Michigan Organizations Receive More Than $800,000 in Grant Funding to Improve Health in Upper Peninsula

by Brianna Neace

| 3 min read

DETROIT, June 5, 2018 – Fourteen community organizations throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will receive a total of $814,652 in grant funding to begin new projects or expand existing projects that address critical health care problems in their communities. The funding is provided through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation and the Superior Health Foundation’s Investing in Upper Peninsula Health grant initiative. The partnership provides one-time grants that will be used to improve health and access to cost-effective, quality care for residents in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. “It’s crucial that we extend our efforts to address the health care needs of residents in rural regions of the state,” said Lynda Rossi, executive vice president of Strategy, Government and Public Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “This initiative will help identify and shape the interventions necessary to improve the cost, access and quality of care available to individuals and families in the Upper Peninsula.” Michigan’s Upper Peninsula residents face barriers to health care. A 2015 study conducted by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan showed Keweenaw County as consistently falling below the recommended ratio of primary care physicians to population. Mackinac, Luce and Baraga counties rank in the bottom 20 counties for overall health outcomes in Michigan, which measures resident’s length and quality of life. Chippewa County, the second largest in the Upper Peninsula, ranks in the bottom 10 Michigan counties for overall health factors, which identifies health behaviors, clinical care, social, economic and environmental factors within each community. “We’re proud to support organizations in the Upper Peninsula who understand the specific needs of their communities and work to inspire positive change for those facing a broad base of health disparities,” said Audrey Harvey, vice president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. Some of the most prevalent health issues affecting residents of the Upper Peninsula are linked to obesity, mental and behavioral health, substance abuse and chronic disease. The goal of this initiative is to identify and support programs that address the following focus areas: expanding access to health care, improving quality of health care and addressing critical health problems. “There are no shortages of healthcare needs in the Upper Peninsula,” said Jim LaJoie, executive director of the Superior Health Foundation. “We’re honored to leverage funding with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation to provide much-needed grant funding to more than a dozen deserving organizations.” An overview of the grant recipients is below:
$65,000 Western Upper Peninsula Health Department (WUPHD) All UP Counties Support leadership for all six health departments to assess, evaluate, plan and implement health improvement plans for the Upper Peninsula
$90,000 Upper Great Lakes Family Health (UGL) Marquette County Expand services at the Gwinn Center used to examine patients experiencing pain/discomfort, diagnose illness and determine how well a prescribed treatment is working
$65,000 Helen Newberry Joy Hospital Luce, Mackinac, Alger, Schoolcraft Counties Integrate behavioral health into a primary care clinic to provide a continuum of preventative and restorative mental health services to the community
$65,000 Baraga-Houghton-Keweenaw Child Development Board Inc. Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw Counties Enhance evidence-based, trauma informed “Watch Me Shine” program used to help build supportive, responsive relationships between children and caring adults
$62,952 Northern Lights YMCA Delta, Dickinson, Menominee Counties Enhance the “Active for Life” initiative which addresses chronic disease, treatment and prevention while increasing activity and obesity prevention
$48,000 Bay Cliff Health Camp All UP Counties Enhance the comprehensive “Life After Stroke” wellness program for stroke survivors, spouses and caregivers
$65,000 Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital (SMH) Schoolcraft County (and surrounding areas) Expand access to services and treatment for mental health, addiction and trauma
$65,000 UP Health Care Solutions Baraga, Houghton, Ontonagon, Keweenaw Counties Reduce the incidence of visual impairment from diabetic retinopathy
$65,000 Munising Memorial Hospital Alger County Implement school-based healthcare clinics within a minimum of two local schools
$25,000 Dial Help Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw, Ontonagon Counties Expand access to care with mobile response team (MRT) to 24/7 capacity
$65,000 Abundant Life Mission (ALM) Menominee County Use evidence-based nutrition and dietary plans to help prevent and treat critical health problems found in homeless individuals residing in the mission
$50,000 Great Lakes Recovery Center (GLRC) All UP Counties Support four residential treatment facilities with strategic recreation program designed to engage youth and provide services for mental health and substance abuse, including opioid addiction
$33,700 Hannahville Indian Community Menominee County Increase preventive care services and basic restorative care while expanding dental health education to targeted groups within the tribal community
$50,000 UP Diabetes Outreach Network All UP Counties Preventing Type 2 diabetes across 15 rural counties to increase awareness and testing for prediabetes, as well as expanding access to diabetes prevention programs
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.6 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit and

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