Community Need Statement
Baltimore City has a high uninsured population1.
Timely use of health services is often compromised when one is unable or unwilling to pay for patient care. This is a problem that the uninsured or underinsured population of Baltimore face. Access to care can also be impeded when potential patients are unaware of available health services in their surrounding area. Baltimore City has a high uninsured population. As noted above, Baltimore residents between the ages of 18 and 24 are the most vulnerable group with a rate of 43.4% followed by the age group 25-34 at 39.2%.
In addition, nearly 14% of low-income Baltimore families lack access to healthy food choices. Consequently, nearly 40% of high school students in Baltimore City were identified as overweight or obese in a 2007 survey1. Health-related factors such as hunger can lead to poor school performance2, while physical inactivity is consistently linked to poor grades and test scores and lower educational attainment3.
Quite often, trends in youth health can be linked to trends in adult health, resulting in a significant population of Baltimore City children without health insurance. A large number of these children are eligible for the Maryland Children’s Health Program (MCHP) but remain uninsured for many reasons including lack of awareness that the program exists. As a result, they may elude even such basic services as immunization. Unfortunately the presence of health insurance does not ensure adequate coverage for some necessary services. Due to high deductibles, premiums or copayments, the underinsured may lack access to primary and preventive care4.
As a result of the information reported above, University of Maryland (UM) aims to focus our service efforts to helping our surrounding community stay healthy. UM hopes to play a critical role in promoting health in Baltimore and helping to establish and/or encourage lifelong healthy behaviors.
1 Maryland Health Improvement Plan 2000-2010. Retrieved from: http://fha.maryland.gov/ohpp/hip/pdf/City_of_Baltimore.pdf
2 Baltimore City Food Policy Task Force: Final Report and Recommendations. Retrieved from: http://cleanergreenerbaltimore.org/uploads/files/Baltimore%20City%20Food%20Policy%20Task%20Force%20Report.pdf
3 Dunkle MC, Nash MA. Beyond the Health Room. Washington, DC: Council of Chief State School Officers, Resource Center on Educational Equity; 1991.
4 Carlson SA, Fulton JE, Lee SM, Maynard M, Drown DR, Kohl III HW, Dietz WH. Physical education and academic achievement in elementary school: data from the Early
Childhood Longitudinal Study. American Journal of Public Health 2008;98(4):721–727.
5 Maryland Health Improvement Plan 2000-2010. Retrieved from: http://fha.maryland.gov/ohpp/hip/pdf/City_of_Baltimore.pdf