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.

Mental Health Grant Funding Available to Help Kids in the U.P.
Nine Michigan Organizations Receive Suicide Prevention Funding
COVID-19 Accelerates Telehealth Expansion at Rural Health Centers

Mental Health Grant Funding Available to Help Kids in the U.P.

In March 2020, schools across Michigan were abruptly shut down to halt the spread of COVID-19. Since then, children and teens have had to grapple with different forms of learning, separation from friends and teachers and a disruption to their normal social routines as schools have adapted with varying levels of instruction across the state.

Experts worry about the effects the pandemic has had on kids’ mental health. Since April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that mental health-related emergency department visits have increased for all school-age children, compared to 2019 numbers.

As the executive director of Great Lakes Recovery Centers, Inc., which provides mental health services in the Upper Peninsula, and president of the Negaunee Public Schools Board of Education, Greg Toutant sees firsthand that more help is needed to reach children who are struggling.

Learn more at mibluesperspectives.com

Nine Michigan Organizations Receive Suicide Prevention Funding

From the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, experts have been sounding the alarm that a side effect of the virus and accompanying restrictions would almost certainly be worsening mental health outcomes, up to and including increases in suicidal thoughts and death by suicide.

Earlier this year, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan joined forces with the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Children’s Foundation and the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation to offer funding to Michigan-based, non-profit health care providers to implement suicide-prevention interventions that are evidence-based and sustainable.

Nine programs were recently awarded grants totaling nearly $650,000, with funding prioritizing populations experiencing health disparities due to income, age, gender identity and ethnic or racial characteristics. Funders worked to ensure grant funding was awarded in each region of the state to maximize impact in a diverse and equitable way.

Learn more at mibluesperspectives.com

COVID-19 Accelerates Telehealth Expansion at Rural Health Centers

Prior to COVID-19, George Olson and his team at Sterling Area Health Center knew they wanted to expand access to telehealth – web-based care offered virtually through laptops, phones and tablets – but they just hadn’t found a way to make it a sustainable offering for patients they serve in northwest Michigan’s Arenac, Iosco and Ogemaw counties.

“COVID changed that,” Olson, president and CEO of the center, explained. “This thing hits and then we were really looking at what solutions we could put in place.”

More flexibility in reimbursements for virtual care helped, as did $50,000 in grant funding under a rapid response telehealth initiative supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation. The grant is part of a larger, nearly $3M collaborative effort with the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation and the Metro Health Foundation to help Michigan providers and safety net organizations rapidly expand telehealth services.

Learn more at mibluesperspectives.com

To read more stories about how our latest grant recipients are making strides in health care research, see our 2020 Annual Report (PDF)

Take a look at our current year in giving with the BCBSM Foundation's 2021 Grant Highlights (PDF) and BCBSM Foundation’s 2020 Grant Highlights (PDF).

 

In the news

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

 

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation award $100,000 in grant funding to Hamilton-McFarlan Senior Health Center

$100,000 in grant funding has been awarded to Hamilton-McFarlan Senior Health Center by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation to enhance the care of Flint’s aging population.

Study Will Test Innovative Cervical Health Monitoring Method, Increase Access to Care for African American Women with Lupus

African American women face disproportionate rates of many health conditions, including lupus, cervical cancer and Human Papilloma virus, or HPV. Dr. Patricia Dhar, program director, Rheumatology Fellowship Program, Ascension St. John Hospital, is working at the intersection of all three conditions in a year-long study.

Foundation Awards over $566,000 to Michigan-Based Community Organizations, Physicians and Researchers

The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation recently awarded a total of more than $566,000 to support research and community programs that identify and address critical issues affecting the health of Michigan residents.

Detroit's Life Directions Changes Futures for Children and Families

At 16, Annette Howard was “lost and searching.” She grew up in Detroit where financial security was a constant concern. Given away as an infant, she said she’d always felt a void in her life and that feeling was compounded by not having her basic needs met. Now, nearly 50 years later, she makes it her mission to reach Detroit youth and their families.

Merging Mental Health and Primary Care to Benefit Patients at Judson Center

Physical and behavioral health are linked in many ways, yet care continues to be separated in most cases. A movement to integrate care under one roof is taking root and the results are playing out at Judson Center Family Health in Warren. A little over two years ago the clinic literally broke down walls between primary and behavioral health care.

Trauma on Trauma: U.P. Pre-School Helps At-Risk Families During COVID-19

The Watch Me Shine program, which focuses on the emotional and social assessments of at-risk children, started working two years ago to provide support and stability. Now, during COVID-19, Watch Me Shine is providing even more support for families.