As Michigan residents continue to face heightened health challenges, the Health Fund’s latest round of funding reflects the expanded support organizations are bringing to their communities during this time. $14.6 million in new investments will go to 40 innovative health initiatives, taking on issues ranging from substance use disorder to obesity, telehealth treatment to food access. The projects will provide timely support during the pandemic, and an emphasis on sustainability will ensure that they continue to make a difference long after this crisis ends.

Strengthening Behavioral Health Systems

In Behavioral Health, we selected various proposals that streamline, knit together, and integrate care delivery systems. By building coordination between behavioral health and other health and social service providers, expanding the use of technology, and advancing innovative care delivery models, these projects are laying the groundwork for more robust behavioral health systems throughout the state.

“It’s critical that we continue to support school-based mental health access and help children who have experienced trauma—in addition to expanding the use of technology,” explained Program Director Becky Cienki. “These projects will improve integration and expand access to care for some of Michigan’s most vulnerable populations.”

Some of the populations at the forefront of 2020 Behavioral Health initiatives: school-aged children and older adults facing mental health challenges, mothers with substance use disorder (SUD), and individuals in the Upper Peninsula who lack access to adequate behavioral healthcare.

Some organizations are strengthening telehealth services, allowing more patients to access care from their homes. For example, the Community Mental Health Association of Michigan is developing a telehealth resource center for Michigan mental health practitioners to act as a hub for telehealth information, guidance, and technical assistance. The center is a response to the immediate and ongoing need for telehealth best practices, and it will ultimately increase access to behavioral health services for Michigan residents who have trouble getting to appointments.

Other initiatives, such as the Western U.P. Health Department’s “Positive Steps Together” program, provide more direct, on-the-ground assistance. That program will be employing a peer recovery coach to offer support and resources to women who have been diagnosed with SUD, while providing early identification and intervention for women at risk of developing the disorder.

The 17 selected initiatives, listed below, will be receiving over $6.6 million in total funding, with awards ranging from $159,590 to $500,000.


Reducing food insecurity and creating healthy communities

This year’s Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyles awards feature a common effort to combat food insecurity in underserved populations and build cultures of health within communities. Selected organizations are providing support for Michigan residents of all kinds—young and old, rural and urban, providers and patients.

“Every Michigander deserves access to healthy food and physical activity,” said Program Director Laurie Solotorow. “These organizations are bringing their innovative work to every corner of the state in order to make that aspiration a reality.”

Like the Behavioral Health grants, the projects selected for the 2020 Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyles awards are diverse in both the issues they are taking on and their methods in doing so. While some organizations are elevating access to healthy fruits and vegetables, others are working to educate on the benefits of breastfeeding, promote healthy play, and reduce rates of chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes.

One notable initiative—Access of West Michigan will be using their grant funding to redesign the charitable food system for low-income residents across West Michigan. Their new farming model and innovative nonprofit food access sites will increase affordability and availability of healthy produce for over 3,000 Michigan residents.

In another project, Michigan State University is partnering with the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, the Midwest Tribal Epidemiology Center, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates in the Native American community. The group will develop resources for community indigenous breastfeeding counselors and local healthcare providers to increase awareness of the positive health impacts of breastfeeding.

The 20 selected initiatives, listed below, are receiving over $7.3 million in total funding, with awards ranging from $136,000 to $500,000.


2020 Behavioral Health Initiative Grants

Family Medical Center of MI
Growing School-Based Healthcare While Training New Providers | $500,000
To improve access to behavioral health and primary care services among low-income, underserved school-aged children and adolescents in Detroit and rural areas of southeast Michigan, using a mixed model of school-based and telehealth services delivery, while training the next generation of primary care physicians and psychiatric nurse practitioners. 

Grand Valley State University
Thrive: Integrated Behavioral Health and Primary Care | $499,936
To improve the overall health and well-being for socioeconomically disadvantaged, medically underserved, high-risk adults by addressing the unmet mental health needs of this vulnerable population.

Greater Flint Health Coalition
Peer Recovery Support System for Addiction Treatment Project | $499,785
To use a multi-sector approach supporting timely transitions to care between hospitals, treatment providers, and community settings while addressing the upstream social determinant of health needs of patients.

Haven of Rest Ministries
Women’s Life Recovery Program | $400,000
To address the significant challenges mothers face in accessing and sustaining long-term residential substance abuse treatment and recovery by creating overnight residence availability for both mother and child.

Kids Kicking Cancer
The Healing Hero | $500,000
To develop an interactive mobile phone application to help young adults with substance use disorders involved in Drug Courts realign thinking from “victim” to “life-changing purpose” and increase retention in treatment for addiction.

Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Service Agency
System for Sustainable Youth Services in Schools (SSYSS) | $500,000
To enhance the connection between community partners in order to improve the behavioral health of students while reducing financial costs and stigmas associated with seeking and participating in mental health services.

Michigan Association of Community Mental Health Boards (dba Community Mental Health Association of Michigan)
Telehealth Resource Center – Behavioral Health | $257,905
To develop a Telehealth Resource Center for Michigan Mental Health Practitioners, a telehealth information, guidance, and technical assistance hub.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Improving Care for Justice Involved Patients Part 2 |  $500,000
To allow jails and external payers and providers to share and integrate treatment information for justice-involved individuals through a data portal, leading to more effective collaboration, improved care coordination, and increased jail safety.

Michigan Elementary and Middle School Principals Association
Building Health Communities: Step Up for School Wellness | $500,000
To help Michigan schools more effectively address the health and emotional needs of their students and staff by integrating the Social and Emotional Learning training from the Michigan Model for Health curriculum into the Building Healthy Communities: Step Up for School Wellness (BHC: SUFSW) program.

Michigan State Medical Society
Connecting Treatment Courts and Health Professionals | $175,000
To strengthen the collaboration and connectivity of the medical field and the judiciary in treating individuals with substance use disorders (SUD), and to increase access to medication assisted treatment (MAT), related counseling, and other supports.

Northern Michigan University
Collaborative Network: Behavioral Health Access in UP | $498,445
To improve access to behavioral health services in the Upper Peninsula by increasing the number of applied behavioral analytic professional and paraprofessional service providers, through an online training program and a hybrid telehealth and face-to-face comprehensive applied behavior analytic service.

Oakland Integrated Healthcare Network
Oakland County School-Based Behavioral Health Strategy | $200,000
To create a coordinated strategy across Oakland County school districts to provide access for behavioral health services for students, including a comprehensive needs assessment.

The Regents of the University of Michigan
Online Behavioral Health Training for Community Workers | $160,000
To leverage the capacity of an existing state-community-university partnership team in order to develop and deploy digital behavioral health training modules, with a specific focus on older adults, designed for lay community health workers.

 The Regents of the University of Michigan
Trauma-Informed Programs & Practices for Schools | $328,324
To co-develop, refine, and scale a flexible, manualized curriculum and set of training materials to support the uptake and sustainability of trauma-informed practices for schools throughout the state of Michigan.

Wayne State University
Promoting Resilience among Maltreated Young Children | $499,778
To support workforce training in infant mental health for dependency court staff by transitioning content to an online, self-paced, replicable format.

Western Michigan University
Building Resiliency in Substance Abusing Families (BRISA) | $499,958
To create an integrated family model that addresses parental substance use and the underlying trauma-related causes while simultaneously building familial resiliency.

Western U.P. Health Department
“Positive Steps Together” SUD Support Program | $159,590
To reduce stigma and remove barriers to treatment by employing a peer recovery coach to work directly with women in public health programs.

2020 Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyles Grants

Access of West Michigan
Re-centering Health Through Small Ag | $190,000
To address the lack of healthy, affordable, Michigan-grown produce available to low-income residents across West Michigan by redesigning the charitable food system and piloting a new farming model that will re-center the supply chain to focus on low-income communities.

American Heart Association
Target: BP-Growing and Extending | $250,000
To expand the EmPowered Clinicians program to ten FQHCs, addressing health inequities for older adults in Michigan rural and urban communities using evidence-based initiatives to improve hypertension control rates.

Care Free Medical    
Capital Area Prescription for Health | $136,000
To address the adverse health outcomes caused by childhood food insecurity by strengthening connections between communities, local clinics, farmers’ markets, grocery stores, transportation systems, and health educators through a fresh food pipeline.

CATCH Global Foundation 
CATCH Michigan Planning Grant | $154,550
To create behavioral changes among children and increase their daily physical activity by expanding CATCH programming across the state.

Communities in Schools of Michigan
Integrated Nutrition Supports | $500,000
To address health disparities and encourage students in 46 schools across Michigan to make healthy choices.

District Health Department #10 (Renewal)
Northwest Michigan Chronic Disease Prevention: Partnership for Prescription for Health | $250,000
To address the high rates of chronic disease in rural communities due to unhealthy lifestyles and limited access to fruits and vegetables.

Food Bank Council of Michigan
A Sustainable Food Pharmacy Model for Michigan | $476,934
To create a replicable, sustainable model for Michigan FQHCs to integrate food prescription programs into their slate of comprehensive services.

Henry Ford Health System
Henry’s Groceries for Kids | $499,985
To improve child health outcomes and reduce food insecurity by integrating food delivery and nutrition education in pediatric care delivery.

Henry Ford Health System
Optimizing Gestational Weight Gain | $255,042
To educate pregnant women on recommended weight gain during pregnancy, using evidence-based strategies and a new digital health application to promote healthy eating and physical activity.

Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities (Renewal)
FQHCs and LAHC Building Health Communities Together | $245,063
To prevent and reduce childhood obesity by teaching young children healthy habits and reinforcing those healthy habits by working with parents and caregivers.

Michigan State University
Impact of Pediatric Prescriptions for Fruits and Vegetables | $500,000
To evaluate an existing pediatric fruit and vegetable prescription program in Flint in order to understand the efficacy and long-term impacts of the program and inform future policy development to fund and sustain produce prescription programs.

Michigan State University
Native American Breastfeeding Initiative Embracing Culture | $338,406
To increase breastfeeding initiation and duration rates in the Native American community through resources that increase awareness of the positive health impacts of breastfeeding.

Michigan State University
Successful Nutrition Programs Across the Lifespan: A Roadmap | $499,645
To address malnutrition, equity, and food insecurity by creating a roadmap and web-based facilitation guide for communities to address deficiencies and inequities in nutrition and healthy lifestyle options for residents of all ages.

National Kidney Foundation of Michigan
HALTing Diabetes with Innovation and Collaboration | $499,999
To reduce health disparities and to address the absence of a statewide, sustainable infrastructure for a virtual Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) delivery that focuses on serving older adults and adults eligible for Medicaid.

Playworks Education Energized
Growing Safe and Healthy Play for Michigan: Part II | $500,000
To support access to safe and healthy play every day at school in order to positively impact a child’s physical, social, and emotional development.

ProMedica Bixby Hospital
ProMedica Farms Improved Access to Healthy Food and Lifestyles | $406,220
To align nutrition and healthy lifestyles programming and reduce the overweight and obesity incidence in Lenawee County through a sustainable, reliable network of initiatives and support.

Spectrum Health Foundation
Family Kitchen Rx 2.0 | $499,879
To create a digital platform to deliver culturally-inspired culinary medicine programs for families in Kent County.

The Regents of the University of Michigan
Maximizing Reach of the InPACT program in Michigan Schools | $198,351
To proactively develop a Teacher Technical Assistance Package that provides teachers working in low-resource schools with the knowledge, skills, confidence, and program adaptations to get kids moving and ready to learn.

United Way of Southeastern Michigan
Better with Breakfast Oakland County | $461,736
To expand a pilot program to increase participation in school breakfast programs in Oakland County, meeting students’ nutritional needs.

Wayne State University
Physical Literacy and Nutrition Education Program | $500,000
To promote health equity and accessibility issues for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families by increasing participation in physical activity, improving nutrition behaviors and meal practices, and stimulating greater engagement in social services, advocacy, and social support networks.

Other Grants

CATCH Global Foundation (Community Health Impact)
CATCH Restart Smart: Health Education in the COVID-19 Era | $98,000
To help schools maintain or boost delivery of physical education and health education curriculum in virtual learning or socially-distant in-person learning environments.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (Healthy Aging)
Improving Access to Information & Services for Older Adults in Response to COVID-19 | $314,251
To improve access and coordination of services with the aim of reducing social isolation among older adults, using technology to help them connect them to loved ones, attend virtual appointments, understand their COVID-19 risk level, and access agencies and resources.

Michigan Public Health Institute (Special Projects & Emerging Ideas)
Just Care | $130,000
To address racial biases amongst healthcare practitioners and racism as a root cause of inequity using a train-the-trainer approach in the Henry Ford Health System.

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