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Muskegon ALI Completes 2019 Decoy Operations

For Immediate Release:

The Muskegon Alcohol Liability Initiative (Muskegon ALI) and participating agencies would like to recognize the alcohol retailers who have passed the 2019 Muskegon ALI Alcohol Compliance Checks. As a group of law enforcement officers and concerned citizens, our mission is to reduce underage drinking and alcohol-related injuries in Muskegon County.

During the spring, participating Muskegon ALI law enforcement agencies delivered educational vendor packets to each of the alcohol establishments in Muskegon County, which provides education on the current laws and safe alcohol serving practices. We then follow up with compliance checks, conducted by law enforcement, throughout the year. The checks also serve as a tool for establishments to identify needs for additional staff training.

During the 2019 year, Muskegon ALI completed a total of 164-alcohol compliance checks in which an underage person attempts to purchase alcohol at the establishment. We are pleased to report that 155 of the 164 checks passed, and the retailer did not sell alcohol to the decoy. Below is a list of establishments that were checked and passed. The locations that did not pass the alcohol check were referred to the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) for enforcement. The staff member who sold the alcohol received a fine. For a complete list of Michigan Licensing and Regularity Affairs Violation Reports, please visit LARA’s website here.

We are encouraged by the high number of passing retailers and wish to applaud their efforts to educate their staff on the importance of ensuring alcohol is not sold to minors.

The Public Health Department of Muskegon County provides retailers and vendors alcohol beverage serving training through the Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS). More information on this retailer training can be found at on the Public Health Muskegon County Tobacco and Alcohol Retail Education website.

Thanks to the efforts of Muskegon ALI, according to our Michigan Profile for Healthy Youth Survey (MIPHY) results, youth are significantly less likely to obtain alcohol from retailers than they were ten years ago. On behalf of all Muskegon ALI participating agencies, we congratulate the establishments that passed. Participating agencies include Norton Shores Police Department, Muskegon County Sheriff’s Office, Whitehall Police Department, Muskegon Township Police Department, Roosevelt Park Police Department, Fruitport Township Police Department, Montague Police Department, North Muskegon Police Department, and Muskegon Police Department.

About the Muskegon Alcohol Liability Initiative: Muskegon ALI is a multi-jurisdictional law enforcement and prevention collaborative that is in partnership with a Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon County, under the Health Project. Their goal is to decrease the amount of youth-related injuries associated with underage drinking and to educate youth about the social, health, and law consequences associated with underage drinking and driving.

Compliance Check Passes 2019

Share Your Voice! – CHIR’s 100-Day Challenge


On September 10th, the Community Health Innovation Region (CHIR) will convene a day-long 100-Day Challenge Summit. We are calling together individuals and groups from every sector throughout our county to mobilize around a common vision. We have chosen as our vision the ability for all residents to have the opportunity to achieve economic self-sufficiency to ensure that our community will not only thrive, but that all residents and families have the opportunity to individually prosper. It is, an audacious vision.

The United Way’s new ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, and Employed) report and Mercy Health’s recent Community Health Needs Assessment, reflect that fully 45% of local residents either live in poverty or struggle daily to meet basic needs while working multiple jobs. The Summit is an opportunity to come together and not only identify but initiate strategies that confront barriers to upward mobility and well-being for our residents and growth for local business and enterprise. There are many factors: educational achievement, health, transportation and others that have separated us as a community.


The 100-Day Challenge is a best practice approach used to initiate community change. The process aligns around a specific vision and then identifies all of the various factors that get in the way of achieving that vision. Our goal is to engage a diverse group of local stakeholders and residents who will pursue solutions to these barriers. The barriers themselves are identified by reviewing local data and engaging in community conversations.

Teams will be formed around individual challenges that emerge from Summit discussions. These teams will work together to define, design and take action to achieve ambitious and measureable results. The Challenge process allows participants to create innovation – to use the opportunity to address issues that we know exist but too often don’t have the time or ability to confront. Each team will be asked to schedule a bi-weekly series of rapid-response meetings over the following 100 day period after the Summit concludes. During the 100 days, groups will target solutions and initiate strategies to address their chosen barrier issue (root cause). Each team will receive staff support as well as some resources to assist their process.

At the completion of the 100-day period, we will reconvene in December for a second one-day Summit Celebration event. At this event, each action team will be asked to report out on their progress. The Muskegon CHIR will be inviting local and state funders and investors to join us at the second Summit – particularly where the goals of funders or investors might align with the strategies teams bring forward.


Muskegon is going through a transformative period that presents an important opportunity for all of us to lean in during this important time of change. The 100-Day Challenge:

  • Takes on issues that get in the way of community-wide success;
  • Creates a safe, community led “innovation zone” to experiment with new ideas and get results!
  • Creates energy, capacity and momentum so we are able to tackle the big issues;
  • Supports the emergence of new leaders for our community;
  • Deepens local collaboration to achieve a greater good.


To support the 100-Day Challenge, CHIR leadership we will be working again with the Michigan State-based ABLe Change design team. From launch to report-out, our staff will work with you to support team processes and report meeting notes into and through a common framework. Throughout the process we will be identifying data and also best national practices to help each team move forward. Team members will also receive an ABLe-developed participant launch guide as well as other materials to inform the process and help your team achieve success.


Want to get involved?

  • Now and through the summer we will be busy interviewing stakeholders and residents about the process – invite us to a staff meeting or let’s talk one-on-one about the Challenge. We are anxious to answer questions and to get your input on barriers that you’ve identified and possible ideas for change!
  • Complete the CHIR Vision Feedback Questionnaire (at the end of this document).
  • Share data – do you have a survey or material that you believe could inform our process? Please share!
  • Circle the date and come out and participate in the launch in September.
  • Join a challenge team or invite a member of your staff or colleagues to participate.
  • Lead a challenge team. Do you have an idea – an innovation that fits the goal? We are looking for seed teams to start the process early or, for individuals interested in leading a team.

Instructions for Completing the 100 Day Challenge Questionnaire

What follows is a walk-through of the survey that we are using to collect community data for the 100 Day Challenge. Please complete this survey and share with colleagues and friends or at a meeting or event. Our goal is to execute at least 300 survey tools across Muskegon County in preparation for the Challenge.

About the Questionnaire

  • The form begins with a draft vision statement that we need community feedback on. That vision is: “Working Together to Build a Thriving, Healthy, and Economically Self-Sufficient Muskegon” 


  1. We are asking that you provide feedback on the vision – e. g. Is it clear? Easy to understand? Compelling? There is space on the form for feedback
  2. The vision is followed in Question 2 by a series of priority areas that align with social determinants of health. Respondents are asked to identify up to 2 of these items that represent personal priorities – something they feel strongly about. If a priority is not on this list, the respondent can add it.
  3. Question three digs deeper into the two chosen priorities. The respondent is asked to tell us what barriers in our community get in the way of achieving the specific priority or priorities they have identified. For instance, if “Affordable Housing” was chosen, under Root Cause a respondent would tell us why affordable housing is not readily available. We need people to be very specific here – just remember to emphasize that it is an opinion question. There are no wrong answers.
  4. Question 4 is about data. If a respondent or their organization has data that can inform our 100 Day Challenge, we are asking them to share it if possible.   We don’t get a lot of responses on this part of the questionnaire – that is ok. We just want to make sure we have any updated assessment material or surveys in the community that might inform our event.
  5. And finally, with Question 5 we have a series of bullet points on how people can participate in the 100 Day Challenge. This is intended to engage individuals in the Summit or a Challenge Team. We hope to gather a crowd of 300 people on that day (September 10) and that is a pretty heavy lift. Volunteers will be welcome!

When you are done you can call or email Vondie 231-571-3889, or Michael Ramsey 231-672-3234 if you have questions. You can also scan the questionnaire and email it to

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions.

100 Day Challenge Information Questionnaire

Free Health Screening Fairs July-August 2019

The Health Bound Coalition and the Health Project Identify Needs in Oceana.

According to the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) report for Muskegon, Oceana and Newaygo Counties, 3 of the top 5 leading health care issues and concerns for Oceana that were identified were chronic illnesses. In 2016, the Oceana Health Bound Coalition created a long-term strategic plan which identified and prioritized the following top 3 issues among the health system, public health and the community sectors of Oceana to work on for the next 3 years: diabetes, obesity, and access to health services. Their strategies also included ways to increase capacity in Oceana County, and to provide both diabetes education and chronic disease self-management for those populations with diabetes.

Why is diabetes an issue?

Local County data: The chronic condition of diabetes in Oceana County ranks higher at 14.8% in comparison to the state average of 10.4%. According to the 2013 Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the leading causes of death include a 24.6% rate due to diabetes in the DHD #10’s coverage area, which includes Oceana. This rate is higher than the state rate at 23.7%. According to the Oceana County Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (BRFS), Oceana had worse scores than other counties in 4 areas including obesity, overweight, consumption of less than 5 fruits and vegetables daily, and physical activity.

State data: In 1997, 6% of Michigan adults said they were diagnosed with diabetes. By 2012, it increased to 10.4%. Further data estimate that 1/3 of adults are undiagnosed. Diabetes is more prevalent among people of color and in rural areas. Health costs for people with diabetes and those that are undiagnosed are estimated to costing Michigan $8 Billion. Michigan ranks 22nd out of 50 states with the highest diabetes prevalence among adults 18 years and older.

What is being done to prevent and educate on diabetes in Oceana?

The Diabetes Sub-Committee meets monthly and is comprised of Health Project staff, health providers, nurse hybrid case managers, public health educators and other local key stakeholders. Through their joint collaboration, planning and implementation; this sub-committee is committed to increase capacity at the health systems policy level which includes to screen, test, and create sustainable, community-clinic partnerships.

Goal: to increase the number of pre-diabetic or diabetics in Oceana County by taking charge of their health by successfully preventing or manage their type 2 diabetes through healthy lifestyle choices, prevention, and self-management education programs. There is an emphasis on increasing the number of those preventing, or self-managing type 2 diabetes among the local Spanish-speaking population.

Collaboration with partners is key! Through the collaboration of staff, health providers, patient medical homes, hospitals and other Oceana Health Bound Members/Partners, 3 free large health screenings events are planned for 2019.

Join the Health Bound Coalition, Lions Club, Health Project and more at three local health fairs on July 2nd, August 9th, and August 21st.

English Version of HFOC Health Screening

FairHFOC Diabetes Health Screening Fairs 2019 Spanish(1)



Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America Features Ride with Pride

Coalitions in Action— Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon County Helps Students Ride with Pride

North Muskegon host their first Ride with Pride assembly.

Tell me about your community and the communities that your coalition serves. When was the coalition formed?

The Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon County was formed in 2004 with a mission to reduce substance use disorder in Muskegon County, Michigan through education, prevention, and treatment. The coalition acts as one organizing body for over 50 community organizations and 90 active members. The coalition serves as a backbone to many sub-committees that focus on interacting with the community to achieve success.

What unique issues is your coalition facing?

“Muskegon County was once known as ‘Beer Tent Capital of Michigan,’” said Community Health Improvement Coordinator Rachel McCoy. “Summer celebrations, community events, and outdoor concerts allowed more access to alcohol and opportunities for drunk drivers and over-serving. In 2007, Muskegon’s student youth data showed 28% of high school juniors reported binge drinking in the past 30 days. Muskegon County also suffered from a significant number of alcohol-related car crashes involving youth. In December 2007, three teens were involved in a triple fatal car accident. They were able to purchase alcohol, underage, at a local alcohol retailer. Within a month, the community organized a town hall meeting on alcohol and later obtained a Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF) grant to reduce youth alcohol use in Muskegon County.”

“Since then, it has been the Muskegon Alcohol Liability Initiative’s (ALI) mission to reduce youth alcohol access, educate on the social, health, and legal consequences of alcohol use, and decrease alcohol-related car crashes in Muskegon. ALI established a plan through the SPF planning process to use data to drive action within the community. They relaunched their alcohol task force with new law enforcement members, new branding and a new name, the Muskegon Alcohol Liability Initiative.”

Orchard View High School host their 3rd Annual Ride with Pride assembly.

What activity or program is your coalition most proud of and/or what activity would you like us to spotlight?

“Our student data highlighted youth perceptions of risk for alcohol and tobacco use were very low, and that most youth were receiving incorrect information about the law and consequences of underage drinking from their peers,” said McCoy. “Since 2010, several successful initiatives have been implemented to combat these issues, such as retailer education, compliance checks, the FaceTheBook Campaign, and the Community College “Binge Effects” Campaigns.”

“While these initiatives continually hammered the message home about the safety, health and legal consequences of alcohol use, members began to discuss a different approach that would align with the school’s multi-tiered system of support as well as reinforce positive behaviors. Muskegon ALI members asked to implement the Ride with Pride student pledge along with the Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) culture and climate program. In 2012, Mona Shores School District, the Norton Shores Police Department and Muskegon ALI launched their first Ride with Pride program. In the beginning of the year, the students are asked to sign a positive behavior pledge, which consists of positive behavior and choices the student needs to follow in order to be entered to win a car at the end of the year.”

“We learn that positive behavior is what motivates people to do the right thing, instead of always using the negative punishment side,” said Chief Jon Gale of the Norton Shores Police Department. “We need to be proactive and be involved with the schools to help educate kids and help them do the right thing.”

“The current initiative serves 4,800 students among seven high schools and middle schools, and hopes to expand to expand to 8,587 high and middle school students among an additional five school districts,” said McCoy. “This individual school-based approach engages community members on underage drinking, builds the capacity of communities to improve alcohol-related issues, and has a dramatic effect on local school climate and culture, including drops in violence and bullying, and students building positive relationships with teachers, administrators, and law enforcement.”

How did you get there, and what are your outcomes?

“Since 2012, Mona Shores High School saw a 51% decrease in school suspensions and in-school referrals for alcohol or other drugs,” said McCoy. “Mona Shores recently reported that this positive school climate has now impacted reading comprehension scores, which were up 13% in 2018.”

In the past 10 years, due to the efforts of the Muskegon ALI and the Ride with Pride Program, Muskegon County has seen:

  • a 20% reduction in students reporting they ever drank alcohol since 2010
  • a 37% decline in recent alcohol use
  • a 48% reduction of binge drinking among youth
  • a 61% reduction of youth riding with someone who had been drinking

In 2015, the Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon County received the CADCA Got Outcomes! Award for our tobacco, alcohol, and prescription drug outcomes. The coalition has also received several state awards, was featured in the 2015 National Drug Control Strategy and the Office of National Drug Control Policy for Best Practices.

What advice would you give to other coalitions that may be addressing some of the same issues?

“Muskegon ALI and Ride with Pride are proud of our accomplishments and encourage this kind of prevention work in other counties,” said McCoy. “The best advice our coalition can give is collaboration. Collaboration with other community partners has been the key to this coalition’s success. Without the capacity of other partners, Ride with Pride would not where it is today.”

“Inviting key stakeholders to the table is also very important, especially when trying to develop ways to reach our youth. For example, developing relationships with school boards, principals, and school resource officers has been integral. Connecting with these individuals is a great way to get local schools invested in this program.”

To watch Mona Shore’s 2019 Ride with Pride Assembly, Click Here

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 the Health Project, please give us a call at 231-672-3201 or visit

To learn more about CADCA, please visit

To learn more about Muskegon ALI, please visit



Pharmaceutical Access Program: Navigating Resources to Best Assist the Client

“I take Trulicity and Toujeo and I am already in the coverage gap. I was wondering if there is any help for getting prescriptions. My cost for just these two is over $450, and I only get $600 a month. Thank you so much, if you can help.” This is just an example of a request we get every day for medication assistance when people’s expenses exceed their income and resources.

Another example: a mother brought in her son who was experiencing a change in insurance coverage. He was previously covered under Medicaid, but is now transitioning into Medicare. As his coverage was changing, they wanted to make sure that the Medicare drug plan he was auto-enrolled in would provide adequate coverage for the drugs he was currently using. As a member of our team reviewed the plan and his coverage, it was discovered that one of the key drugs he was taking was not on the formulary of the plan chosen for him. Upon this revelation, a comparison was made with other plans available through Medicare. A plan providing much better drug coverage was chosen, as well as health coverage, and he was enrolled the same day, providing no gap in his drug coverage.

“Pharmaceutical Access” is much broader than just funding the cost of prescriptions. It encompasses reviewing a person’s insurance coverage, income and resources, as well as medication needs. We then assist them with navigating insurance enrollment and coverage issues. It also includes exploring opportunities to utilize pharmaceutical company resources, such as copay saving cards and patient assistance programs. The Pharmaceutical Access Program staff look for savings and resources in all areas and help each client navigate those resources as needed. Providing assistance with funds through the hospital is the last resource utilized. Each year, the needs of those within our community continue to grow, so it is incumbent upon us to be good stewards of the resources available to us so we may serve as many as possible.

All Health Project staff work together to do the screenings necessary to provide pharmaceutical access to life-sustaining medications for persons who would otherwise struggle to obtain them. Each year, the Health Project’s Pharmaceutical Access Program serves over 3,000 clients and provides assistance for over 8,000 prescriptions.

The PAP Manager, Ron Rademacher, stated that, “The Health Project’s Pharmaceutical Access Program is important because of its efforts to assist our patients obtain the medications they require, as well as discern other needs they may have affecting their ability to stay healthy. Its mission is to protect and improve the overall health of our community one person at a time.”

Community Health Worker Alliance’s Legislative Day

Community Health Workers (CHWs) from Mercy Health Muskegon’s Health Project traveled to Lansing on April 10 to participate in Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance’s Legislative Day. CHWs from across Michigan met with their local legislators to share stories of challenges, impact and success in improving the health and social well-being of patients.

Carla Hines, Dawn Rymal, Edith Evans and Tressa Crosby, certified CHWs, met with Rep. Terry Sabo, and staff from Sen. Jon Bumstead’s office, as well as Rep. Greg Van Woerkom’s office. The Health Project deploys 28 CHWs to serve patients in the Lakeshore region.

CHWs are trusted members of the community who help facilitate connection to the health care system, educate patients on managing chronic health conditions, enrollment into entitlement programs, and to address the social influencers of health.

CHWs and CHW employers are seeking sustainable funding mechanisms to maintain and expand the availability of CHW services.

The UpFront Coalition: Raising Awareness During STD Awareness Month

In recognition of STD Awareness Month, the UpFront Coalition hosted their first community movie night at the Harbor Cinema Theater in Muskegon. The acclaimed musical, RENT, shows the struggles of a group of New Yorkers as the AIDS epidemic effects their community. Over 40 community members attended the free event and enjoyed $1 pop and popcorn during the movie! The coalition encouraged everyone to be “UpFront” about their sexual health and provided resources that included a list of free and confidential testing sites in Muskegon.

During the month of April, the coalition also launched their media campaign to increase awareness around free and confidential testing sites in Muskegon. The campaign features social media ads, bathroom ads, billboards, and hosting physician education lunch and learns that focus on reducing the negative stigma of being open about your sexual health. Muskegon County has the 2nd highest chlamydia rate and 3rd highest gonorrhea rate in the State of Michigan.

For more information about UpFront and a complete list of testing locations visit

Muskegon High School Students Raise Awareness for Kick Butts Day 2019

The Knowsmoke Coalition partnered with students from Muskegon High School’s Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) to celebrate Kick Butts Day. Students were given the chance to share their reasons for not using tobacco and vaping products and “connect the dots” to encourage other students to be the next smoke + vape-free generation.

Tyreese Oakes, a sophomore at Muskegon High School, explained, “I chose to be smoke free because I lost a family member to lung cancer and I want to set a good example for the rest of my family.” Tyreese shared how important it is for schools to step away from academics and teach students about the dangers of tobacco, vaping, and drugs.

Over 500 “dots” were connected and presented in a collage near the high school’s cafeteria. The YAC students and Knowsmoke felt it was important that classmates share their reasons for why they stay smoke-free. Victoria, a 10th-grade student on the YAC, shared that, “Smoking comes with disgusting health risks, and I choose to relieve my stress by staying active.” The Youth Advisory Committee, coordinated by Joy Evans, works hard all year sharing the statistics on tobacco and vaping, and making sure kids have the tools to say “no” to tobacco and vaping.


The Ride Hits Home For Health Project CHW

“It first started with chest pains,” stated Dave Alves, a Community Health Worker at the Health Project. “The pain wouldn’t go away, and I didn’t know I was bleeding internally. I remember making a few phone calls and calling my daughter, who lives in Florida. At that point, I didn’t realize how serious it was.”

“David had what’s called an aortic dissection, or tear in his aorta, and we took him to surgery as an emergency. He was in a critical state,” said cardiothoracic surgeon Dr. Richard Downey of Mercy Health Muskegon. Fifty percent of those with David’s condition don’t make it to the hospital.

Today, after 14 years, and 4,800 riders with over 55,000 miles, The Ride is the lakeshore’s premier indoor cycling event, and it has raised over $500,000 benefiting cardiac patients in need.

Dave participated in the 2019 The Ride to increase awareness in the community about cardiac related screenings and heart-healthy lifestyles. The Ride helps support free heart screenings for:

  • Free heart screenings for high school students through the Mercy Health High School Heart Screening Program.
  • Specialized equipment for patients receiving rehabilitation services at the Mercy Health Heart Center.
  • Scholarships for those in need of cardiac rehabilitation, but whose financial or insurance-coverage status precludes them from receiving services.

Dave Alves with his doctor, Dr. Robert Downey, and his staff.

“I am here today because of surgeon Robert Downey and his staff. I was in critical care and then intensive care. His entire staff was amazing. I am eternally grateful for the care I received at Mercy Health”.


The 17th Annual Men’s Health Fair Offers Free Health Screenings

“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. 86 men, young and old, attended the 2019 Men’s Health Fair that took place on Saturday, February 16th 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, Walmart, BlueCross Complete, Mercy Health Nurses and Doctors from the Mercy Health Lab, Hackley Community Care, Muskegon Family Care, The Y, HealthWest, and a Muskegon Chapter of the A. Philip Randolph Institute to register voters.

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our services

The Health Project provides a number of direct services to eligible members of the community. These services include the following programs:

Service Highlight

2020 Men’s Health Fair: Providing Screenings To Those In Need

The Health Project held the 2020 African American Men’s Health Fair on Saturday, January 4th at Muskegon Heights High School from 9am to 1pm. Diabetes, Prostate, Blood Pressure, Breathing Test, Vision Screenings and more were offered to over 66 men who attended the event.


what’s happening

Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon Launches New Website

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 …

2020 Men's Health Fair: Providing Screenings For Those In Need

“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 …

YMCA's Diabetes Prevention Program Now In Shelby, MI!

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, …

Shout! Out

Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon Launches New Website

The Coalition for a Drug Free Muskegon County has launched a new website, which 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.


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