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  • Bruce Baker

CHEER Seeks to Bring Health Enterprise Zone to Long Branch and Takoma

Community Health and Empowerment through Education and Research (CHEER) is coordinating a coalition of government and local non-profit organizations to establish aHealth Enterprise Zone (HEZ) in Long Branch. This is a new State funded, place-based approach that could bring as much as $1 million into the community. If selected, the funds will be used to reduce health inequities, expand access to health care services, and address the social factors that negatively influence health outcomes; such as poor housing options and limited economic opportunity.

CHEER helped facilitate an HEZ Public Forum at the Long Branch Community Center on July 26, 2012. Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown, State health Secretary Joshua Sharfstein, and Montgomery County Director of Health and Human Services, Uma Ahluwalia made presentations. More than 100 community participants listened and asked questions. The State is preparing the application criteria and call for proposals for HEZ designations. The Long Branch HEZ coalition will submit an HEZ proposal in the fall.

The HEZ coalition includes major local non-profits such as, IMPACT Silver Spring, Casa de Maryland, Adventist Community Services and others. It also includes the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, the Primary Care Coalition (PCC) and other health care providers and funders. CHEER brings four years of experience in building collaborations and relationships deep within the Takoma Park and Long Branch communities. This includes relationships with many community groups, churches, tenants/homeowners groups as well as contacts within Takoma Park City government. Other coalition members have worked more extensively within the Long Branch community.

Development of the HEZ is a community driven process. There will be many ways that community members will be involved. If you want to be involved in program development and proposal preparation or in some other way, please contact Bruce Baker.

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