Mother Nature: Better than Mom’s Chicken Noodle Soup?

The trees that tower over neighborhood sidewalks are full of pleasant shade and squirrels for my dog to chase. Parks and their large expanses of grasses provide a serene and cool place to walk and rest.

As much as nature gives to us, recent reports show green space is giving even more than we think. It is making us healthier.

A study conducted in Amsterdam in 2009 determined that the annual rates of 15 out of the 24 diseases they chose to study were significantly lower among those living closer to green spaces. Research showed that the rates of depression, …read more

Addressing the Social Determinants of Health

I’ve had the opportunity to work in both the health and social service fields, so my interest was piqued when I learned about the 2nd Annual Symposium on the Social Determinants of Health, sponsored by the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute. The agenda promised a diverse range of topics, from concrete policies and programs to research and theory on social capital, racism and poverty. And, the symposium did not disappoint.

Thirty speakers observed the importance of safe housing, education, a strong social network, access to healthy foods and quality health care to overall health outcomes. Throughout the conference, academics, practitioners, …read more

Where Does Your County Rank?

When making the case for health programs and policies, it is critical to show data that can support the point at hand. Oftentimes, online searches will point to national-level data that lump together urban and rural areas, and don’t adequately factor in the social determinants that can affect health, like housing and education.

When looking up health data for my home city of Baltimore, I was relieved to stumble upon the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps website. The statistics showed that Baltimore City has the lowest rankings in the state of Maryland, with an uninsured population doubling that of our …read more