HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign for the Mid-Atlantic

Helping Municipal Leaders Create Healthy, Prosperous Communities

The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities & Towns Campaign provides free training and technical assistance to municipal leaders to adopt policies that make it easier for residents to eat better and move more.

The HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign is an initiative of The Institute for Public Health Innovation in partnership with the Maryland Municipal League and the Virginia Municipal League. 

HEAL SPotlight: The CIty of Laurel, Maryland

Patricia Haag, Risk Management Officer, (left) and other attendees and visitors at the Community Health Fair.  

The City of Laurel joined the HEAL Campaign in 2014. Eager to expand healthy eating and active living opportunities throughout the City, City staff, Council Members, and Mayor Craig A. Moe have worked together to achieve new policy goals outlined in the City’s HEAL resolution. Last year, the City was awarded Silver Level recognition for 1) adding new bike lanes throughout the City and 2) upgrading City parks, athletic fields, playgrounds, pools, and the Community Center with an enlarged fitness room and dance studio. These achievements illustrate the City’s efforts to promote bikeability and walkability and expand healthy living opportunities for residents and community members.

Since 2017, the City has focused on creating a healthy environment for City employees by implementing workplace wellness strategies that help staff eat better and move more throughout the workday. This year the City Administrator’s Office began a program to promote walking meetings by encouraging higher level staff to initiate 30-minute walking meetings, weather permitting. City staff launched a monthly Lunch ‘n Learn where guest lecturers present health and wellness topics ranging from breast cancer awareness to diabetes prevention. Staff have also taken the initiative to offer healthy food options in municipal buildings by selecting a new vender that has replaced unhealthy and high sugar content foods with fresh and healthy vending options

This past January, the City hosted its first public Community Health Fair. Over 400 participants attended the event that featured 50 vendors who provided information and health services to attendees. “We really tried to look at our community needs and have someone there representing those needs” explained Patricia Haag, Risk Management Officer for the City of Laurel. Attendees received flu shots and complimentary screenings for cholesterol, diabetes, hearing, and vision. In addition, attendees learned CPR training and receive acupuncture from practitioners from the University of Maryland School of Integrative Medicine. Ms. Haag is excited to see this partnership evolve through further employee wellness opportunities, including an employee health challenge and staff wellness day hosted in conjunction with the Community Wellness Fair.

This June, the City of Laurel will receive Gold level recognition at the annual Maryland Municipal League Summer Conference in Ocean City. Congratulations, Laurel for your successful efforts promoting heathy eating and active living for your community!