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Michigan takes next steps to improve public health, wellness for kids, seniors

Health Endowment Fund Board
Nine members appointed to new Health Endowment Fund Board

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced that the newly created Michigan Health Endowment Fund Board is ready to pursue its mission of improving the health and wellness of Michiganders.

Snyder and legislative partners named members to the nine-person board created through the passage of Public Act 4 of 2013, which authorized certain changes to how Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM) operates in the state. The law requires BCBSM to contribute up to $1.56 billion over 18 years to the Health Endowment Fund.

The Fund’s purpose is to benefit the health and wellness of Michigan residents with significant focus on programs for minor children and seniors through the state. Priority areas include infant mortality, wellness and fitness programs, access to healthy food, technology enhancements, health-related transportation needs and foodborne illness prevention. In addition, the Fund is required to implement a program to subsidize the cost of individual Medicare supplemental, or “Medigap” coverage to help senior citizens who demonstrate financial need.

“This fund and the work of the board represent unprecedented investments in and opportunities to enhance the health and wellness of Michigan families,” Snyder said. “These highly talented and respected individuals bring a broad range of approaches and expertise that I am confident will be vital to supporting the efforts to improve the quality of health care while reducing costs. I’m honored that they’ve agreed to serve on behalf of our seniors and youth.”

Lynn Alexander, of Bloomfield Hills, is vice president of public affairs for Presbyterian Villages of Michigan. She also serves as president of Your Aging Well Advisor, a consulting and education firm for consumers over 50. Alexander has served on the Commission on Services to the Aging and as director of the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging. She also has experience with the White House Conference on Aging, the Help America Vote Act Advisory Council, and the Elder Abuse Reporting Protocol advisory group and maintains involvement in several community organizations. Alexander holds a bachelor’s in social work from Defiance College and earned a master’s degree in psychology from Lone Mountain College, which is now known as the University of San Francisco. She represents the interests of senior citizens and will serve an initial three-year term.

Michael Williams, of Westland, is the president and CEO of Orchards Children’s Services, Michigan’s largest foster care and adoption agency. He has served in this capacity since 2003. Previously, he was president of Detroit-based Starr Vista Inc., and held various positions with Starr Commonwealth, in Albion. Williams is an adjunct professor at Albion College, and received the “Heroes” award from Michigan’s Children in 2007. He holds many professional memberships and is involved in several community organizations. Williams holds a bachelor’s degree from Albion College and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling from Eastern Michigan University. He represents the interests of minor children and will serve an initial three-year term.

Tim Damschroder, of Ann Arbor, is a member of Bodman PLC, where he heads the Business Practice Group, advising clients in matters involving mergers and acquisitions, corporate finance, general business, corporate governance, securities offerings, and tax. He served on the board of directors of the Washtenaw United Way, the Washtenaw County Red Cross, and on the advisory group of Ann Arbor Angels. Damschroder holds bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and a degree from the University of Detroit School of Law. He represents the general public and will serve an initial four-year term.

Keith Pretty, of Midland, is president and CEO of Northwood University, a position he has held since 2006. He previously served as president and CEO of Walsh College of Accountancy and Business Administration. His previous experience includes work for the State of Michigan, Western Michigan University, Amoco Corporation, the Michigan Senate and the Michigan House of Representatives. Pretty holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Western Michigan University and a degree from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School. He represents the general public and will serve an initial four-year term.

Rob Fowler, of Haslett, is president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan, a 10,000 member business trade association. He previously worked for the Greater Cleveland Growth Association, the Indiana Chamber of Commerce and the Indiana Department of Commerce. He is a member of the board of directors of the National Small Business Association, the Michigan Health Insurance Access Advisory Council and the Haslett Board of Education. He represents the business community and will serve an initial four-year term.

Jim Murray, of Okemos, is president of AT&T Michigan, where he is responsible for regulatory, legislative, and external affairs, as well as community and industry relations throughout the state of Michigan. His previous role with the company was as vice-president of government affairs. He also has experience working in the Michigan House of Representatives. Murray earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University. He will serve as the nominee of the Senate Majority Leader for an initial three-year term.

Susan Jandernoa, of West Olive, taught fourth, fifth, and sixth graders for 30 years at East Grand Rapids Public Schools before retiring in 2004. She is a member of the Children’s Leadership Council of Michigan, the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital Foundation Board of Trustees, the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Michigan, the YMCA Advisory Board, and is a local board president for Ele’s Place. Jandernoa holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Central Michigan University. She will serve as the nominee of the Speaker of the House for an initial two-year term.

Cindy Estrada, of Whitmore Lake, is the vice president of the United Autoworkers Union. She was elected vice president in 2010 and is the first Latina to serve in this position. Previously, she was director of the National Organizing Department for the UAW and has worked as an organizer for both the UAW and the AFL-CIO. She is a board member of Mi Familia Vota, the co-chair of the Economic Alliance for Michigan and a board member of Progress Michigan. Estrada holds a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Michigan and is an alumna of the Chicano Boricua Studies Program at Wayne State University. She will serve as the nominee of the Senate Minority Leader for an initial two-year term.

Margaret Robinson, of Southgate, is the president of SEIU Healthcare Michigan. She studied at West Shore Community College. Robinson will serve as the nominee of the House Minority Leader for an initial two-year term.

Appointments are subject to advice and consent of the state Senate.



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