Columbia, MD – The Howard County Health Department released today its biennial Report Card of Community Health Indicators. This report card evaluates the health of Howard County residents across several key public health measures, including chronic disease risk factors, cancer incidence, leading causes of death, and maternal & infant health.

“By reviewing this data every two years and sharing it with our partners, collectively we can identify where to focus our attention and where resources are needed to address health trends that are stagnant or worsening,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer. “While we are seeing an encouraging decline in adult cigarette use and a declining cancer death rate in the County, we are hopeful to make progress in eliminating the racial disparities in sexually-transmitted infection rates and in reducing fall-related deaths.”

“Based on this report card, our community has reason to celebrate our progress and innovation to increase positive patient outcomes, while also identifying those areas that need our ongoing attention,” said Howard County Executive Calvin Ball. “The pandemic especially highlighted that we must remain vigilant in monitoring health trends and keeping concerns about equality at the forefront of our efforts to support Howard County as a healthy and safe place to live, grow, and raise a family.”

Highlights from the report card include:

  • A decline in cigarette use among adult residents. Survey results show a 39% reduction in smoking from 2019 to 2021.
  • Heart disease and cancer continue to be the two most common causes of death in the County.
  • Four out of every 10 non-motor vehicle accident deaths were due to falls in 2020.
  • Rates of newly diagnosed cancers are stable in Howard County.
    • County residents experience higher rates of female breast cancer, melanoma, and prostate cancers and lower rates of cervical, colorectal, liver, and lung cancer when compared to Maryland and the U.S.
  • Cancer death rates have declined in Howard County.
    • Rates of cancer mortality are lower for selected sites included in the report when compared to Maryland and the U.S.
  • Reported rates of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea are highest among Black residents; an almost 8-fold and 14-fold difference respectively when compared to White residents.
  • After a steady rise in opioid-related overdose deaths in the County, the rate of opioid-related events, both non-fatal and fatal, appear to have slowed.

“The Howard County Board of Health encourages a data-driven approach to evaluating the health of the Howard County community,” said Anthony C. Wisniewski, Chair of the Board of Health.The information provided in this report card is invaluable as our health department and our community health partners develop priorities toward preserving and improving the health of our residents.”

Howard County Health Department continuously monitors and evaluates health-related data to ensure a safe, healthy Howard County community. Periodic reports examining significant health factors to the community and promoting the role of public health can be located on the Health Department Reports and Data webpage.

Media Contacts
Lisa M. de Hernández, CCPH, MPIO, Director, Communications & Public Information

Stay Connected!

Sign up for the County Executive's weekly newsletter and stay up to date on everything Howard County.

Zip Code