To improve the health of people within our region through effective use of information and collaboration to establish our region as a community of health excellence through a comprehensive focus on population health, patient experience, cost of care, and provider well-being


The Michigan Health Improvement Alliance, Inc. (MiHIA)  is a formal, multi-stakeholder, community collaboration working to achieve a community of health excellence for the 14-county region it serves. This initiative is based on a core belief that solutions to our health and health care problems can be found and designed at a regional level, accelerating regional competitive advantage and sustainability.

Functionally and operationally, MiHIA works at many levels. In some cases, MiHIA acts as the convener for multiple parties, establishing shared goals and objectives, setting collective targets, or aligning business plans. In other cases, MiHIA is an assessor, evaluating processes and offerings to reduce redundancies, conducting environmental scans, or providing health data. MiHIA also seeks funding to bring resources to our area, and facilitates or supports projects or initiatives that will impact better health and health care in our region.


MiHIA has been involved in leading complex change since it was founded in 2007. The concept of creating a multi-stakeholder collaborative was a novel one for the region and required building goodwill, gaining trust, articulating the value proposition and establishing a unifying process for all stakeholders.

In our early years, MiHIA was awarded and completed a planning grant to be a regional component of the State Health Information Exchange plan. MiHIA’s plan and their request for an implementation grant were approved but unfortunately could not be funded due to budget shortfalls at the state and a new direction for Michigan Health Information Network. 

The geographic area served by MiHIA is comprised of 14 counties in the central Michigan region. They include Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Huron, Iosco, Isabella, Midland, Ogemaw, Roscommon, Saginaw, Sanilac and Tuscola counties. This region is one of nine medical trading areas defined by the State of Michigan Department of Community Health. The geography includes a population of about 800,000 people.

The MiHIA region is centrally located in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, and consists mainly of farmland, with a few moderately-sized cities in Midland, Bay and Saginaw counties. The economy is primarily agricultural, with the vast majority of its area consisting of the fertile Saginaw Valley. The largest company headquartered in the area is The Dow Chemical Company in Midland. In Saginaw, the company with the largest number of employees is Covenant Healthcare.

The region also is home to several institutions of higher learning including Central Michigan University, Saginaw Valley State University, Delta Community College and Northwood University. Another unique feature is the inclusion of an Indian Reservation as well as distributed members of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe throughout the other counties. While the region includes state-of-the-art health care facilities and global corporations, its urban and rural areas also include sizeable economically depressed and medically underserved populations.


The Triple Aim framework is the compass to optimize health and health care. MiHIA’s regional approach is based on a core belief that solutions to national problems – like healthcare – can be found and designed at local levels.  Achieving the quadruple aim in healthcare is no easy task. It takes high levels of regional coordination and commitment across sectors. By implementing initiatives, programs, and technology aimed at improving each domain, our region can expect to see positive impact – improvements in staff engagement, cost efficiencies, and higher levels of patient satisfaction.


MiHIA committees, workgroups, and project teams to ensure success. At every level, each is committed to fully support the vision and mission of MiHIA with a dedication to its success.

  • Shanna Hensler
    Shanna Hensler
  • Mary Kushion
    Mary Kushion
  • Daryn Papenfuse
    Daryn Papenfuse
  • Rachel Piselli
    Rachel Piselli
  • Tina Swanton
    Tina Swanton


The MiHIA Board of Directors is composed of a group of individuals who are committed to fully support the vision and mission of MiHIA with dedication to its success. This senior level Board of Directors serves as the primary authority of MiHIA, and represents a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including hospital systems, independent providers, universities, public and mental health organizations, consumers, health plans and employers This group of 15-21 individuals is responsible for the management oversight of affairs and business of the organization. The Board is also responsible for ensuring progress and achievement of the mission, assuring effective oversight of the Chief Executive Officer, staff, contracts, budget and operations of the organization. The Board may also adopt rules and regulations for the conduct of their meetings and the management of the organization as they may deem proper, consistent with organizational by-laws and the laws of the state of Michigan.

Shanna Hensler

As MiHIA Initiative Leader, Shanna has two main areas of focus: Prenatal, Maternal, and Infant Health and the Regional Opioid Strategy. In both areas, she oversees and drives progress on existing work and identifies future opportunities, secures resources to support endeavors, analyze community needs, and serves as the liaison between THRIVE, MiHIA, the State of Michigan and its various related departments, stakeholders, the community as a whole. In regards to her new position, Ms. Hensler stated, “I feel very honored to be given this opportunity. I am excited to collaborate across our region and be an advocate to improve health and overall well-being.”

Active in the community, Ms. Hensler has served in leadership positions of various health collaboratives: the Gratiot Collaborative Council, the Gratiot County Substance Abuse Coalition, the Great Start Collaborative, and the Isabella Community Collaborative.

Educated at Saginaw Valley State University for both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science in Health Administration and Leadership, Ms. Hensler is a resident of Saginaw along with her husband and daughter.

Mary Kushion

Mary advises the MiHIA Operations Team and the Population Health Strategy Team on public health and population health action areas. This includes the implementation of the Regional Community Health Improvement Plan (RCHIP). Mary produces models, designs processes, support quarterly progress reports, and helps to identify funding opportunities. She describes how she feels about her job as, “I thoroughly enjoy working with the dynamic MiHIA Team. Everyone who is a part of MiHIA has a passion for improving the health status of the region and I am blessed to be a part of it.”

Working to help her community in another way, Mary is assisting her church with the development of a safety plan. Her volunteer group has been conducting trainings, had a fire drill and is helping to make needed safety improvements to the building.

Her BA is from Alma College and her MSA is from Central Michigan University. She resides in Alma.

Daryn Papenfuse

Daryn is responsible for the dynamic nature of the MiHIA Dashboard. In this role he updates information and creates community calendars and pages to share upcoming events, facilitates partner hubs and otherwise keeps the dashboard running smoothly so partners can access important data. Daryn is also responsible for data collection, mining and analysis. “I find tremendous satisfaction in being part of the MiHIA team. I really believe in the mission behind our work and am excited to have been part of the launch of some amazing initiatives!”

Daryn currently volunteers as a co-lead for the SBIRT strategy group within the MiHIA Opioid Strategy and also volunteers on the Chippewa River as a surveyor and restorer.

Daryn obtained both his undergraduate degree and his Master of Public Health at Central Michigan University and currently resides in Mt. Pleasant.

Rachel Piselli

Serving in the role of Executive Assistant, Rachel Piselli joins the MiHIA team with previous experience in healthcare administration including human resources and marketing. Her position will work closely with the Leadership Team and other staff to oversee the daily operations of MiHIA’s programs and initiatives. Rachel will also work closely with the MiHIA communication strategy to bring clarity and knowledge to stakeholders and the general public.

Educated at the University of Michigan-Flint for her Bachelor of Arts, Rachel has a passion for the Flint community along with Saginaw where she currently resides with her husband. She is a devoted member of the Saginaw YMCA and loves traveling.

Tina Swanton

Tina coordinates several programs contributing to general population health: the In-Person Diabetes Prevention Program, the Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program (VDPP), Kurbo, and Choosing Wisely. In addition to handling the daily coordination of programs, Tina also works as a community relations staff member. Tina says, “I am very energized to be working with community partners to make strides to impact and improve the community.”

In her free time, Tina loves to be outdoors, to travel, and to otherwise be active.

Her undergraduate degree is from Central Michigan University and her master’s degree is from the University of Kentucky. She resides in Saginaw with her husband and young children.