One of the Health Fund’s biggest priorities is protecting the health of Michigan’s most vulnerable residents, particularly children and older adults. That focus is reflected in our final grant awards of the year: our Healthy Aging and Special Projects and Emerging Ideas grant programs. We’re supporting organizations that care for young and old, from protecting infant and maternal health to providing care for those with dementia. In all, we’re awarding nearly $14 million to 39 projects from nonprofits and government agencies across the state that share a common goal of bringing health up while keeping costs down.

Building support systems for older adults

In Healthy Aging, we were seeking proposals that improve access and availability of integrated, comprehensive services for older adults and their caregivers. The 25 selected organizations are doing so by taking on some of the bigger issues facing Michigan’s older adults today, including health-related transportation, telemedicine, dementia care, homelessness, and medication management. The program also continues its strong commitment to supporting caregivers of older adults.

“There are many types of caregivers, and each faces a unique set of professional and personal challenges,” said Healthy Aging program officer Tim Niyonsenga. “Sometimes, the best way to support older adults is to assist and empower those who care for them.”

Some of the selected projects are targeted to specific segments of the caregiving workforce, such as the Michigan Parkinson’s Foundation, which will provide caregivers with free, life-saving trainings on Parkinson’s disease, and the Association of Chinese Americans, which aims to decrease the cultural and language barriers faced by Asian American caregivers in southeast Michigan.

Other proposals in the grant round promise to provide more direct care and support for older adults. Five of the funded initiatives are replications or expansions of past Health Fund grants, and ten are one-year projects for pre-launch, piloting, planning, and design activities.

The awards of this program, listed below, totaled $7,891,387 and ranged from $73,306 to $500,000.

Working together in the name of lasting change

The Special Projects & Emerging Ideas grant program is an invitation-only program that invests in models that could lead to breakthroughs in the Health Fund’s priority areas or replication or expansion across the state. Awards in this round span a variety of issues, targeting food security, paramedicine, psychiatric care, maternal and infant health, pain management, and more. Health Fund program director Becky Cienki emphasized the importance of collaboration in the round:

“Every 2019 Special Projects & Emerging Ideas grant in this round involves a partnership of some kind,” she said. “That cooperation, both in funding and in implementation, will be critical to the success of these projects.”

One notable joint effort comes from the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, which is joining forces with the Michigan Surgical Quality Collaborative, Mott Children’s Hospital, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, and MDHHS to prevent opioid dependence in treating Michigan children and adolescents. In another project, MDHHS will partner with design firm Civilla to streamline the SNAP application process and increase the number of same-day eligibility determinations.

All Special Projects & Emerging Ideas grants represent significant investments in the Health Fund’s key priorities, which include behavioral health, access to healthy food, health-related transportation, infant mortality, and various other areas that are listed on our Mission and History page.

The 14 awards of this program are also listed below. They totaled $5,837,647 and ranged from $124,898 to $500,000.

2019 Healthy Aging Grants

Association of Chinese Americans, Inc. (ACA)
A Planning Grant to Develop A Culturally Targeted Service Plan for Asian American Caregivers | $100,000

This planning grant addresses unique cultural issues facing informal caregivers in the Asian American community. The Association of Chinese Americans will conduct a needs assessment to understand Asian American attitudes and practices concerning caregiving, develop a culturally targeted caregiver training program, and create an implementation plan for a Caregiver Support and Resource Center.

Battle Creek Community Foundation
MI – T.E.C.H. | $500,000

This project will expand the successful To Ensure They Come Home (T.E.C.H.) program statewide. The program aims to increase the safe return of individuals who have wandered by providing personal I.D. bracelets to older adults with dementia, allowing first responders to quickly access emergency contact information for the individual and reunite them with family members or caregivers without unnecessary emergency room visits and search and rescue costs.

Beaumont Health Foundation
Expanding Advanced Care Planning in the Clinical and Community Setting | $223,049

This initiative will use the nationally recognized Respecting Choices (RC) platform to provide Advanced Care Planning (ACP) support for adults 50 years or older. Beaumont will address the low completion rates of advanced directive documents; improve shared decision-making conversations between patients and providers around goals of care, values, and preferences for future healthcare decisions across the continuum of care; and integrate those decisions into health-related IT systems.

Brilliant Detroit
Agencies United for Healthy Aging | $200,000

Brilliant Detroit will engage community development organizations, faith-based organizations, and the Detroit Area Agency on Aging to create a shared vision and plan for healthy aging in Detroit, identifying gaps in the current aging system and potential solutions. The group will develop an aging network guidebook for hospital systems, health plans, and other entities.

Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw
Ahead of the Curve Washtenaw | $499,960

Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw and its partners will create a caregiver-friendly community system by building a network of local traditional and non-traditional organizations to enhance local service delivery for older adults and caregivers. The project will empower caregivers and local businesses to assess and identify isolated older adults and their caregivers who may benefit from existing community resources, prior to a significant event or crisis.

 Central Michigan University
Rural Older Adult Mobile (ROAM) Care: Reaching the Unreachable | $473,722

ROAM Care seeks to improve access to healthcare for rural, vulnerable, underserved older adults by bringing medical care to patients’ homes, developing individualized care plans, and coordinating integrated follow up services.

Connected Nation, Inc.
Closing Gaps in Rural Telehealth: Making Telehealth Tools More Accessible for Rural Doctors and Patients | $434,975

Connected Nation will increase awareness, availability, and use of telehealth applications in rural Michigan. Connected Nation will convene local telehealth and technology summits for health care providers and residents, develop community-specific plans to identify and implement telehealth solutions, and provide ongoing digital literacy and cyber-safety resources to communities.

Generations United
Intergenerational Solutions for Healthy Aging in Michigan | $499,583

Generations United will expand its intergenerational partnerships to three new sites in Michigan, working with two new partners to support the new sites and facilitate future statewide expansion. These partnerships will increase connections among older adults and young people, improving health outcomes for older adults and introducing young people to careers in aging and health care.

Henry Ford Health System
Closing the Loop for Seniors: A Pilot to Equip their Caregivers with Instructions & Support to Address Medical and Social Needs | $500,000

Henry Ford Health System will bring a modified version of India’s health care model, Noora Health, to Michigan. Noora Health is a train-the-trainer model in which nurses and other healthcare staff train caregivers on basic tasks to support the patient at the patient’s bedside, within clinical spaces, and at home, after the patient is discharged. The project will use mobile applications and social work programming to convene partners and families, with the goal of improving health outcomes, increasing efficiency, and delivery more support and care.

Huron Valley Ambulance, Inc.
Bringing Whatever It Takes to the Highest Risk Medicare and Medicaid Population | $495,000

This grant will expand the Whatever It Takes program to the aged, blind, and disabled Medicaid population and Medicare fee for service beneficiaries in Washtenaw County. Whatever It Takes is a community paramedic program that connects appropriate medical, mental health, and social services, allowing the paramedic to consult with a nurse or the individual’s primary care physician; provide referrals; treat the individual on location if possible; and reduce unnecessary hospitalizations and emergency room visits.

Manistee County Human Services Collaborative Body under the United Way of Manistee County
Manistee Creating Community In-Home Care Solutions | $175,000

The Manistee County Human Services Collaborative Body will develop a comprehensive, community-endorsed strategy to address direct care worker shortages and implement an in-home care family support program for seniors. This project will engage the community to create a plan to attract, train, and retain direct care workers who are interested in specializing in dementia and senior care.

Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness
Older Adult Homelessness Pilot Continuation | $73,306

Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness will complete its planning grant to investigate linkages between housing and health care and identify opportunities for integration in order to improve health outcomes for older adults experiencing homelessness. These funds will support additional stakeholder engagement and educational forums and data analysis, culminating in an informed implementation that defines statewide needs and challenges and presents recommendations for integrated case management.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Caregiver Resource Collaborative | $193,947

The Caregiver Resource Collaborative is an alliance of agencies working to improve access to resources, information, and assistance for family caregivers of older adults living with dementia or other chronic or disabling conditions. Through this planning grant, the group will expand the online THRIVE network, pilot the Tailored Caregiver Assessment & Referral support system (TCARE) in four Area Agencies on Aging, and develop an implementation plan for a sustainable network of caregiving resources.

Michigan Health Improvement Alliance
4M4ME – Improving Medication Use for Healthy Aging | $199,650

The Michigan Health Improvement Alliance will convene local partners to develop a sustainable plan and policy recommendations to reduce overprescribing and/or unnecessary, inappropriate medication use among older adults. During the planning phase, MiHIA will partner with the Michigan Health Information Network Shared Services (MiHIN) and its Health Information Exchange to establish a baseline of impacted older adults.

Michigan Parkinson Foundation
Parkinson’s Disease Education for Health Care Providers and Caregivers | $223,000

The Michigan Parkinson Foundation will produce six training videos for direct care workers in non-acute care institutions, home healthcare agencies, and assisted living facilities. These videos will focus on best practices for daily care and management of Parkinson’s disease symptoms to prevent injuries and accidental death.

Michigan Peer Review Organization
Social Isolation and Loneliness Reduction Project | $191,623

This pilot project will train pharmacists to screen older adults for social isolation and connect those adults to community resources through the person’s primary medical home.

Michigan State University
SLeep Education for Elders Program (SLEEP) | $166,736

This project will address the negative health impacts associated with insufficient and/or poor sleep among older adults. The project team will develop and pilot the Sleep-Friendly Facility initiative, which identifies policy and practice changes to support healthy sleep environments in residential care facilities. Additionally, Michigan State University Extension will embed a direct education sleep curriculum into existing evidence-based falls prevention programming.

Michigan State University
GREETS: Geriatric Rural Extension of Expertise through Telegeriatric Services | $499,984

This pilot project will develop a new delivery system that expands geriatric service options to underserved and remote areas of Michigan, using telemedicine and telehealth concepts. The GREETS model will combine geriatric care, telemedicine, and geriatric-specific training and education for primary care providers.

MidMichigan Health Foundation
Bridge to Belonging:  Partnership to End Loneliness, Implementation | $275,126

This project will integrate a social isolation and loneliness screening into various health services and social programs. The MidMichigan Foundation and its partners will create a uniform assessment for social isolation, connect older adults to existing services, develop interventions within the healthcare system, and raise awareness of loneliness while erasing the stigma of seeking assistance.

Otsego County Commission on Aging (OCCOA)
Replication and Expansion of Innovative “Technology and Aging” Program to Additional Michigan Communities | $433,158

This project will replicate community partnership programs in the Upper Peninsula, Washtenaw County, Cass County, and St. Clair counties. Homebound older adults virtually connect to social services and education, faith-based, and arts and leisure programs through an easy to navigate application to reduce social isolation and increase access to health and community services.

Region 3B Area Agency on Aging
Caregiver Career Support and Development Initiative (CCSDI) | $500,000

The Caregiver Career Support and Development Initiative aims to improve training and retention of paid direct care workers and provide support for informal or family caregivers who are caring for frail older adults. The program will adapt Trilogy Health Services’ CNA Apprenticeship model, combining classroom learning, mentoring, coaching, and on-the-job experience for program participants.

Region IV Area Agency on Aging
Southwest Michigan Care Continuum Transformation Strategy | $200,000

The Region IV Area Agency on Aging and community stakeholders will create a community wide strategy for an integrated, sustainable, and age-friendly system of care delivery in Southwest Michigan for older adults with complex care needs and their caregivers. The implementation plan will identify gaps in care, explore nontraditional partnerships for sustainable financial models, and propose evidence-based uses for technology.

Senior Resources of West Michigan
Enhanced Care | $493,000

Senior Resources will develop a Medical Provider Program, which will deliver both medical and case management services while working toward becoming a Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plan (SNP). The program will allow for better integration of home and community-based services (HCBS) with medical care, with the goal of improving patient outcomes.

UPCAP Services, Inc.
An Assessment and Analysis of Non -Emergency Medical Transportation (NEMT) Services in the Upper Peninsula | $115,000

This planning grant will engage stakeholders to discuss the non-emergency medical transportation challenges in the Upper Peninsula, create a plan to address those challenges, and identify strategies to integrate transportation services across healthcare providers, social services, transportation authorities, and other community partners.

Wayne County Neighborhood Legal Services
Legal Empowerment for Caregivers | $225,568

This project will expand the Successful Aging through Financial Empowerment-Caregiver Empowerment (SAFE) Program at the Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology. This project aims to decrease caregiver stress associated with handling finances for loved ones, increase awareness of available resources and legal assistance, and share communication techniques to minimize conflict between caregivers and their family members.


2019 Special Projects & Emerging Ideas Grants

Elder Law of Michigan, Inc.
Improving Food Security and Access by Addressing Procedural Barriers to SNAP | $285,989

This project will increase food security for older adults by identifying and addressing barriers to the SNAP benefit. Elder Law of Michigan, MDHHS, and Michigan Coordinated Access to Food for the Elderly will look at procedural barriers in applying for SNAP benefits, test ways to overcome those barriers, and recommend policy changes.

Funder Collaborative for U.P. Health Needs Assessment Project Implementation
U.P. Partnership Grants: Collaborating to Improve the Health of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula | $250,000

The U.P.’s three research universities will partner with local health departments, school districts, and nonprofits to conduct evaluative research and/or assess interventions addressing the prevention or treatment of chronic disease in the U.P. These projects will address findings from the U.P.-Wide Health Needs Assessment, which was completed with support from the Health Fund. This is a collaborative funding model led by Blue Cross Blue Shield Foundation of Michigan in partnership with the Superior Health Foundation, Portage Health Foundation, West End Health Foundation, and the Health Fund.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Achieving Same Day Eligibility Determinations through Partnership with Civilla | $500,000

MDHHS will partner with Civilla to design a streamlined enrollment process for Michigan’s largest benefit programs and increase the number of same day eligibility determinations. This project will include a needs assessment to understand the needs of residents and field staff, a small pilot to test changes, and statewide implementation.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Behavioral Health System Improvement | $375,000

MDHHS will assess potential reforms to the behavioral health system, using recommendations from a stakeholder-engaged process to inform a policy package of system improvements. The reforms may include new financial models and non-financial reforms to increase access and improve service integration.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Community Integrated Paramedicine Infrastructure Improvements | $500,000

MDHHS will address two significant barriers to implementing Community Integrated Paramedicine (CIP) programs: lack of CIP specific education and inadequate clinical data collection. MDHHS will develop and pilot training programs in community colleges and other training institutions, offer CIP licensure, standardize data collected by paramedics, and incorporate CIP data into the health information exchange platform.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Healthy Behaviors as part of the Healthy Michigan Plan: Curriculum/Module Development for Providers | $124,898

The MDHHS Medical Services Administration will develop and implement a multi-media educational curriculum for clinicians on changes to the Healthy Michigan Plan Healthy Behaviors Incentive Program. In particular, the curriculum will emphasize how to use the Healthy Michigan Plan Health Risk Assessment (HRA) to engage patients in healthy behaviors and develop patient-centered plans of care.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Implementing the National Core Indicators-Aging and Disabilities (NCI-AD) Adult Consumer Survey in Michigan | $498,897

The National Core Indicators-Aging and Disabilities (NCI-AD) Adult Consumer Survey targets older adults and individuals with physical disabilities who are receiving publicly funded long-term services and supports (LTSS) to collect information on basic service quality and efficacy measures across 18 broad areas of concern. MDHHS will use information from this survey to improve the quality and efficiency of LTSS programs.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Phase 2 Housing Interventions: Data, Referrals, and Social Impact Bond Design | $500,000

This project develops critical infrastructure needed to connect housing services agencies, Medicaid Health Plans, and MSDHA to information about the housing and health status of clients, allowing MDHHS, MSHDA, and MCAH to facilitate cross-agency referrals and identify high-need individuals. Further, MDHHS will use linked data sets to build a case for public and/or privately funded housing supports, financed through healthcare and other social services cost savings.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Psychiatric Collaborative Care Management for Services in Primary Care | $487,142

The Psychiatric Collaborative Care Model integrates behavioral health into primary care settings, increasing access to psychiatric recommendations through team-based approaches. A behavioral health care manager facilitates interactions between psychiatric consultants and primary care providers, allowing primary care providers and beneficiaries to benefit from psychiatric expertise without referrals or offsite visits.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Statewide Health Information Technology (HIT) Road Map | $500,000

MDHHS will lead the development of a Health Information Technology (HIT) road map to determine priorities for health information sharing and promote HIT interoperability across Michigan. MDHHS will use external consultants to facilitate stakeholder convenings, conduct a gap analysis, and present the final report to MDHHS.

Michigan Health Improvement Alliance
THRIVE Funding and Financing System | $414,700

THRIVE is a place-based collaborative approach to improve health and economic growth within the Great Lakes Bay Region through 34 evidence-based and evidence-informed interventions. Through this grant, MiHIA will design, build, and test a comprehensive and sustainable funding and financing system that allows THRIVE to implement its full portfolio of interventions.

Michigan Public Health Institute
Improving Maternal and Infant Mortality With Strategies That Disrupt Unconscious Bias: A Health Equity Approach | $401,021

MPHI and MDHHS will conduct workshops and provide technical assistance services to address unconscious bias in maternal and infant health care. Workshop attendees will create a cohort of clinical champions, who will ultimately spearhead health equity activities within their organizations.

The Regents of the University of Michigan
The Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network Pediatric Initiative | $500,000

The Michigan Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network (MI-OPEN) will adapt its existing model for adults into a pediatric population. This project includes several initiatives to increase understanding and informed decision-making among children and their families, promote consistent messages about responsible opioid use, and provide evidence-based recommendations for opioid prescribing patterns following surgery.

Wayne State University
PHOENIX – Population Health OutcomEs aNd Information EXchange | $500,000

PHOENIX is an innovative health mapping tool and repository that provides communities and health practitioners with actionable data to address macro- and micro-level contributors to the population burden of disease. The project includes de-identified health information derived from the Michigan Health Information Exchange (MiHIN) and Detroit East Medical Control Authority (DEMCA) and social determinant data from public and private sources.



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