Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region Wins Award

The Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region, a partnership of healthcare and community providers serving the health needs of individuals in 10 counties in northwest Michigan, received the Community Excellence Award in Public Health from the Michigan Association for Local Public Health and the Michigan Public Health Association.

The theme for this year’s Community Excellence Award was public health transformation through investment and innovation, which the Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region has demonstrated across its 10 counties (Antrim, Benzie, Charlevoix, Emmet, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, Manistee, Missaukee and Wexford).

“We are honored that our work has been recognized by leading organizations in the state for meeting basic needs such as access to healthy food, affordable and safe housing, and transportation options,” said Jane. Sundmacher, executive director of the Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region. “Barriers to these ‘social determinants of health’ have an impact on well-being and equity.

“We share the Community Achievement Award with more than 100 diverse partners committed to the Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region, including 20 community leaders who serve on our steering committee.”

The Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region works at both the individual and community level to reduce barriers to basic needs.

At the individual level, a team consisting of a nurse, social worker and community health worker helps residents connect to and use the services they need.

At the community level, three Local Action Teams are improving access to basic needs through collaboration and system change.

The area covered by the Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region comprises 303,996 people and 4,722 square miles, and is 70% rural. The central organization for the region is the Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance, made up of seven local health departments covering 31 counties.

The Northern Michigan Public Health Alliance provides leadership and facilitates the development of a common agenda, shared actions, mutually reinforcing activities, and ongoing communication.

Research conducted by Michigan State University concluded that the Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region is aligning systems and transforming people’s lives.

The Northern Michigan Region is one of five Michigan Community Health Innovation Regions funded by a state Innovation Model Grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid.

For more information about the Northern Michigan Community Health Innovation Region, call Erin Luckhardt at (231) 347-5628 or visit www.northernmichiganchir.org.