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.

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.

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