Hospitals Honored for Community Wellness Efforts

Released June 30, 2016, by the Michigan Health and Hospital Association

Taylor, Battle Creek and Charlotte Facilities Recognized

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) today announced the winners of its 2016 Ludwig Community Benefit Award during the MHA Annual Membership Meeting. Honored were programs led by Beaumont Hospital, Taylor; Bronson Battle Creek; and Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital, Charlotte. The award is named in memory of Patric E. Ludwig, a former MHA president who championed investing in the community’s overall health, and is presented to member organizations integrally involved in collaborative programs to improve the health and well-being of area residents. Each winner will receive $3,000 from the MHA Health Foundation to assist in its health improvement efforts.

Part of Beaumont Health, Beaumont Hospital, Taylor; its Taylor Teen Health Center; and the Taylor School District partnered to help students stay in school and improve their chances for academic success through the School Wellness Program at Harry S. Truman High School. Most of the children attending the school live in a medically underserved area that includes large numbers of uninsured and Medicaid patients. 

Since November 2011, free services have been provided on-site during all school hours by registered nurses and Licensed Master of Social Work counselors. The nurses provide services for acute illness and first aid; blood pressure monitoring; HIV testing and counseling; immunization assessment and administration; vision exams and eyeglass certificates; dental referrals; individual health education and counseling; and management of chronic conditions. One educational component is a student nutrition group initially intended to support diabetic students; it became so popular that nondiabetic students asked and were permitted to join. The social work counselors provide services based on the mental health needs of the students. 

More than 8,000 medical visits and 2,600 mental health visits have taken place at the school, and 97 percent of these visits resulted in the student returning to class and staying in school. Many of these vulnerable children would be unlikely to access physical or mental health services without the on-site services of the school wellness program.

For more information on the School Wellness Program at Harry S. Truman High School, contact Jeffrey Cook, director, school based health at the Taylor Teen Health Center, at (734) 942-2273.

A 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment identified obesity and related issues as the number one health challenge in Calhoun County. Bronson Battle Creek partnered with the Battle Creek Community Foundation and the Regional Health Alliance to organize a broad-based community task force that researched solutions and alternatives for nearly a year. The group opted to create its own evidence-based program called Operation Fit, incorporating a comprehensive toolbox of interventions and policy changes that impact students.

Because research indicates that a child who is overweight at age 11 will likely be obese as an adult, Operation Fit focuses on elementary school students to increase physical activity; improve nutrition and the lunch environment; and create support for these changes through policy, education and communication with teachers and parents.

In the two Battle Creek Public Schools where the full program was implemented in September 2014, students significantly improved in physical testing; children self-reported improved exercise and eating behaviors; parents reported their children’s health and classroom performance improved; and disciplinary issues in school were drastically reduced. To focus students on walking and running, the Operation Fit Mileage Club is implemented in the early spring in 16 schools, where nearly 5,000 students have logged more than 35,000 miles.

The program’s pilot results have spurred interest from new funding partners, and the cost-per-school as the program starts its third year this fall is expected to be less than half the expense incurred in the first year.

For additional information on the Operation Fit program, contact Mark Crawford, vice president of community health services, Bronson Battle Creek, at (269) 245-8133.

With the goal of improving health and vitality throughout the community, Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital in Charlotte created AL!VE, an innovative, collaboratively designed community resource that removes barriers to healthy behaviors and improves the well-being of mid-Michigan residents. 

AL!VE opened in 2011, the inspiration of the HGB Board of Trustees that was affirmed and supported by the entire community. An abandoned grocery store on 18 wooded acres was transformed into an experience-based, destination health park through the community’s financial support, engagement and trust.

The facility has successfully drawn participants from every age group and a broad socioeconomic demographic and has provided measurable improvement in health indicators. Within one facility, AL!VE provides the entire community with access to clinical services, health education opportunities, physical activity, relaxation spaces, children’s health and wellness space, recreational programming, conference space and social opportunities.

With the assistance of local community leaders and organizations, the integrated array of services at AL!VE continues to expand to meet future needs. By early 2016, AL!VE was averaging more than 200,000 visits per year from people representing 250 different ZIP codes, and there are countless stories of how AL!VE has improved lives of residents.

AL!VE also serves as a national model for collaborative and environmentally sustainable urban redevelopment. More than 40 hospitals have visited to learn more about the history and development of the health park.

To learn more about AL!VE, contact Patrick Sustrich, vice president, health and wellness, Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital, at (517) 543-1050.

Based in greater Lansing, the MHA advocates in Michigan and Washington, DC, on behalf of healthcare providers and the communities and patients they serve. The MHA is a nationally recognized leader on initiatives that protect and promote quality, cost-effective and accessible healthcare. To learn more, visit or follow the MHA on Facebook and Twitter.