MDCH awards $292,000 in Building Healthy Communities Planning Grants

Contact: Jennifer Smith 517-241-2112

For Immediate Release: February 25, 2015

LANSING, Mich. – As part of continued efforts to promote community-based systems of care, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) Building Healthy Communities (BHC) program recently awarded seven local health department more than $292,000 in grants to create three-year strategic plans to reduce obesity and other chronic diseases at the local level.

“By working with partners on the local level, we can better engage with our residents to encourage healthy diets and regular exercise,” said Nick Lyon, director of the MDCH. “Local health departments are an essential health resource, and these funds will support their efforts to create long-term plans to promote health and wellness in their communities.”

Michigan has one of the highest obesity rates in the nation with 31 percent of adults and 17 percent of youth being obese. Obesity directly impacts a person's overall health and is the root cause of many chronic illnesses, such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

The local planning process will build the capacity of local public health departments and partners to address healthy food access and physical activity by forming coalitions, assessing community assets, resources and needs. Furthermore, the grants will enable local public health to increase healthy eating and physical activity through evidence-based policy, systems, and environmental change strategies.

These efforts align with national and state level strategies on the prevention and reduction of obesity, and underscore the department’s commitment to health equity by serving populations more commonly affected by limited access to healthy lifestyle resources. Additionally, these funds will promote principles outlined by the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan – Governor Rick Snyder’s initiative to promote healthy, active lifestyles.

MDCH is pleased to announce that, after an open application process, the following local health departments have been selected to receive the BHC planning grant:

  • Central Michigan District Health Department
  • Chippewa County Health Department
  • Public Health, Delta and Menominee Counties
  • District Health Department No. 2
  • Luce, Mackinac, Alger, Schoolcraft District Health Department
  • Macomb County Health Department
  • Public Health - Muskegon County

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