― Jonathan Fuller, Exercise Instructor for FitTeens360
“Under the supervision of my internship mentor I was able to help plan activities and speak with parents for the FitKids360 program. I enjoyed making connections with the children and watching them learn about healthy living while making progress through implementation of what they had learned.”
The WGVU Morning Show Children’s Dental Health Month/in News
We discuss Children’s Dental Health Month with guests from My Community Dental Centers and Health Net of West Michigan.
Online survey connects Kent County families to child development resources/in News
KENT COUNTY, MI – Family Futures, a nonprofit that works to support new parents, is partnering with 18 Kent County organizations to provide an online survey to help connect more families to parenting resources.
The Kent County Parenting Support Site is a website that connects families to home-visiting resources, allowing them to further their children’s health, development and school readiness, the news release said.
Online survey connects Kent County parents to resources/in News
The Kent County Parenting Support Site (kentparentinfo.com) is a website that connects families to local home visiting programs that allow them to nurture their children’s health, development, and school readiness. Parents answer a few short questions on the website and are matched with an organization that best fits their needs based on their responses.
The Kent County Parenting Support Site was created in 2017 with the mission to easily connect families to home visiting resources. Since the creation of the website, more than 1,000 families in Kent County have been connected to organizations.
“Finding the community resource that is best for your family can be overwhelming,” said Candace Cowling, Executive Director of Family Futures. “These organizations are coming together to help solve that problem.”
2022 40 Under 40 award recipient: Doug Booth/in News
Doug Booth, 34
Health Net of West Michigan
Doug Booth likes to be involved. He likes to get others involved, too.
“My biggest influence is the child that I once was. I grew up a closeted gay boy in West Michigan. Everything I do, I think back to then and ask if I would feel safe with me now? I was scared and unsure of what life had in store for me. I think back to then because I know there are still kids in our area that may feel the same way now that I did then. That’s unacceptable for me, so I will always try and help and stay visible for the LGBTQ kids in our communities.”
40 Under 40: This class leads the charge for change/in News
Change is never linear. But often there are recognizable guideposts along the way to indicate change is coming.
In its simplest form, change often is marked by a loosely defined path of outcry, debate, negotiation, experimentation and finally action.
Looking back on the past dozen or so classes of 40 Under 40 Business Leaders and comparing and contrasting membership makeup in those classes, an argument can be made that Grand Rapids has reached the milestone where real change can be made.
By Leaps & Bounds: Barriers to Navigating Early Childhood/in News
Our guest is Jenn Harrod, Client Services Manager, Health Net of West Michigan
Being a parent or caregiver is no easy task! This is especially true for expectant parents, seasoned parents, and caregivers of young children as they work to advocate for the needs of their household and for their children.
Statement on Overturn of Roe v. Wade 6-28-22/in News
The recent action of the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade is counter to our organizational vision of health equity, a community where all have a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Health Net of West Michigan is committed to advocating for scientifically based public health principles, fulfilling our mission of connecting our community to health-related resources. We support our neighbors in advocating for justice in social and political determinants that create optimal birth conditions. Addressing the root causes of racism and poverty is the only solution that will disrupt the dangerous trend of negative maternal health outcomes for our region and state.
The Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision infringes on client self-determination to achieve optimal health, a core component of our care model. Restriction of healthcare access and choice disproportionately impacts low-income individuals, people of color, and those living in under-resourced communities across the United States. This compounds and adds another barrier for individuals across the country to pursue healthier lives and a sense of well-being, further complicating what should be a personal and private decision that birthing people should be able to make in conjunction with their health care provider.
Many states are actively pursuing more restrictive laws around reproductive health services or have trigger laws already in place. A Michigan court of claims judge granted a preliminary injunction in a suit filed to block enforcement of a 1931 anti-abortion state law, placing a temporary hold on the implementation of this regressive law in our state. While details continue to develop surrounding the longstanding impact on reproductive care in our nation, each of us can take personal action as we see fit.
Some actions to consider are:
Health Net of West Michigan will continue to advocate for our community and to imagine a world where true health equity can exist. This includes the right for individuals to have access to information, resources, and services to choose the care they want to receive to make the best decision for their own lives.
Statement for Patrick Lyoya 4/12/2022/in News
Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old father, friend, son, and member of our community was shot and killed by a Grand Rapids Police Department officer on Monday, April 4, 2022.
We urge Mayor Rosalyn Bliss, City Manager Mark Washington, Grand Rapids Police Department Chief Eric Winstrom, and Kent County Prosecutor Chris Becker, as well as others in systems of power to critically examine and address the system of policing that is rooted in white supremacy to prevent the significant and needless loss of Black and Brown lives. Additionally, we urge the release of the original, unedited video footage in its entirety, as well as all related information surrounding the incident. This request upholds the wishes of the Lyoya family regarding the events leading up to the murder of their son and brother. Patrick’s family deserves justice!
While we await the release of dashcam and body cam footage we stand steadfast in the belief that Black Lives Matter and change must come to prevent tragic and often avoidable outcomes such as those that occurred on April 4, 2022. To the Lyoya family, our immigrant and refugee community, we grieve alongside you and echo pleas for Justice for Patrick (Lyoya).
Michigan House of Representatives Health Policy Committee Testimony/in News
Testimony on December 9, 2021 related to package of bills related to lead.
ANNOUNCING OVER $15 MILLION IN NEW MICHIGAN HEALTH FUNDING/in News
Michigan’s diverse population has a wide spectrum of health needs—needs that require an equally wide range of responses. The Health Fund’s final grant awards of 2021 are a snapshot of how Michigan organizations are working to address that diversity of issues with tailored solutions. Some projects are systemic and sweeping; others are community-driven and highly localized. Together, they offer an image of a state that is working tirelessly to fill gaps in care, address disparities, support those providing care, and build healthier communities in every corner of Michigan.
In this round, we’re proud to be awarding $15,002,861 to 57 projects. That includes grants through our Special Projects & Emerging Ideas Initiative and our Healthy Aging Initiative, as well as 19 additional Community Health Impact projects.
Lessons from a National Health Initiative that Helps Address Social Needs/in News
The latest episode of On the Evidence focuses on a national initiative aimed at identifying and addressing non-medical factors that affect a person’s health. Doctors, nurses, and other health care providers can use a screening tool, such as a questionnaire, to uncover a patient’s health-related social needs, such as housing instability or food insecurity. Providers can then refer patients in need to community-based organizations with the resources and expertise to help.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) developed one such screening tool as well as a guide to assist providers who use the tool. The guide was created for the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model, a program that includes 28 organizations across the country.
New Health Equity Project aims to significantly reduce health disparities for vulnerable residents in five Michigan counties/in Press Releases
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has pledged to provide a $9 million Medicaid match to launch a new Health Equity Project in five Michigan counties.
The Health Equity Project aims to help these counties reduce health disparities associated with pressing social needs such as housing instability, food insecurity, transportation, health system complexity, and other socioeconomic factors by:
Priority Health recaps their fun event with FitKids360!/in News
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – Priority Health recently helped to fight childhood obesity by supporting FitKids360 program run by local health experts who help children and families develop healthy habits by combining basic education about nutrition, behavior and exercise with a range of physical activities. Both Priority Health and FitKids360 look to curb the alarming statistics that 1 in 3 children in the U.S. is overweight, and 1 in 5 children in the U.S. is obese. Here is what one of our friends from Priority Health said about this event:
Hometown Health Heroes and Jean Chabut Policy Champions honored by Michigan Public Health Week partnership/in News
LANSING, Mich. – As part of National Public Health Week, nine individuals and organizations will be presented with the 2021 Hometown Health Hero and Jean Chabut Health Policy Champion awards for their contributions to protecting and improving the health of Michigan. 2020 recipients are also included below. Hometown Health Hero awards are presented every spring as part of Michigan Public Health Week. By building connections, our communities become healthier, safer, and better for all.
“It’s an honor to award these selfless individuals and organizations whose efforts make Michigan a better place for many segments of our population,” said MDHHS director Elizabeth Hertel. “The Hometown Health Hero awards are a way we can recognize how both small and large efforts make a positive impact on our state.”
2021 Hometown Health Hero Recipients:
Building Strong Community Partnerships to Address Social Needs/in News
A case study in effective advisory board collaboration from the Accountable Health Communities Model.
Health Net of West Michigan is a nonprofit organization in Kent County, Michigan, that aims to create a “community where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.” As an Alignment Track bridge organization participating in the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model, Health Net established an advisory board made up of community partners across sectors who strive to create equitable systems change. Health Net’s advisory board focuses on addressing social determinants of health at the community and systems levels, involving community advisors and executive-level representatives from community entities, coalitions, and local government.
Multisector Partnerships Such As ACHs: How Can They Improve Population Health And Reduce Health Inequities?/in News
Over the past year, the United States has witnessed tremendous health inequities from COVID-19 across populations defined by race, ethnicity, geography, and disability. As part of the pandemic response and recovery, communities have taken advantage of existing multisector partnerships to address individual and community-level health and social needs. Indeed, in the recently released National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, the Biden administration commits to:
U-M Receives $1.4M in NIH Funding to expand COVID-19 outreach/in News
Being deeply rooted in the wellbeing of Michigan communities meant that the Community Engagement program at the Michigan Institute for Clinical & Health Research, Michigan Medicine, and the U-M School of Public Health were on the frontlines when the pandemic hit the nation.
March 24, 2021 Statement/in Press Releases
Health Net of West Michigan focuses on advocating for equity within our community. We work to develop policies that provide equitable access to healthcare and social services and leverage our collective power through expertise and lived experiences to influence systemic change. We are driven toward social justice and center humanity in our work to disrupt the status quo, built to uphold white supremacist policies.
The murders of eight people, including six women of Asian descent in Atlanta, Georgia, is only the most recent example of violence perpetuated against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. This adds to the more than 3,800 reported anti-Asian racist incidents in the past year. Not all racist acts are reported (shunning, slurs, physical attacks, etc.), meaning the number of occurrences is significantly higher and more detrimental for our AAPI neighbors.
Racism, sexism, and violence are embedded in the history of the United States. As a country, we have implemented policies like the Chinese Exclusion Act and Japanese internment camps designed to separate and codify racist acts against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Paralleling infectious disease outbreaks like SARS, COVID-19 has reignited long-standing acts of violence toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Asian American medical personnel at all levels continue to provide care to patients suffering from a variety of illnesses, including COVID-19. They are applauded professionally for their medical expertise yet, outside of the clinical setting these same professionals fear verbal and physical attacks from others due to false rhetoric about the source of the pandemic. As an organization, Health Net of West Michigan, will not stand silent and therefore complicit with any racist acts.
Good intent does not absolve us of our responsibility. We ask that our partners consider the following as we move forward to dismantle the unjust systems that allow marginalization and oppression of groups based on skin color, culture, and language:
Think about the policy tables at which you sit and consider the following:
Speaking out is one tool with action following the statement. At Health Net, we are committed to our values of Well-being, Equity, Collaboration, Adaptability, Respect and Education. We will continue to model these in our on-going journey toward anti-racism and the vision to build a community where EVERYONE has a FAIR and JUST opportunity to be as healthy as possible.
WMCAT 20/20 Participant Reflection: The Past, Present, and Future of Our Healthcare System/in News
Nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, many in Michigan are asking what a post-COVID world will look like. COVID-19 has exacerbated many of the existing challenges within our healthcare system, including disparities in access to health coverage, high costs of care and medicine, inequitable outcomes, and more. As of this writing, over 475,000 Americans have died as a result of COVID-19. The American healthcare system is moving towards a value-based payment model, one in which quality of care and better health outcomes are incentivized. Our current system pays for the cost of delivering care regardless of outcome, spending an estimated $11,000 per person, compared to the $5,400 average per person in peer countries. The United States spends more on health care than almost every other developed nation in the world, yet we do not see improved health outcomes.
Governor Whitmer Announces Appointments to Bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission/in News
LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer appointed new members to the bipartisan Protect Michigan Commission. The appointees represent a diverse array of industries, professions, and backgrounds. Housed within the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the commission will help raise awareness of the safety and effectiveness of an approved COVID-19 vaccine, educate the people of this state, and help protect the health and safety of all Michigan residents.
Michigan is working around the clock to ramp up vaccinations and reach our goal of 50,000 shots in arms per day, and with the help of the Protect Michigan Commission we can ensure everyone has a plan to get vaccinated once the opportunity becomes available to them,” said Governor Whitmer. “The bipartisan members of this group will play a vital role in helping to reinforce the importance of everyone getting the safe and effective vaccine. I am confident that the members of this commission will rise to the occasion and help Michigan end the COVID-19 pandemic once and for all.”
Kent County approves $2.6M for Ready by Five millage/in News
The Kent County board of commissioners approved nearly $2.6 million in funding for the Ready by Five Early Childhood millage to provide continued services for families in the county.
The funds were approved after a Resident Proposal Review Committee, comprised of parents and community members, reviewed proposals and made recommendations to the First Steps Kent Board of Commissioners.
More tax-funded early childhood programs to begin January 2021 in Kent County/in News
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — County leaders have put $2.6 million toward programs, such as translation services and learning kits, aimed at the healthy development and early learning of children up to age 5.
The Kent County Board of Commissioners at its meeting Thursday, Dec. 3, voted unanimously to allocate the early childhood millage dollars to 12 community programs.
MPWRD Business names Influential Awards nominees/in News
The MPWRD Business Magazine Influential Awards recognize the Hispanic, Asian Pacific, Black and Indigenous Native Americans (HABI+) in our community that are shaping culture, community, business and humanity in Grand Rapids and West Michigan.
MPWRD Business Magazine and the Influential Awards were founded and are owned by Two Eagles Marcus, Tiwa Puebloan Indigenous Native American Pueblo of Taos, who also publishes Women’s LifeStyle Magazine.
“Grand Rapids has a diverse cultural and ethnic makeup that contributes to the economy and social fabric of our community and there are limited opportunities for recognition in media and awards events for Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific and Indigenous Native Americans and not one that includes all groups collectively,” Marcus said. “The sustainability of the United States and West Michigan economies are dependent on the economic development of Black, Hispanic, Asian Pacific and Indigenous Native American populations in entrepreneurship and leadership. The time to recognize, support, encourage and invest in us is now.”
Health Net’s Statement September 2020/in Press Releases
Our vision at Health Net of West Michigan is: “Creating a community where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible.” Throughout the past few weeks, there have been significant challenges to that vision amplifying the need for us to continue to work toward achieving racial justice and dismantling oppressive systems to ensure health equity. We have been informed of threats to public education access, diversity, equity and inclusion training, investigations surrounding forced sterilizations of migrant women, and the egregious lack of police accountability in communities across the country. For these reasons and more, we cannot remain silent, and thus complicit, about the adverse health implications these events continue to have on our nation and our community.
We cannot move health equity forward without the support of our community. We call on our friends, family members, partners, and those in public service to invest in our health, wellbeing, and safety by honoring statements made in support of social justice. We call on others to take actionable steps by amplifying the voices of leaders of color, encouraging our neighbors to vote, contacting local, state, and national leaders about the topics that they are passionate about, and engaging in support of changes in policies. Each of us can participate in localized efforts to influence community planning efforts like focus groups, community listening sessions, community-wide surveys and engaging in groups focused on social justice.
We affirm to our staff and our community that we believe EVERYONE has the right to be healthy and that EVERYONE includes all who live in our service area, especially those who have been historically marginalized and targeted due to race, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression and country of origin. We affirm that no person is illegal and that Black Lives Matter. We practice this by valuing the personhood, dignity and worth of all our neighbors, partners and employees. We are committed to upholding these tenets despite the world around us. We stand as your partner in health and humanity and will continue to serve and fight alongside our neighbors in community.
Partners address homelessness/in News
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting almost every aspect of American life, especially housing.
In July, 32% of U.S. households missed housing payments, according to a CNBC report published July 8. With federal eviction moratoriums ending soon, the pandemic is putting increasing stress on Americans at risk for homelessness. One analysis from the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project found 20% of 110 million renters are at risk of eviction by Sept. 30.
Organizations that address homelessness and the contributors of homelessness — such as income stabilization, job placement, education and other social determinants of health — are seeing more demand for their work than ever before. One of these organizations is Community Rebuilders in Grand Rapids.
Teaching kids about the importance of healthy living through FitKids360 program/in News
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOOD) – The FitKids360 Program combines basic education about nutrition, behavior, and exercise with a wide range of physical activity to help kids develop healthy habits including eating better and becoming more active! This program is a childhood obesity intervention program that benefits hundreds of children and their families to create a better version of themselves. In order to participate in this program, children must be ages 5 to 17 years old, have a BMI at or above the 85th percentile, be referred by a physician or healthcare provider, and a parent/guardian must accompany the child to each class. Not only is the child developing these healthy habits, but the parents and siblings are as well. The program teaches families on the importance of exercise, proper nutrients, and taking care of their behavioral and emotional well-being. It’s a program that exemplifies mind, body, and soul! Read more
Change-Ups: Dipiazzo joins Chow Hound as CMO/in News
Health Net of West Michigan has received a $270,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to expand existing equity efforts, including adding additional health equity training for Health Net staff working with families to access early childhood resources, completion of an equity-focused strategic plan, revision of policy and training for board members. https://grbj.com/change-ups/change-ups-dipiazzo-joins-chow-hound-as-cmo/
“We Must Do More” A message from Health Net’s Executive Director, Maureen Kirkwood/in News
We are all living through a global pandemic, while at the same time the epidemic of government-sanctioned police violence against Black people continues. Health Net of West Michigan’s vision is to create a community where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This focus on health equity is core to our work; because of this, we add our voice to those of our many partners who are denouncing the unjust and oppressive systems that allow racism to flourish in our community.
Michigan Health Endowment Fund awards $5.3M to community health initiatives/in News
LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) – The Michigan Health Endowment Fund (Health Fund) announced today that it will support 70 health projects and capacity building efforts across the state with a total of $5.3 million in new investments. Nonprofits, universities, and government agencies statewide will receive grants ranging from $15,600 to $100,000 under the Health Fund’s Community Health Impact grant program. (See a full list of grant recipients at the bottom of this release.)
“This program is about supporting the health of Michigan communities, collaborating around improved access to services, and building organizational capacities,” said Megan Murphy, senior program officer. “We can’t wait to see how these organizations help move their communities toward more sustainable health outcomes.”
Health Net of West Michigan Receives Grant to Provide Health Equity Training to Early Childhood and Health Professionals/in Press Releases
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., May 6 – Health Net of West Michigan has received a $270,000 grant to expand existing equity efforts, including adding additional health equity training for Health Net staff working with families to access early childhood resources, completion of an equity-focused strategic plan, revision of policy and training for board members. This project is supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
Street Talk: Staying safe at home/in News
While Michigan residents have been urged to stay home and stay safe, staying safe at home has taken a broader meaning for the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan. While traditionally laser-focused on the issue of lead and other pollutants in people’s homes, the nonprofit has spread out to address all issues of home safety.
Youth drop-in center HQ evolves with commitments to local partnerships and expansion of services/in News
HQ is a drop-in center for youth who don’t have a safe place to call home, are sleeping outside, or just need a safe place to connect with caring adults. This center is a free resource for youth ages 14 to 24 in housing crisis.
HQ partners with The Wisdom Center Counseling Services, Health Net of West Michigan, and Grand Valley Family Health Center to constantly improve their services and meet the health and wellness needs of local youth in crisis.
By Leaps & Bounds: Prenatal Care & Social Determinants of Low Birth Weight/in News
Receiving early and regular care throughout pregnancy is incredibly important for both mother and baby, as preterm birth and low birth weight put babies at an increased risk of developing cognitive, emotional, and physical health issues. Babies weighing above 5.5 pounds at birth are considered to be “born healthy.”
Across Michigan, about 8.5% of babies are born underweight (CDC), and communities of color are disproportionally impacted with rates for black and Latinx moms at a six-year high. Recognizing the need to create paths to overcoming the social determinants of health, local programs are supporting moms to improve these outcomes for babies.
Courtney Hilbert, CNM, MSN, Director of APP Services for Women’s Health and Chair of the Centering Pregnancy Program at Spectrum Health, and Kiara Baskin, Founder and CEO of Bump to Birth Doula Services are here to discuss. For more information, visit: https://www.spectrumhealth.org/patient-care/womens-health/midwifery, https://www.bumptobirthdoulaservices.com/ , or https://www.spectrumhealth.org/patient-care/womens-health.
West Michigan Works – Shelley Irwin/in News
West Michigan Works, recognized 10 area service workers with the 2019 Beverly A Drake Essential Service Awards, speaking on TMS to those involved.
Grand Rapids HQ provides support, services for homeless and at-risk youth/in News
Grand Rapids HQ is a drop-in center for homeless and at-risk youth that opened its doors at the end of 2014.
It doesn’t have beds, but staff there can help the homeless aged 14-24 get beds at other support facilities around town, including 3:11 Youth Housing, one of its partners in a new, three-year initiative called the Comprehensive Health Initiative. When HQ opened, there was just one facility with two beds for homeless youth. Today, thanks in part to HQ’s fundraising and partnerships, there are a total of 50 beds at various facilities around town, including the Bridge of Arbor Circle and Covenant House. Read more
Street Talk: Road less traveled/in News
West Michigan Works! last month recognized 10 area service workers with the 2019 Beverly A. Drake Essential Service Awards.
Honorees are “hardworking individuals in service positions who go above and beyond,” and they “display pride in their job, a positive attitude, a strong work ethic and habits, punctuality and complete work on time,” according to the agency.
Employers and community members submit nominations. A committee of the West Michigan Works! Development Board chooses the winners.
Insurer Donates $75K To Raise Awareness For Kids’ Dental Health Coverage/in News
An insurance company has donated $75,000 to Health Net of West Michigan in honor of National Children’s Dental Health Month. According to the Grand Rapids Business Journal, Delta Dental of Michigan donated the grant to increase awareness of and access to dental services for individuals with Healthy Kids Dental coverage. Read more…
Insurer funding campaign for kids’ dental health/in News
An insurance company has donated $75,000 to increase awareness of and access to dental services for kids in West Michigan.
Partnership with Delta Dental of Michigan to Increase Access to Dental Services for Children in Kent County/in Press Releases
A $75,000 partnership grant between Delta Dental Insurance, Health Net of West Michigan, and the Kent County Oral Health Coalition will work to increase awareness and access to dental services for individuals with Healthy Kids Dental coverage. The efforts in this partnership aim to help increase utilization rates and ensure that Kent County youth receive the dental care they need to lead healthy lives.
Nonprofits step in to help homeless youth with health care/in News
Five nonprofit organizations have collaborated to provide wraparound health and wellness services for homeless youth.
The Comprehensive Health Initiative is providing services to 400 youth, giving them connections to health care insurance, primary care providers, wellness coping strategies and crisis support therapy.
GVSU, nonprofits launch initiative to aid homeless youth/in News
Grand Valley teamed with area nonprofits to officially launch a health initiative December 12 in an effort to interrupt the cycle of youth homelessness.
Homeless youth focus of a new Comprehensive Health Initiative/in News
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Hundreds of homeless teens and young adults will receive primary health care access, substance use intervention and crisis support therapy among other services through a new Comprehensive Health Initiative.
Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage Update/in News
The purpose of the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage is to provide dedicated and sustainable funding for programs that improve the health, school readiness, and well-being of children under age five; therefore allowing more children and families from across the community to participate in programs that are proven to increase their likelihood of success in school and beyond.
One year ago, Kent County voters made this funding possible. What has happened during that time? Anne Marie Valdez, President and CEO of First Steps Kent and Maureen Kirkwood, Executive Director for Health Net of West Michigan are here to give us an update. Listen here!
Welcome Doug Booth/in News
Meet Doug Booth
Tell us a little about your professional background
I have always worked to improve the organizations that I was a part of. While attending grad school at the University of Denver, I held multiple positions. I worked with international students in the Student Financial Services department where I assisted in the reworking of their orientation to the school, and Denver. I also worked as a department manager for the Political Science, Gender & Women’s Studies, and the Socio-legal studies departments. I like to say that my job was everything that doesn’t involve teaching. Budgets, schedules, faculty grant administration, student workers, etc. The list can go on forever.
On top of this, I was also working in a consultant role for the LGBT Center as a health educator. Within this function, I assisted in the development of a training program for physicians and medical practices to be more inclusive and equitable with how they treat their patients, specifically LGBTQIA+ patients. My thesis work was looking at LGB access and utilization of primary care services in the Denver region, so I saw many of the barriers to care that many in the LGBTQIA community face. We would evaluate their practice, then propose changes and provide training to ensure that all patients have equity in the health system. This program is still in effect today.
After returning to Grand Rapids, I worked as an operations manager for a small medical practice. I helped to create the administrative framework that all practices need and was still missing. Within this practice, we worked closely with many of the assisted living facilities around West Michigan. The physician would travel to each of the homes once per week to treat patients where they live. Knowing that transportation is a large barrier to care for the geriatric population, I was excited about this model of care and the potential that it presents.
First recipients of Ready by Five millage chosen/in News
The organizations that will receive the first round of funding from the Ready by Five early childhood millage have been selected.
The Kent County board of commissioners last week approved a total of $2.4 million to be distributed through 2021 to four organization: $763,324 to Family Futures, $50,000 to Family Promise of Grand Rapids, $930,000 to Health Net of West Michigan and $656,676 to Kent Intermediate School District.
One Good Thing: FitKids360 shoe giveaway/in News
GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan — FitKids360’s “On The Move” program recently donated more than 60 pairs of new shoes to local kids. Priority Health partnered with them to get it done.
FitKids360 helps kids and their families develop healthy habits through education, nutrition, behavior and exercise.
Street Talk: Never too early/in News
Organizers say the first round of funding from the Ready by Five Early Childhood Millage will help thousands of families in Kent County connect to programs that improve the health and school readiness of young children.
The initial funding is dedicated to navigation and outreach services that will help families know what is available in the community and how to access the resources that best meet their needs.
Kent County considering $2.4M in outreach efforts for tax-funded child readiness initiative/in News
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Kent County leaders might expend $2.4 million in new tax funds on outreach efforts and program navigation for early childhood development.
The proposal would allocate $2.4 million in early childhood millage tax dollars for contracted organizations to complete those tasks. It heads to the Kent County Board of Commissioners on Sept. 12.
FitKids360 program teaches kids and families the importance of healthy habits/in News
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) – The FitKids360 Program combines basic education about nutrition, behavior, and exercise with a wide range of physical activity to help kids develop healthy habits including eating better and becoming more active! This program is a childhood obesity intervention program that benefits hundreds of children and their families to create a better version of themselves. In order to participate in this program, children must be ages 5 to 17 years old, have a BMI at or above the 85th percentile, be referred by a physician or healthcare provider, and a parent/guardian must accompany the child to each class. Not only is the child developing these healthy habits, but the parents and siblings are as well. The program teaches families on the importance of exercise, proper nutrients, and taking care of their behavioral and emotional wellbeing. It’s a program that exemplifies mind, body, and soul!
Michigan’s home visiting programs bringing support to new parents/in News
In times past, pregnant women and new mothers received abundant support from family and community, but today that tradition has faded. Western culture now expects moms to be showing off their newborns on social media within a week, and back to work within six weeks.
That doesn’t leave much opportunity for moms to form the deep bonds they need with their babies. But a wide range of perinatal home visiting programs bring professional support to Michigan’s new moms and moms-to-be, helping to fill the void of community support and develop vital skills.
Statement of Support/in Press Releases
Yesterday, an integral part of our Health Net team and Grand Rapids community, Brandon Reyes, along with a family member, was taken into custody by ICE officials on his way to work. Brandon is a Dreamer and was awaiting renewal of his DACA status. He is a community activist, organizer, and leader who bravely fights for fair and just treatment and policies to protect undocumented immigrants.
Meet Maggie/in News
Did you know moms who live in Kent County who give birth at Metro Health University of Michigan Health have the option to be referred to the Welcome Home Baby program? Read the story of one of the many families referred and connected to resources through the program!
Before being discharged, Maggie requested to be referred to the program for resources for her new son Leo. A community health worker from Health Net, Jennifer, called a few days after they had settled in at home. As Jennifer and Maggie chatted about how the program worked, Maggie shared that she had a history of depression and felt anxious about bonding with Leo. Unsure of whom to contact or if there were programs available in the area, Maggie was beginning to feel overwhelmed.
‘I don’t want it to ever end’ – Spa day for homeless women at st. Marks’ Church leaves impression/in News
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Sometimes something as simple as a foot massage can make someone feel better, especially if they’re down on their luck.
For 40 homeless women, the St. Mark’s Church did that and more, offering a free spa day on Thursday.
The staff that work at St. Mark’s say the need for services like this in Grand Rapids is there and at an all-time high, so they wanted to provide a special day for women who they say don’t see many special days.
Letters to the editor: The important connection between oral health and general health/in News
As Dental Director for Health Net of West Michigan I work to improve the oral health of vulnerable populations in Kent County through education and access to dental services. I work with Kent County residents of all ages and backgrounds. Oral health is a key component of comprehensive health care and although it seems logical, Americans have not always publicly recognized the connection between oral health and general health. In the last twenty years, we have made strides in connecting the importance of regular dental check-ups and care with other health problems such as diabetes. Yet, some social services have not kept up with the need to have regular dental care – specifically, Medicare.
Michigan Health Endowment Fund 2017 Annual Report/in Press Releases
In 2017 we completed our first full annual grantmaking cycle, awarding more than $26 million across our five major initiatives. We’re now a valuable source of funding for organizations across Michigan, supporting fresh ideas and proven models with the potential to benefit people and communities throughout our state. We’ve established our place in Michigan’s philanthropic landscape, building partnerships and addressing health and wellness needs that we’re uniquely equipped to tackle. And even as we hit our stride, we’re not resting. With our partners, we are constantly looking to adopt ideas and best practices that will increase the impact of our funding.
One million Michiganders have little or no dental care access. Here’s how we can change that./in News
Julie needed dental care to get her customer service job at Home Depot back.
Home Depot employees greet customers with “Can I help you find something?” But without front teeth, Julie was unable to say “find” clearly and kept substituting other words. Finally, she was demoted to the store room, where she had no contact with customers and got paid less per hour.
When she tried on her dentures for the first time, she said, “Can I help you find something?” and burst into a huge smile. Julie got her customer service job back.
Fighting Childhood Obesity with Family Fitness/in News
Most of us wouldn’t go running in bone-chilling freezing rain. But no wintry mix or frigid temperatures were going to stop eleven families in Grand Rapids from crossing the finish line at the annual Alger Heights Halloween 5K. After ten weeks of preparation, which focused on increasing running time and other forms of physical activity each week, these families were ready to compete.
Through FitKids360, a program of Health Net of West Michigan, a once seemingly impossible goal of running for almost an hour was suddenly within sight.
32 healthcare organizations to pilot test new CMS community health model/in News
Yale New Haven Hospital and Hackensack University are among the 32 organizations that will test a new Medicare and Medicaid model beginning in May that aims to bridge the gap between clinical and community providers.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced Thursday it selected 32 participants that will serve as local hubs that link clinical and community services and address such social needs as housing instability, food insecurity, utility needs, interpersonal violence and transportation.
Michigan Health Endowment Fund Names FitKids360 as Grant Recipient/in Press Releases
$401,124 grant will support program expansion and infrastructure
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 25 – The Michigan Health Endowment Fund recently announced $8 million in grant funding to organizations with projects focused in two categories: Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle, and Community Health Impact. Health Net of West Michigan’s FitKids360 program was awarded $401,124 to support infrastructure and program expansion in the Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyles category.
Health Net of West Michigan named as CMS Accountable Communities Model grant awardee/in Press Releases
Funds to expand local ‘hub’ linking clinical and community services
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., APRIL 12 – Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it has selected Health Net of West Michigan as one of its 32 participants for the Assistance and Alignment Tracks of the Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model. Health Net was the only organization chosen in Michigan to receive this funding; the multimillion dollar grant will be delivered over a five-year period.
West Michigan employers win $5M for workforce training/in News
The state has awarded $5 million total to more than 120 employers in West Michigan for workforce training programs.
Michigan awarded the funds as part of its Skilled Trades Training Fund, or STTF, initiative for use by employers in the West Michigan Works! region in 2017.
Kent County Oral Health Coalition/in News
We talk about Oral Health with guests from the Kent County Oral Health Coalition.
Change Ups: Restaurant Week generates $16,000 for SICE/in News
Sixty-plus restaurants donated $1 each from meals sold during the recent 12-day Restaurant Week Grand Rapids, which will help make a difference with area culinary students’ education. The largesse resulted in a $16,000 check being presented to the Grand Rapids Community College Foundation, which grew its Secchia Institute for Culinary Education Student Scholarship Fund to $126,906. Six SICE students also received RWGR 2016 scholarship awards. RWGR contributions to SICE began in 2010, the year RWGR launched.
Current State of Oral Health in Kent County/in Press Releases
Local Coalition releases report illustrating areas of need
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., – The Kent County Oral Health Coalition recently released The Kent County 2016 Oral Health Exam, a report on the current state of oral health in Kent County. In 2013, the coalition released an initial community based report illustrating the need for improved access and education around oral health.
Chamber produces Health Care Summit/in News
The Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce is hosting a half-day summit on health care for employers on Friday.
The Health Care Summit will take place from 7:30-11:30 a.m. in Grand Rapids at Thousand Oaks Golf Club, at 4100 Thousand Oaks Dr. NE.
The event will feature discussions around disparities in health care and the factors limiting population health and wellness, impacting productivity and creating unnecessary costs.
Get a healthy smile for back to school/in News
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV) As kids start a new school year, they need a dental checkup just as much as they need a physical. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children see a dentist by 12 months old or as soon as they have teeth.
Health Net of West Michigan services overview interview/in News
Gracias a nuestros amigos de Health Net of West Michigan, por su valiosa información y ayuda enorme que ofrece a nuestra comunidad latina en cuanto a servicios de salud se refiere
Para más preguntas acerca de los programas con los que cuenta Healt Net marque al teléfono (616) 726 82 04, lo atenderán en español.
McLaren Northern Michigan Fights Childhood Obesity/in News
PETOSKEY: Michigan has some of the highest obesity rates in the nation, with roughly a third of Michigan children considered overweight or obese. Close to home, the northwest Michigan region is significantly high.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 12.7 million of U.S. children and adolescents aged 2 – 19 are obese. (Obesity is classified as Body Mass Index (BMI) above the 95th percentile.)
Spectrum Health, Priority Health chosen for nationwide asthma initiative/in News
GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Spectrum Health and Priority Health are among a handful of service providers – and the only ones in Michigan — chosen for a nationwide health initiative that brings together private, public and nonprofit sectors.
The Green and Healthy Homes Initiative, a national nonprofit and a grantee of the Social Innovation Fund’s Pay for Success program, and the Calvert Foundation announced on Tuesday, May 19, that five recipients will participate in their regional Pay for Success projects.
Green & Healthy Homes Initiative Selects Service Providers to Participate in Asthma-Related Pay for Success Projects/in News
Today, the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI), a grantee of the Social Innovation Fund’s (SIF) Pay for Success program, and its collaboration partner Calvert Foundation, selected five service providers to participate in regional Pay for Success (PFS) projects. These awardees, selected by GHHI through a national competition, will work in collaboration with local health care organizations to conduct feasibility studies of PFS models that fund home-based asthma interventions, including remediation of asthma triggers and resident education.
A steady doctor for babies to call their own/in News
Inside a converted fruit warehouse near the Grand River in Grand Rapids sit several specialists on the front lines of ensuring that young children get a healthy start in life.
They work for Health Net of West Michigan, a nonprofit community healthcare hub that connects families with doctors and other community services in the Grand Rapids area. One of Health Net’s primary tasks seems simple at first glance – making sure low-income children have a primary care physician.
Grand Rapids GiveCamp connects nonprofits to $250K in tech services/in News
Grand Rapids GiveCamp recently produced an exhausting and successful weekend for 15 nonprofits and the tech community.
Name change reflects health care organization’s growth/in News
From its humble beginnings on Cherry Street to becoming the largest federally qualified health center in the state, Cherry Street Health Services is holding on to its roots while changing its name.
IT professionals with non-profits in GiveCamp/in News
Volunteers from area IT firms used their skills to help non-profit organizations during Grand Rapids’ GiveCamp. A weekend-long hackathon, the event paired teams of software developers, designers and other IT workers with projects proposed by non-profits. Teams worked closely with clients to create websites, applications and databases over the 51-hour event held in the offices of Open Systems Technologies (OST).
Fifteen area non-profits, providing services ranging from sterilizing stray cats to teaching girls how to code, participated in GiveCamp this year. Many organizations, including Health Net of West Michigan and the Kent County Parks Foundation, asked for help redesigning their websites and social media presences. The Otsego County Commision on Aging proposed a system to coordinate, schedule and log in-home assistance for the elderly.
Improving health through community engagement explored at Alliance for Health forum/in News
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Community engagement efforts to improve health are the focus of the Alliance for Health First Friday forum on Oct. 3.
The monthly meeting will highlight organizations that seek to reach marginalized populations, the uninsured and under-insured, and that address social, cultural, psychological and biological forces that affect lifestyles. Organizations taking part include LINC Community Revitalization, Health Net of West Michigan and the African American Health Institute.