Health Education & Wellness

Dorchester County Health Department
Wellness Program
Thrive Dorchester Logo

THRIVE is a free, multi-disciplinary, pediatric obesity intervention program focused on educating our community about the pursuit of healthy lifestyles. Our goal is to normalize physical activity, healthy eating, and emotional health in an effort to help our participants live long, independent, and productive lives.

We hope that by engaging in this program, individuals will THRIVE and become more:

  • Tenacious
  • Hardworking
  • Resilient
  • Independent
  • Vigorous, and
  • Empowered

Families with students in 3rd-12th grade are welcome & encouraged to join. 

THRIVE is a community partnership between:

  • UMMS Shore Regional Pediatrics
  • Heirloom Athletics
  • Foods For Thought LLC
  • Marshy Hope Family Services, and
  • Dorchester County Health Department. 

This team will empower youth to build both their minds & bodies in a safe, welcoming space. Through tailored physical activity, educational nutrition sessions, and various mental health activities, we hope to build self-esteem and give our children the tools they need to THRIVE. 

To learn more, visit the THRIVE Dorchester website, call (410) 228-0235, or email the program.

Dorchester County Health Department
Safer Sex

Prevention of Teen Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

The health department works with community partners to offer programs aimed to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections among teenagers. Educational programs and activities are provided to youth ages 10-19 years old and their parents/caregivers.

Promoting Health Among Teens! Comprehensive Abstinence and Safer Sex Intervention (PHAT-C) is the curriculum used in community settings. Upon completion of the 12-hour program, youth will have:

  • Increased knowledge about prevention of HIV, STIs, and pregnancy.
  • More positive attitudes/beliefs about abstinence.
  • More positive attitudes/beliefs about condom use.
  • Increased confidence in their ability to negotiate abstinence.
  • Increased confidence in their ability to negotiate safer sex and to use condoms correctly.
  • Increased negotiation skills.
  • Improved condom skills.
  • Stronger intentions to abstain from sex, or use condoms if they have sex.
  • A lower incidence of HIV/STI risk-associated sexual behavior.
  • A stronger sense of pride and responsibility in making a difference in their lives.

True You Maryland

True You Maryland Logo

True You Maryland is another initiative to reduce teen birth and STI rates. A team of county stakeholders who interact with youth implement the project to improve adolescent health. The team meets monthly, along with a Youth Advisory Board, to shape programming.

Dorchester County Health Department
Chronic Disease

Tobacco, Diabetes, and Chronic Disease Prevention and Management

Smoking/tobacco use increases the risk for developing diabetes. Tobacco use can also cause other chronic illnesses such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, stroke, asthma, and more.

This initiative advances health equity by identifying and eliminating tobacco, diabetes, and chronic disease related disparities. It incorporates youth engagement and community partnership strategies.

The focus areas for this collaborative initiative include:

  • Eliminate tobacco, diabetes, and chronic disease related disparities.
  • Reduce prevalence of overweight and obesity.
  • Reduce prevalence of diabetes and improve care management outcomes.
  • Prevent initiation of tobacco and nicotine products, promote quitting, and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke and vape products.

The health departments provides and/or refers to the following evidence-based programs:

  • National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) – This yearlong lifestyle change program is proven to prevent or delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in adults.
  • Healthy Heart Ambassador Program (HHA) – This four-month lifestyle change program includes blood pressure self-monitoring, consultations, and nutrition education to help people with hypertension.
Dorchester County Health Department
Tobacco Prevention & Cessation

Stopping smoking, vaping, or using nicotine products is one of the most important things you can do to improve your health.

The health department wants to reduce tobacco use in Dorchester County and we’re focusing on educating our residents of all ages on the health risks of nicotine use and secondhand smoke. This program offers a variety of services designed to meet the needs of anyone ready to quit as well as tobacco/nicotine prevention and education.

All Dorchester County residents are eligible. There is no fee for services and referrals are not required.

Hand crushing cigarettes

Quitting Tobacco 

Join our smoking cessation program. Our program is especially designed to help you become smoke-free for a lifetime!

Through this program, we offer:

  • Help in pinpointing your smoking patterns and triggers
  • Help in developing a personal quit plan
  • Tools and techniques for self-directed change
  • Weekly support
  • Free quitting medication or aids
  • Nurse monitoring (we don’t have it right now, but hopefully soon)
  • Stress management
  • Tobacco education

Call (410) 228-3223 for details or to request a Quit Smoking Packet.

Smoking Cessation Resources:

COVID-19 and Smoking/Vaping

Since COVID-19 attacks lungs, it could be a particularly serious threat to people who smoke or vape. As stress-producing as these times are, it might be more important than ever to keep going on your quit journey…or to start that journey.

  • Being a current smoker increases your risk for severe illness from COVID-19.
  • Smoking weakens the immune system, which makes it harder for your body to fight disease.
  • If you continue to smoke, you have a greater risk for respiratory infections like pneumonia, colds, or flu.
  • COVID-19 affects many of the same organs of the body as smoking. For those with heart or lung disease caused by smoking, you are at increased risk for severe illness from COVID-19.

Tobacco Cessation for Pregnant Women

Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. Being prepared can help you succeed.

The sooner you stop smoking, the better. But even if you stop in the last few weeks of your pregnancy, this will benefit you and your baby.

Stopping smoking will help both you and your baby immediately. Harmful gasses, such as carbon

monoxide, and other damaging chemicals will clear from your body.

Quitting before you give birth will give your baby these benefits:

  • Less risk of being born too early and have to face the breathing, feeding and health problems that often go with being premature
  • Less risk of being born with birth defects like cleft lip or cleft palate.
  • Higher chance of having a healthy birth weight (more than 5.5 pounds) and growing on track.
  • More likely to come home from the hospital with you. Babies who are too small or who need care for health problems may need to stay in the hospital until they are healthy enough to go home.
  • Increased chance lungs will develop well.
  • More likely to have normal brain development before birth and through early childhood.
  • Less likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant or are pregnant, there are resources available to you to help you quit.

  • 1-800-QUIT NOW (1-800-784-8669) – Program for Pregnant Smokers
  • Smoking Cessation counseling for pregnant women at the Dorchester County Health Department. Individual or group sessions or counseling in the home if needed. Call 410-228-3223.
  • Smokefree Women
  • March of Dimes | Smoking During Pregnancy
  • Pregnant Women
  • Text MOM to 222888 for 24/7 tips, advice, encouragement and resources.

Tobacco Use Prevention and Education Activities includes:

  • Community based programs for tobacco/nicotine use prevention and education.
  • Motivation to quit presentations/classes for workplaces, churches and community.
  • Education and prevention activities/presentations for youth, parents and the community.
  • Working with local law enforcement for compliance with state tobacco sales to youth laws

For Parents:

Whether your child is already using e-cigarettes or you feel your child would never use them, now is the time to talk with them about the dangers and consequences of e-cigarette use. Use these tip sheets to help you prepare.

For Teens: 

This site is designed to help youth understand the decisions they make — especially the decision to quit smoking — and how those decisions fit into their life. “Your Life. Your Health. Your Call.” The site is run by the National Cancer Institute.

Download quitSTART | Smokefree Teen 

The quitSTART app is a free smartphone app that helps you quit smoking with tailored tips, inspiration, and challenges. Available on Apple Store and Google Play.

Truth Initiative 

Truth Initiative has a free text message program to give young people, as well as their parents, the support they need. Access the program by texting DITCHVAPE to 88709 or by enrolling in the free, digital quit programs, This is Quitting or BecomeAnEX, which integrate the text program.

Smoking Stops Here

MDQuit Line to assist in tobacco/ nicotine cessation, available 24/7. Includes youth quit coaches for youth ages 13-17. Call toll free at 1-800-QUIT-NOW

No Tobacco 

The Foundation For A Smokefree America: Motivating youth to stay tobacco free and empowering smokers to quit.

This Free Life

This Free Life is a campaign that works to prevent and reduce tobacco use among young adults who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT).

Other Tobacco Cessation Resources

Funded by Cigarette Restitution Fund Program through the Maryland Department of Health