Baltimore is a city with incredible potential for growth and opportunity, but underinvestment in marginalized communities has led to significant disparities – particularly with regards to our residents’ health and well-being. Currently, life expectancy varies by up to 20 years across neighborhoods in Baltimore, meaning that where you live determines how healthy you can be.
While homicide rates in Baltimore claim the headlines, addiction has plagued Baltimore for years as well, resulting in nearly 800 opioid-related overdose deaths in 2018 – more than double the number of deaths by homicide. In 2016, Baltimore had the highest overdose mortality rate of all large metropolitan cities in the United States.
Baltimore’s children are particularly vulnerable. More children test positive for lead poisoning than in any other county in Maryland, and we are likely not fully measuring the exposure. One in five children suffers from asthma, two times the national average, leading to missed school time and higher health care costs. These children are also likely to live in food deserts without access to healthy food options, further contributing to lifelong health issues.
The Health Department has been doing a lot with very little, but it has not been given the resources necessary to effectively ensure the health and well-being of all Baltimoreans. By addressing the root causes of Baltimore’s health disparities and placing public health as a key priority, we will effectively reduce crime, improve educational outcomes, and address the health of our housing and our neighborhoods.
Despite having the world’s leading public health school and some of the nations’ finest health care providers right in our own backyard, Baltimore is an outlier in too many negative health factors. As Mayor, I would work with these tax-exempt institutions to align their community benefit programs with the city’s greatest needs to leverage their help. Baltimore needs a Mayor who is willing to make public health a top priority.
As Mayor, Mary will prioritize public health and end disparities by:
- Ensuring Preparedness for Public Health Emergencies,
- Providing Effective Treatment for Substance Use,
- Making our Homes and Neighborhoods Healthy,
- Promoting Equitable Access to Healthy Foods,
- Reducing Infant Mortality and Improving Maternal Health, and
- Protecting our School Children.
Equity issues in Baltimore are interconnected. Mary’s time in the Obama Administration gave her the experience to tackle complex problems. Since launching in January, Mary has released a plan to Make Baltimore Safe for Everyone, Create Inclusive Growth, Strengthen our Education System, and Make Transportation Work for Baltimore.