MDCH Awards Funds to Combat Chronic Disease, Promote Healthy Lifestyles

Contact: Jennifer Smith 517-241-2112

For Immediate Release: November 10, 2014

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) recently awarded more than $700,000 in funding to 11 local health departments throughout the state as part of the MDCH Building Healthy Communities Grant Project. The grant program aligns closely with Governor Rick Snyder’s Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan, and supports projects focused on the prevention of chronic disease by promoting healthy eating and physical activities within Michigan communities.

“The Building Healthy Communities Project provides local health departments with the opportunity to enhance the quality of life in their communities,” said Gov. Snyder. “I applaud this year’s recipients and encourage all local health departments, employers, and community-based organizations to do their part in creating a healthier, stronger Michigan.”

These awards will assist local health departments in developing, implementing and evaluating evidence-based policy, systems and environmental change interventions. Funding will focus on community members who are disproportionately affected by poor health status and who lack opportunities to access healthy food and safe places for physical activity.

“Increasing the number of community environments and policies that support healthy lifestyles is a priority for our department and administration,” said Nick Lyon, director of MDCH. “This funding will help make the healthy choice the easy choice by improving community resources.”

MDCH awarded funding to the following local health departments:

  • Western Upper Peninsula Health Department
  • Marquette County Health Department
  • Health Department of Northwest Michigan
  • District Health Department #4
  • District Health Department #10
  • Bay County Health Department
  • Barry-Eaton District Health Department
  • Oakland County Health Division
  • Jackson County Health Department
  • Washtenaw County Public Health Department
  • Berrien County Health Department
Funded projects include initiatives that increase the number of students that walk or bike to school, promote worksite wellness, provide community-based resources and referrals to have access to healthy food, expand parks and trails for options to increase physical activity and increase healthy food options at restaurants.

This funding for 11 local health departments expands Michigan’s efforts further into the community and builds upon efforts that align with the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan, such as the recent expansion of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s (BCBSM) Building Health Communities program into 58 new schools. The BCBSM program is specifically aimed at youth in the classroom and has reached 275 schools throughout the state since 2009.

For more information about the Building Healthy Communities Grant Project and other Healthy Community programs in Michigan, visit