The Michigan Health Improvement Alliance (MiHIA) has been working to elevate the population health of the Great Lakes Bay region since 2007. In recognition of over a decade of innovative and collaborative work, MiHIA was selected to be one of just seven organizations across the nation to be a Bridging for Health partner organization. The Bridging for Health initiative is coordinated by the Georgia Health Policy Center and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. As a partner site, MiHIA was tasked with developing innovative strategies and financing mechanisms in order to expand the work already in place to address the fundamental causes of health decline.

Realizing the need for prevention focused programming coupled with a sustainable model of implementation, MiHIA built upon a shared funding model to set the funding mechanism, a Health and Well-Being Fund. The Fund is designated specifically for the ongoing support of implementing evidence-informed and practice-based community prevention activities. Such activities are designed to decrease rates of preventable health conditions, reduce costs, reduce health inequities, and to create environments that support health and safety with the aim of improving population health in the fourteen-county region that MiHIA serves. Receiving the first commitments from the Midland-based Allen Foundation and Ascension St. Mary’s of Michigan in Saginaw, Ascension St. Mary’s of Michigan in Standish, Ascension St. Joseph’s in Tawas hospitals, the The Fund is operational and the first of many projects has been selected: the virtual Diabetes Prevention Program.

MiHIA chose virtual diabetes prevention as the first intervention due to the high prevalence of diabetes and chronic disease in the region, high rates of obesity and below state average of physical activity.  This innovative virtual program is designed to help people who have prediabetes or certain risk factors that predict a diabetic diagnosis and want to try to prevent progression of this chronic disease. Easy to access via online classes and with multiple live lifestyle coach interactions, the program has shown significant progress for participants. After just three years, the participants lowered their chances of developing type-2 diabetes by 58%.

“We are proud to be a donor for the MiHIA Health and Well-Being Fund,” says Danielle DeSimone, Ascension Community Benefits Manager, “We think the virtual DPP is an excellent first project to launch with the MiHIA Health and Well-Being Fund. We look forward to watching our pre-diabetic patients flourish by helping to provide a program that will prevent or delay the onset of a difficult chronic disease.”

The virtual DPP program is expected to serve 250-people across all of MiHIA’s 14-counties, and you can register online at https://mihia.goodmeasures.com/

“We are very pleased that we have met the first funding benchmark and developed a financing mechanism for the future of the region,” says Beth Roszatycki, CEO for MiHIA. “The MiHIA Health and Well-Being Fund will allow us to pool financing and funding sources to have a great impact on our communities.  The initial phase of The Fund has enabled the launch of the virtual DPP program, empowering citizens in our 14-county area of service to prevent or delay the onset of Type-2 diabetes. We are enthusiastic and will closely monitor the successful development of our new funding mechanism and the first of many programs it is supporting,” she said.

To learn more or to sign up for the virtual DPP program, please contact Beth Pomranky of MiHIA at email address b.pomranky@mihia.org.