The Takoma Park/Long Branch communities envision a community of strong social networks rich in interactions that empower individuals and families to improve health and fitness, prevent illness, develop a sense of well being, and foster each person’s potential for a long, active, and fulfilling life. The community will:

  • Offer multiple sources of health information, including community-based health education.
  • Offer equal access to all necessary health services including appropriate preventive services regardless of financial means and geographic location, so that health outcome disparities among socio-economic groups are reduced.
  • Offer healthy choices in terms of nutritious, locally grown food, healthy homes, and a clean and healthy environment.
  • Be designed to accommodate and encourage physical activity.


Health information is available from a variety of sources within the community and readily accessible to all.

  • FIRST INDICATOR: Percent of residents who are satisfied with health information.
  • SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Inventory of sources of health information within the community.


All people have equal access to health services and disparities are reduced.

  • FIRST INDICATOR: Percent or number of people with health insurance.
  • SECOND INDICATOR: Use of emergency health services for health conditions that could have been treated by primary care physicians and the use of emergency health services for conditions that are preventable.
  • SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: List and count of health clinics (and providers?) in the community and the amount they charge for services.


A diversity of health services are available and patients have influence over how they receive health care.

  • FIRST INDICATOR: Availability of a variety of health practitioners and health specialties.
  • SECOND INDICATOR: Percent of Doctors with malpractice judgments or disciplinary actions taken within the last 10 years.


Individuals take actions to promote their own wellness and manage their health.

  • FIRST INDICATOR: The percent of adults who engage regularly, preferably daily, in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes per day.
  • SECOND INDICATOR: The proportion of people who are using any forms of tobacco products.
  • THIRD INDICATOR: The proportion of children and adolescents who are overweight or obese.
  • FOURTH INDICATOR: The proportion of adolescents who abstain from sexual intercourse or use condoms if currently sexually active.
  • FIFTH INDICATOR: Percent of births to women receiving prenatal care in the first trimester.


Social structures, networks and community institutions support people’s health.

  • FIRST INDICATOR: Measure of neighborhood connectedness.
  • SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: List of physical fitness opportunities and facilities available to community members.


Individuals experience good health.

  • FIRST INDICATOR: Prevalence of chronic diseases, especially those that are preventable.
  • SECOND INDICATOR: Number of people whose self-reported health status is Good or Excellent.
  • THIRD INDICATOR: Number of ‘healthy’ days.
  • FOURTH INDICATOR: Percent of babies born with low birth weight.
  • FIFTH INDICATOR: Changes in mortality rates by causes of death in the community.

2 VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES: Health Outreach and Access

Community Outreach volunteers and Community Outreach Administrative volunteers are requested to apply for health access opportunities beginning August 1, 2016.

Building Competent Communities

In their book “The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods” John McKnight and Peter Block emphasize competent communities that are rich in connections between people, gifts shared through those connections, and hospitality to strangers outside those connections .  CHEER’s primary goal is to build competent communities in Takoma Park and Long Branch. […]

The Evolution of CHEER: Where we’ve been and where we’re going

CHEER has evolved from an idea for sharing information about the community to becoming a network of support for the hopes and dreams of a richly diverse community for Takoma Park and Long Branch. Our new brochure timeline documents this. Our journey began with an effort to develop indicators of housing in Takoma Park in […]

Long Branch Healthy Food Access Program Planning Grant Awarded

The Healthcare Initiative Foundation (HIF) has awarded a $45,000 planning grant to Community Health and Empowerment through Education and Research (CHEER). HIF’s mission is to support organizations that offer solutions to improve the quality and delivery of healthcare for residents of Montgomery County. CHEER is the convener of Healthy Long Branch, a consortia of health […]

CHEER Increases Health Access in Long Branch

The World Health organization defines health promotion as the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. The definition moves beyond a focus on individual behavior towards a wide range of social and environmental interventions. At CHEER the Community Outreach Specialists are committed to developing the health awareness of individuals, […]

Intern perspective: What is CHEER’s most exciting new program?

This last semester CHEER has been host to an intern from the University of Maryland, Chris Maddox. He has been very helpful working specifically in our health programs. We asked Chris to give some perspective on a CHEER program for which he is most excited. The following is his response. As a new intern at […]

CHEER outreach specialists are extending healthcare access

Healthcare is more available now than at anytime in the past. The Affordable Care Act and Montgomery County’s Safety net clinics make primary health care available at unprecedented levels. Two County programs, Montgomery Cares and Care for Kids programs, provide subsidies to primary health care providers who treat low income uninsured residents. Nevertheless, many continue to have […]

The Long Branch Health Enterprise Zone Changes Name to Healthy Long Branch

The Long Branch Health Enterprise Zone has changed its name to Healthy Long Branch and has become a pathway to pacesetter community within the Institute for Health Care Improvement’s 100 Million Healthier Lives Campaign.

The Long Branch Partners meeting

   The Long Branch Partners is a collaboration of different organizations and agencies that serve the Long Branch community. A Long Branch Partners meeting led by CHEER was held last Thursday July 9th at the Long Branch Library. The purpose of the meeting was to create a common space in which local agencies and organizations […]

CHEER Initiates Primary Care Outreach and Referral Pilot

Back in April CHEER was awarded a $50,000 Healthcare Initiative Foundation grant to conduct a pilot outreach and referral program that has two major goals. First is to get low income uninsured people in Long Branch and Takoma Park into primary care treatment. Second is to help patients, to get access to social supports that […]

CHEER Brings Health Care Insurance Opportunities to the Latino and African Immigrant Communities

During the winter of 2015 CHEER community outreach specialists brought health care insurance information and opportunities to the Latino and African immigrant communities in the Takoma Park and Silver Spring area.  During the Affordable Care Act open enrollment season our team of eight community outreach specialists contacted 1,368 people about health care opportunities through the […]

Free Health Insurance for those who do not qualify for ACA coverage

Kaiser Permanente’s Charitable Health Access Program is a subsidized  health care product for low income uninsured individuals who do not have access or qualify for any other health care program.  This is an off exchange program so enrollment has to be completed before February 15, 2015. This is for low income uninsured people and provides quality […]

It’s Open Enrollment Season for Affordable Care Act Health Insurance!!

The Affordable Care Act offers quality affordable private health insurance for many individuals and families. Enrollment can be done online through the Maryland Health Connection.  To advance the community goal of increasing access to health care, CHEER has contracted with Montgomery County, in collaboration with the Capital Region Health Connector, to conduct outreach and education […]

Snapshots of Community Improvement 2014

On a cold February day in 2012, we heard that a long line of people were waiting for health care at Mobile Med’s medical van at the Long Branch Community Center. Dozens of people waited for more than an hour in the cold to be seen by a doctor. Unfortunately, this scene has been repeated […]

CHEER Finds Limited Healthcare Capacity in County Program for Uninsured in Long Branch

Latino Residents in the Long Branch area without health insurance report difficulty getting medical appointments through the Montgomery Cares program, a program that provides health services to uninsured adults in Montgomery County.    Language barriers were frequently cited as a problem for navigating appointments. However, another major complaint is that the safety net clinics that provide […]

Long Branch Health and Wellness Asset Inventory

In response to needs expressed by community residents and health care providers CHEER has published the Long Branch Health and Wellness Asset Inventory.  This list is intended to provide community residents and health care providers with a useful guide to health and wellness resources in or near Takoma Park and Long Branch.  The inventory lists […]

Healthy Montgomery Data Reveals Local Health Disparities

Data compiled by Healthy Montgomery, the County’s health improvement process within the Department of Health and Human Service, shows that the 20912 zip code (Takoma Park and Long Branch) is tied for the highest age-adjusted hospitalization rate for diabetes in Montgomery County.  The hospitalization rate is 25.0 hospitalizations per 10,000 people.[1]   This is more than […]

CHEER Initiates Neighborhood Improvement Process

Takoma Park and Long Branch community members want to know their neighbors and want to work with them on common projects which enhance the quality of life in their communities.  This message emerged from the community strategic planning process last year and speaks to the mission and vision of CHEER. We, along with our partners […]

CHEER Convenes Health Enterprise Zone Planning Retreat

On March 22 and March 23, 2013 CHEER convened a strategic planning retreat of the Long Branch Health Enterprise Zone Coalition.  The retreat resulted in a draft strategic plan, which identifies criteria for prioritizing HEZ programs.  These criteria were matched to specific proposed programs and the highest priority programs were identified.  The retreat was co-sponsored […]

The Long Branch Health Enterprise Zone Proposal

A coalition convened by CHEER and led by the Primary Care Coalition successfully  submitted a proposal to the State Department of Mental Health and Hygiene to create a health enterprise zone in Takoma Park and Long Branch (zip codes 20912 and 20903). The proposal documents that Long Branch is a high medical needs area. Although […]

The Long Branch Health Enterprise Zone Concept

The goal of the Long Branch Health Enterprise Zone is to reduce health disparities in the Long Branch/Takoma Park community.  This community has a diverse population with significant disparities in income and opportunity. The Health Enterprise Zone is modeled after other successful place based initiatives for improving community health and well being.  The Harlem Children’s […]

CHEER Seeks to Bring Health Enterprise Zone to Long Branch and Takoma

Community Health and Empowerment through Education and Research (CHEER) is coordinating a coalition of government and local non-profit organizations to establish a Health Enterprise Zone (HEZ) in Long Branch. This is a new State funded, place-based approach that could bring as much as $1 million into the community.  If selected, the funds will be used […]

Takoma Park and Long Branch Priority Goals

What are the top priorities that should drive our community improvement efforts over the next five years?  CHEER recently asked this question of about 40 community leaders representing the diversity of Takoma Park and Long Branch.  From a list of 22 goals related to housing, health, and the local economy that community members have set, […]

Mothers at Rolling Terrace Share Knowledge and Experience

CHEER just completed showing three episodes of “Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?”  to Latin American Mothers who participate in the Linkages to Learning Program at Rolling Terrace Elementary School.  Each showing was followed by a discussion in which participants related their own experiences and stories on topics related to the social determinants of […]

CHEER Pilots Community Health Improvement Process

On June 28 CHEER conducted the first of a series of events at Essex House, a Takoma Park high rise on Maple Avenue that houses a large number of African and African-American residents.   This event included a presentation from Msache Mwaluko from the African American Health Program on how to get health care, and an […]

CHEER’s Seven Steps to Community Change

CHEER will be implementing a “community health improvement process” in locations throughout Takoma Park and Long Branch. This is a process which has been shown to be an effective way to make change happen. It shares many of the same elements with the “MAP-IT” approach recommended in Healthy People 2020. The CHEER adaptation engages people […]

What is a Healthy Community?

A healthy community is one where people have good physical and emotional health.  But this is more than just the absence of illness.  A healthy community promotes well-being and offers a high quality of life.  Healthy communities can be measured along five dimensions which contribute significantly to people’s ability to thrive.

Community Conversation Seeks to Identify Quality of Life Priorities

About 20 Takoma Park and Long Branch residents attended a community conversation where they shared their opinions on health and potential quality of life improvements at the Takoma Park Community Center on March 14.  Community Health and Empowerment through Education and Research (CHEER) hosted the community discussion for which Healthy Montgomery put together a series […]

CHEER Kicks off Community Health Assessment with Film Screening

There is a direct connection between the health of people and the social conditions under which they live. Lower income, lower social status, and the relative lack of control over one’s life create stress that acts as a primary driver of ill health. This is manifest as lower life expectancy and increased risks for virtually […]

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