There is no one-size-fits-all approach to build a successful health initiative, but there are common themes: community input and engagement, collaboration within and across sectors, an ability to collect outcomes and learn from the results, and a plan to grow and sustain the work. We saw those elements across many of the 49 grant awards announced last week through our Behavioral Health, Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyles, and capacity building programs.

Schools, health centers, nonprofits, and health departments across Michigan will receive $14.7 million in funding, which includes grants ranging from $15,500 to $500,000.

Promoting innovative care delivery, multi-sector responses in behavioral health

The Health Fund’s Behavioral Health Initiative aims to improve access to high-quality mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) healthcare. This year, we selected initiatives through five priority areas: innovative care delivery models, multi-sector responses, innovative technology, team-based approaches to care, and projects supporting pregnant women, infants, and foster and adopted children.

Program Director Becky Cienki says that the fundamental goal of the program is to increase Michigan residents’ access to behavioral health services, especially for communities that are disproportionally affected by mental health conditions and SUD. “We have an immense need for increased access to behavioral healthcare in Michigan, and persistent disparities reflect the need for an equitable response,” she said. “We selected these initiatives for their potential to improve access to services in communities across the state, whether that be through supporting non-traditional entry points to care or promoting models that address Michigan’s limited behavioral health workforce.”

In one selected initiative, the Health Department of Northwest Michigan will spearhead a broad, collaborative response to the region’s behavioral health access crisis which has been exacerbated by the pandemic, especially for children and adolescents. Through the new funding, the health department will support increased Master of Social Work internships, respond to provider burnout, increase care coordination, assign community health workers to disadvantaged schools, and launch anti-stigma work.

Another example comes from Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU), which will partner with two clinics in Midland and Saginaw counties to make operational improvements to workflows in order to increase provider-patient interaction time and increase practice efficiency. Following the initiative, SVSU will create a free, online course on the model for mental health clinics across the state.

In total, 18 Michigan organizations, listed below, received $7.1 million in awards through the Health Fund’s 2022 Behavioral Health Initiative.

Nutrition initiatives support long-term impact on food access

The Health Fund’s Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyles Initiative aims to advance the health of Michigan children and older adults by expanding access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity. The program focused on three strategies to advance that goal: building and strengthening community capacity, informing policy, and sparking innovation while building the case for sustainability.

The director of the grant program, Laurie Solotorow, emphasizes the importance of a simultaneous micro and macro approach in the work. “To see real progress in Michigan’s nutrition and physical activity, we both have to support projects driven by and for local communities as well as initiatives that strengthen food systems and the built environment,” she said. “Once a targeted intervention proves to be successful among our most affected communities, we look for opportunities to replicate and scale the model for long-term impact.”

The Food Bank Council of Michigan offers an example of refining and scaling a successful initiative. Expanding on a 2020 Health Fund pilot grant, Battle Creek’s Grace Health will implement a fresh food pharmacy program with three customized programs depending on social and chronic disease needs. The program will serve 300 patients, and through collaboration with Michigan Medicaid and the Michigan Association of Health Plans, further replication and scaling is possible.

Another project that builds on past work comes from Michigan State University (MSU), who will build on a 2020 Health Fund Community Health Impact grant to promote traditional food and cultural practices that support Indigenous communities in Michigan. Through a partnership with the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan and the John Hopkins University Center for American Indian Health, MSU will create a new curriculum for home and class lessons and develop community-specific food resource guides.

In total, 20 Michigan organizations, listed below, received $7.2 million in awards through the Health Fund’s 2022 Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyles Initiative.

Rolling program provides boost for organizational capacity

The Health Fund also announced 11 awards through our rolling capacity building program. These grants support basic organizational needs for community-based organizations in Michigan, allowing them to spend more time and energy focused on their mission and collaborative efforts. For example, the Health Fund will support Ele’s Place, a healing center for grieving children and teens, in a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative to help the organization become a more comfortable space for children and families of color. In another initiative, Michigan Breast Feeding Network will strengthen communications and marketing activities and provide more opportunities for staff leadership development in Battle Creek.

These 11 grants, listed below, totaled over $400,000 in funding.

2022 Behavioral Health Initiative Grants

Arbor Circle
Police Social Work | $340,505
To support the addition of a police social worker to the City of Newaygo Police Department, who will assist community members with accessing behavioral health resources and services, help with mental health/substance-related crises, and help law enforcement process traumatic experiences.

Beaumont Health Foundation
Integrated Care for Pregnant Women with OUD/SUD | $500,000
To improve pharmacological therapy and mental health support for pregnant women in the antepartum period, during delivery, and up to a year postpartum with the goal of preventing or mitigating the risk of substance use relapse and postpartum mood disorder.

CARE House of Oakland County, Inc.
Oakland County PSB Training | $124,140
To provide evidence-informed, county-wide training to mental health clinicians and professionals to understand and reverse problematic sexual behaviors as well as mitigate the chances of involvement in the juvenile justice system.

Child and Family Charities
Trust-Based Relational Intervention in Foster Care | $416,457
To provide trainings in the evidence-based Trust-Based Relational Intervention as a tool to help foster/adoptive and biological parents learn to connect to their child through a trauma-informed, strength-based lens.

Great Lakes Recovery Centers, Inc.
Improved Access to Behavioral Health Resources | $178,456
To connect Medicaid, Medicare, and MI Health Plan users with behavioral health providers and resources through Care Convene, a virtual health platform.

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
Seeding Success to Behavioral Health thru Cross-Sector Action |500,000
To increase access to behavioral health services and promote health equity through diverse partner involvement and resident voice in the Northwest Michigan Community Health Innovation Region.

Henry Ford Health System
Increasing Access and Accuracy of ASD Screening | $494,821
To streamline screening and automate referrals in five pediatric practices, reducing racial and ethnic disparities in autism spectrum disorder screening, referral, and access to treatment that is seen in nationwide data.

Holy Cross Services
Parent Partners |$500,000
To implement the Parent Partner program, a behavioral health intervention designed to help children in foster care reunify safely and more quickly with their families.

Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County
An Evidence-Based Approach to Refugee Youth Trauma | $343,587
To extend the integrated care of Packard Health to include Jewish Family Services, promoting collaboration and communication among treatment providers and program staff.

Kent Intermediate School District
Student Perception Survey Statewide Consortia | $500,000
To create and facilitate a statewide consortium of school districts committed to administering the Student Perception Survey, which measures students’ perceptions of engagement, social-emotional learning, and diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Lansing Area AIDS Network
LGBTQ+ Mental Health Services in Greater Lansing | $366,043
To address the lack of LGBTQ+-friendly behavioral health clinicians in the area by establishing a sustaining service delivery program aimed at individuals not currently treated by other local providers.

McLaren Northern Michigan Foundation
Behavioral Health Workforce Development | $464,040
To develop a comprehensive behavioral health continuum of care focused on providing Michigan patients with the right treatment, at the right time, in the appropriate setting.

Orchards Children’s Services
Healing in Wayne: An Innovative Trauma Treatment Program | $500,000
To expand access to Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy, an evidence-based treatment model, for children in foster care who experience trauma.

Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services
Innovations to Improve Access in Pediatric Behavioral Health | $500,000
To improve access to pediatric behavioral health treatment through the implementation of innovative workforce development activities, integrated care training, and improved systemic collaboration.

Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Center, Inc.
On-Demand Whole HealthCare | $320,075
To increase access to substance use disorder treatment services, with a focus on medication assisted treatment, through telehealth.

Saginaw Valley State University
More Access to Mental Health with a New Care Delivery Model | $245,457
To enhance performance, safely increase the number of people treated, and expand access to mental health services by systematically introducing “buffers,” or operational improvements for clinic-based workflows.

Senior Resources of West Michigan
Behavioral Health at Home | $285,000
To meet the needs of homebound older adults by enhancing in-home telehealth counseling with on-site assistance by a community health worker and providing therapy in the homes of homebound individuals.

The Regents of the University of Michigan
Implementing Collaborative Care in School Based Clinics | $500,000
To adapt and implement the Collaborative Care Model to improve access to team-based mental health care in School Based Health Centers across the state.

2022 Nutrition & Healthy Lifestyles Grants

Communities In Schools of Michigan
Student Voices for Healthy Choices | $490,384
To guide Student Wellness Teams to identify student needs within the school community, explore prospective community partners, and evaluate how to incorporate community engagement into student health.

Community Food Club
Community Food Club Replication Initiative | $213,492
To serve food insecure families by establishing food clubs in communities that have a high incidence of food insecurity.

Crim Fitness Foundation
Community Building for a Healthier Flint & Genesee County | $468,799
To help Flint families successfully advocate for the health of their families and neighborhoods through neighborhood improvement and zoning code education and advocacy, research on dangerous traffic conditions, and school-based garden committees.

Detroit Public Schools Foundation
DPSCD Horticulture Career Pathways Program | $374,000
To ensure all students have the opportunity to be college-and-career ready by improving curriculum alignment, post-secondary opportunities, and work-based learning in the creation of a Horticulture Career Pathways Program.

Fair Food Network
Evaluation and Capacity Building for Community Engagement | $192,500
To provide accountability/integrity to program evaluation and move programs to a community-driven model.

Family Service and Children’s Aid
A Systems Approach to Black Food Sovereignty in Jackson, MI | $488,400
To engage the Black community to create systemic approaches to strengthen the Black local food system infrastructure, including growing and producing food and increasing ownership of food-related businesses and retail.

Food Bank Council of Michigan
Refining a Sustainable Model for Fresh Food Pharmacies | $499,347
To refine a model for fresh food access in FQHCs through a sustainable funding strategy for food as medicine in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Michigan Association of Health Plans, and the Michigan Primary Care Association.

Health Emergency Lifeline Programs
Keep It Movin’ for LGBTQ+ Health | $375,937
To address LGBTQ health disparities in hypertension, diabetes, and obesity through planning, implementing, and sharing physical activity interventions in Southeast Michigan.

Health Net of West Michigan
Scaling FitKids360 Mentor Garden Program | $455,598
To scale and replicate the FitKids360 Youth Mentor Garden program to two additional FitKids360 sites, adding more hands-on mental health activities, including recreational therapy and team building activities.

Ishpeming Public School District
Building Ishpeming’s re:Generate Initiative | $362,447
To implement nutritional programming for local youth and seniors and increase access to affordable produce in schools, senior housing facilities, and the Ishpeming community.

Leaders Advancing and Helping Communities
Food Connections: Multigenerational Health & Wellness | $150,000
To establish a hub of health and wellness services in Dearborn to provide nutrition education, physical wellness, and cooking programming.

Marquette-Alger RESA
LIFT-UP: Locally Integrated Food Teams in the UP | $390,208
To position students to propose and carry out healthy changes in their school food ecosystem by increasing the availability of fresh, local food.

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
Michigan Active Communites | $250,000
To convene and prepare multidisciplinary teams across Michigan to pursue policy, system, and environmental supports to increase access to physical activity opportunities.

Michigan State University
Eat My ABCs: Integrate healthy eating into school readiness | $250,000
To evolve the 14-week “Eat My ABCs” curriculum, which promotes lifelong healthy habits in children, to be exclusively implemented by community members to ensure project sustainability.

Michigan State University
Nourishing Indigenous Children with Cultural Health & Equity | $500,000
To develop culturally appropriate lessons, educational materials, and activities that will impact Indigenous children and families through Michigan’s Tribal Home Visiting and Head Start programs.

Muskegon Area Intermediate School District
Muskegon County Creating Healthy Schools | $355,609
To decrease childhood obesity through sustainable, systemic change in Muskegon schools by equipping students with the skills to develop healthy eating habits.

Oakland University
Tech Rx: Increasing produce prescription program efficacy | $499,996
To build a technology platform to streamline program management that will improve the cost-effectiveness of produce prescription programs, provide better evaluation data across programs, and improve program sustainability.

Oakland University
Pontiac STEPS that Support Active Living | $250,000
To address the environmental conditions that impact active lifestyles through partnerships and capacity building for Pontiac organizations.

Saginaw County Health Department
Step Up Saginaw: Physical Activity & Nutrition Education | $150,000
To provide Saginaw County residents access to physical activity and healthy eating programs through education, engagement, and improved access.

The Regents of the University of Michigan
Statewide dissemination and implementation of InPACT | $499,721
To implement the InPACT program in every elementary school in Michigan to promote a system-wide increase in youth physical activity levels.

2022 Capacity Building Grants – Cycle Two

Ele’s Place
Ele’s Place DEI Journey | $50,000

AYA Youth Collective
Merger Final Phase Integration | $40,000

Health Net of West Michigan
Building Capacity through Training & Development | $50,000

Starr Commonwealth
Campus Feasibility Study and Capacity Building Initiative | $50,000

Gilda’s Club Metro Detroit
Growth, Leadership & Strategic Planning Support | $42,500

Battle Creek Community Foundation
Capacity Building for the Battle Creek Shelter | $25,550

Ottawa Area Intermediate School District
OCSN Evaluation and Leadership Support | $15,500

New City Neighbors
Financial Management and Fiscal Capacity Expansion | $32,010

Heart of West Michigan United Way
Food Systems Assessment and Plan | $50,000

United Way of Midland County
Great Lakes Bay Region United Ways Capacity Building Project | $49,654

Michigan Breast Feeding Network
Milk Like Mine Capacity Building Request | $20,000

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