Baltimore City Health Department Launches Youth Health and Wellness Strategy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BALTIMORE, Md. (November 3, 2016)—The Baltimore City Health Department (BCHD) today released the Baltimore City Youth Health and Wellness Strategy, a comprehensive, five-year plan to improve the health and wellness of young people across Baltimore City.

This youth-informed, collective impact strategy supports the efforts of Healthy Baltimore 2020, Baltimore City’s recently released strategic blueprint for health and wellness in Baltimore City through the lens of health equity.

“Through Healthy Baltimore 2020, we aim to cut health disparities in half over the next decade and to reduce inequities in our city. To ensure equity and justice for the next generation of Baltimoreans, we must intervene as early as possible and improve health for today’s youth,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “With the Baltimore City Youth Health and Wellness Strategy, we aim to improve not just physical health —but mental and emotional health—as we continue to combat health inequity and empower young people to achieve their full potential.”

The Youth Health and Wellness Strategy released today identifies three high impact outcomes to improve health and wellness for young people across Baltimore over the next five years:

  1. Reducing youth victims of violence
  2. Reducing teen births
  3. Reducing missed school days

To accomplish these goals, the Youth Health and Wellness Strategy outlines four priority areas and eight key recommendations that represent the culmination of this work:

Healthy Minds

1. Improve access to services that support mental health and wellbeing among youth

2. Increase access to substance use prevention and intervention resources and services, including tobacco.

Healthy Bodies

3. Ensure that youth have universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and services.

4. Improve and expand the access to a variety of physical health care services including asthma, oral and vision care and immunization coverage.

Healthy Communities

5. Implement citywide trauma and violence prevention strategies, including awareness and education around teen dating violence, to ensure that every child has access to comprehensive trauma-informed care at all levels of services.

6. Develop environmental mechanisms to encourage healthy eating and regular physical activity among children and youth

Healthy Systems

7. Improve school-based access to services through innovations and enhancements to service delivery models, including expanding school based health centers, telemedicine, and BCHD’s Vision for Baltimore initiative.

8. Effectively attract and engage young people in clinical setting to take charge of their own health care through implementation of a set of youth friendly standards that meet a variety of youth-specific needs and services.

In January 2015, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake requested BCHD to spearhead the development of the citywide Youth Health and Wellness Strategy for youth ages 6 to 19, building upon the success of B’more for Healthy Babies (BHB), a public-private partnership of more than 100 partner agencies to ensure that all babies are born at a healthy weight, full-term, and ready to thrive in healthy families.

Over the last 18 months, BCHD convened a Youth Health and Wellness Coalition – consisting of dozens of public and private partners as well as more than 20 youth leaders – to direct the strategic planning process.

Learn more about Youth Health and Wellness Strategy at http://health.baltimorecity.gov/YHWStrategy.

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