HEALTH

We are addressing the conditions that contribute to health disparities among people of color in Maryland. We are also helping those who face barriers find the resources they need to improve and/or maintain their physical and mental health. We are a leader in regional efforts that address health inequities among residents and aim to reduce the health disparities gap between all ethnicities in the health care industry.

Eastern Shore

Our Dorchester County office works diligently to strengthen the overall health outcomes for eastern shore residents. Our goal is to educate families on the importance of access to quality health care, build trust among health care professionals and the communities they serve, and address the stigmas associated with behavioral health.

Minority Outreach and Technical Assistance (MOTA) – Through this initiative, we are attending health fairs and community events to provide resources on chronic illnesses and to educate the populace on disparities in health and access to health care. We are developing a community resource directory to be utilized by community members; educating community members on health risks through seminars and training series; and aiding families in areas of health, active living and behavioral changes that lead to greater health outcomes. We work diligently to educate minority communities on the health risks associated with social, environmental and behavioral unhealthy living which includes tobacco-related illnesses, cancer, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and infant mortality.

Along with providing health education materials, hosting seminars, and engage the community through community and/or faith based events. Over the last two years, we have served more than 112,000 minority community members through educational materials, sustainability training, capacity building, chronic disease self-management and technical assistance.

Prevention and Health Promotion Administration, Office of Family Planning and Home Visiting - We are working to highlight the health initiatives emphasized by the Governor’s Office, including infant mortality, obesity, diabetes, traumatic brain injury and mental health. We have promoted the annual Health Disparities Conference, held here in Dorchester County for the past four years, and through these conferences have trained over 450 health professionals, educators and service care providers across the state. In addition, we offer continuing education units to participants through our partnership with the Eastern Shore Area Health Education Center.

Community Transformation Grant – We are working directly with faith- and community-based organizations to promote “Smoke Free Living” in homes, schools and the community at large. Through this program, we have offered PATCH (Pregnancy and Tobacco Cessation Help) resources to women of child-bearing age through various vehicles including community baby showers, healthy baby campaigns, free videos, educational brochures, home visiting and several training series. We are assisting the state by targeting apartment complex residents with Smoke Free Multi-Unit Housing surveys and providing education to Tobacco Retailers on the laws surrounding youth access to tobacco products.

Health Enterprise Zone (HEZ) - ABC, in partnership with 14 other community agencies and health care providers, is an intricate part of the HEZ initiative through the State of Maryland. Working in both Dorchester and Caroline Counties, our Community Health Outreach Workers provide a critical link between community services and individuals in need of those services. We are bridging the gap for community members who may not fully understand how to navigate the health care and social care systems within their community. Our team of trained medicine technicians are certified in CPR, first aid and AED techniques, and have Core Knowledge standards as outlined in the Stanford Model for Community Health Outreach Workers.

Thought Leadership - We also provide vital thought leadership through several community advisory and executive boards, including the Maryland Food Bank’s Regional Council, the Early Childhood Education Steering Committee, the Dorchester Partnership for Children and families, Women’s Coalition for Health Care Reform, Breast Cancer Consortium, Community Wellness Coalition, the Health Information Exchange, and the Komen Foundation Grant Taskforce.

HIV/AIDS

From our inception, we have been at the forefront advocating for the prevention, treatment and research needs of African Americans in relation to HIV. HIV has had a devastating impact on the Greater Baltimore area since the 1980's, with city-dwelling African American populations bearing the most significant brunt of the epidemic. HIV has ravaged the city's minority populations to the point that one in nine African American men between the ages of 40 and 49 residing in the city have a confirmed HIV diagnosis.

For the last 17 years, Associated Black Charities has served as the fiscal agent managing provider-related operations for the Ryan White Part A Program in the Baltimore metro area, which along with the city includes six surrounding counties: Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford, Howard and Queen Anne. In partnership with the Baltimore City Health Department and our 37 providers, nearly 9,500 people who do not have sufficient health care coverage or financial resources for coping with HIV disease are served each year.

We have also administered small grants on behalf of the Annie E. Casey Foundation and at the request of a local HIV service organization, we developed a brochure about healthy eating, which is critical for parents with HIV.

Prior to 2003, we delivered the support services for the Greater Baltimore HIV/AIDS Services Planning Council. In this role, we worked closely with the 40-member Planning Council to ensure that the multimillion-dollar federal investment in primary care and support services targeting people living with HIV were allocated appropriately. 

WORKFORCE

We are changing the economic landscape of our state by partnering with public, private and philanthropic organizations to identify and address critical employment needs. Our partnerships focus on creating job readiness, retention and advancement opportunities for historically marginalized workforce groups. Our workforce development goals are to:

  • Support organizations that have a track record of success and can cultivate relationships with businesses that are receptive to hiring low and/or middle-skilled people.
  • Fund training opportunities that offer living wage jobs with benefits in industry or skill specific positions that have a variety of career advancement tracks.
  • Fund coaching, mentoring, and apprenticeship employment models to support the goal of keeping people employed for longer periods of time while building skills that strengthen their earning potential.
  • Provide technical assistance to employers on these issues by delivering customized products and services to employers who are committed to growing, retaining and up-skilling a diverse workforce.

We believe the following elements are essential to being successful in our workforce development and career advancement efforts:  

  • Exposure - We gather and share information related to workforce development, whether by examining research and/or data or commissioning studies that capture trends and/or hidden opportunities (see our latest study, “STEM Middle Skilled Career Pathways in the Baltimore Region”). We also share real career opportunities with community partners, who in turn, pass the information on to their workforce clients. For example, we enhanced BGE’s recruiting strategy by highlighting the benefits associated with utility workers positions among our partner network.
  • Access - We aim to provide basic literacy, job training, employment opportunities and supportive services through EARN Maryland initiative (Employment Advancement Right Now), Empowerment Baltimore MC training and apprenticeship grants, the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development’s Job Access Resource Fair and Tech Hire planning committee work.
  • Retention - We provide resources and supports that keep employees, especially low-wage workers, attached to work through programs such as our Volunteer Career Mentoring program and our behavioral competencies training curriculum.
  • Advancement - We pursue sector-based initiatives that facilitate promotions and career ladders, instead of basic job placement. We have awarded funds to support incumbent low-wage workers to obtain new credentials and/or certifications in their field, making them more eligible for promotions. 

RACIAL EQUITY

We are raising awareness about the racialized barriers embedded in systems and policies that disproportionately affect the wealth and health of people of color. Through our advocacy work we are demanding that policies, laws and decisions are made and/or revisited using a racial equity lens.

Our goal is to dismantle the institutional barriers and biases that prevent people from realizing their full potential by addressing broken systems, not broken people. Informed by data and leading through innovative and research-based approaches, we will ensure that economic opportunities are extended to, and seek to advance, ALL people.

We are committed to transformative change. We are educating policymakers, civic leaders, corporate/business leaders, community activists and advocates about the root causes of the detrimental economic and health outcomes that disproportionately exist for African Americans. We are sharing research and other tools to help address and resolve the issues birthed from many years of intentional (as well as unintentional) institutional and structural racism.

Fighting to increase access and opportunity for historically marginalized groups is what we do at ABC, but the matters and events surrounding Freddie Gray’s death in April 2015 caused a surge of unprecedented interest in racial equity - affirming the need for our urgent focus and racial equity-infused work.

In this last year, we conducted a record number of educational activities defined as trainings, presentations, facilitations, events, forums and convenings around hot topics such as institutional and structural racism, social justice, equity, oppression and white privilege. And we continue to be called upon regularly to provide the type of analysis that helps to “translate” racial disparities into economic losses – losses so significant they impede the viability of the state. We are also on a mission to make connections and facilitate partnerships that can effectively address the structural and institutional disparities because we cannot do it alone.