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 System, a not-for-profit, integrated health system, is committed to improving the health and wellness of our communities. We live our mission every day with 31,000 compassionate professionals, 4,600 medical staff experts, 3,300 committed volunteers and a health plan with more than 1 million members. Our talented physicians and caregivers are privileged to offer a full continuum of care and wellness services to our communities through 14 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, 150 ambulatory sites and telehealth offerings. We pursue health care solutions for today and tomorrow that diversify our offerings. Locally-governed and based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, our health system provided $550 million in community benefit in calendar year 2019. Thanks to the generosity of our communities, we received $37 million in philanthropy to support research, academics, innovation and clinical care. Spectrum Health has been recognized as one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems by Truven Health Analytics®, part of IBM Watson HealthTM.

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