Michigan Surgeon General Debuts Healthy Congregations Tool

Contact: Tiffany Baker (313) 456-0164

August 25, 2006

Michigan Surgeon General Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom announced a new web-based tool to assist Michigan churches in supporting physical activity, healthy eating, and a tobacco-free lifestyle among churchgoers. The tool was launched at the Second Annual Governor’s Faith-Based & Community Resource Symposium yesterday at the Cobo Conference Center in Detroit.

"The well-being of congregations is central to all faith leaders and faith organizations,” Wisdom said. “We are thrilled to provide this resource to help the faith community address the challenges affecting the health of members and create an environment that supports healthy living."

The Michigan Steps Up Promoting Healthy Congregations Assessment is one of several new free resources now available at www.michiganstepsup.org. This evidence-based tool was created to enable Michigan faith-based organizations to assess themselves on how well they are doing at supporting healthier lifestyles among their congregations and learn about steps they can take to promote better health among their members.

“The Promoting Healthy Congregations Assessment was very helpful and gave me ideas that I had not previously thought about,” said Rev. Dr. LaClaire Bouknight of Eaglevision Ministries in Lansing. “Since completing the assessment about a week ago, we have implemented a no-smoking policy and started working on health questionnaires.”

Other web-based resources include: the “Spirit, Mind & Body: Eat Well, Live Well, Event Planning Guide,” monthly updates on a variety of health topics, and an opportunity to join the newly formed Michigan Faith-Based Health Association.

Members of Michigan’s faith community have played a key role in the development of these resources as part of a network of nearly 400 statewide Michigan Steps Up stakeholders. This group has worked collaboratively with the Michigan Department of Community Health to develop the Promoting Healthy Congregations Assessment, a healthy eating policy for faith-based functions, the Michigan Faith-Based Health Association and the Walk by Faith health information website.

For more information about the Michigan Steps Up faith-based resources, please visit www.michiganstepsup.org and click on Healthy Communities.