Health Notes

September 07, 2007

Grant to support health initiatives

The Horizon Foundation has awarded $273,000 to Howard County government in support of Health Department initiatives.

Much of the grant, $200,000, will fund community-readiness exercises focused on planning for possible pandemic influenza. The exercises are designed to test health care capabilities and the continuity of government and community operations.

Horizon has also awarded $42,000 to the Health Department for marketing and research for Healthy Howard, the county's campaign to improve the health of its residents. Healthy Howard encourages restaurants, workplaces, schools and recreation programs to incorporate healthful activities and products.

The remainder of the grant, $31,000, will pay for the transition of the Howard County Medical Reserve Corps from the Horizon Foundation and the Community Emergency Response Network to the Health Department.

The corps, which includes more than 50 volunteer physicians and other health practitioners, was established two years ago to help first-line responders in emergencies.

Office of Aging to hold workshops

The Howard County Office on Aging will present workshops for people with chronic health conditions. Workshops in the series, "Living Well ... Take Charge of Your Health" will be held:

From 9:30 a.m. to noon Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, and Nov. 6 at the Glenwood Community and Senior Center, 2400 Route 97 in Cooksville.

From 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oct. 9, 16, 23 and 30, and Nov. 6 and 13 at Howard County General Hospital's Wellness Center, Suite L-9, 11055 Little Patuxent Parkway in Columbia.

Topics are to include advance directives, nutrition, exercising, relaxation techniques and communication. The program will focus on managing symptoms, making daily tasks easier and communicating more effectively with doctors.

The cost is $25 for six sessions.

Information: Maryland Access Point of Howard County (MAP), 410-313-5980.

Mental illness support groups

NAMI-Howard County, the Howard County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, will offer free support groups this month.

A support group for families and friends of adults with mental illness will meet at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the day room at Harmony Hall Retirement Community, 6336 Cedar Lane in Columbia.

A group for people with mental illness who work, go to school and regularly interact in the community will meet from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 18 and Oct. 2 at the Wilde Lake Interfaith Center, 10431 Twin Rivers Road in Columbia. The group meets on alternate Tuesdays.

A group for parents and caregivers of children and adolescents with serious mental health problems will meet from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 26 at the Faulkner Ridge Center, 10598 Marble Fawn Court in Columbia.

NAMI-Howard County will offer Peer-to-Peer, a free nine-week course on recovery for people with serious mental illnesses. The class will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays, starting Sept. 26, at 9151 Rumsey Road, Suite 150 in Columbia. Registration is required.

Information: Susan Heisel, 410-772-9300.

Warning issued about food vendors

The Howard County Health Department has issued a warning about buying frozen food products from unlicensed, unregulated vendors selling their wares from freezers in the backs of pickup trucks.

The products, which include meats, seafood and chicken, can come from reputable companies, but once they leave the hands of an official distributor, there is no oversight of temperature, expiration dates or quality control.

The Health department advises consumers to buy food only from licensed, regulator food establishments and dealers, not from unknown or unsolicited vendors, and to report any unlicensed vendors selling food on the street or door to door.

Information: Food Protection Program, Howard County Health Department's Bureau of Environmental Health, 410-313-1772.

Caregiver support -- The Caregiver Support Group at Winter Growth, 5460 Ruth Keeton Way, Columbia, meets from 10:30 a.m. to noon on the fourth Tuesday of each month. 410-964-9616.

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