Community Benefit Stories

Paying it Forward

Even through the hardest months of the COVID-19 pandemic, many hospitals and health systems still managed to educate and advocate for the well-being of their communities.

At Ascension Borgess-Lee Hospital, one nurse educator took the opportunity to provide Basic Life Support Classes (BLS) to nursing students at no charge.

Additionally, the hospital donated more than 700 pounds of food to after school programs for children, distributed 900 bike helmets to reduce head injuries and death from bicycle crashes, and raised funds to provide diagnostic screenings and ultrasounds for uninsured and low-income women throughout Cass County at no cost.

Two Decades Later: The Impact of Mclaren Bay Region’s Helen M. Nickless Volunteer Clinic

In 2003, it was recognized that a large number of residents in Bay County were falling through the cracks due to lack of health insurance. When they desperately needed care, they often came to the emergency department, which is a very high-cost method to provide care. At this time, the Board of Directors and Administration of McLaren Bay Region hospital made a commitment to establish a clinic to care for uninsured patients — this is what came to be the McLaren Bay Region’s Helen M. Nickless Volunteer Clinic (HMNVC). Since opening, HMNVC serves as an access point for primary care in Bay and surrounding counties, providing more than 31,000 visits to more than 9,000 patients.

Empowering Marginalized Youth in Washtenaw County

Research indicates that children who face social, educational, economic or health-related challenges are at a disadvantage to achieving optimal health and well-being. Knowing this, Michigan Medicine’s Program for Multicultural Health created Empower U to teach marginalized youth in Washtenaw County life skills through culture, age, gender and community-based interactive learning. The program focuses on social-emotional learning, job skills, and college/trade school preparation. Assessment data showed that integrating the Empower U curriculum within Ann Arbor Public Schools and two community centers not only had a positive impact on participant’s social emotional skills, but also resulted in an increased knowledge around nutrition, self-esteem, and interpersonal skills.

Innovative Programs for Healthy Communities

These are just a handful of examples of how Michigan hospitals are using preventive servicescommunity partnerships, the preparation of future healthcare professionalsactivities impacting well-being and health status, and more to improve the overall health, wellness and quality of life for Michigan residents.


Engaging the Community for Stroke Awareness through BEFAST

Holland Hospital, Holland

Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability that occurs without warning. Yet, stroke victims often wait or try to drive to the hospital themselves – delaying vital care. To address the challenge, Holland Hospital’s Certified Primary Stroke Center has launched a multi-pronged community engagement campaign to raise awareness and prompt quick action. Using the acronym BEFAST, which highlights the common signs of stroke Balance, Eyes, Face, Arm, Speech and T for “Time to call 911,” the campaign helps educate community members through a variety of ways, including social media, videos, physician presentations, website resources, reminder magnets and an interactive program designed just for children.

holland hospital befast
Students help spread the word on how to BEFAST when it comes to recognizing the signs of stroke and getting people the help they need.

Volunteer Experience Program Builds Community Connections

Bronson Healthcare, Kalamazoo

The Volunteer Experience Program at Bronson Healthcare gives the system’s 9,000 employees the opportunity to build connections in southwest Michigan, while taking an active role in advancing the health of the region. Bronson Community Health connects employees with opportunities at approved community organizations. Employees are paid for up to four hours of volunteer time each year. Here’s what one employee said after working at a local food bank: “It’s wonderful to be encouraged by Bronson to be out in the community in service of others … it lets our community know we care for their well-being even when we are not at work.”

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Bronson employees volunteering at a food bank in Battle Creek.

Project Healthy Schools Working to Reduce Childhood Obesity in Michigan

Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor

Project Healthy Schools is a community-Michigan Medicine collaborative that provides a middle school program designed to reduce childhood obesity and its long-term health risks. Middle school students in over 50 communities throughout the state, including East Lansing, Detroit, Ypsilanti, Ishpeming, Ferndale, Coldwater and West Branch and others, are benefitting from the program, which encourages students to increase physical activity and improve eating habits through education, environmental change and engagement of the school community.

Michigan Medicine
Project Healthy Schools Wellness Champion Trish Wiegerink talks to a middle school student about the sugar content in different drinks at the Nutrition Label Reading station during Surline Middle School’s Health & Wellness Fair.

Butterworth Hospital’s Stop the Bleed Campaign Aims to Increase the Number of Tourniquet Kits in Michigan

Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids

Doctors believe tourniquets could save lives if they were more readily available in places where mass shooting could occur, so the goal of Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital’s Stop the Bleed campaign is to get the kits in as many places as possible in Michigan. Anyone, including children as young as 11, can be taught the basics of how to stop bleeding in an emergency scenario, and Butterworth Hospital is providing free or low-cost training to any person or group who wants it as part of the effort.

stop the bleed
Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital’s Stop the Bleed campaign joins a nationwide effort to make tourniquets available in public spaces and teach citizens how to apply them. (Chris Clark | Spectrum Health Beat).

Patient in Better Health Two Years Following Sudden Cardiac Arrest

McLaren Macomb, Mount Clemens

After nearly losing his life to sudden cardiac arrest, David was prescribed cardiac rehab as part of his care following a heart procedure at McLaren Macomb. As David’s rehab sessions came to an end, he learned about McLaren Macomb’s Cardiac Rehab Maintenance program. The program allowed David to continue working out under the supervision of a certified clinical exercise physiologist he has grown to trust and become comfortable with. David went from overweight and never thinking about exercising to someone who now prioritizes his heart health, exercising three to five times a week and sticking to a strict diet. His weight is down, and the joyous, gregarious man he was prior to his cardiac arrest is ever-present.

cardiac rehab
David, a Macomb Cardiac Rehab Maintenance program participant, works out with a cardiac rehab physiologist as part of his journey toward heart health following a sudden cardiac arrest.

Pet Therapy Program Lifts Spirits of Patients, Staff

McLaren Greater Lansing

McLaren Greater Lansing’s Pet Therapy Program connects staff, patients and their family members with the comfort and affection dogs are known and loved for. After seeing the positive impact therapy dogs made with patients in the geriatric psychiatry unit, McLaren Greater Lansing expanded the program and allowed the dogs and their handlers to make rounds throughout their hospitals, which currently consists of nine dogs. Both staff and patients get excited to see the dogs when they visit.

Cooper, an 85-pound golden doodle in McLaren Greater Lansing’s Pet Therapy Program, visits a hospital patient during rounds at the hospital.

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Opens Expanded Mercy Dental Center

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, Pontiac

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland’s Mercy Dental Center recently expanded its facility to meet its growing patient volume.  The dental center, which treats patients with barriers to comprehensive dental care, now offers five treatment rooms, including one that can accommodate wheelchair-bound patients.  To help meet this demand, the hospital will expand its General Dental Residency Program, an optional year of training for recent dental graduates, from three to four residents.  The teaching facility offers residents and attending dentists the opportunity to provide a broad range of procedures, including those that can only be provided within a safe hospital setting due to a patient’s medical and physical condition, or due to special needs considerations.

mercy dental center
A large treatment room is now ready for patients in need of dental care at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland’s recently expanded Mercy Dental Center.

Healing Through Hands-on Science at the Teddy Bear Clinic

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital & Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital, Michigan Medicine, Ann Arbor

Caring for a teddy bear provides a wealth of learning opportunities for children participating in Healing Through Hands-On Science, an Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum-Michigan Medicine outreach program. At a teddy bear clinic held at the museum, children work with volunteers from Michigan Medicine and others to guide their teddy bear patient through a medical procedure, from starting an IV to setting up an operating room for surgery and anesthesia. Ypsilanti elementary school students use the teddy bear clinic to enhance Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) learning. The events allows kids to learn more about how the body works and medical procedures, while exploring health-related professions.

cs mott
A group of kids deliver anesthesia to their teddy bear patient with the help of a student volunteer as part of the Healing Through Hands-On Science Teddy Bear Clinic, an Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum-Michigan Medicine outreach program.