Community Impact

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation grants are empowering Michigan residents to make a difference in health care. See how they've made their mark by reading their success stories.

Student Award recipient explores key to healthy aging

What are the secrets to long-term health? We all know we're supposed to eat well and exercise. But, as Wayne State University doctoral student Nasim Ferdows has learned, there's a lot more at work.

Ferdows is a 2015 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation Student Award Program recipient.

"Different studies have identified different factors that influence aging, each drawing from a different point in life,” Ferdows said. "Inspired by these studies, I hypothesized that it is actually a combination of multiple direct and indirect factors over the course of an individual’s life that determines whether someone ages well or will develop chronic health issues."

Ferdows found that healthy aging actually starts in childhood. Her research could lead to programs that specifically address aging factors at all stages of life. Her goal is to inform the state's policy makers and garner their support for increasing the quality of health for Michigan residents throughout their lives.

To read more stories about how our latest grant recipients are making strides in health care research, see our 2016 Annual Report (PDF).

In the news

Read more about how our funding is improving health care across Michigan communities.

The grants awarded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation are as diverse and unique as the people they’re intended to help – people recovering from substance use disorder, people living with dementia, their caregivers and the most vulnerable among us – premature and medically-fragile infants, to name a few.

Preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through healthy eating and exercise improves health and cuts health care costs. But what if programs to help people do just that can’t be understood? That was the dilemma Dr. Janilla Lee faced in combating diabetes in southeast Michigan’s Asian populations.

A new research project led by Grand Rapids-based Family Futures aims to explore the link between generational imbalances and struggle in an effort to develop resources and strategies to break the cycle of childhood trauma and put families on a stronger path toward a brighter future.

DLIVE, or Detroit Life is Valuable Everyday, is addressing the foremost public health issue for youth and young adults in Detroit – intentional violence. Homicide is the number one cause of death for Detroit residents ages 15-34. DLIVE provides innovative targeted services for young adults who have been victims of acute, intentional trauma.

At Starfish Family Services, efforts are underway to not only address trauma and inappropriate behavior, but to understand why it’s happening in the first place. The non-profit organization works with children and families in the metro Detroit area through early childhood education, behavioral health services, and community and parenting classes.

This is the first in a three-part series about the ways early-childhood trauma impacts health later in life and how organizations in Grand Rapids and metro Detroit are addressing the issue head-on. Does a happy, trauma-free childhood lead to a healthier life?