Health & Hospital Association Honors Hospitals’ Community Benefit Programs

Charlevoix, Fremont and Port Huron Programs Recognized

The Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) is bestowing its Ludwig Community Benefit Award on the outstanding programs of three of its member hospitals in 2020.  Each program will receive the award during upcoming meetings of their individual governing boards, as the in-person MHA Annual Membership Meeting in 2020 was canceled due to the coronavirus. The honorees include programs led by McLaren Port Huron; Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital; and Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial, Fremont. The award is named in memory of Patric E. Ludwig, a former MHA president who championed investing in the community’s overall health, and is presented to member organizations integrally involved in collaborative programs to improve the health and well-being of area residents. Each winner will receive $5,000 from the MHA Health Foundation to assist in its health improvement efforts.2020 MHA Ludwig Community Benefit Award photo

McLaren Port Huron linked with the Port Huron Area School District to form the Biomedical Science Partnership, reinforcing the importance of healthy lifestyles and strengthening the potential for high school students to choose healthcare careers.

The district enrolled 147 students in its new Principals of Biomedical Science courses in 2017. McLaren Port Huron partnered with the program in 2018/2019, when 51 students enrolled in the second-year course and 177 began the program. Tours of several hospital departments introduced students to the healthcare environment, and the hospital’s diabetes education team visited classrooms to share about their work and reasons for choosing their careers. The students also developed an interactive heart health activity for the hospital’s Children Fun & Fitness Festival. 

In 2019/2020, the program continued with 143 first-year enrollees, 67 second-year students and 30 registering for the third-year course. Students toured the St. Clair County Community College Health Sciences Building and learned about the college program. Both the McLaren diabetes educators and respiratory therapists visited the classroom, and visits from oncology and cardiology professionals are planned. 

Short-term results show nearly 72% of the students plan to pursue healthcare careers and more than 92% report an increased interest in the healthcare profession.

For more information about the Biomedical Science Partnership, contact Kelly DiNardo, RN, community outreach and education specialist, McLaren Port Huron, at (810) 989-3795.

Listening closely to area residents, Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital developed a flexible program to meet community needs in 2016. The Munson Charlevoix Wellness Workshop is an innovative wellness center occupying a once empty storefront on Main Street. It provides easy access to diverse, free and low-cost wellness opportunities, as well as to community partners like local primary care providers, Michigan State University Extension, public libraries, food pantries, farmers markets and more. 

More than 13,000 residents of Charlevoix and Antrim counties have taken advantage of the Wellness Workshop’s registered nurse, diverse educational programs, exercise opportunities, cooking classes, health screenings, smoking cessation assistance, community-specific support groups, suicide prevention training and warming/cooling/first-aid stations. These varied offerings work toward the goal of reducing preventable death due to chronic disease and suicide and promoting and providing access to healthy lifestyle programs and classes for all ages.

The program was designed with the flexibility to change according to community need, and many offerings are based on specific requests. The Wellness Workshop links individuals with community resources to solve their challenges. It has a multifaceted role within the community that strengthens overall health while supporting the physical, mental, emotional and social health of residents.

For more information on the Munson Charlevoix Wellness Workshop, contact Kathleen Jacobsen, director of community health education, Munson Healthcare Charlevoix Hospital, at (231) 547-4024. 

Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial (SHGM) tackled the high tobacco use rate within Newaygo County in 2017 through the SHGM Tobacco Cessation Program, which seeks to decrease tobacco use; prevent youth from starting tobacco use; and advocate for policy change related to availability and use of nicotine products.

Its unique approach includes a strong community, collective-impact partnership; complete integration into the electronic medical record during medical visits; and a client-centered cessation program. The tobacco cessation team includes two certified tobacco treatment specialists who co-chair the Breathewell Coalition in Newaygo County, which focuses on tobacco and nicotine use education and prevention. They collaborate with organizations such as the district health department, Aging Well Coalition, Newaygo County Juvenile Court, Headway Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Grant Public Schools and many community stakeholders who influence prevention policies.

The partnership has aided schools in developing stronger vaping policies, helped youth plan health awareness activities, and influenced passage of local tobacco-free park ordinances. Using evidence-based practices and a flexible range of classes to promote maximum participation, the program engaged 68 people in one-on-one appointments and 13 in four-week classes in 2019. Compared to a 7% national quit rate in 2018, 25% of program participants quit smoking and 37% reduced tobacco use.

For more information on the SHGM Tobacco Cessation Program, contact Michelle Klochak, RN, at SHGM Community Programs, at (231) 924-3275.