UM Community Medical Group – Primary Care, Your Partner for Better Health

Health Care You Need Close to Home

A lasting relationship with a trusted primary care provider makes a big difference in your overall health.

UM Community Medical Group – Primary Care physician Dr. Lorenzo Childress has your best interests in mind and can make suggestions for how to keep you and your family healthy year after year. Because you will see the same provider every year, he will get to know you well over time and can provide you the best care with a personal touch.

Dr. Childress will help you achieve your health goals. Whether you’re in perfect health or in need of a serious lifestyle overhaul, he has your back!

Treatments and Services

Our services include:

  • Preventive care such as checkups, flu shots and immunizations
  • Patient education and health counseling
  • Health screenings, including diabetes and high blood pressure
  • Sports physicals
  • Ongoing management of chronic diseases

In addition to these services, Dr. Childress can refer you to the right specialty provider if your condition requires—he has built relationships with doctors all across the state to make sure you receive the highest quality care every time.

Making an Appointment

Call us at (301) 609-5044 today to schedule your appointment. Then, you can find us at the address below:

5 North La Plata Court
Suite 101
La Plata, MD 20646

About Dr. Childress

Lorenzo Childress III, MD is a Board-Certified internal medicine physician with 10 years of experience. He is a 2001 graduate of Wright State University School of Medicine. After completing a residency in Internal Medicine in 2006 at Kettering Medical Center in Kettering, OH, Dr. Childress did a two-year fellowship in joint preservation and replacement at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. In addition to traditional internal medicine services, Dr. Childress provides wound care and hyperbaric oxygen treatments at the University of Maryland Charles Regional Medical Center Wound Care Clinic.

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5 Proven Ways to Reduce Your Chances of Getting Sick This Holiday Season

Avoiding Sickness During the Holidays

Is there anything worse than getting sick during before you travel or take time off for the holidays?

While the seasonal flu is most prevalent in December and it seems like everyone around you is getting sick, it might only seem like a matter of time before you get sick as well. And although there’s no way to guarantee you won’t get sick at any point in the year, these are five of the most effective ways to avoid sickness throughout the holiday season:

Getting Enough Sleep

Your overall health and wellness are directly correlated to how much sleep you get every night. Give your body the energy it needs to make it through the day and fight off sickness by dedicating yourself to getting at least seven hours of sleep every night.

Washing Your Hands Regularly

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s even more important this time of year. Before you prepare or eat food, after using the bathroom, or after you blow your nose, take time to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer. You’ll help protect yourself and others around you at the same time!

Receiving the Flu Shot

Although it can take up to two weeks for the flu vaccine to be fully effective, there’s no better time than now to get vaccinated. You’ll protect yourself and everyone else around you, especially those who are most vulnerable, from this debilitating sickness.

Touching Your Face or Eyes Less

Make a conscious effort to avoid rubbing your eyes or face during this time of year. As the seasonal flu reaches its peak level of activity and the common cold spreads, touching your face makes it easy for bacteria and virus to get inside your body and get you sick.

Checking in with Your Primary Care Doctor

Now’s the time to meet with your doctor to get a checkup and discuss any health concerns you have heading into the holidays. What’s more is that your doctor can give you additional tips and advice not covered in this blog!

If you’re having trouble finding an appointment time with your current doctor, consider Dr. Lorenzo Childress. His office is located right here in La Plata and regularly offers next-day appointments. You can learn more about this UM Community Medical Group practice here.

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5 Keys to Reducing Stress During the Holidays

Reduce Stress During the Holidays

Money, time and energy. These things always seem to have a major impact on a person’s stress levels, and there never seems to be enough of any of it during the holiday season.

Although holiday stress seems to have become the norm in modern society, excessive stress can be one of the most harmful things to your overall health and wellness. But these are the five things you can do to manage and reduce stress throughout this busy time of year.

Managing Expectations with Your Family

Only you know what you can truly afford. Before anyone gets carried away with lavish gift suggestions or expensive ideas, have an open, honest conversation about what you really value about the holidays. And because not everyone in your family is going to have the same budget restrictions, don’t be afraid to temper expectations about gifts, meals or outings ahead of time.

Getting Organized

Having a to-do list for the holidays is a great way to keep everything in perspective and manage stress. It’s as simple as filling out the calendar you carry with you on your phone or just writing it down on a sticky note at home.

Keeping Up Your Exercise Routines

Don’t let the holidays be an excuse for skipping workouts in your routine. Make a point of continuing your exercise regimen (or get started with one) as usual. You’ll be surprised with how good it feels knowing you’re doing what you need to do to stay healthy.

Knowing When to Say “No”

One of the hardest things about this time of year is finding the time to fit everything in.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of party invites you’ve received, don’t be afraid to politely turn down the ones you’re okay skipping. And if you’re stressed by the idea of having to spend more money to attend expensive events, try suggesting more affordable alternatives or pass altogether.

Taking “Me” Time

The holidays are all about getting to spend time with friends and family, some of whom you haven’t seen for a long time. But that shouldn’t come at the expense of your own well-being.

Finding some time throughout the next few weeks to focus on doing what you want to do — exercising, relaxing, taking a walk, reading a book, etc. — for just a few minutes can go a long way. Your to-do list will be there when you get back, and you’ll feel even more ready to handle it when you do.

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5 Easy Ways You Can Combat Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

It’s no secret that America struggles with obesity.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this condition affects nearly 37 percent of American adults and 17 percent of children.

Obesity carries with it numerous health consequences for people of all ages. High blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, mental illness and physical pain are just some of the serious diseases and disorders that affect people with obesity at a higher rate than those at a normal weight.

Make no mistake, there is no simple solution to solving the obesity problem in America, but parents can play a key role in shaping the future of our country’s population by instilling positive health and wellness values in their children early in life.

That’s why we encourage you to join with us in promoting healthy lifestyles and combating childhood obesity during National Childhood Obesity Month. Here are five easy things you can do right now to help prevent obesity and promote a healthy lifestyle for your children:

Make Sure They Get Plenty of Sleep

Sleep deprivation has been shown to increase hunger levels because of the effect it has on hunger hormones. You have the power to turn off the TV, the iPad or the phone at night and ensure your child gets plenty of sleep — they’ll definitely feel better in the morning, and their metabolism will likely benefit as well.

Ditch the Chips in Favor of Fruits and Veggies

When you go grocery shopping, do you fill your cart with chips, cookies and other nutrient-deficient foods? Consider swapping out popular snack items like potato chips with fruits and veggies. You’ll be providing your children with lower-calorie options and help limit their intake of added sugars and solid fats that contribute to obesity.

Say Goodbye to Soda

Water. What more can we say? Non-diet soda is loaded with sugar and nutritionless calories. Unfortunately, most fruit juices aren’t great alternatives, either. So the next time your kids are thirsty, get them a cold glass of water.

Encourage Extra Physical Activity

No, you don’t have to force your kids to go on long runs or do weight training at an early age. But you can encourage them to stay active by getting them to participate in age-appropriate physical activities that they’ll have fun doing.

The Charles County Recreation Division runs several free and low-cost programs that provide physical activity for kids of all ages. Check out its offerings here.

Set a Good Example

Always remember, kids often emulate the habits and choices of their parents, so the best way to instill a healthy mindset in your child is to have one yourself! Our Online Health Library has some simple yet useful tips for adults looking to fight weight gain.

Want more tips and advice for how you can enhance your child’s activity and nutrition? We’re proud proponents of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s “We Can!” program, which empowers parents to impart healthy eating and lifestyle choices on their entire family. Learn more about this great program on its official website.

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5 Summer Safety Tips You Need to Know

Summer Safety Tips

With great weather and all sorts of fun activities going on, it can be easy to forget about taking the necessary steps to stay safe during the warmest months. But if you don’t want to let any heat- or sun-related illnesses or injuries derail your plans this summer, here are five tips worth following:

Apply Sunscreen Regularly

The number of skin cancer cases is rising every year in the United States, and, according to the American Cancer Society, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays is the biggest reason why. You can combat the harmful effects of UV rays by applying sunscreen with 15 SPF or better about 30 minutes before you head outside and at least every two hours once you’re in the sun.

If you have children, our Online Health Library has some great tips on how to keep them protected in addition to sunscreen.

Stay Hydrated Throughout the Day

When your body loses too much water, it’s less able to maintain adequate blood pressure, deliver sufficient oxygen and nutrients to cells and rid itself of wastes.

Going to be outside for extended periods of time? Make sure to bring plenty of water to replenish yourself throughout the day. Avoid alcoholic beverages or any drinks containing caffeine because these often have a diuretic effect.

If you’re going to be exercising outside, the American Council on Exercise recommends drinking at least 6-8 ounces of water for every 15-20 minutes of exercise, so plan accordingly, and be sure to properly hydrate yourself before you head out the door.

Choose the Right Time to Be Outside

One of the best ways you can avoid dehydration, sunburns and heat-related injuries is by choosing the right time to go outside. It’ll be hottest during the middle of the day and when it’s most humid. Consider going outside earlier or later in the day when the heat and the sun aren’t so intense.

Listen to What Your Body is Telling You

More than anything, you need to pay attention to your body. On the hottest days, be aware of how your body is reacting to the weather to avoid heat stroke. Some of the telltale signs of heat-related illnesses include:

    • Cramps

  • Moist, Pale Skin


  • Headache


  • Dizziness


  • Nausea


  • Heavy Sweating


  • Rapid Heartbeat


  • Dark Urine


Check on Others, Especially the Elderly and Disabled

You can help others stay safe this summer, too. Pay attention to your friends and family to ensure they’re doing okay out in the sun.

Give special attention to the elderly and people with disabilities — they’re often more vulnerable to high temperatures and may not be able to get help without someone intervening. Stay in touch with older members of your family and regularly check on those who often require extra care and attention.

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Primary Care and Rehabilitation Practices Relocating in La Plata

New Locations

One of our top priorities has always been to provide quality health care services for our community in the most convenient locations possible. And as part of that ongoing mission, we are announcing that UM Community Medical Group – Primary Care, led by Dr. Lorenzo Childress, and UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation are moving to new locations in La Plata.

Beginning April 17, you will be able to find these two practices at the following locations:

Rehabilitation: 5 North La Plata Court, Suite 102, La Plata, MD 20646

Primary Care: 5 North La Plata Court, Suite 101, La Plata, MD 20646

Rest assured, you’ll receive the same high-quality comprehensive rehabilitation and primary care services you’ve come to expect, just in a new location!

For more information about the relocation or the services offered by either of these practices, please call UM Charles Regional Rehabilitation at (301) 609-5494 or UM Community Medical Group – Primary Care at (301) 609-5044.

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Help us Fight Cardiovascular Disease During American Heart Month


High blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking — the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nearly half of all Americans have an increased risk for heart disease because of at least one of these factors.

Some risk factors, like family history and age, are completely out of our hands. But during American Heart Month, observed every February, we encourage you to take steps to help reduce your chance of developing heart disease.

What are those steps? The American Heart Association calls it “Life’s Simple 7,” which includes:

  1. Get Active
  2. Control Cholesterol
  3. Eat Better
  4. Manage Blood Pressure
  5. Lose Weight
  6. Reduce Blood Sugar
  7. Stop Smoking

In addition to these tips, a trusted primary care provider, such as Dr. Lorenzo Childress at UM Community Medical Group – Primary Care in La Plata, can help you stay on track with your health goals and give you the resources you need to keep your heart healthy. And if you have diabetes, our new Center for Diabetes Education can help you get on the path to lowering your risk for developing heart disease.

Though heart disease is serious and can cause life-threatening occurrences like heart attack and stroke, a lot can be done to lower your risk. So take this as a challenge and let’s all do our part this month to reduce our chance of developing heart disease and to encourage the ones we love to do the same.

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Make 2017 the Best Year Ever with These 8 Resolutions


Say goodbye to 2016 and say hello to a happier, healthier new year. These eight health and fitness resolutions are key to both short- and long-term health goals, and we’ve made it easy by providing tips and motivation for each one.

Resolution 1: Get Moving

Whether you’re starting a full-blown exercise program or just committing to walk more often, deciding to start a fitness program and add more movement to your life is the most important step. Be realistic about your goals to prevent getting discouraged, and stick to your plan by following some basic tips. And don’t forget to warm up and stretch before working out — nothing derails a resolution like getting hurt!

Resolution 2: Eat Healthy

There’s no question that eating healthy around the holidays is tough. But even if your holiday eating was overindulgent, it’s never too late to start eating well. Focus on long-term goals of overall health and fitness by making small changes in your diet rather than extreme, short-term adjustments. Find ways to keep your diet interesting and tasty with fun, healthy recipes. And no matter what, don’t get discouraged!

And if you have diabetes, we’re here to help you make 2017 a year of healthy food habits. Our Center for Diabetes Education, located right here at the hospital, can work with you to develop a healthy eating plan and more.

Resolution 3: Quit Smoking

2017 could be the year you call it quits for good. To be successful, you’ll have to attack the physical and mental addiction to tobacco, which is often done through a combination of medicine, habit changes and emotional support. Build a “Quit Plan,” use one of Charles County’s free Smoking Cessation Courses — do whatever it takes to set yourself up for long-term success and long-term health.

Resolution 4: Stress Less

Excessive stress affects much more than just your emotional well-being. In fact, stress can be the cause of a number of disorders and even puts you at risk for developing other illnesses and physical ailments. Learning and practicing some basic mind-clearing and relaxation practices can lower your stress and improve your health.

Resolution 5: Laugh More

Laughter goes hand-in-hand with relieving stress. Laughter is one of the most effective ways to stimulate organs and strengthen your immune system — and even burn a few calories in the process! Surround yourself with things that make you chuckle and people who make you smile in the new year, and experience the many benefits of laughter.

Resolution 6: Get Screened

The easiest way to improve long-term health is to receive regular wellness exams. Annual health screenings may help detect problems before they become serious and make it easier to administer effective treatments. Your primary care physician can help you plan for the necessary screenings, but taking charge of your own health is just as important. And because men and women have different needs, be sure to understand what screenings are recommended before you go.

Need to find a new primary care physician, or just looking for a more convenient primary care practice? Learn more about UM Community Medical Group’s new primary care practice in La Plata on our blog.

Resolution 7: Seek Help

You should never ignore the signs and symptoms of depression, mental illnesses or suicide in others or yourself. Whether you’re seeking help for yourself or for someone you know, a better understanding of what depression is makes it easier for a person to get help. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Resolution 8: Spread the Word

Committing to your resolutions is easier when you are accountable to others, so get out there and share those resolutions. Partner with a friend or family member who can help you keep your resolutions alive throughout the year. Don’t forget: Teamwork makes the dream work!

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Primary Care Now Open in La Plata: Dr. Lorenzo Childress Now Accepting New Patients


You shouldn’t have to go out of your way to get quality care from a primary care physician. And if you live in the Charles County area, you now have another option for primary care.

We’re excited to announce that we are bringing primary care to downtown La Plata, just minutes from the hospital, and the practice is now accepting new patients.

Under the direction of Lorenzo Childress III, MD, the UM Community Medical Group – Primary Care practice will provide Charles County residents with high-quality primary care services in a convenient location. Here’s a look at just some of the adult primary care services that are offered:

  • Preventive care and checkups for ages 16 & up
  • Ongoing management of chronic health issues, such as heart disease, diabetes, COPD and asthma
  • Disease prevention
  • Health counseling
  • Patient education
  • Diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses

The primary care physicians can also provide referrals to specialists when further treatment is needed. It’s just another way that the University of Maryland family of medical services is working to provide everyone in Charles County with the care they need.

Good health starts with a great primary care provider. To learn more about our primary care services, visit the official website or call  (301) 609-5044.

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August Is National Immunization Awareness Month

When was the last time you met someone who had polio, mumps or measles? Thanks to increased immunizations over time, these debilitating diseases have all but disappeared from our everyday lives. We’ve done such a good job of getting rid of or decreasing the number of cases of vaccine-preventable illnesses, people don’t understand how deadly and debilitating these diseases can be. But it’s just as important as ever that children and adults get immunized as instructed by their pediatrician or doctor.

That’s why we’re proud to support National Immunization Awareness Month throughout August.


“[Vaccines] have saved so many lives — and we’re at risk of going backwards because people don’t understand that,” said Dianna E. Abney, MD, Charles County’s top public health official.

The more people who are vaccinated, the less likely we are to pass around preventable diseases. Many people cannot receive vaccinations, like young babies or those who are immuno-compromised from cancer treatments or other diseases. When healthy people are not vaccinated, the health and safety of those who are unable to be vaccinated is put at risk.

Vaccines aren’t just for kids however. There are many vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, that adults should receive as well. But as with all individuals, determining which vaccination you should receive is based on your age and medical history, and your primary health care provider will be able to tell you if any vaccinations should be administered.

“The optimal place to get your vaccines is through your primary health care provider,” said Abney. “They know you best, and they can keep all of your vaccine records in one place.”

Need a doctor for you or your child? Visit our website to find a pediatrician or family doctor near you. To learn more about National Immunization Awareness Month and to see how you can help spread the word, visit the official awareness pages from and the Centers for Disease Control.

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