Health, Housing and Healing: A Community Grand Rounds Event

22.CGR-Housing Summit-Natalie Moore-400x300Spectrum Health Lakeland hosted the Community Grand Rounds (CGR) Housing Summit on October 27 where participants learned about the deep connection between housing and health, shared community-driven solutions to housing insecurity, and began to strengthen local partnerships needed to create healthier and more equitable communities in Southwest Michigan.

The recording of the speaker presentation and panel discussion will be available soon!

Housing impacts health

Research shows that people with stable housing are more likely to have longer life expectancies, healthier behaviors, and better overall health. Like many communities across the country, the current state of housing in Berrien County falls short of meeting the basic needs of many and ultimately negatively impacts their health and well-being. 

“As a local health care provider, we recognize that safe and affordable quality housing plays a critical role in the health and well-being of our community and is key to our ability to live up to our promise to improve health and health equity."

-Lynn Todman, PhD, Vice President, Health Equity, BHSH System

Meet our keynote speaker

Natalie Moore

Natalie Moore is a reporter on race, class, and communities for National Public Radio’s Chicago affiliate, WBEZ. She is also the author of “The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation,” which was a winner of the 2016 Chicago Review of Books award for nonfiction and a Buzzfeed best nonfiction book of 2016.

In her presentation, Ms. Moore will guide the audience through an exploration of the impact of housing patterns on health inequities. Her remarks will be followed by a panel discussion with local and regional housing experts who will share how they have galvanized communities to improve housing safety, affordability and quality.

Click here to learn more about Natalie.


Watch Dr. Loren Hamel, president at Spectrum Health Lakeland and strategic advisor at BHSH System interview Natalie Moore about the upcoming event. 


Meet our panelists

Ashley Hines

Ashley Hines is the executive director of the Benton Harbor Community Development Corporation (BHCDC) whose mission is to strengthen the community of Benton Harbor socioeconomically, mentally, and physically, by supporting and empowering residents through community development projects and programming. Its holistic approach to building community is guided by innovation, equity, and collaboration. Ashley has dedicated her time and talent to advancing the work of organizations committed to entrepreneurship, small business development, food sovereignty, and education. She currently sits on the board for ZOY Adventures and the Harbor Impact Foundation. Ashley’s work continues to be a love letter to Black people; honoring, highlighting, and preserving Black culture and community. Learn more about the BHCDC on Facebook.


Mike Kenn

Mike Keen, PhD, is the managing partner of Hometowne Development LLC, leads the development of Portage Midtown in South Bend, Indiana and is the President of The Bakery Group LLC. He is also the facilitator of the Michiana Town Makers ecosystem, an informal network of small scale developers, design professionals, finance officers, real estate agents, property managers, contractors, neighbors, and municipal officials dedicated to helping create wealth in neighborhoods. With two decades experience as a sustainability professional, he has his LEED-AP and 30 years of experience as a professor at Indiana University South Bend. In 2016, Mike established Thrive Michiana to continue his pursuit of sustainability through innovation in the private, not-for-profit, and public sectors. Mike offers sustainability and small scale development seminars, workshops and consulting services to developers, municipalities, and not-for-profits wishing to integrate sustainability and incremental development into their products, services, and communities.


Ryan Kilpatrick

With an extensive background in economic development, community design and public finance, Ryan Kilpatrick is the lead consultant for Housing Next. He has helped to define access to housing as a core economic development issue for West Michigan through data-oriented dialogue and partnership with employers, local municipalities, chambers of commerce, and developers. Prior to leading Housing Next, Ryan worked for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation where he was lead project manager in West Michigan. Ryan has 16 years of experience supporting local units of government with technical assistance and best practice implementation through planning, zoning, process improvement, and the use of financial tools to create economically vibrant communities. 


Tiyanna Williams

Born and raised in Muskegon, equitable housing advocate Tiyanna Williams experienced the highs and lows of the housing continuum. After several years of renting and relying on public assistance, Tiyanna’s family was able to purchase their first home when she was eight years old. In the decade following, they acquired 13 additional homes that housed other families in the community. Her parents provided stipends to tenants for utilities, reduced rent when needed, and helped the families realize homeownership or navigate the housing terrain. The display of dignity, respect, equity, and justice that her parents demonstrated inspired and incited the desire and curiosity to pursue a career dedicated to dismantling systems of inequity. Tiyanna hopes to partner with others to develop polices that will create healthy conditions for all members of society to have a place called home.

For additional questions or concerns, please email us at

Continue learning about the connection between health and housing through the resources below

The Fair Housing Center of SW Michigan is our region’s nonprofit that seeks to combat discrimination in housing. The FHC increases public awareness about fair housing rights and gives people tools to better advocate for their fair housing rights.

The Kalamazoo County Continuum of Care’s vision is for a county where everyone has equitable access to safe, affordable, dignified housing. They work to find solutions to the gaps, inequities, and challenges to reduce homelessness.

The American Hospital Association is a national organization that represents and serves all types of hospitals, health care networks, and their patients and communities. The AHA report “Housing and Health: A Roadmap for the Future” makes the case for hospitals to intervene in housing as an issue strongly related to health.

Urban Institute is a nonprofit research organization that provides data and evidence to help advance upward mobility and equity. The data that the Urban Institute shines a light on drives the conversation around inequity in many aspects, including housing.

Strong Towns is a nonprofit media advocacy organization dedicated to educating people about urban development that is financially strong and resilient. Much of their focus is on increasing housing supply and creating healthier, people-centered communities.

Segregation by Design is a project that highlights how the U.S. government created white flight by constructing freeways in minority neighborhoods, displacing residents of color and providing escape routes for whites into suburban sprawl. Using historic aerial photography, this ongoing project aims to document the destruction of communities of color.

The Color of Law is a book by Richard Rothstein that highlights the phenomenon of racially discriminatory practices like redlining and racial covenants, along with the lasting effects they have had on communities to this day. It is a reminder of the power that policy has in changing social conditions.