Tag Archives: michigan department of community health

Extension educator receives Friend of the Fair award

Beth Ferry, Michigan State University Extension pork educator in Cass County, received the Berrien County Youth Fair (BCYF) Friend of the Fair award, Oct. 26 at the BCYF annual meeting.

Beth was presented with the award due to her involvement in helping fair officials to prepare for health issues that could arise with the livestock at the fair and more importantly assisting them as they worked through a swine influenza (SIV) outbreak following the fair this year.

She worked with the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the Michigan Department of Community Health and the BCYF to find a workable solution to handling the outbreak and informing exhibitors and the public of what transpired. She also helped communicate with the packers that received pigs from the fair. Beth’s work will continue, as the fair will utilize her as a resource to assist with the creation and implementation of a vaccination program for the swine project, providing information and educational materials for exhibitors, leaders and event staff.

Congratulations, Beth!

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I Know MI Numbers health and wellness project wins health care award

The health and wellness project of the Michigan State University Extension I Know MI Numbers initiative won an Innovations in Health Care Award April 30 at the Lansing Champion of Hope Tribute Dinner. The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan and its partners sponsor the awards.

The project won first place in the category that recognizes projects that promote knowing the four health indicators of Gov. Snyder’s 4 x 4 plan: body mass index (BMI), blood pressure, cholesterol level and blood sugar.

The team knew the project was a finalist but did not know it won first place until it was announced at the dinner. They received a plaque and $1,000.

The MSU Extension I Know MI Numbers initiative focused on five key areas relating to Gov. Rick’s Snyder’s dashboard, which provides an assessment of the state’s performance in key areas including education, health and wellness, financial health, infrastructure, talent, public safety, and energy and environment.

In the health and wellness area, our I Know MI Numbers project focused on healthy weight in residents of Saginaw and Genesee counties. It examined the effectiveness of nutrition education programs to address healthy eating, physical activity and health indices in adults. Participants attended a weekly series of classes emphasizing behavioral goals and strategies associated with healthy weight. Data analysis showed statistically significant changes related to several health behaviors and indices.

MSU Extension educators Dawn Earnesty and Christy Rivette accepted the award. They also presented a poster on the project. Legislators, health care providers, managed care organizations, pharmaceutical companies, the Michigan Department of Community Health staff members and the business community attended the dinner.

In addition to Dawn and Christy, the I Know MI Numbers health and wellness team includes Dr. Dawn Contreras, Sheilah Hebert, Lynette Kaiser, Margaret Lashore, Freda McNair, Cathy Newkirk, Dr. Olga Santiago, Kris Swartzendruber, Donna Taylor, Lisa Treiber, Christina Warner and Teressa Young.

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Kellogg Foundation grant supports development of new method for delivery of BFI program

Thanks to a W.K. Kellogg Foundation grant, a partnership is developing new ways to provide Michigan residents with the information and help they need to raise healthy families.

The $650,000 two-year grant will help support the work of the Breast-feeding Initiative (BFI), a partnership between Michigan State University, MSU Extension and the Michigan Department of Community Health: Women, Infants and Children Division (WIC).

Beth Olson, associate professor in the MSU Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition and AgBioResearch scientist, is principal investigator for the grant. She and Jean Kerver, assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Patricia Benton, MSU Extension program leader in the Health and Nutrition Institute, will team up to develop and pilot a new method for delivering the BFI program. The BFI focuses on increasing the breast-feeding rates among women living in low-income situations.

Read more here.

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Extension educator to present at Natural Resources Commission meeting

Mary Bohling, Michigan Sea Grant (MSG) Extension educator, has been invited to present at the Michigan Natural Resources Commission (NRC) Parks Advisory Committee meeting today (Aug. 11) at the Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health in Lansing. The NRC is a seven-member public body whose members are appointed by the governor and subject to the advice and consent of the Senate. Commissioner Hurley Coleman chairs the committee. Kelley Smith, Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) acting natural resources deputy, and Jim Dexter, MDNR acting fisheries chief, invited Mary to present the Detroit River fish consumption communications project after learning about it at the Lake Erie Citizens Fishery Advisory Council meeting earlier this year. Mary will have an opportunity to talk to the commission about her work in the Detroit area that focuses on communicating fish advisory information to fish consumers.

 In 2007, MSG requested proposals for projects addressing issues of importance in AOCs (areas of concern). As a result, Dr. Donna Kashian, assistant professor at Wayne State University, was funded for a three-year project to explore the causes, consequences and correctives of fish contamination in the Detroit River. Mary helped Donna identify local stakeholders and invited them to participate in the project. Prior to the first stakeholder meeting in 2009, some of Donna’s students conducted a survey of people fishing along the Detroit River. The survey revealed that people were either not aware of fish consumption advisories (FCAs), did not understand them or did not believe them. At the first stakeholder meeting, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) requested assistance in developing new ways of communicating the advisories. As a result, a subcommittee was formed and began developing a strategy for improving access to, and communication of, the advisories. Subcommittee members included Michigan State University Extension natural resources educator Gary Williams and representatives from Friends of the Detroit River, MDNR Fisheries, Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice, Wayne County Department of Public Health, Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion and the Detroit Recreation Department.

 Previously, FCAs were communicated through a lengthy statewide booklet that was distributed at the point-of-sale when fishing licenses were purchased. Due to budget constraints, booklets are now only available on the Web. The booklet was also technical, could be confusing and is often viewed as very negative. The subcommittee wanted the new materials to be a positive piece that provided information about the healthy benefits of eating fish and balanced that with the need to include cautionary fish consumption information. This was a significant change in communication strategy. The subcommittee developed brochures, signage, fliers and outreach activities, and the MDCH has since updated their website and other materials using this positive strategy. The MDCH has also received two grants through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to expand the program to areas throughout the state.

 Find more information about Michigan’s fish consumption advisories at http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-54783_54784_54785—,00.html.

 Find more information on the FCA project at http://www.miseagrant.umich.edu/fisheries/detroit-river-fish-consumption-advisory.html.

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MSUE EFNEP collaborates with Healthy Homes program to help families be healthy

Staff members from Michigan State University Extension Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) in Ingham County and the Michigan Department of Community Health’s Healthy Homes University project have a goal in common – they want to help families be healthy. The two are working together to reach that goal. The Healthy Homes University project aims to reduce lead-based paint poisoning throughout the state. MSUE EFNEP staff members have been helping to identify eligible clients that qualify for this free program to help families with asthmatic children. In return, the Healthy Homes staff members have been referring their clients to our nutrition program.

 According to Joyce McGarry, Extension educator, it’s a win-win situation for families to become involved with both programs. Healthy Homes inspects homes and installs products to reduce asthma triggers and prevent injuries. EFNEP educates families on healthy food choices, food safety, the importance of physical activity and easy food preparation techniques. Both programs are able to combine their strengths in assisting families with basic needs of health and nutrition.

 Joyce remarks, “We work with so many families that need more than just our nutrition education. To be able to connect our EFNEP clients with additional needed services helps MSUE build relationships within our community.”

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National Children’s Study launched in Wayne County

I had the privilege of attending the kick-off ceremony for the National Children’s Study in Wayne County, yesterday, Jan. 26, at the Detroit Athletic Club. The study has been launching at different times in different counties across the U.S. for the past three months. Wayne County is considered one of the initial or “vanguard” counties where the first phase of the study is being initiated.

 The National Children’s Study will be the largest and most detailed study focused on children’s health and development in the history of the United States. The study will examine the effects of environment, as broadly defined to include factors such as air, water, diet, sound, family dynamics, community and cultural influences, and genetics, on the growth, development and health of more than 100,000 children across the U.S., following them from before birth to age 21. The goal of the study is to improve the health and well-being of children and to contribute to an understanding of the role of the environment in the development of health and disease. Ultimately, this understanding should help us to prevent maladies such as cerebral palsy, premature birth, autism and others.

The Michigan Alliance for the National Children’s Study (MANCS), a coalition of researchers and physicians from major health and academic institutions, is conducting the study in Michigan. These institutions include Michigan State University, Wayne State University, the University of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Community Health, Detroit Medical Center, Children’s Hospital of Michigan and the Henry Ford Health System. Dr. Nigel Paneth, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Epidemiology at MSU, leads MANCS with an executive committee of researchers from each institution. Dr. Jean Kerver is study coordinator.

Michigan State University Extension is working with Drs. Paneth and Kerver as part of the collaboration. Dr. Steve Lovejoy, MSUE associate director, is a co-investigator on the project. Dr. Lovejoy and Lisa Tams, MSU Extension educator, have been on the community outreach and engagement team and have helped lay the foundation for the study in Wayne County. They have done a tremendous amount of work in order to see the study come to fruition. One of MSUE’s primary roles is to lead the effort in recruiting prospective mothers from the study area to participate in the research study. Lisa is working closely with medical professionals across Wayne County who provide care to women of childbearing age and to children. Lisa and Steve are joined in the community outreach group by Dr. Bob Brown, associate director of University-Community Partnerships, MSU Outreach and Engagement.

 The study will take place in four additional counties in Michigan – Genesee, Grand Traverse, Lenawee and Macomb. These counties will be phased in over the next few years. MSUE will play the same role in community outreach and engagement in these counties as we are in Wayne.

 MSUE also has representation on the Community Advisory Board for the study, with Dr. George Rowan, professor in the Department of Community, Agriculture, Recreation and Resource Studies, and Gerrylynn McNeal, Extension program associate from Wayne County, serving as two of the 17 board members.

 We look forward to working and building capacity for the study in Michigan for years to come and appreciate Steve’s and Lisa’s leadership in making sure that the study benefits from MSUE’s unique role in communities.

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The Michigan WISEWOMAN Entrepreneurial Gardening Project brings encouragement and hope to women

Sometimes knowing you have the power to improve your situation through hard work and determination can give you the courage to get you through financial hardship. There’s a program that’s empowering women to find that inner strength while learning about nutrition and gardening in the process.

 Since 2001, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) has administered the WISEWOMAN (Well-Integrated Screening and Evaluation for Women Across the Nation) program to empower women living in low-income situations to make healthy lifestyle choices. In 2008, Michigan State University Extension in Ogemaw County piloted the WISEWOMAN Entrepreneurial Gardening Project, which was coordinated by Helen DeFlorio, MSUE Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – Education (SNAP-Ed) program instructor. The project added a gardening component to the WISEWOMAN program. It was such a success that the MDCH contacted Diane Rellinger, Extension educator, to pursue options for expansion. In 2010, five other counties joined Ogemaw County in the program – Antrim, Charlevoix, Crawford, Missaukee and Otsego – and 24 women participated. Diane provides overall program and budgetary coordination for the six counties.

 The MDCH received a $52,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and partnering with MSUE, it used the grant to expand the project. The grant allowed the purchase of gardening supplies, plants and fencing. It provided for educational resources, farmers market registration fees, signage, gardening workshops, travel dollars for the participants to get to classes and the farmers markets, and vendor supplies, such as tents, tables and promotional items. MSUE SNAP-Ed, MSUE Master Gardeners, the MDCH, the Northwest Michigan Community Health Agency, District Health Department #2 and District Health Department #10 work together to make this project possible.

 Says Diane Rellinger, “This project was a great example of transformational education. It provided a network of support that created enthusiasm and positive behavior change. We saw women bond together and get excited about their health, their new gardening knowledge and the opportunity to increase their incomes through selling their own produce at local farm markets.”

Patti plans for gradn opening

Patti McGee makes plans for her farm market grand opening.

 Patti McGee developed a garden to sell produce at next year’s grand opening of her new McGee Family Farm Market. Patti’s goal is to live off the income generated from the market.

 Teresa Norwick grew vegetables at the Otsego County Alternative Landscaping Demonstration Garden. Through the grant, she was able to rent a plot and begin a garden.
Teresa Norwick poses with her new wagon.

Teresa Norwick was able to rent a plot and begin a garden through the grant.

 Both women learned a great deal about gardening and nutrition.

 MSUE Master Gardeners instructed the women in gardening procedures and encouraged them to keep a gardening journal. Teresa learned to use lasagna organic composting. The name comes from the layering method used in the process. Both Teresa and Patti helped build their own hoop houses to extend the gardening season. Jack Middleton, retired MSUE Otsego County Extension director, guided the hoop house building and also installed drip irrigation.

 The WISEWOMAN program emphasizes making healthier food choices, increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and being more physically active. The SNAP-Ed nutrition education series provided eight lessons based on dietary guidelines and tailored the lessons to this age group (ages 40 to 64). The gardening efforts provided increased opportunities to be physically active. Women reported losing weight and feeling better due to their dietary changes and increased activity.

Teresa stockpiles organic lasagna ingredients.

Teresa Norwick stockpiles organic lasagna ingredients.

 According to Rebecca Fleis, MSUE Otsego County program associate, “The amazing thing about the project is the immense blessing a little seed funding can have in the lives of women. Often participants were in very difficult times in their lives financially; the opportunity to be part of the WISEWOMAN Entrepreneurial Gardening Project brought encouragement and hope for their future.”

Teresa Norwick and RebeccaFleis

Teresa Norwick (left) and Rebecca Fleis, Extension program associate, stand in Teresa’s hoop house.

 Master Gardener coordinators, Cydney Steeb in Charlevoix County, Lora Freer in Ogemaw County, and Ed Doss in Otsego and Crawford counties, provided gardening education and ongoing support, and Master Gardener volunteers also lent their expertise to designing and growing healthy gardens. SNAP-Ed staff members Lori Eccles, program associate; Megan Rapelje, program instructor; Susan Warren, program associate; Rebecca Fleis and Helen DeFlorio provided nutrition education classes to encourage healthier food choices and provide instruction in using and preserving the garden vegetables grown by the WISEWOMAN participants. Steve Fouch, Extension educator, provided training on how to take produce from the garden to the farm market. 

 Key partners at the MDCH were Robin Roberts, WISEWOMAN program manager, and Viki Lorraine, WISEWOMAN program intervention specialist, along with the lifestyle counselors at the local health departments who identified program participants.

 These are some powerful testimonials. They will be even more powerful if we’re gathering evaluation data that can help us to quantify the effect this program is having on the health and financial well being of participants.

 To learn more, go to http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132–240962–,00.html.

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Watch out for mosquitos and bed bugs

Several alerts have come out in the past few days worth noting. One relates to a diagnosis of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in two and possibly three horses in southwestern Michigan (Calhoun, Barry and Cass counties) and the other is a general alert to the increasing spread of bed bugs. EEE is a bird virus carried by mosquitos to other animals. Horses are particularly vulnerable to its effects, but humans can be affected as well. For horses AND humans, the best approach is prevention: a simple vaccine is available to protect horses. For humans, the best approach is to reduce the likelihood of encountering a mosquito – eliminate habitats for mosquito larvae (small pockets of stagnant water), keep your windows and doors covered with screens, use clothing and repellant when outdoors in mosquito country. You can find more information on EEE at the Michigan Department of Agriculture website.

 Bed bugs are showing up with greater frequency in commercial lodging facilities as a consequence of “hitchhiking” in luggage and clothing of travelers from parts of the world where they are more prevalent. Again, prevention is the key, and you’ll find valuable guidance at the Michigan Department of Community Health web site. There’s a great resource – the Michigan Manual for the Prevention and Control of Bed Bugs available from the web site. If you like to get creeped out by photos of insects, you’ll definitely want to check out the cover photo of the manual. And I love the title of the first chapter, “Getting to Know the Bed Bug.” Makes you want to curl up in bed and read that one before falling asleep!

 Thanks to Michael Kauffman, Michigan State University Extension specialist in entomology, for being a part of the Michigan Bed Bug Working Group and for keeping us all informed of these serious issues. I know I won’t be chuckling if I wake up with red bite marks on my body some morning.

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