Maryland Department of Disabilities Newsletter written in white over Maryland flag
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Health Matters logo

The Maryland Department of Disabilities is pleased to announce Maryland was chosen as a participating state in the Health Matters! program. Health Matters! is a 12 week evidence based health promotion program targeted to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). It is designed to educate people with I/DD on proper nutrition, water consumption, and exercise.

The Health Matters! program is a collaboration between University of Illinois at Chicago and several states which aims to improve the health of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). The program operates under the principle that people with I/DD should be empowered to take charge of their health and strives to achieve this by building capacity among their community-based support networks. The program incorporates the following four values into its outreach:
  • People with disabilities have a right to receive education and services that promote their health,
  • People can contribute to their own well-being by becoming knowledgeable about their health and health resources, and by becoming active participants in health promotion activities,
  • Health and health promotion must always be based on the needs and lifestyle preferences of individuals, and,
  • A supportive environment and increased access to health and health promotion activities improves health status and increases opportunities for community engagement.

The Maryland Department of Disabilities will be the lead agency for the program in Maryland.  The department is currently in the process of choosing a community

bin of multiple colorful vegetables

based organization serving adults with I/DD to administer the pilot exercise and nutritional education modules.  Following the pilot program, opportunities will be available to other community organizations to participate through a series of webinars and train the trainer events.  Please stay tuned to the department's social media for the announcement of a Health Matters! informational webpage and further updates as we move through this program.  We look forward to changing Maryland for the better by ensuring all citizens have the information they need to lead a healthy lifestyle!

Close up of hand on wheelchair
State Disabilities Plan 2016-2019  

The Maryland Department of Disabilities (MDOD) is charged with coordinating and improving the delivery of services to individuals with disabilities in the state of Maryland. By working collaboratively with all State government agencies, the Department of Disabilities provides advocacy and guidance to ensure that State entities deliver services in the most integrated settings possible, develop consistent policies affecting those with disabilities, and consider the diverse needs of all when making decisions which impact Marylanders.  The Maryland Department of Disabilities is required to review and revise the State Disabilities Plan at least once every four years and is prepared to release the State Disabilities Plan for 2016 through 2019.

The State Disabilities Plan provides for the coordination of those State services and policies that ensure compliance with State and federal civil rights laws and provide community-based supports, emergency preparedness, housing, transportation, employment, health care, accessible technology, education, and family supports to Marylanders with disabilities.
The State Disabilities Plan provides a framework for delivering, monitoring, and striving for improvement in these services. Progress is measured annually by the Department of Disabilities.

The 2016-2019 plan outlines four primary focus areas:
  • Self-direction: Individuals with disabilities will determine how they wish to live.
  • Financial Well-being: Individuals with disabilities will have equal opportunity to improve their financial well-being.
  • Maximizing Resources: Maryland state agencies and key stakeholders will utilize resources responsibly.
  • Accessible Communication: Maryland state agencies will be accessible, provide effective communication, and promote quality service delivery for individuals with disabilities.

The 2016-2019 State Disabilities Plan is available on the Maryland Department of Disabilities website at this link.



Collage of Direct Support Professionals and Governor's Proclamation and words Direct Support Professional Week 2016 September 12th-16th in white

DSP Week 2016

Governor Hogan signed a Proclamation officially declaring September 12th through 16th Direct Support Professional Week.   Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) are vital to the life experiences of many people with disabilities in Maryland.  From employment support to community living assistance, DSPs are often the difference between community participation and isolation for many with disabilities. 

We received so many nominations recognizing the outstanding work of DSPs across Maryland, the Department of Disabilities and the Developmental Disabilities Administration decided to extend the week of appreciation to a full month of traveling the state thanking DSPs for their dedication and expertise. Lieutenant Governor Rutherford will personally express his gratitude and present Governor's Citations to several DSPs at the Maryland State House.  Follow the Department of Disabilities and the Developmental Disabilities Administration on social media to stay up to date with the campaign and to express your own thanks to this vital workforce!
Blue bin with emergency preparedness items such as water, flashlight, first aide kit and food
September is Emergency Preparedness Month

Stay tuned all month as the department highlights the importance of emergency preparedness and how every Marylander can take part to ensure safer communities. 

The Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) will host a Twitter Chat on September 20th at 1pm.  Participate in this national discussion with MEMA, state partners, federal officials, local agencies, private organizations, and the general public on the importance of community preparation beginning with the private citizen and extending to full scale government preparation planning.  Follow MEMA on Twitter @MDMEMA using the hashtag #Prep4All.