Hometown Health Heroes and Jean Chabut Policy Champions honored by Michigan Public Health Week Partnership

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 18, 2018

CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. – As part of National Public Health Week, 16 individuals and organizations were presented with 2018 Hometown Health Hero and Jean Chabut Health Policy Champion awards for their contributions to protecting and improving the health of Michigan residents.

The Michigan Public Health Week Partnership is hosting an event at the state Capitol this morning, April 18, to honor those who are helping Michigan achieve its “Healthiest Nation 2030” goal. This year’s awards focus on the following areas of public health: behavioral health, communicable diseases, environmental health, injury and violence prevention and ensuring health equity.

“These individuals and organizations have gone above and beyond to improve Michigander’s health and safety,” said Nick Lyon, MDHHS director. “Much of a person’s overall health is determined outside of a doctor’s office, and these award winners have provided opportunities for our state’s citizens to have healthier lives and communities.”

2018 Jean Chabut Health Policy Champion Awards were presented to:

Ottawa County Health Department

To achieve the Project Public Health Ready (PPHR) national recognition, the Ottawa County Health Department had to demonstrate preparedness and response capability by meeting a comprehensive set of nationally-recognized standards. PPHR standards focus on three main goals: all-hazards planning, workforce development and demonstrating readiness through exercises and real events, and are aligned with federal government requirements and national best practices. Ottawa County joins more than 400 agencies across the country that have achieved PPHR recognition since 2004.

Rep. Sylvia Santana, D-Detroit

An active member of the House C.A.R.E.S. (Community, Access, Resources, Education and Safety) task force, Santana has helped develop policy solutions to address the opioid crisis and reform mental health services across the state.

Rep. Hank Vaupel, R-Fowlerville

As chairman of the House Health Policy Committee, Vaupel has scheduled hearings to dive deep into health policy issues, championed the safe surrender of newborns and supported training in opioid overdoses for medical first responders and paramedics.

2018 Hometown Health Hero awards were presented to:

Dr. Kim Eagle – Project Healthy Schools, Ann Arbor
Dr. Eagle created Project Healthy Schools (PHS), a middle school program designed to reduce childhood obesity and improve the health of Michigan’s youth. PHS encourages healthy habits including eating more fruits and vegetables; choosing less sugary foods and beverages; eating less fast and fatty food; being active every day; and spending less time in front of a screen. Since its inception, PHS has impacted 100 schools, 63,000 students and 68 communities throughout the state of Michigan.

Families Against Narcotics – Hope Not Handcuffs, Fraser
Hope Not Handcuffs brings law enforcement and community organizations together to find viable treatment options for individuals seeking help to reduce heroin, prescription drug and alcohol dependency. Those struggling with addiction may seek help at any of the participating police agencies or via an online application without fear of being arrested and prosecuted. They are assisted by volunteers known as “Angels,” who meet with the individual, help with paperwork and act as supportive coaches throughout the process. Since its inception, more than 980 individuals have participated in the program

Ty and Johanna Schmidt – Norte!, Traverse City
When Ty and Johanna moved to Traverse City in 2006, they noticed few bikes and long car lines at schools; moms and dads who wanted to bike to school, but didn’t have the time; and unsafe bike riding by kids. To help build a stronger, better connected and more walk/bike friendly Traverse City, they created Norte! This bike-centric, youth-focused advocacy organization offers Safe Routes To School, walk/bike advocacy, mountain biking, youth leadership, summer camps and healthy winter activities. Norte! currently operates 13 Bike Trains from eight neighborhoods to five different elementary schools. 

Theresa White – Pathways to Potential Project, Pontiac
Through the Pathways to Potential Program, families with truancy issues that may be related to health issues in Pontiac Schools are referred to Theresa White, a public health nurse with 25 years of experience. White has continually provided service that goes above and beyond her role, including helping families get prompt appointments with providers; participating in phone calls between providers and family members to guide them through the process; and arranging for the adoption of a family of six during the holidays to ensure they all received Christmas gifts. During the 2016-17 school year, 62 children were referred to White; 77 percent received health-related education and referrals to community resources; and 50 percent of the families followed up with the referrals and reported a positive outcome.

Frank Nagle, Adrian
Since 2015, Frank Nagle has engaged local businesses in Lenawee County to implement healthy eating and physical activity interventions. This has resulted in improvements at retail locations that encourage consumption of fruits and vegetables; implementation of non-motorized plans, connected and improved trails and walking clubs; and the creation of a mobile wellness app that challenges users to log steps to promote physical activity in the community. He also expanded the Diabetes Prevention Program to 331 Lenawee residents with an average weight loss of 6.6 percent and helped establish a referral processes in health systems to identify and support individuals at higher risk for hypertension and diabetes.

Ranelle Brew and Kathy Agee -– Summer Health Activities and Professions Exploration Camp, Grand Rapids

The Summer Health Activities and Professions Exploration (sHaPe) Camp gives Grand Rapids area middle school students hands-on exposure to health professions. The camp is staffed by faculty, staff and student volunteers from Grand Valley State University and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital, who share their expertise with participants. Over four days, students learn about health-related professions including public health, physician assistant, athletic training and radiology through various hands-on activities. sHaPe Camp also emphasizes a healthy lifestyle, with students participating in daily activities, eating healthy snacks and learning exercise techniques. Camp is free, and transportation is provided. One of the main goals of sHaPe is to make this opportunity available to urban students in Grand Rapids Public Schools. In its eight years, 315 students have attended; and of those,197 have been minority students.

Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health – Naloxone/Narcan Opioid Overdose Program

In response to the opioid epidemic, Southwest Michigan Behavioral Health (SWMBH) initiated two programs focused on opioid overdose prevention. The Naloxone/Narcan Opioid Overdose Program for Law Enforcement Agencies has provided 59 law enforcement and firefighting agencies from Barry, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph and Van Buren counties with training on opioid overdose warning signs and symptoms and overdose rescue protocol with Naloxone. SWMBH has supplied 1,707 Naloxone kits to these agencies. A second, community-based Naloxone/Narcan Opioid Overdose Program provides training and Naloxone kits to members of the community who are close to or more likely to encounter persons using opium-based medication or illegal drugs. This has resulted in 2,052 civilian community members trained and supplied with 1,482 Naloxone kits.

Julie Beamer – Gleaners Michigan Milk Access Program, Detroit

Milk is one of the most requested items at food pantries, but, on average, emergency food pantries provide the equivalent of less than one gallon of milk per person per year. Julie Beamer, chief financial officer for Gleaners Food Bank, leveraged the organization’s relationships with Kroger, Michigan Dairy, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan and Michigan’s dairy farmers and developed targeted fundraising initiatives to provide milk to families and kids in southeast Michigan. Gleaners is the only food bank in Michigan currently fundraising specifically for milk and Beamer is sharing her lessons learned and successes with others wishing to start their own programs. Within the last four years, Gleaners Michigan Milk Access Program has distributed more than 300,000 gallons of milk; more than 137,000 gallons in 2017 alone.

Jennifer Strange – Traverse City Health Clinic

Since taking up the helm of Traverse Health Clinic's behavioral health program, Jennifer Strange has implementated initiatives that have reduced barriers to accessing behavioral health and counseling services for the underserved in the community and expanded behavioral health services at the clinic. This has included opening up behavioral health services to patients who receive their primary care elsewhere; expanding services to patients as young as age 12; providing additional behavioral health outreach at area homeless shelters; and applying for Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities accreditation. This endorsement will permit the clinic to offer services to patients who have substance use disorders, co-occurring disorders and/or are court-mandated.

Corner Health Center Peer Education Theater Troupe, Ypsilanti

The Corner Health Center Peer Education Theater Troupe provides youth audiences the opportunity to experience performances about important health topics affecting students such as sexual health, dating violence, depression, LGBTQ issues and substance abuse. After the show, the audience has a chance to interact with the characters through question and answer sessions. The actors then leave their characters behind and answer additional questions as peer educators, sharing their own personal experiences. This has resulted in improved knowledge on topics such as sexually transmitted infections and increased comfort in discussing the topics with their peers among audience members.

Kenetra Young – Detroit Health Department

Dr. Kenetra Young is credited with expanding the Detroit Health Department’s education and outreach efforts during the hepatitis A outbreak. She led prevention and intervention efforts by strengthening interdepartmental coordination and providing direct engagement to community groups and health professionals. She also made presentations on hepatitis A to residents and community partners, wrote articles about the outbreak and assisted with the translations of brochures and flyers to ensure all residents could understand the information.

The Michigan Public Health Week Partnership consists of the following organizations: Grand Valley State University, Michigan Association of Counties, Michigan Association for Local Public Health, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Michigan Health Improvement Alliance, Inc., Michigan Public Health Association, Michigan Public Health Institute, Michigan State University, University of Michigan School of Public Health, and Wayne State University.

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