Media Inquiry Information Regarding Great Mills High School Incident

We are receiving a number of media inquiries related to the shooting incident at Great Mills High School this morning (3/20). All media inquiries should be directed to: Cpl. Julie Yingling, Interim Public Information Officer, St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office at 301-475-4200 x*1955 or 240-309-9456 (mobile) or email:

Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid to Discuss Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

Colorectal cancer, which is defined as any cancer that starts in the colon, rectum or even the large intestine, is a topic that faces a fair amount of stigma in our society. Unfortunately, even though it’s one of the least talked about forms of cancer, it’s also one of the most prevalent in America.

Here are three reasons why it’s so important to come together as a community and openly talk about colorectal cancer this month.

It Can Affect Anyone, at Any Age

Although colorectal cancer is more often associated with those over the age of 45, it can affect anyone regardless of age, race, gender or lifestyle. The American Cancer Society (ACS) reports that the overall lifetime risk of developing colorectal cancer is about 1 in 22 (4.49%) for men and 1 in 24 (4.15%) for women.

It’s estimated that there will be over 97,000 new cases of colon cancer and more than 43,000 new cases of rectal cancer. Moreover, the ACS also estimates that colorectal cancer will cause 50,630 deaths during 2018 in the United States alone.

Awareness Results in Prevention

This common form of cancer has always been something of a taboo topic amongst the general population. It’s understandable, but talking about it more openly with each other is the only way to help more people prevent and detect it before it’s too late.

Make no mistake, there is no guaranteed way to prevent colorectal cancer. But by encouraging friends and family members who may be at risk to get screened, you’re able to employ one of the most powerful ways to fight this cancer.

With that said, there are a few things you can do to help improve your level of risk beyond regular screenings, including:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Regular physical activity
  • Enjoying a healthy diet
  • Moderating alcohol consumption
  • Not smoking

Your doctor can help you understand what you should be doing to improve your level of risk as well as when you should be getting screened.

There’s Hope with Treatment Options

Beyond spreading the word about prevention, talking about colorectal cancer also sheds light on potential treatment options for those who are afflicted by the disease. Treatment options vary based on severity and stage, but surgery is often necessary to remove tumors caused by colorectal cancer.

Talking about the cancer and its treatment options are an important part of ensuring that others know that there’s still hope after a diagnosis. In fact, the National Cancer Institute’s data shows that the 5-year survival rate for people with stage I cancer is about 87%.

It’s up to all of us to work towards removing the stigma that surrounds colorectal cancer. By educating yourself, understanding your own risk and helping others understand their risk levels, you can make a huge difference in your family and in your community.

5 Great Things You Can Do for Your Body During National Nutrition Month

National Nutrition Month

Whether you were resolved to eating better in the new year or you’re always on the lookout for ways to live better, National Nutrition Month is a great opportunity to recommit yourself to choosing the right foods and beverages for yourself and your family.

Although the amount of advice and tips you’ll find on the internet for eating better is endless, here are five things you can do right now:

Focus on the Nutrition Facts Label

Nutrition facts are on nearly every package of food sold in grocery stores in the U.S., but do you know how to decipher the information on them?

From serving sizes to daily values, the facts and figures listed on every nutrition facts label will be your guide throughout National Nutrition Month and beyond. It’ll help you better understand which foods are giving you the nutrients you need and which ones are just giving you the extra calories you don’t.

Check out this great guide from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics if you need some guidance on that little label.

Avoid Fad Diets

It may be tempting to try the latest and greatest diet that people all over social media seem to be raving about. What these posts, articles and videos don’t tell you about these “fad diets” is that they’re quite often ineffective at helping you eat better and lose weight in the long term.

Sure, you might lose weight over the next several months as you totally eliminate carbohydrates or some other nutrient. But you’ll likely find that keeping the weight off and sticking to the diet beyond that is a much harder thing.

Focus more on health and less on weight by employing a diet that’s full of variety — nutrient-rich foods that contain the proper balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals. You’ll find that portion control and moderation are more important to long-term health than any “fad diet” could be.

Keep Nutrient-Rich Snacks Nearby

If you’re a habitual snacker or just find yourself getting hungry between meals, you know how easy it is to turn to unhealthy snacks like chips, cookies and crackers.

Toss out those empty-calorie snacks at your desk or home and replace them with alternatives such as nuts, berries and veggies. They’ll curb your cravings and help you get the vital nutrients you need throughout the day.

Cut Back on Salt, Added Sugars and Solid Fats

We’re not saying you have to totally eliminate bad foods from your diet, but taking steps to reduce the amount of sodium, added sugars, trans fats and saturated fats can go a long way.

For example, instead of drinking soda or juice, opt for water. Or rather than eating sausages and high-fat beef every time you grill, choose meats like chicken or lean pork. You might be surprised by the difference a few small changes can make to your overall health.

If you’re someone who’s been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s even more important to keep these things in mind. Our Center for Diabetes Education is here to help you make smarter, more effective dietary choices so you can live better with diabetes. Visit our website to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

Drink Coffee

Yes, you read that correctly. Although research is still being conducted to discover the health benefits of drinking coffee, several studies have already shown that consumption of coffee has positive effects on wellness.

From protecting against type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease to lowering risk for developing Parkinson’s disease and depression — coffee has emerged as a potential super drink. As with anything, however, drink it in moderation!

Want to get more nutritional advice and tips? Be sure to check out our Online Health Library and the Food and Drug Administration’s tips for healthy eating.

Time is Running Out to Purchase Celebration Gala Tickets

Don't Miss Out on Gala Tickets

If you’re planning on joining us on March 24 for our annual Celebration Gala at Swan Point Yacht & Country Club, you’ll want to act fast because our final tickets to this black-tie fundraiser are available in limited quantities.

This is your last chance to choose the VIP Dinner Reservation, which includes an exclusive, chef-inspired dinner and a full night of festivities. Come for the main event with a Gala Reservation to enjoy hors d’oeuvres, desserts and an open bar. Or select the Late Night Reservation to meet us after the Gala to help turn the party up a notch.

All reservation levels include a complimentary shuttle to and from the event, courtesy of Keller Transportation (pick-up and drop-off location in La Plata).

VIP Dinner Reservations
6pm admittance | $200 each

Gala Reservations
8pm admittance | $150 each

Late Night Reservations
9:30pm admittance | $100 each

Purchase Tickets

Ticket sales have already helped raise thousands of dollars for the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation and the Hospital’s plans for establishing the Julie and Bill Dotson Center for Breast Health. And your ticket purchase will directly support this worthy cause, too!

There’s Still Time to Become a Sponsor, Too

You can join our growing list of generous partners by having your business sponsor this year’s event.

Choose one of the remaining sponsorship levels available on our website, and your contributions will help us reach our fundraising goal. Plus, your business will enjoy great exposure both leading up to the event and at Gala itself.

Have questions regarding reservations? Want to learn more about sponsorship opportunities? Contact Holly Gonzalez at (301) 609-4319 or

Get Charles County’s Latest Health and Wellness Updates in “Maryland’s Health Matters”

Maryland's Health Matters Cover

If you’re in search of the latest news, updates and information regarding the state of health and wellness resources in Charles County, we have a free magazine you’ll definitely want to check out.

Maryland’s Health Matters, the official quarterly magazine of the University of Maryland Medical System, is the perfect companion to all of the information and resources you can find on our blog and our website.

The University of Maryland Medical System understands that community wellness needs and preferences vary by geographic region, so they publish an edition specifically for Charles County. It’s all part of our mission of helping you make informed health care decisions for yourself and your family.

Here’s a look at just some of the topics covered in this new issue:

Living Well with COPD – Learn more about what causes COPD, how it can be managed and what resources are available to Charles County residents who have been diagnosed with it.

Overcoming the Daily Hurdles of Diabetes – Get some easy-to-follow tips from our team about how you can live better after a diabetes diagnosis.

Foundation Focus – See what the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation has been up to and get a preview of the upcoming Celebration Gala event.

University of Maryland Children’s Hospital Highlight – When kids get sick, the experts at the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital are there to help. This highlight examines how this specialized hospital provided personalized, compassionate care for three such kids so they could have healthier childhoods.

The latest issue of Maryland’s Health Matters is available online 24/7, so click or tap right here to start reading the latest issue now.

Thank You to These Local Businesses for Their Contributions to the Community

Recognizing Our Sponsors

Whenever the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation announces one of its fundraising events, business leaders from around Southern Maryland have always jumped in to lend a hand. And this year’s Celebration Gala is no exception.

This year’s black-tie Gala event — taking place on March 24 at Swan Point Yacht & Country Club — is intrinsically connected to the plans for the Julie and Bill Dotson Center for Breast Health. When it opens, this center will provide hope, support and care for those in our community who are dealing with breast health issues.

Since we first announced this event, local businesses and groups have been at the forefront of helping the CRMC Foundation reach its fundraising goal. Sponsorship gifts help create exclusive experiences for the night, such as the raw oyster bar, photo booth and more.

We are truly humbled by the generosity that has that have taken shape for this year’s event, and we hope you’ll join with us in thanking and supporting our Gala sponsors for their contributions. Here’s a look at the businesses and groups that are supporting this year’s event.

Sapphire Sponsors

5 Essential Cardiovascular Disease Facts Everyone Should Know

American Heart Month

Every February, we come together with the rest of the country to raise awareness about cardiovascular disease during American Heart Month.

It all started in 1964 when Lyndon B. Johnson adopted the month through an annual proclamation. Since then, this month has been dedicated to helping people understand what cardiovascular disease is, what causes it and what we can do about it.

So if you’re ready to focus on your heart health this month, we invite you to learn more by taking the following five facts and sharing them with friends and family. By passing along what you learn about the causes and effects of heart attacks, coronary artery disease and strokes, you can help others live longer, healthier lives.

1. Cardiovascular Disease Claims More Than

17.3 Million Lives Each Year

Although American Heart Month generally focuses on the impact cardiovascular disease has in the U.S., it’s important to remember that stroke, heart attack and other heart-related ailments are worldwide issues.

Responsible for more than 17.3 million deaths every year, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world. What’s more, this number is expected to climb to over 23 million per year by 2030.

2. Nearly Half of the American Population is at Risk for

Heart Disease

There are three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. Unfortunately, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 47% of Americans have at least one of these risk factors.

3. Almost 800,000 Americans Will Have a Stroke

This Year

According to the CDC, stroke is the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States. Here are some other important stroke statistics from the CDC:

  • Strokes are responsible for about 140,000 deaths in America every year (that’s one out of every 20).
  • 795,000 strokes are reported in the U.S. annually, which factors out to one stroke every 40 seconds.
  • Stroke is the leading cause of serious long-term disabilities and costs the U.S. an estimated

    $34 billion every year.

4. You Can Control Some Risk Factors

The level of risk associated with developing coronary heart disease, having a heart attack or having a stroke is tied to a variety of factors. Some of these things can be controlled while others are simply based on heredity.

Here’s a quick breakdown of things you can control:

Risk Factors You Can’t Control

  • Age – Although strokes and heart attacks can happen at any age, risk does increase with age.
  • Race – Statistics have shown that race plays a role in an individual’s risk level.
  • Family History – A person’s risk level is heavily dependent on their family’s history.

Risk Factors You Can Control:

  • DietUtilizing a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight are key.
  • Smoking – Smoking greatly increases your level of risk.
  • Physical Activity – Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your blood pressure —

    two contributing factors to your level of risk.

5. Heart Attacks and Strokes Can Be Treated —

if You Act Fast

Beyond all the stats and figures we can share about the diseases and ailments that affect such a substantial amount of people every year, you need to know that heart attacks and strokes can be treated. But they can only be treated if you know how to spot a heart attack or stroke and you know what to do next.

We’ve covered the signs and symptoms on our blog previously, and more information about heart attack signs and symptoms is available on CDC’s website.

Most importantly, if you think someone is having a stroke or a heart attack, don’t wait or hesitate. Call 9-1-1 immediately — you may just save their life or prevent a long-term disability.

UM Charles Regional Medical Center Updates Visitation Policy in Response to Severe Flu Season

Protecting You from the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported significantly increased activity of the seasonal influenza across the country in recent weeks. As a result, we are taking the necessary steps to limit the spread of this debilitating illness at our hospital.

For the safety of our patients, visitors and staff this flu season, we’ve temporarily updated our visitation policies to help prevent the spread of germs. Please review the below information before planning your visit to UM Charles Regional Medical Center.

What You Need to Know About the Updated Visitation Policy

To better protect everyone at risk of contracting the seasonal flu and other illnesses, we have implemented the following guidelines for visitation.

  • Visitors must be free of flu-like symptoms
  • Only two (2) visitors per patient admitted at a time
  • Visitors under the age of 18 will not be permitted
  • Spouses/significant others are exempt from limited visiting hours

Updated Visiting Hours

During this time, we’ve also revised our visiting hours for the entire hospital to 12pm-2pm and 6pm-8pm daily.

Not feeling well? We ask that you do not plan a patient visit at this time. We appreciate your cooperation in helping us care for you and your family.

If you have any questions about this temporary visitation policy, please contact us at (301) 609-4000 or by submitting a contact form on our website.

There’s Still Time to Get Your Flu Shot

If you’ve yet to receive the seasonal flu vaccine, it’s not too late. The seasonal flu’s “peak season” often continues through March, and a flu shot can help prevent sickness for you and those around you.
Most major insurance plans cover the costs of getting vaccinated, but the Charles County Department of Health also offers free walk-in flu shots from 8am-5pm daily or by appointment when you call (301) 609-6799.

Everything You Need to Know About the 2018 Celebration Gala

Celebration Gala

Get your tux out or pick your favorite evening gown because the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation’s annual Celebration Gala event is coming up!

You are cordially invited to join us on Saturday, March 24, from 8pm to midnight, at Swan Point Yacht and Country Club for this highly anticipated event.

This year, we’re continuing to offer several reservation options to fit your preference. Choose a VIP Dinner Reservation to join us for an exclusive, chef-inspired dinner and the full night of festivities. Come for the main event with a Gala Reservation and you’ll enjoy hors d’oeuvres, desserts and the open bar. Or select our Late Night Reservation to meet us after the Gala and help turn the party up a notch. Which will you choose?

Make your selections because tickets are on sale now, and our VIP Dinner Reservations are limited, so you’ll need to act fast to secure your spot. Plus, for all ticket offerings, you’ll be able to take advantage of early bird savings when you purchase before March 2.

VIP Dinner Reservations (Limited quantities available)
6pm admittance | $175 each through March 2 ($200 thereafter)

Gala Reservations
8pm admittance | $125 each through March 2 ($150 thereafter)

Late Night Reservations
9:30pm admittance | $75 each through March 2 ($100 thereafter)

Purchase Tickets

As always, proceeds from this fantastic event benefit the Charles Regional Medical Center Foundation. This year, these funds will directly support the hospital’s plans for establishing a new Center for Breast Health, which will help meet the goal of providing hope, support and care for our family, friends and community members as they cope with breast health issues.

Businesses are encouraged to get involved with the Gala, too! A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available now. Sponsors enjoy great exposure leading up to and during this event and play a key role in helping us meet the goals of this event. Visit our website to learn more about the sponsorship levels offered at this year’s Gala.

Become a Sponsor

Why We’re Raising Awareness About Cervical Cancer This January

Cervical Health Awareness Month

You’ve probably heard about cervical cancer from your doctor, the news or just someone you know. But how much do you know about this form of cancer?

Take some time this January to learn more about cervical cancer, its causes, its treatment options and preventative measures you can take to reduce your chances for developing it.

What is Cervical Cancer?

Cervical cancer is a cancer that starts in a woman’s cervix, which is located on the lower end of the uterus.

What are the Contributing Causes of Cervical Cancer?

Your doctor will be able to help you determine your risk level for developing cervical cancer, but there are a few things to know that will help you better understand your individual risk.

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is one of the leading causes of cervical cancers. Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Having HIV or another autoimmune disorder
  • Having given birth to three or more children
  • Having several sexual partners
  • Using birth control pills for a long time (five or more years)

HPV is one of the most common STDs in the U.S. It’s so prevalent, in fact, that the CDC notes that most people will contract it at some point in their lives. Fortunately, HPV often goes away on its own over time, and vaccines do exist for it.

Is it Preventable?

Cervical cancer was, at one time, among the most common causes of cancer deaths for American. Today, cervical cancer is actually one of the most highly preventable cancer types in the U.S. as a result of the screening tests and HPV vaccines, according to the CDC.

Although early symptoms and warning signs for cervical cancer are rare, screenings can help doctors detect presence of pre-cancers before they become invasive cancers. A pap test or “pap smear,” as it’s often called, has been proven effective in detecting the disease before it becomes life threatening.

Additionally, HPV tests and vaccines are available to help detect and/or prevent infection of HPV-16 and HPV-18, which are the two strains that are responsible for the vast majority of all cervical cancers.

The American Cancer Society recommends that routine HPV vaccination for girls and boys should begin at age 11 or 12, but your doctor may recommend it get started as early as age 9. While this may seem like a young age to receive a vaccine of this type, the American Cancer Society notes that HPV vaccines produce the strongest immune responses in preteens.

What are the Treatment Options?

Currently, there are no treatments available for HPV, but many genital HPV infections go away with the help of a person’s immune system within two years.

Should you be diagnosed with cervical cancer, however, a variety of treatment options exist. Which treatment(s) you ultimately utilize will vary depending on the stage of the cancer has reached and based on recommendations from your health care provider. The most common treatments for cervical cancer include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and targeted therapy.

Want to learn more about cervical cancer this month? Be sure to check out our Online Health Library and visit the National Cervical Cancer Coalition website for more information and to find out how you can get involved in spreading awareness all month long. And if you’d like to schedule a preventive screening, checkup or appointment with a women’s health expert, contact UM Community Medical Group – Women’s Health in Charles County today.

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