Every three years, Mercy Health conducts a community health needs assessment (CHNA). The CHNA helps communities, organizations, and local health systems identify issues that impact health in the community. This process will guide efforts to improve health for the next three years. We need to hear from you! Your input will help us learn about our communities, their strengths, and the things that need to improve. This survey asks about you, your opinions, and where you live.
Click on the links below to take the CHNA survey:
MUSKEGON, MI – The Muskegon Area Medication Disposal Program (MAMDP) is hosting a medication and needle take back event on Saturday, April 24th at the Muskegon Township Fire Department, located at 1117 W. Walker Rd., Muskegon MI from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All MAMDP volunteers will be implementing and following COVID-19 safety protocols to allow for a safe event.
Due to the impact of the COVID pandemic, many of those who are in active recovery are in fear of relapse due to increased isolation, and the decrease of in-person resources and support services. According to the 2nd Quarter Report from the WMed Medical Examiner Office, Muskegon County doubled in overdose deaths in April 2020, compared to April 2019. According to the report, overdoses continue to be on the rise with Muskegon County leading 2nd in overdose rates compared to other counties in West Michigan.
Jennifer Hodges, Supervisor of Muskegon Charter Township stresses the importance of the Medication Take Back Event, “The Muskegon Area Medication Disposal Program is integral in mitigating the unsafe use of all medications, especially opioids; thus prevention abuse, addiction, and overdoses throughout our communities. Proper medication disposal is important in prevention unused and expired medications from being stolen and misused, especially by vulnerable populations such as children and teens. Keeping these types of medications out of the hands of our youth is significant in prevention opioid abuse.”
This bi-annual event is in partnership with the DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day, which aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications. Since 2010, MAMDP has collected 42,651 (21 tons) of medications, reducing the number of opioids and other medication found in residents’ homes, watersheds, and in the wrong hands.
During the April 24 event, MAMDP will be distributing free Medication Lock Boxes and Sharps Disposal Containers to Muskegon County residents, as supplies last. Dave Glotzbach, Muskegon Township Fire Chief is passionate about keeping the community safe. “As first responders we regularly see leftover/expired medications and needles, many people do not know the best way to properly dispose of them. This medication disposal program is convenient and will ensure proper disposal providing increased safety for the people in your home and protection for the environment. I encourage you to take advantage of this program.”
Community residents are urged to drop off their unused or expired over the counter and prescription medications between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. on April 24th; including ointments, creams, pet medications, and needles. Biohazardous materials, household hazardous waste, and personal care items are not accepted.
About The Muskegon Area Medication Disposal Program (MAMDP)
MAMDP, a Health Project collaborative founded in 2010, is one of the first and most successful take-back programs in Michigan. It has been recognized nationally and featured in the White House’s 2015 National Drug Control Strategy. MAMDP is made possible through the collaborative efforts of several community organizations, including Mercy Health, Norton Shores PD, Sheriff’s Office, Muskegon PD, Muskegon Township PD, Muskegon Township Fire Dept., Senior Resources, the Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon County, Public Health – Muskegon County, and the Health Project. This program is supported by grants from the Lakeshore Regional Entity, Mercy Health and the in-kind support for the use of the Muskegon Township Fire department facilities and to the community volunteers for participating at the day’s event. For more information or if you have questions about which medications are accepted or future drop-off dates, visit mamdp.org
Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Mercy Health Muskegon and the Health Project have helped in rolling out vaccines in West Michigan in collaborative partnerships established in West Michigan. In Grand Rapids, several vaccination clinics have been established including the large scale facility at Devos place and several embedded vaccinator clinics at its Browning-Claytor, Clinica Santa Maria, and Sparta locations targeting communities of color and other marginalized populations, including immigrant and undocumented communities.
In Muskegon, the initial vaccination clinic was held at Mercy Health where many of the first wave health professionals, public safety, and frontline health and human services workers received their vaccination. Now that the community roll out has begun, Mercy Health helped established a vaccination clinic at Shape Corporation and helped with specific pop up clinics for specific sub populations groups.
Several Health Project leaders and colleagues have also served in the vaccination rollout. West Michigan’s Community Health and Well Being Director, Stevi Riel has helped coordinate the roll out implementation within West Michigan and has been a liaison for both communities between the collaborative partners and issues that arise such as limited vaccination dosages and huge waiting lists.
“We’ve been privileged to work alongside those at the front of the vaccination efforts in our community. It makes sense that Community Health Workers be part of this – so much of this work depends on trust and relationships and our colleagues are positioned to ensure that everyone has equitable access to reliable information and the vaccination.”
In addition to the clinics and appointment work, the Health Project was also able to secure funding from Trinity Health to enhance community access and awareness in the minority communities. Both communities received funding that will go directly to its respective COVID collaboration groups Mask Up Muskegon and Vaccinate West Michigan in Kent County.
Muskegon, MI – The Health Project, the Community Benefit Ministry of Mercy Health, is encouraging the community to take advantage of open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act, before it closes on December 15. The Health Project is also encouraging individuals 65 or older, or on disability to take advantage of Medicare open enrollment, before it closes on December 7.
The Health Project offers open enrollment assistance for individuals that are looking to get healthcare insurance, looking for a new insurance plan to fit their needs, or need help navigating the insurance marketplace. Now, more than ever, it is important to have healthcare coverage. Ron Rademacher, Regional Pharmaceutical Access Program Manager at the Health Project, states, “Especially with the increasing rates of COVID, it is imperative to make sure that you are insured and covered. Young adults over 26 years old who are no longer on their parent’s healthcare plan, individuals that have been laid off from their jobs due to COVID, or essential workers who are working through the pandemic should have access to healthcare coverage during these unprecedented times.”
The Health Project has Certified Application Counselors (CACs) who are able navigate the various insurance plans on the market. Liz Chala-Hidalgo, Lead Community Health Worker at the Health Project, states that, “It is important that everyone that is eligible for Medicare gets enrolled before the deadline, December 7. Anyone that is age 65 and over, or on disability are eligible to receive coverage. Medicare beneficiaries, who are diabetic and insulin dependent, are encouraged to take advantage of the enhanced insulin saving plans, offered for 2021. Under the available enhanced plans, individuals will be able to avoid the “donut hole” or “GAP” and pay $35 or less per month for qualified insulins throughout the calendar year.”
The Health Project is open and ready to support individuals and their families who live in Kent, Muskegon, Oceana and surrounding areas. Call us the Health Project at 231-672-3201 or call the Community Health and Well-Being Office at 616-685-3350 to schedule a virtual appointment. Spanish help is also available.
About the Health Project: The Health Project, the Community Benefit Ministry of Mercy Health Muskegon, is an inclusive, community-based, decision-making non-profit agency committed to improving the health of the community and the delivery of health care in Muskegon County and the surrounding West Michigan region. For more information about MCHP and their health services, please visit www.mchp.org.
Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon County Launches New Website
Muskegon, MI – The Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon County (DFC) has launched a new website. The website will act as a one-stop shop for community members who are seeking information regarding SUD treatment, prevention, recovery, harm reduction, education, and awareness.
“I am so excited that the DFC has a new, user friendly website that brings information about substance use prevention, treatment and recovery so it is all in one place. It helps parents find facts and techniques to talk with their kids, places for community members to get involved, and information for those in need to find support and treatment options. We know that drug misuse is a community problem. The new DFC website is a tool to help our community address this issue together,” explained the Coalition for Drug Free Muskegon former chair, Kate Kesteloot Scarbrough, Executive Director at Mediation and Restorative Services.
The website highlights community organizations and services for individuals who are seeking information on treatment, detox, or recovery services. The website consists of state and local statistics and data, local agencies and community collaboratives, current legislation around substance use disorder (SUD), and educational resources.
“As an organizing body of many community initiatives, this platform will allow us to provide accurate information to our community. Utilizing a data-driven approach, this website is a collaborative effort to increase awareness on the various substance use resources available in Muskegon County,” said Muskegon County Sheriff and DFC Co-Chair Michael Poulin. “Through this tool, we are excited to have this information easily accessible to anyone with a smartphone.”
The DFC of Muskegon County houses six subcommittees that aim to educate youth and young adults on the legal, health, and social consequences of substance use. The Muskegon Alcohol Liability Initiative (ALI), Muskegon Area Medication Disposal Program (MAMDP), Knowsmoke Tobacco Reduction Coalition, and the Alliance for Marijuana Prevention (AMP) coalition were the original four subcommittees of the DFC. In 2018, the Ride with Pride Program and the Muskegon County Opiate Taskforce were added under the DFC governing body.
In 2014, the DFC and its subcommittees were nationally recognized by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) as Coalition of the Year, and were awarded the “Got Outcomes” award for producing the most outcomes in combating substance use among youth in Muskegon County.
The DFC Executive Committee, who assisted in the development of the website, consists of partnering agencies such as; HealthWest, Public Health of Muskegon County, Eastside Outpatient Services, Muskegon County Prosecutor’s Office, Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office, the Health Project, Lakeshore Regional Entity, Muskegon City Police Department, and Norton Shores Police Department.
For more information about the Drug Free website, please visit: www.drugfreemuskegon.org
“So many young men who do not have insurance need to be covered. You’d be surprised that younger people are having more problems today. Early detection is the best defense for prostate and chronic health issues,” stated Jimmie Fox, Community Health Worker at the Health Project. 66 men, young and old, attended the 2020 Men’s Health Fair that took place on Saturday, January 4th at Muskegon Heights High School.
Since 2002, Mimi Rankin and her outreach team have seen hundreds of African American men screened for preventable chronic diseases, providing a need in the community. “Before the Affordable Care Act, the Men’s Health Fair was the only check-up that men would receive because we offer free health screenings. Now, families and young men have access to a family physician and resources in the community,” stated Ivory Morris, Community Health Worker on the Health Project’s Outreach Team.
Screenings available this year were for diabetes, prostate, blood pressure, breathing tests, vision tests, and more.
Community vendors to provide education and testing were the Knowsmoke Coalition, Public Health of Muskegon County, HealthWest, Walmart, BlueCross Complete, Mercy Health Nurses and Doctors from the Mercy Health Lab, Hackley Community Care, and Muskegon Family Care.
The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program gives you the skills you need and the support you deserve to make lasting healthy lifestyle changes.
New classes begin on Tuesday, February 4th, 2020 from 5:45pm to 6:45pm at Mercy Health Lakeshore Conference Room, located at 72 S State St. Shelby, 49455
Questions? Contact Kelli at 231-722-9622 ext. 205 or email at YDPP@muskegonymca.org
Matt, through the services and coordination of the Health Project’s Community Health Workers, was scheduled for a much-needed eye appointment with VSP® Eyes of Hope®. “I felt that the doctor did an amazing job. He was very caring and had a lot of concern with my Type 1 Diabetes. He overdid what he was supposed to do as far as the program is concerned. He dilated my eyes, did a search for any issues, and checked the overall health of my eyes. It had been several years since I have had my eyes checked because my insurance does not cover it. ”
VSP, Eyes of Hope provides immediate access to eye exams and glasses for individuals in need and supports optometrists delivering eye care to those in need globally. In 2018, they celebrated the early achievement of their goal to provide access to eye care and eyewear for 2 million people in need with a commitment to reach another #MillionMore by 2020.
Their mobile eye care clinic’s program was developed from the relief response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. VSP was on the scene to help doctors, whose practices had been destroyed, quickly return to providing eye care, and to offer no-cost replacement eyewear for community members. Today, the mobile eye care clinics partner with charitable organizations and VSP network doctors across the U.S. when not deployed to communities affected by disaster.”We have traveled to Hurricane Harvey, Super Storm Sandy, tornados in Alabama, and to major fires in Paradise California. We will stay for up to 4-5 weeks at a time to provide disaster relief for those in need, and to provide employment for VSP doctors in that area of the disaster until their offices are back up and running,” stated Lori Fanning, a VSP Mobile Clinic Operations Manager. “During outreach activities, like in Muskegon, we partner with organizations that can connect us with patients in need, and from there the organization will schedule the clients to be seen”.
Each clinic is outfitted with an eye exam room and portable exam equipment to provide comprehensive eye exams, an eyewear dispensary stocked with popular frame brands, and an optical finishing lab.
To view upcoming locations and dates, please visit globaleyesofhope.com and select Mobile Clinics. The Mobile Clinic schedule can also be found at www.vspmobileeyes.com
“Last week, we made tacos!” exclaimed Tom. Tom is a Support Coordinator Assistant at HealthWest. Tom and 20 other individuals signed up to participate in Muskegon Prescribes Food for Health 12-week program. “It’s a fun class! They incorporate healthy vegetables, whole grains, and fruits into meals that taste great. The idea of these classes is to teach others how to cook the same meals that we all grew up knowing and loving, but making those meals healthier for a healthier lifestyle”.
“We partner with the YMCA every other week to host the Cooking Matters curriculum. On the off weeks, we invite our yoga instructor, Diana Springstead, from Serene Yoga, to hold yoga classes,” stated Katherine Kaltz, Program Coordinator at Community enCompass.
Two years ago, the MPFH pilot program was implemented to link low-income participants with fresh fruits and vegetables from McLaughlin Grows Urban Farm. This program supplies fresh produce to a group of individuals who have been diagnosed with a chronic disease, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high cholesterol, etc. The program identifies health conditions that may benefit from improved nutrition. “We even see individuals who are pregnant, suffer from chronic pain, or those who attend to feel a sense of community and to connect with others,” stated Katherine.
In order for this program to be successful, the program has partners with multiple organizations in the community. Healthcare providers at Hackley Community Care write referrals for their patients to sign up for class and receive goods from the farm every time they attend class. Through the partnership with the YMCA, cooking classes are hosted every other week to educate the participants on nutrition and food preparation. Community Health Workers (CHWs) from Health Project Hub on the Lakeshore (Pathways) monitor the progress of the clients, and assist with the referral process while working alongside physician offices.
Today, the program is being supported by the Community Health Innovation Region (CHIR), and is a recipient of the Community Benefit Board Initiative Grant, organized by the Health Project.
The classes are held once a week for two hours for 12 weeks throughout the year. “Attendance is Key!” explained Katherine. “We reward those who have finished all 12 classes with a certificate of completion and a large kitchen prize.” Think crockpot or Instapot. “Every week, participants get to leave with an incentive for attending the class. Today, we gave away kitchen scissors, spatulas, and every participant will walk away with a bag full of vegetables from the farm.”
The program’s long-term goal is to collaborate more with physicians and doctors’ offices to become more involved in the program. “We would like for doctors to promote more of a holistic approach by supporting nutrition-based initiatives. By increasing access to healthy foods and education around cooking, we can benefit a patient’s overall health.”
“I think the program connects people who are yearning for more knowledge of eating healthier and cooking healthier meals. We are all on this health journey together. Food is universal. It does not matter what skin tone you are, or religion—people can connect with food. If you can have a meal together, and share the same space, you both will discover that you have the same common ground.”
The Muskegon Prescribes Food for Health Project has wrapped up for the 2019 year, but those who are interested in the 2020 year may connect with Katherine at Katherine@communityencompass.org
Join Community enCompass for the Taste and See 2019 Tour on Monday, September 23rd at 5pm. TASTE & SEE 2019 is a progressive dinner tour and fundraiser through Muskegon’s Core-City Neighborhoods. Guests get to see firsthand the great things happening in Muskegon and meet the neighbors who are making the difference, with food provided by downtown’s premier establishments.
Tickets may be purchased here: http://www.communityencompass.org/taste-see