For Immediate Release August 13, 2021

University of Maryland Shore Medical Center at Chestertown has launched a Community Advisory Council designed to bring community perspectives on existing and potentially new health services to the hospital and to the greater Kent County and northern Queen Anne's County region.

Established by the UM Shore Regional Health Board of Directors, the new Council is chaired by Dennis Welsh, Vice President of Rural Healthcare Transformation and Executive Director of UM Shore Medical Center at Chestertown. Membership will include at least seven and up to 10 individuals who reside in Chestertown or its environs and/or have a strong connection to the area, for example, maintaining a local business.

The Council will review the UM SRH community health needs assessment and make recommendations about ways to address identified gaps and priorities, including via community partnerships, and about strategies to promote healthy aging and wellness at home. Members also will obtain community input and make recommendations regarding existing and potential UM SRH health services in Chestertown and the surrounding geographic area.

To date, five individuals have been named to the Community Advisory Council: Muriel Cole, Co-chair, Kent County Commission on Aging and "Senior Matters" columnist for the Kent County News; Kate Goodall, President, KRM Development Corporation; Dr. Helen Noble, local physician; Desiree Rochester, Client Care Receptionist with Eastern Shore Psychological Services; and Elizabeth Yost, Associate Professor of Sociology and Director of the Public Health Minor at Washington College. The Council's first quarterly meeting took place on July 26 and included a review of the Council charter, a presentation on the Rural Health Care Model in Chestertown, and discussion of community perceptions of health care in the region.

To ensure that all community concerns and viewpoints are represented on the Council, the addition of new members is being considered with a focus on individuals who would bring diverse backgrounds and experiences.

"We understand that effective partnerships are important in building a culture of health in the community, which is why we are excited about the newly formed Community Advisory Council," said Welsh. "This Council connects the mission of hospital directly with members of the community who rely on it for their health care needs."