Michigan Health & Hospital Association Announces Awards
Jul 12, 2022
(ST. JOSEPH) – On June 30, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association (MHA) announced its 2022 awards recognizing several individuals and programs during its Annual Membership Meeting on Mackinac Island.
One of the honorees of the 2022 MHA Ludwig Community Benefit Award was Spectrum Health Lakeland for the Center for Better Health in Benton Harbor, Michigan. 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 receives $5,000 from the MHA Health Foundation to assist in its health improvement efforts.
“In the summer of 2020 it was apparent that Black people in Berrien County, where Spectrum Health Lakeland is located, were more likely than other groups to contract, be hospitalized for, and to die from COVID-19,” said Lynn Todman, PhD, vice president, Health Equity, BHSH System. “Lakeland launched a rapid response to these inequities by establishing the Center for Better Health.”
Spectrum Health Lakeland created the Center for Better Health in downtown Benton Harbor in November 2020 as a two-month rapid response to COVID-19-related health inequities. Eighty-five percent of Benton Harbor residents are African American, nearly half live in poverty, and many experience conditions such as hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, and pre-term and low birth-weight babies.
The disparate impact of the pandemic on Benton Harbor residents and findings from recent Community Health Needs Assessments highlighted the need for increased access to healthcare services. Spectrum Health Lakeland responded with additional resources to support the center’s operations and expansion. It is moving from its current 1,200 square foot facility to a 26,000 square foot building. Since its opening, more than 2,500 individuals have used the center to conveniently access culturally customized healthcare.
“This expansion will allow Lakeland to better serve a community that has long been underserved and that has as result deep health inequities,” said Todman. “I am proud to say that the center provides tangible evidence of our 2020 commitment to advance health equity. I'm happy to share that our hearts are filled with hope for the community we serve.”
The Ludwig Award will fund a health equity leadership development program designed to prepare community members and hospital staff to effectively collaborate in strengthening Lakeland’s ability to meet the healthcare and social needs of the residents of Benton Harbor and other underserved communities in its service area.
For more information about programs and services at Center for Better Health, visit centersforbetterhealth.org or call 269.408.2558.