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Meet Kelli DeLong and Kharisma Kitchen

Meet Kelli DeLong and Kharisma Kitchen

Improving Population Health in Muskegon County

When looking at examples of teamwork at the Health Project, most will tell you to check out the dynamic duo of Kelli DeLong and Kharisma Kitchen. Together, they facilitate and coordinate committees of the Community Health Innovation Region (CHIR).

Michigan has received $70 million from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), being called the State Innovation Model (SIM), to implement innovative healthcare system enhancements that benefit families and improve the health of communities.  Muskegon is one of five regions the state has chosen to implement the project which includes the development of the CHIR.

Kelli and Kharisma

What is a CHIR? A CHIR is a broad partnership of community organizations, local government agencies, business entities, healthcare providers, payers, and community members coming together to identify and implement strategies that address community priorities. The Health Project is serving as the backbone organization (BBO), providing leadership and facilitating the development of a common agenda, shared measurement, and mutually-reinforcing activities.

Kelli’s role as the CHIR Project Coordinator makes her responsible for facilitating meetings, maintaining budgets, and serving as the point person between the State and the CHIR.

“During year one, we are tackling the overuse of emergency rooms,” stated Kelli.  “In the process, we also identified a need to develop interventions for those with substance use disorders and those with mental health issues.”

According to a case study completed by Michigan State University in partnership with MDHHS, Muskegon County ranks 6th out of 83 Michigan Counties for Clinical Care, but 68th for Health Outcomes, 79th for Health Behaviors, and 54th for Social/Economic Factors.

The CHIR holds four committees, one governance board and one panel, which consists of a Data Committee, Clinical Care Committee, Finance Committee, Steering Council, and an Advisory Panel.  As the CHIR Administrative Support, Kharisma is responsible for creating agendas and writing meeting minutes for all of the committees. With over four different committees and one advisory panel, the CHIR has approximately 91 active members, ranging across all sectors including education, businesses, government, healthcare, and community services and support.

Kelli Delong received her undergrad from Grand Valley State University in Health Science, and is pursuing her graduate degree in Health Administration.   In her spare time, she likes to attend workout classes at Waters Edge Fitness, travel, and hang out with her three-year old puppy, Leo.

Kharisma Kitchen has years of business administration experience. She previously worked for Mary Free Bed. She loves to spend her free time with family.