The Healthy Montgomery Transforming Communities Initiative (TCI) is an exciting multi-year effort to implement a range of public health strategies that can reduce obesity, promote tobacco-free living, and address factors that impact community health. The strategies center on policy, system, and environmental changes that offer long-term benefits for disease prevention and management. The Healthy Montgomery TCI has a specific focus on the communities of Gaithersburg, Germantown, Long Branch and Takoma Park.

Healthy Montgomery TCI is a collaborative between the Institute for Public Health Innovation, Trinity Health-member Holy Cross Health, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, the Healthy Montgomery Steering Committee, the Eat Well Be Active Partnership, and numerous other government and community partners. More information can also be found on the TCI Fact Sheet and Year in Review. 

The TCI is funded nationally by Trinity Health, one of the country’s largest healthcare systems. Funding is also provided by the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, and the Healthcare Initiative Foundation.

Update: Healthy Montgomery and the TCI partnership have launched a Healthy Montgomery Webinar Series, a series of webinars focusing on real-world examples that demonstrate how a collective impact approach is improving community health. Healthy Montgomery is the official community health improvement planning process for Montgomery County, MD. We are a collaborative of diverse stakeholders, including government, non-profit, hospital, and community partners. Our mission is to achieve optimal health and well-being for all Montgomery County residents.

Transforming Communities Strategy Areas:

Strategy: Promoting Tobacco-Free Living (Tobacco 21)

Goal:  Increase the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21 to reduce tobacco use among youth and young adults.

Action: The American Cancer Society, Tobacco-Free Kids, the American Lung Association, and the American Heart Association, among other local and national organizations, have formed the Maryland Tobacco 21 campaign. The campaign aims to increase the minimum legal sales age for tobacco products to 21 to reduce tobacco use among youth and young adults. The Tobacco 21 strategy includes a social media campaign and educational materials to recruit and mobilize youth and identify legislative champions.

Strategy: School Health and Wellness (Local School Wellness Councils)

Goal:  Create and maintain healthy school environments by increasing school wellness policy implementation through the formation of local school wellness councils (LSWC).

Action:  Montgomery County Public School staff are working closely with IPHI’s School Wellness Coordinator to implement LSWCs with support from the University of Maryland Extension, Maryland State Department of Education, and School Workgroup Steering Committee. In the 2017-18 school year, 12 initial pilot schools within TCI priority communities have been recruited to gain information on best practices and lessons learned. More widespread implementation is planned for the 2018-19 school year. For more information, view our newsletter archive or sign up for our mailing list for updates.

Strategy: Healthy Food Access

Goal: Reduce food insecurity in Montgomery County by creating system-level changes in the coordination and delivery of food assistance resources, and by increasing access to healthy food for our most vulnerable communities. 

Action:  In April 2017, IPHI released a Request for Proposals to facilitate community-based approaches to the TCI strategy areas. Primary Care Coalition (PCC) and the Montgomery County Food Council (MCFC) were awarded funding to implement innovative approaches to community-based food access.

PCC and a group of community partners are implementing “Food is Medicine”, a systems approach to food security screening and referral between safety-net health care clinics and food and nutrition service providers. MCFC funding supports the implementation of the Montgomery County Food Security Plan, including the creation of new training and resources for food assistance organizations, identification of gaps in services, increased outreach and communication, and conduction of food security data collection and evaluation.

Strategy: Safe Routes to School (SRTS)

Goal:  Increase the number of students in priority communities who walk or bike to school.

Action: IPHI has partnered with Montgomery County Department of Transportation on SRTS assessments taking place within TCI priority communities. Partners will work with LSWCs and other Montgomery County Public School leadership to facilitate this streamlined SRTS approach, produce new user-friendly maps for schools within priority communities, and develop a campaign to promote SRTS throughout the TCI Priority Areas.

Strategy: Nutrition Standards in Early Childhood Setting

Goal: Ensure that child care centers in TCI priority areas promote proper nutrition and developmentally appropriate practices.

Action: IPHI and School Readiness Consulting conducted a formative assessment among family childcare providers, County leadership, and nonprofits to identify the appropriate policy, system and environmental change needed to support compliance with Maryland’s Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Act. If feasible, IPHI and partners will support the identified policy, systems, or environmental change strategies identified through this assessment.

Download (pdf): Healthy Family Child Care Environments in Montgomery County: Supporting Best Practices for Nutrition, Physical Activity and Breastfeeding

 

For more information on the Healthy Montgomery TCI, please contact Program Director Evelyn Kelly, 202-407-7086, ekelly@institutephi.org