The Central Michigan District Health Department (CMDHD) and the Together We Can Health Improvement Council hosted the 4th Annual Public Health Summit on April 8th, 2013. The event, held at the Comfort Inn & Suites and Conference Center in Mount Pleasant, MI, had approximately 150 attendees from across the central Michigan region. Attendees were asked to bring a donation of a fresh fruit or vegetable to the Summit in lieu of a registration fee. A total of over 18 grocery bags of produce were donated to local food banks thanks to these contributions.
This year’s Public Health Summit included four speakers. The first was advanced master gardener Melissa Kesterson who shared her experience and offered advice with creating community gardens. The second session was conducted by Scott Miller, Health Educator from the CMDHD who spoke about social media efforts of the Together We Can! Initiative. Joining Scott were Steve Tallieu and Bhavin Prajapati, students from the University of Western Ontario who developed a mobile app for Michigan’s 4×4 Wellness Plan. After a healthy walk, attendees listened to Lt. Governor Brian Calley who gave a keynote address about all aspects of health and the MI Healthier Tomorrow campaign. The afternoon speaker was Dr. Craig Thomas from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where he discussed national prevention strategies, and the “Winnable Battles.”
For the second year, Together We Can Awards were presented to individuals and organizations who have worked on projects to help build a healthier community. In the youth category, Roscommon High School student Amanda Farrington, received an award due to her work on poverty in Roscommon County. Awards in the organization/group category were presented to Dr. Corey Allen of Mid Michigan Dental Associates for his work in providing dental screenings during health fairs for the very young in Gladwin County and Jennifer Crawford on behalf of Girls On The Run of Central Michigan for their work to promote physical activity among young women in Isabella County.
In the individual category, recipients included Jeff Browne for his work in helping Mount Pleasant install a permanent prescription drug drop box; Rachel Vallad for her work promoting health and wellness in Arenac County; Julie Rosekrans for promoting physical fitness in Harrison; Gretchen Wilbur for work in the creation of The Community Nutrition Network in Clare County; DeVonna Haskell for donating her time and material to help young girls get fit at Harrison Schools; Julie Wright for her extensive work within Gladwin County, and Lisa Pope for her help in creating The Osceola County Health Improvement Planning work group.
Additionally presented at the Summit was the first annual award entitled the “Mary L. Kushion Innovator in Health Award.” For years to come, this award will recognize an individual who has made significant advancements in public health in the central Michigan region through pioneering work, selfless service, and an overwhelming effort to improve public health. Presented by Lt. Governor Brian Calley was the first recipient of this award, Mary Kushion herself. Mary is Health Officer of the CMDHD and has contributed over 25 years to the field of public health.
This event, sponsored by Central Michigan District Health Department, was made possible with support from MidMichigan Health, McLaren Central Michigan, Central Michigan University College of Medicine, Central Michigan University Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions, MidMichigan Community Health Services, Community Mental Health for Central Michigan, and Michigan Public Health Institute.
Together We Can is a community project aimed at improving health status in the central Michigan counties of Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola, and Roscommon. For more information LIKE Together We Can Health Improvement Council on Facebook, visit our website at www.together-we-can.org or email us at TogetherWeCan@cmdhd.org.