January 2023 | Issue No. 9
Building a Stronger
Senior Director, Nexus Montgomery
and Population Health
We are pleased to start the new year with secure federal funding for PCC’s Building an Inclusive Healthcare Workforce: Lifting Underrepresented Residents into Healthcare Careers project. We can now move forward in building a pipeline that will supply Montgomery County’s six hospitals with more healthcare workers to represent the language and cultural needs of those they serve. We are grateful to Senator Chris Van Hollen, who supported our plan and made sure it was included in the recent $1.7 trillion federal government budget package that was approved last month.
The increasing shortage of healthcare workers we’ve seen in recent years, both locally and nationally, was exacerbated by the pandemic. Long hours and difficult work conditions drove many out of the healthcare field. And as efforts were made to replace them, it was clear that we not only needed more healthcare workers, we needed workers who reflected the racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic diversity of the people they served. To be effective, healthcare workers need to be able to communicate in patients’ languages and provide culturally appropriate care.
At the same time, communities with under-employed residents, many from diverse cultures who also were fluent in languages other than English, needed new employment opportunities. Service or hospitality jobs lost during the pandemic had not returned. With training, we knew these individuals could benefit from the stability of a healthcare career, which offers a variety of relatively well-paying entry-level opportunities and many options for advancement.
Micro-Grants Available to Eligible AAPI Service Providers
The Asian American Health Initiative, in partnership with the PCC, is seeking requests for proposals for micro-grants of up to $5,000. The funds will be awarded to eligible organizations that provide health, wellness, and social services support to Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities in Montgomery County.
There are three funding categories, and organizations may submit proposals for one or more of them, including the purchase of equipment, professional development, and consultants. Organizations will receive at most $15,000 across all categories. The total amount available through this micro-grants program is $70,000.
Applications must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, February 12. Organizations that need help with the grant application process should email AAHI@montgomerycountymd.gov.
State Senate to Hear Testimony on Maryland Medical Assistance Program Bill
A hearing on SB101 will be held at 1 p.m. on January 31 in Room 3 of the Miller Senate Building, 11 Bladen Street in Annapolis. The bill will require Maryland Medicaid to provide reimbursement for services delivered via the Collaborative Care Model (CoCM) of the Maryland Medical Assistance Program.
Anyone interested in testifying is encouraged to go to the Maryland General Assembly website, click the MyMGA icon in the top right corner, create a MyMGA account, and register to testify no later than 3 p.m. on Monday, January 30.
For detailed registration instructions or testimony templates, contact Dan Martin, Senior Director of Public Policy at the Mental Health Association of Maryland, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Self-Care Supports Physical and Mental Health
When life is at its busiest juggling work, family, and friends, taking the time needed for self-care often gets left out of the mix. And that is the one thing that the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) suggests should be a priority because it helps support mental and physical health. Regularly focusing on our personal well-being can help lower stress levels and put problems in perspective, and it might even prevent serious health issues from developing. Here are a few tips on how to protect your health:
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day, which can improve energy and focus.
- Get enough sleep. Try to stick to a schedule and avoid the blue light from the television, computer, and phone screens that impact sleep quality.
- Relax. Explore relaxation or wellness programs or apps and find calming activities that you enjoy, such as reading or journaling.
- Set goals and priorities. Decide what needs to be done now and what can wait. Learn to say “no” to new tasks when you start to feel overwhelmed. Focus on what you’ve accomplished and not what still needs to be done.
- Practice gratitude. Regularly remind yourself about those things for which you are grateful. Write them down or replay them in your mind.
- Stay connected. Reach out to friends and family who can provide emotional support and practical help.
If you find yourself struggling with physical and mental health issues that make it difficult to eat, sleep, concentrate, or find enjoyment in life, don’t hesitate to discuss it with your primary care physician, who can refer you to a mental health professional if needed.
Individuals who find themselves or a loved one in a mental health crisis can call 988—the new crisis and suicide lifeline. The number has phone, text, and chat options, and 988 staff can connect callers with additional crisis services as needed.
January 30, 1-2 p.m., Communications Skills Workshop, via Zoom, sponsored by Independence Now for individuals with disabilities. The workshop will offer skills in how to be assertive and communicate better with family, co-workers, and friends. Register here.
February 3, 6:30 – 8 p.m., Six-Week Comedy Sketch Writing Course starts via Zoom, hosted by ArtStream for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities including autism. Register here.
Through February 12, Aquarium, interactive performance for ages 1-5, Imagination Stage, 4908 Auburn Ave, Bethesda, MD 20814. Tickets are $16.50 each.
February 25, 11 a.m., When the Stars Align: Celestial Navigation and the Underground Railroad, Josiah Henson Museum and Park. Celebrate Black History Month with a free, family-friendly program for ages 6 and up. Register here.