Living Well in Prince George's County
The Prince George's County PLACE MATTERS consists of a broad section of partners from public health, education, local elected officials, land use planners, and residents committed to advancing health through systematically advocating for sound policy and activities that address the systems determinants of health. The partnership’s focus is on breaking down institutional silos and aligning work throughout County agencies that helps reduce community inequities by placing health at the center of all policy considerations. The partnership is forging a path in Prince George’s County for equitable food policy, school curricula that promote health and wellness, and faith-based institutions that engage congregants in healthy practices. 



Food Equity

In Prince George’s County, more than one in eight people are struggling to afford enough food. On July 8, 2013, the Prince George’s County Council official endorsed Prince George’s PLACE MATTERS Food Equity Council to develop and support policies and practices for improving the County’s food system. Food equity is defined as accessibility to fresh, healthy, affordable local food. By addressing the multiple layers of the food system, from production and processing, to distribution, consumption and waste management, the Food Equity Council will examine food policy, including strategies such as financing incentives for attracting grocery stores in low-income communities, alternative retail approaches like community supported agriculture, and innovative local production through urban farming and organic growing.



Healthy Schools

Nationally, one in three children is overweight or obese. In Prince George's County, those statistics are significantly higher at the staggering level of 50 percent. Prince George’s County PLACE MATTERS works with school systems to improve environments where youth work and play, such as improving school access to healthier food options and physical fitness. Other initiatives include engaging and building youth leaders through establishing health ambassador posts in the school systems. By helping students, staff and teachers focus on making healthy choices, schools can become a focal point and beacon of health throughout entire communities.



Faith Communities

Prince George’s County PLACE MATTERS is improving HEAL practices among faith-based institutions by establishing protocols and building a collaborative movement that’s led and supported by faith-based leaders in and around the Port Towns and in the County. For example, in 2013, the Ecumenical Health Council developed and successfully had more than 10 churches sign a memorandum of understanding to adopt healthier practices in their congregations and participate in the development of HEAL protocols.