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SHIP : execsummary

State Health Improvement Process (SHIP)

Executive Summary

Maryland has the top-rated educational system (Education Week 4/25/12) and the 4th highest per capita income (US Census Bureau Statistical Abstract 2012) in the United States, but when a national organization ranked states on the health of their people, Maryland came in 22nd (America's Health Rankings 2011). The goal of the State Health Improvement Process (SHIP) is to provide a framework for accountability, local action, and public engagement to make progress in Maryland’s health. We intend to improve in such areas as:

Healthy Births – Maryland ranked 43rd among the 50 states for infant mortality based on averaged national data from 2006 and 2007. (America's Health Rankings 2011)

Infectious Disease – Maryland ranked 35th for infectious disease based on the combined rates of AIDS, tuberculosis, and Hepatitis A and B. (America's Health Rankings 2011

Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
- In 2010, Maryland ranked worse (83.6) than the national average (49.72) for hospital admissions per 100,000 adult population for hypertension (State Snapshots 2010 AHRQ).

Number of Uninsured – In 2011, 13.2% of Marylanders lacked health insurance placing the state 18th of the 50 states. (America's Health Rankings 2011

Understanding these rankings begins with recognizing that health is more than medical care. We have the world’s most advanced medical system in Maryland, but our health is largely shaped by our environments, our behaviors, and our access to health care. 

Maryland’s State Health Improvement Process (SHIP) provides a framework for continual progress toward a healthier Maryland. It has three main components: accountability, local action and public engagement. 

Accountability begins with setting measurable targets for Maryland’s health in 2014 based on today’s data.  The SHIP includes 39 measures in 6 vision areas that represent what it means for Maryland to be healthy. 28 objectives have been identified as critical racial/ethnic health disparities measures. Click here to read more about achieving health equity for all Marylanders by overcoming racial and ethnic health disparities. Each measure has a data source and a target, and where possible, can be assessed at the city or county level.

Local action is key to public health progress.  Local health coalitions are forming or operating in every jurisdiction in the State, thanks in part to direct support from the Maryland Hospital Association. These coalitions will adopt strategies for progress on selected SHIP measures as well as on other local health priorities, including addressing local health disparities. The SHIP will support local efforts by providing local data, information on sound strategies, interactive on-line communications and an ever growing Toolkit of useful resources. The Toolkit now includes over 500 tools and is composed of tools by objective, overarching tools, planning tools, featured tools, spanish tools, SHIP data charts and maps, and DHMH data charts and maps. Examples of tools include:

  1. How to reduce infant deaths, low/very low birth weight, sudden unexpected infant deaths, and increase the proportion of women starting prenatal care in the first trimester. Check out what March of Dimes says and consider signing up for text4baby if you are pregnant or have a child up to the age of one. 

  2. How to reduce high blood pressure. Check out the Million Hearts Campaign for toolkits to reduce risk of disability and death from stroke and hypertension, as well as USDA's Choose My Plate for tips, tools, and assessment for healthy eating.

  3. How to reduce the spread of infectious disease by increasing vaccination coverage for recommended vaccines. Check out the Immunization Action Coalition and use this chart as a reference for when your children and teens need specific vaccinations.

Public Engagement by a wide array of professionals, organizations, commentators and most importantly the public, steered the development of the SHIP.  The SHIP will continue to draw strength and ideas from across Maryland. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene received more than 250 comments about the SHIP measures. Continued public engagement will include: 

  • An interactive website.

  • A list of things you can do at the individual level to be healthy with links to resources

  • A featured topic

  • Keeping individuals informed about getting involved in local action to improve health in your community.

  • Interested in reading more about the SHIP, including how it was developed, overarching resources, what it includes, what it does not include, and what data measures will be in development for the 2015-2020 version?  See Mechanics of the SHIP.