UPPER PENINSULA, Mich. (WLUC) - Fourteen community organizations throughout Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will receive a total of $814,652 in grant funding to begin new projects or expand existing projects that address critical health care problems in their communities.
The funding is provided through Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation and the Superior Health Foundation’s Investing in Upper Peninsula Health grant initiative. The partnership provides one-time grants that will be used to improve health and access to cost-effective, quality care for residents in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
“It’s crucial that we extend our efforts to address the health care needs of residents in rural regions of the state,” said Lynda Rossi, executive vice president of Strategy, Government and Public Affairs at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “This initiative will help identify and shape the interventions necessary to improve the cost, access and quality of care available to individuals and families in the Upper Peninsula.”
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula residents face barriers to health care. A 2015 study conducted by the Citizens Research Council of Michigan showed Keweenaw County as consistently falling below the recommended ratio of primary care physicians to population. Mackinac, Luce and Baraga counties rank in the bottom 20 counties for overall health outcomes in Michigan, which measures resident’s length and quality of life. Chippewa County, the second largest in the Upper Peninsula, ranks in the bottom 10 Michigan counties for overall health factors, which identifies health behaviors, clinical care, social, economic and environmental factors within each community.
“We’re proud to support organizations in the Upper Peninsula who understand the specific needs of their communities and work to inspire positive change for those facing a broad base of health disparities,” said Audrey Harvey, vice president and CEO of the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation.
Some of the most prevalent health issues affecting residents of the Upper Peninsula are linked to obesity, mental and behavioral health, substance abuse and chronic disease. The goal of this initiative is to identify and support programs that address the following focus areas: expanding access to health care, improving quality of health care and addressing critical health problems.
“There are no shortages of healthcare needs in the Upper Peninsula,” said Jim LaJoie, executive director of the Superior Health Foundation. “We’re honored to leverage funding with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation to provide much-needed grant funding to more than a dozen deserving organizations.”
An overview of the grant recipients can be seen in the Related Documents section of this article.