Prince George’s and Montgomery Tackle Food Insecurity with DMV Partners

DMV Food Recovery Week 2022 is October 16-22, and partners in the DMV are teaming up to provide free events educating the public of food waste and food security. Manna Food Center’s Community Food Rescue (CFR) and the DC Food Recovery Working Group (DCFRWG) has combined forces with the Montgomery County Food Council and Prince George’s County Food Equity Council to co-host this year’s DMV Food Recovery Week. The week will feature in-person and virtual events to teach the public easy things they…

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Prince George’s to Use Telehealth to Connect Students to Healthcare

Prince George's County Public Schools has successfully partnered with the nation's largest pediatric telehealth provider to bring virtual care to public school students. Starting in October, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) will start offering virtual telehealth resources to public school students in an effort to close healthcare gaps and make care more accessible. PGCPS recently enacted an agreement with Hazel — the nation’s largest pediatric telehealth provider. The partnership will offer "students county-wide free access…

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Homeland Security Finalizes Controversial Immigration Rule

On September 8th, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) finalized a rule re-defining a "public charge," a controversial concept with substantial implications for state and local government services. At its most basic level, a public charge is a lawful non-citizen who must rely on government services for subsistence, and as a result, can be denied citizenship or legal residency (a green card). The new rule codifies what DHS describes as the "historical understanding of…

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Correlation or Causation? Connecting Gun Laws and Suicides

In observation of Suicide Prevention Month, a recent Governing article identifies a strong correlation between state gun laws and elevated gun suicide rates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its first-ever report on firearm deaths in May of this year. According to the CDC, the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the conditions underlying gun violence, including "changes and disruptions to services and education, mental stress, social isolation, and economic stressors, including job loss,…

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Americorps Helps Fill Increasing Public Health Worker Gap

A recent Governing article spotlights "Public Health Americorps," an expansion of the longstanding public service program made possible through a $400 million American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) investment. In recent months, Public Health Americorps has helped local health departments (LHDs) across the country address staffing shortages and potentially stem a "mass exodus" of public health workers. Among LHDs, a Kaiser Health News report found that 300 leaders had "retired, resigned or been terminated since the…

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NACo: Grants Can Promote Public Safety and Judicial Equity

The National Association of Counties (NACo) recently released a piece entitled, "Grantmaking: A County Strategy to Address Racial And Ethnic Disparities In The Criminal Legal System," focusing on county investment approaches to promote equity and community engagement in justice and public safety services. As a primary driver toward equity, NACo advises counties to fund community-led organizations to eliminate "racial and ethnic disparities present in the criminal legal system." Citing the overrepresentation of Black, Latinx, and…

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MD Dept. of Health Proposes New Approach to Involuntary Commitments

The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) recently published draft regulations concerning when an individual can be involuntarily committed to a hospital. After an outpouring of community support, MDH is revisiting its "Danger Standard," under which a patient with mental illness must “present a danger to the life or safety of the individual or of others” (COMAR 10.21.01.04) before being subjected to an emergency psychiatric evaluation and involuntary hospital admission. In MDH's proposed revision, an additional provision…

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Federal Resources Available for School Mental Health Programs

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced $47.6 million in new grant funding opportunities for school-based mental health programs and resources. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)'s grant opportunities comes from from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S.2938), enacted in June to implement changes to the mental health care system, school safety programs, and gun safety laws. Available funding for counties is two-fold and includes: $37.6 million within Project Advancing…

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After Years of Advocacy, JUUL Settlement Represents Significant Win

On Tuesday, September 8th, Attorney General Brian Frosh signaled a massive win for public health advocates across Maryland, publicly unveiling a tentative agreement to join a multi-state settlement with JUUL Labs, a vape product manufacturer, worth over $438.5 million. For years, public health advocates and legislators have sought to curb youth vaping, levying multiple tools to achieve this goal, including public awareness campaigns, new laws, and lawsuits. JUUL held, at one point in time, the…

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MD Dept. of Health Okays Modified COVID Booster

Following the granting of Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by both the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Maryland Department of Health has updated its COVID-19 Vaccine Plan to allow the use of Pfizer-BioNTech's and Moderna's revised COVID-19 booster shots.  The boosters are bivalent, meaning they provide immunity for both the original strains of the virus and more recent strains such as Omicron and its…

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