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April 21 Declared GRAAHI Healthcare Advocacy Day, Mayor Bliss issues proclamation in support of Grand Rapids African American Health Institute

**Sharing on behalf of the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute**

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., April 20, 2022 – The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute (GRAAHI) is  proud to announce that Mayor Rosalynn Bliss has declared Thursday, April 21, 2022 the first-ever  “GRAAHI Healthcare Advocacy Day” in the city of Grand Rapids.

In the proclamation Mayor Bliss highlights GRAAHI’s advocacy work in the community and states, “the  City of Grand Rapids is dedicated to eliminating healthcare inequity and supporting those organizations  promoting healthcare equality.”

The proclamation comes as GRAAHI celebrates its 20th anniversary of advocating for health parity for  African Americans in our community. The day will culminate with a virtual Gala where GRAAHI will  recognize four prominent leaders in our community for their efforts in bringing greater health equity for all  residents. The Equity Champion Awards will be presented to:

• Christina Keller, President/CEO, Cascade Engineering

• Christina (Tina) Freese Decker, President/CEO, Spectrum Health Systems

• Teresa Weatherall Neal, CEO, Lead 616

• Dr. Wanda Lipscomb, MSU College of Human Medicine

“We greatly appreciate the Mayor’s proclamation in support of our organization,” said Vanessa Greene,  CEO of GRAAHI. “The City’s commitment along with the support of the healthcare community, volunteers  and donors, is essential to us achieving our goal of health parity for all in Grand Rapids.”

The GRAAHI 2021 Health Equity Report highlights the societal factors that block access to healthcare for  many minority residents in Grand Rapids, leading to higher rates of illness and death from COVID-19,  heart disease, lung cancer, HIV, obesity, depression, diabetes and infant mortality. If you would like learn more about how to get involved with our organization or would like to make a  donation, simply go to the GRAAHI.org website.

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People are at the heart of everything we do, and the inspiration for our long and continuing legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Our award-winning team improves health, inspires hope and saves lives across 13 counties in West Michigan. We bring together 11 hospitals—including Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, with expert care from 350+ pediatric specialists in 70+ specialties and programs—three rehabilitation and nursing centers, 120 outpatient sites and telehealth services. We are proud to work with 4,000 physicians and advanced practice providers, including Spectrum Health Medical Group, one of the largest and most comprehensive multispecialty physician groups in West Michigan.

Contact:
Beth Cranson
Media Relations
Office: 616.391.2603
Mobile: 616.540.0813
Email: elizabeth.cranson@spectrumhealth.org