Along with their licenses and spare change, residents of Carroll County can now keep health, employment, and legal resources at their fingertips. Thanks to an effort from the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, handy, resourceful “Carroll Cards” for wallets, purses, and pockets list simple and basic needs for health and medical information.
Eight students (Keith Fischer, Jan Gaspar, Caitanya Min, Mariel Otter, Emily McWilliams, Emily Smith, Jamie Stowe, and Steven Wright) in the January to March public health nursing rotation at the Carroll County Health Department were charged to create a compact, easy-to-use resource card to help people in the community know where to find not only healthcare, but also employment, Social Security resources, mental health counseling, housing, and even legal advice.
“We saw that the county had a wide variety of resources available to their residents, but no concise way of distributing the information,” said McWilliams. Dianna Davis, Clinical Instructor for the JHUSON Baccalaureate program, agreed. “When patients come into the hospital, they frequently have questions about other local agencies or services. We needed a list of resources that were commonly used and often necessary under an urgent basis,” she said.
The students devised a list of resources they thought would be most beneficial to the community, and decided the card format should be foldable and durable—something residents could carry with them. After Min, a former National Geographic graphic artist, took on the layout design and logo creation, the card went off to the printer for the first run and began making its rounds through the community.
To date, there have been almost 6,000 cards given out at doctor’s offices, urgent care sites, and emergency departments, and they are available for any agency, office, or medical site that wants to distribute them. Davis reports the card is on the third printing and has been extremely popular. “We’ve actually seen clients carrying them around to use the information. It’s really amazing the power of knowledge. When the information and resources are there, people are empowered to help themselves.”