Awards, Gerber Memorial Hospital

Gerber Memorial’s quit tobacco program gets top statewide award

August 11, 2020

FREMONT, Mich., Aug. 6, 2020 – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial has been recognized with a statewide award recognizing outstanding community health programs in the state, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association’s Ludwig Community Benefit Award.

Gerber Memorial’s Tobacco Cessation Program is one of only three hospital-based community health programs to receive the Ludwig Award. Gerber Memorial’s team is made up of Tobacco Treatment Specialists Michelle Klochack, RN, and Caitlin Mitchell-Schucker, a certified health education specialist.

Gerber Memorial’s program seeks to decrease tobacco and nicotine use; prevent youth from starting tobacco and nicotine use; and advocate for policy change related to availability and use of nicotine products. The Ludwig Award recognized Gerber Memorial for reducing high tobacco and nicotine use rate within Newaygo County in 2017.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Gerber Memorial is offering its Tobacco Cessation “Quit 101” and one-on-one classes virtually or by phone. For more information, contact Klochack at SHGM Community Programs, at (231) 924-3275. To sign up for the “Quit 101” class,, and click on the “Quit 101” box near the bottom of the screen.

Gerber Memorial’s unique approach includes a strong community, collective-impact partnership; complete integration into the electronic medical record during medical visits; and a client-centered cessation program. The tobacco cessation team includes two certified tobacco treatment specialists who co-chair the Breathewell Coalition in Newaygo County, which focuses on tobacco and nicotine use education and prevention. They collaborate with organizations such as the district health department, Aging Well Coalition, Newaygo County Juvenile Court, Headway Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Newaygo County Public Schools and many community stakeholders who influence prevention policies.

The partnership has aided schools in developing stronger vaping policies, helped youth plan health awareness activities, and influenced passage of local tobacco-free park ordinances. Using evidence-based practices and a flexible range of classes to promote maximum participation, the program engaged 68 people in one-on-one appointments and 13 in four-week classes in 2019. Compared to a 7 percent national quit rate in 2018, 25 percent of program participants quit smoking and 37 percent reduced tobacco use.

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system that provides care and coverage, comprising 31,000+ team members, 14 hospitals (including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital), a robust network of care facilities, teams of nationally recognized doctors and providers, and the nation’s third-largest provider-sponsored health plan, Priority Health, currently serving over 1 million members across the state of Michigan. People are at the heart of everything we do. Locally governed and headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan, we are focused on our mission: to improve health, inspire hope and save lives. Spectrum Health has a legacy of strong community partnerships, philanthropy and transparency. Through experience, innovation and collaboration, we are reimagining a better, more equitable model of health and wellness.

Azlan Ibrahim
Communications Manager
Office: 231.924.1264
Mobile: 616.227-1940