Superior Health Foundation hosts fall grants celebration

The Superior Health Foundation in Marquette awarded nearly $360,000o in health-centered large grant funding at its Fall Grants Awards Celebration on Thursday evening at the Holiday Inn in Marquette.

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The Superior Health Foundation gave out $22,246.01 in mini-grants, $37,267 in large grants and $299,975 in funding to address pediatric obesity in the Upper Peninsula. All told, $359,488.01 was dispersed to organizations across the U.P.

The pediatric obesity initiative is the Foundation’s third proactive grant project selected and voted on by its U.P.-wide Board of Directors. In 2015, the Foundation awarded more than $220,000 to improve the mental health wellness of residents in the Upper Peninsula and in 2014 awarded more than $217,000 to improve Oral Health For Children in the U.P.

“The Superior Health Foundation is elated to award large grant funding to many health-centered organizations across the U.P. with projects that align with our mission,” said Jim LaJoie, executive director of the Superior Health Foundation. “We’re particularly pleased with the pediatric obesity proactive grant awarded. The SHF grants committee reviewed four outstanding proposals that addressed pediatric obesity. We feel strongly it chose a project that will help enhance much-needed pediatric services across the entire Upper Peninsula.”

LaJoie added that $299,975 was awarded to one organization to fully fund an exciting pediatric obesity initiative.

“This grant award signifies the largest grant in our four-year history,” he said. “Pediatric obesity is an epidemic across the country and we are seeing the effects of this in the Upper Peninsula. We’re thrilled to award these dollars to help efforts to reduce childhood obesity and improve the lives of our children.”

The grant celebration marked a historic milestone for the Superior Health Foundation. In just two short years of awarding mini and large grants, SHF surpassed the $1,000,000 mark.

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment made entirely possible by a dedicated, visionary board of directors and a team that is second to none,” LaJoie said. “It’s a proud moment in our history, but our work in improving the lives of people across the U.P. is only beginning. We look forward to an exciting future.”

At the awards celebration, the Superior Health Foundation recognized 19 organizations across the Upper Peninsula who received mini grants.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Superior Health Foundation, we’re pleased to award these grants to health-centered organizations, both big and small, across the U.P.,” said Mike Coyne, MD, President of the SHF Board of Directors. “Our mission is to assist with unmet healthcare needs, with health education, and with programs and research on preventing illness and promoting health. These grants certainly align with that mission and address our intent of improving the lives of people across the U.P.”

The Superior Health Foundation awarded large grants to the following:

  • Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development Regional Commission (CUPPAD) – Escanaba, $7,500: CUPPAD will continue to build upon its work by conducting outreach that surfaces new models of collaboration and broadens the stakeholder base, expanding on success of their conference last year, expanding on their website content, attracting more funding for projects showcased at their U.P. Health Strategies Conference, and attracting sustainability for U.P. health strategy efforts.
  • Holy Name Catholic School – Escanaba, $4,220: Holy Name Catholic School will use the money to train 21 faculty and 23 support staff in Heart Saver/CPR/AED, First Aid, Blood Borne Pathogen and EpiPen safety in efforts to provide their staff with information and the skills needed to help adults and children during emergency situations.
  • Lake Superior Hospice – Marquette, $2,925: The Community Care program utilizes care to support those living with serious illness, but are not sick enough for home health or hospice. It focuses on providing the individual patient and their family with relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness, and support for the caregiver(s). The goal is to improve the quality of life for both the person and the family, but it is not a service covered by insurance at this time. The grant is to be used to fund educational brochures, provider brochures and enhance website development for the program.
  • Michigamme Township Fitness Committee – Michigamme, $7,022: The Michigamme Township Fitness Committee will develop a fitness area within the Michigamme Township building to enhance the health and general well-being of the township residents. The funding will purchase a NuStep Machine and a Rowing Machine for the facility.
  • Trillium House – Marquette, $11,200: Trillium House is a hospice home in the Central U.P that will serve elderly patients who need a safe, welcoming, and respectful place to live life to the fullest until they pass on. SHF provided funding to purchase eight oxygen concentrators which will be placed in each room in the event of medical emergency.
  • Upper Peninsula Alllied Health Education Corporation (UPAHEC) – Marquette, $4,400: The UPAHEC will expand health care education to the U.P. by recruiting and retaining healthcare professionals in the Upper Peninsula, develop and deliver programming to disadvantaged K-12 students from rural areas, and engage the community in healthcare issues. SHF provided funding to help purchase education materials.

In the area of Pediatric Obesity, the SHF proudly used a matching grant of $50,000 from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation to position itself for a $299,975 grant to:

  • Michigan State University (East Lansing), in partnership with Michigan Tech University, Northern Michigan University and Lake Superior State University, $299,975: In 2007, Michigan State University implemented a project called (S)Partners for Health, which is a web-based nutrition and physical activity program for obesity prevention and promoting health in 5th grade public school students and their parents. This collaboration project aims to generate valuable insights on health behaviors and health status of U.P. children and parents, and ultimately will contribute to preventing or improving obesity and other health risks in children and families in the UP. Also, it will provide insight on new additions to the (S)Partner program including the virtual mentor and texting components. In addition, it will provide valuable academic service learning experiences for future allied health professionals and physicians, which contributes to reduced delivery costs, sustainability and dissemination throughout the UP.

Sheri Davie, chair of the SHF Grants Committee and member of the SHF Board of Directors, said the Foundation elected to provide full funding to the MSU project because it addressed all of the key areas the grants committee looks for in a proposal.

“This initiative rose to the top of the list during the discussion,” Davie said. “The committee was unanimous in selecting this project. We applaud the collaboration among four universities and the thought process that went into such a well-conceived and exciting project. We’re excited to see this project take shape and anticipate positive results in addressing pediatric obesity.”

Joe Carlson, PhD, Associate Professor, Dept. of Radiology; College of Osteopathic Medicine at Michigan State University, said the SHF grant will play an instrumental role in expanding much-needed services to a population who needs it.

“We are honored to have the opportunity to work with the Superior Health Foundation and faculty and students from NMU, MTU, LSSU and public schools (and other existing stakeholders) to implement Spartners in the UP.,” Carlson said. “Our primary goal is to promote healthy nutrition and physical activity behaviors to promote overall health, and reduce obesity and other health risks in children and families.

“An integral part of programming that is a ‘win- win’ for cost and sustainability includes the incorporation of college students (allied health professionals, pre-medical or medical students) in service learning electives,” he added. “These future health professionals will serve on the measurement team or the intervention team (program lessons and web-based goal setting and tracking).  Lifestyle behavior and cardiovascular risk factor assessments will be performed before and after programming. This data will provide insights for parents and their children for guiding program goals and evaluate program effectiveness.”

bcbsm-foundation-logoAdded Nora Maloy, director of programs for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation: “The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation is delighted to partner with the Superior Health Foundation in an effort to improve children’s health. We expect this grant to significantly impact the children of the U.P. via a multi-prong approach, including education, outreach and the use of university mentors.”

The Superior Health Foundation Board of Directors will begin reviewing proactive grant options for 2017 at its January meeting.

The SHF will accept applications for its Spring 2017 grants cycle in mid-December, with a deadline set for Jan. 15, 2017.