In a substantial move toward eradicating health inequities within the Black community in Frederick County, the Black Health Equity Coalition of Frederick (Black Equity) has secured $153,000 in grants to launch new health initiatives. This significant financial boost includes $128,000 from the CDC Foundation along with contributions from the Ausherman Family Foundation and the Delaplaine Foundation.

The grant will finance various pivotal projects aimed at addressing some of the critical health issues faced by Black residents in the region. These include enhancing Black maternal health, bolstering youth mental health, improving access to primary care, and conducting the first ever comprehensive Black health survey in Frederick County. Such initiatives are crucial in a county where systemic health disparities have long affected its Black population, impacting both quality of life and healthcare outcomes.

Dr. Denise Rollins, the Executive Director of the Whole Heart Center and the leading applicant of the project, hailed the funding as transformative. “This funding is a game changer for Frederick because it places funding and strategizing in the hands of the people impacted most,” she stated, emphasizing the importance of community-led initiatives in addressing these critical issues.

The genesis of Black Equity can be traced back to a 2023 Frederick County grant that initially focused on discussing Black women’s health. This led to the creation of a video series, set to be released in 2024, serving as an educational and advocacy tool. The coalition presently comprises nine dedicated groups including Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Chi Theta Omega Chapter, Asbury United Methodist Church, and several others joining forces with local health departments and organizations committed to this cause.

Significantly supporting Black Equity’s missions are government partners like Dr. Shelley Choo from the Maryland Department of Health and Danielle Haskin from the Frederick County Health Department, pointing to a synergistic approach between the coalition and local government bodies towards enhancing health equity.

Danielle Haskin, from the Frederick Co. Health Department, noted that Black Equity’s efforts align well with both national health goals and local priorities. “Their unique insights are key to health improvements addressing longstanding disparities and ensuring intentional inclusion,” she explained, underscoring the broader implications of targeting health disparities within the Black community.

This initiative is expected not only to address immediate health challenges but also to set a precedent for community-driven health strategies across the U.S. By focusing efforts directly within the impacted community and involving them in both strategy and execution, Frederick County is making a definitive move towards a more equitable healthcare system.

Residents are encouraged to engage with these initiatives by staying updated through the coalition’s website and providing their input on the upcoming health survey and other community health matters. This collaborative and inclusive approach hopes to foster a community environment where health disparities are not just addressed but eradicated, leading to improved health outcomes for all citizens in Frederick County.