Community, Big Rapids Hospital, Reed City Hospital

Hospitals Honored for Community Wellness Efforts

Big Rapids, Ann Arbor, and Dearborn Programs Recognized

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) will present its 2018 Ludwig Community Benefit Award to three of its member hospitals’ programs during the MHA Annual Membership Meeting tomorrow. The honorees include programs led by Beaumont Health, Southfield; Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Canton; and Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals. The award is named in memory of Patric E. Ludwig, a former MHA president who championed investing in the community’s overall health, and is presented to member organizations integrally involved in collaborative programs to improve the health and well-being of area residents. Each winner will receive $3,000 from the MHA Health Foundation to assist in its health improvement efforts.

Big Rapids Hospital initiative

Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals determined in 2016 to confront diabetes in Mecosta County, where a third of the residents are at risk for the disease due to obesity and a tenth already have diabetes. The hospital teamed up with the city of Big Rapids, various community agencies, the Lions Club and area produce vendors to launch the Big Rapids Farmers Market Health Outreach.

The partners set out to provide residents with better access to healthy foods through the existing, local farmers market. To alleviate the significant transportation barrier for community members with limited income, free round-trip bus rides are provided. To encourage healthier diets, “Prescription for Health” $10 vouchers are distributed to help residents purchase fruits and vegetables at the market. Following its successful first year, the initiative added cooking demonstrations, healthy recipe sampling, nutrition education and diabetes screening, including the more comprehensive HbA1c testing.

In 2017, nearly 900 community members were provided free transportation to the farmers market and almost 150 purchased fruits and vegetables using the program’s vouchers. This represented a nearly threefold increase in those using the free transportation over 2016, and an increase of nearly 62 percent in use of the vouchers. More than 1,300 people sampled healthy food recipes, 22 received HbA1c testing, and 18 were connected to prediabetes and diabetes education.

Plans for 2018 include fitness centers demonstrating exercises for any age group and fitness level, coupled with education on how exercise improves health. Cardiovascular screening through lipid panel testing will also increase the scope of the initiative.

For more information on the Big Rapids Farmers Market Health Outreach, contact Scott Lombard, manager, community health, Spectrum Health Big Rapids and Reed City Hospitals, at 231.592.4493 or

Based in greater Lansing, the MHA advocates in Michigan and Washington, DC, on behalf of healthcare providers and the communities and patients they serve. The MHA is a nationally recognized leader on initiatives that protect and promote quality, cost-effective and accessible healthcare. To learn more, visit or follow the MHA on Facebook and Twitter.


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