Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan's Sixth Annual "Let's Talk Health Week" Highlights Health Disparities and Prevention

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Sixth Annual “Let’s Talk Health Week” Highlights Health Disparities and Prevention

For the sixth consecutive year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is addressing health disparities in Grand Rapids through community-based activities and conversations as part of its annual Let’s Talk Health Week. This year, the event programming runs June 12 – 18.

Combined, Latinos and African Americans make up 33 percent of the Grand Rapids population. Often, these minority groups face health disparities, such as heart disease and diabetes, at a disproportionately higher rate than other communities.  Let’s Talk Health Week brings local leaders, advocates, agencies and members of faith-based organizations together to discuss these disparities, and empower individuals to take control of their health through lifestyle changes and preventive care.

“To better address health disparities in these communities, it’s important to engage, listen and understand the perspectives of those affected,” said Cle J. Jackson, senior community liaison for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Let’s Talk Health Week allows us to better connect with Grand Rapids’ diverse population and encourage healthy lifestyle changes that result in happier lives. Together, with the NAACP Branch of Greater Grand Rapids and many other local, dedicated organizations, we’re working towards a shared vision of community health.”

All Let’s Talk Health Week events are open to the public. Raffle giveaways will take place throughout the week. Attendees at each event can also enter the grand-prize drawing to receive a Fitbit on Monday, June 19.

Here is a complete list of Let’s Talk Health Week events:

  • Mon., June 12 – Blues Community Faith in Wellness Challenge Kick-Off
    6 p.m. | Baxter Community Center, 935 Baxter SE, Grand Rapids
    Hundreds of parishioners from 15 local churches get moving as part of their 10-week, Faith in Wellness Blues Community Challenge health journey. Participants will choose to engage in all or one of the following 15-minute workouts: Zumba, Sit & Fit and Boot Camp. Participants will choose to engage in physical activity to kick-off their road to wellness.
  • Mon., June 12 – #MIKidsCan Cook Competition
    7 – 8 p.m. | Baxter Community Center, 935 Baxter SE, Grand Rapids
    Support local youth, ages eight to 18, who’ll demonstrate their own healthy snack creations at the #MIKidsCan Cook competition. To compete, request a registration form at
  • Tues., June 13 – Faith in Wellness Luncheon
    11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Kroc Center, 2500 S. Division Ave. SE, Grand Rapids
    A dialogue on the critical role faith-based institutions play in encouraging and leading healthy behaviors in the community. To register for this luncheon, email
  • Wed., June 14 – 4th Annual Real Men Cook & Eat Healthy Cooking Contest
    6 – 7:30 p.m. | Kroc Center, 2500 S. Division Ave. SE, Grand Rapids
    Come watch as seven local celebrities compete to have their healthy entree’ featured in a local restaurant. This event highlights the importance of men’s health issues through a healthy interactive and fun competition. The winning dish, chosen by a panel of judges, wins a feature on the Linc Up Soul Food Café menu for the month. The People’s Choice winning chef will win a $1,000 donation to a non-profit of their choice. To register for this event, email
  • Fri., June 16 – GRAAHI Black & White Gala
    6 – 10 p.m. | Marriott International Ballroom, 235 Louis St. NW, Grand Rapids
    An evening of celebration and recognition,  the gala will honor individuals and organizations that have had significant influence in the areas of health and equity. Purchase tickets here or call 616-331-5831.
  • Sat., June 17 – Grand C.I.T.Y. Sports 5k Father & Son Walk
    8:30 a.m. | LifeQuest Ministries, 1050 Fisk Road SE, Grand Rapids
    A father-son focused walk helps demonstrate the significance of men’s health issues and will also provide access to wellness and human service resources and opportunities onsite. To register for this free event, visit or email
  • Sat., June 17 – 18th Annual Charles R. Drew Golf Outing & Health Expo
    8:15 a.m. Shotgun | Quail Ridge Golf Course, 8375 36th St. SE, Ada
    A day of golfing that spotlights prevention and wellness, particularly in the realm of African American men’s health. The purpose of this event is to educate fathers and sons about the physical and mental health issues that impact their lives and their family’s lives. To register, visit or call 616-328-1426.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit and