contract between McFarland & Associates and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). July also saw the continuation of the second phase of COVID-19 reopening (Executive Order 082 – 20) issued by the County’s Health Officer in March of 2020. Management of the COVID-19 pandemic mandated social distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 infections. Despite the challenges imposed by social distancing, AAHP staff continued to innovate and introduce creative new ways to engage individuals and families with social media, participation in the Grab-and-Go food distribution programs, and videoconferencing.
June was the final month of the fourth year of implementing the African American Health Program contract between McFarland and Associates and Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services. June also included the second phase of Covid-19 reopening based on an order (Executive Order 082 – 20) issued by the County’s Health Officer on June 19, 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic forced County residents to confront harsh realities from concern for the health and safety of all County residents and their families to the financial struggles associated with mass layoffs and a weakened economy. Program activities were guided by evolving guidance and information about the rate of infection, hospitalizations and deaths in the County.
The African American Health Program (AAHP)’s work activities continued on the path of creating, refining, and implementing new ways to continuously provide outreach, health education, and wellness services to reduce health disparities between Black residents of Montgomery County and other residents. Central to all program activities was the importance of continuing to practice social distancing by communicating with residents using telephones and using computer resources to offer counsel and guidance, and to gather, store, and record needs assessment data and information.
In May, new information emerged that highlighted the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 and identification of the most prevalent underlining health conditions associated with higher infection rates among African Americans. Although this effort began in March, the outreach program shifted into high gear in May.
April was the first full month of the African American Health Program (AAHP) working under the Stay-At-Home Order issued by Maryland’s governor and the Montgomery County executive. Program activities shifted dramatically to the adoption of new approaches and strategies to continuously provide effective health promotion, disease prevention, and wellness services while working virtually to reduce the risk for contracting and spreading the coronavirus. To achieve this objective, staff developed and refined competencies in the use of various virtual software platforms to maintain contact with County residents of African descent and to increase the number of residents engaged in educational and prevention services.
March started as just another month as we looked forward to springtime, warmer temperatures and the excitement of the cherry blossom season in the D.C. Metropolitan Area. However, by the middle of March, everything changed dramatically as we all braced for the coronavirus pandemic that captured the attention of the global community, the nation, the state of Maryland and Montgomery County. READ MORE >>
In February, the African American Health Program (AAHP) expanded prevention and wellness services throughout Montgomery County. AAHP staff conducted health screenings at the White Oak Recreation Center, the Dennis Avenue Health Center, Progress Place Homeless Services Center, the People’s Community Baptist Church, Hampshire Towers Apartments, the Victory House, Charter House Apartments, the Sodexo Corporation, Montgomery College’s Germantown campus, Fitzgerald Theater, John F. Kennedy High, and other locations throughout the County. READ MORE >>
January 2020 marked the beginning of the second half of the fourth year of the African American Health Program (AAHP) contract between the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services and McFarland & Associates, Inc. Several significant firsts occurred in January. For example, attendance at the Chronic Disease Management Program’s class at the White Oak Recreation Center reached an all-time high of 32 participants for a single class. During AAHP’s screening in collaboration with the Montgomery County chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. AAHP staff conducted 65 biometric health screenings, which represented one of the largest numbers of personalized screenings conducted at a single event during the current contract. READ MORE >>