Chronic Disease Program Serves Thousands in Garrett County

Developing and implementing impactful programs in Garrett County has long been at the heart of the Garrett County Health Department’s mission to make Garrett County a healthier place to live, work, and play. During the summer, over one hundred physical activity opportunities, events, and programs were implemented to improve access for thousands of Garrett County residents.

Hundreds of thousands of people visit Garrett County each year to enjoy outdoor recreation. Numerous public parks, lakes, and a plethora of wooded trails make it a desirable location to visit. However, some residents find it difficult to take advantage of recreational resources that our visitors access. In the recent publication of the 2022-2024 Community Health Assessment 24.5% of adults reported they do not participate in leisure time physical activity, and 17.4% report having poor to fair health according to the Indicators section of the report. In addition, 35.5% of the adult population is obese with a BMI at or above 30.

In early 2022, the Garrett County Health Department’s Population Health, Innovation, and Informatics Unit set out on a mission to dramatically change the way people in Garrett County spend their leisure time, and reduce the burden of chronic diseases in the process. In an effort to increase opportunities for people to be more physically active, an initiative called GC In Motion was launched in April of 2022. This comprehensive program utilizes community collaboration and is specifically designed with community input to keep people moving with a variety of activities.

Shelley Argabrite, MA Director of Population Health, Innovation & Informatics at the Garrett County Health Department stated, “Offering free events removes a significant barrier for our population. Purchasing annual state park passes, CARC passes, and Wildwood Athletic Center passes, as well as paying high-quality instructors to provide direct access to fitness opportunities at no cost is one way of making recreation more equitable in Garrett County.” This program was funded through a large, competitive CareFirst award to the Garrett County Health Department’s Population Health, Innovation, and Informatics Unit.

Herrington Manor State Park staff played a key role in both design and programmatic offerings for our Summer or Fitness and Fun. Luke Mongrain commented, “Getting people outside and physically active is a very important aspect in life. GC In Motion did just that! As a Ranger Supervisor at Herrington Manor State Park it was great to see new local community members able to participate in programming at our treasured State Parks that may have not been able to do so before!”

Stipends were also awarded to engage grassroots community efforts that appealed to different audiences. Explore the wall of gratitude ( on Go! Garrett County to hear first-hand experiences from community members who participate in this program.

This research-based campaign has already served 5,486 people in Garrett County, and continues to expand each week.

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