Healthy Harford is the Healthy Communities Initiative of the northern Chesapeake. A non-profit 501c3, we are a coalition of local government agencies, businesses, non profits, and citizens dedicated to improving the health of Harford County residents.
Founded in 1993 by community leaders from the Harford County Health Department, Harford County Government, and Upper Chesapeake Health, our vision is to make Harford County the healthiest community in Maryland via our mission to Inspire and empower healthy people, healthy families, and healthy communities in mind, body and spirit.
1993 – Healthy Harford began as a program oriented community health organization tasked with improving the health of Harford County residents through healthy community events and programming.
2008 – Propelled by the daunting reality that Harford County was failing in a number of health indicators such as:
- a smoking rate above the State average
- 2/3 of our adults and 1/3 of our children registering as overweight or obese
- Less than 2% of county residents eating the recommended number of fruits and vegetables
- 23% of adults reporting that they do not engage in any leisure-time physical activity.
Source: Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene State Health Improvement Process (SHIP) and RWJF Community Health Rankings
the Healthy Harford Board of Directors voted in 2008 to focus its efforts on promoting increased physical activity, improved nutrition, and decreased tobacco use in order to reduce the rate of chronic disease and obesity in Harford County.
2015 – The Affordable Care Act and burgeoning substance use disorder and mental health issues in the community inspired Healthy Harford to expand its priorities to include Community Care Coordination and mental health/substance abuse. These new additions are a testament to the changing health care needs of our community, and Healthy Harford’s willingness and ability to respond.
2016 to 2018 – With the award of a regional transformation grant to improve the health of vulnerable seniors, Healthy Harford launched the innovative WATCH – Wellness Action Teams of Cecil and Harford Counties. This program served both Harford and Cecil counties and visited seniors in their home to assess needed supportive services in order to improve health for those seniors with complex medical conditions. In 2019, the WATCH teams transitioned to working with primary care physicians as part of inhouse Care Transformation Teams. Harford and Cecil counties have progressed to having their own individual programs.
2019 to present – Healthy lifestyles to improve wellness and quality of life remain at the core of our mission. Our focus has broadened, however, to include addressing social determinants of health and minority health disparities. While many of our health statistics are admirable on the surface, when they are broken down by race, a stark picture of inequity appears. We firmly believe that the only way to achieve a truly healthy community, is if all our residents are afforded the gift of health.
Live Well. Be Well. Healthy Harford