December 2023

Volume 2, Issue 12

Happy Holidays

Parties. Gatherings.

Purchases. Giftwrapping.

While these are all important parts of the holiday season, they can also overload our schedules. Let’s … pause … and choose what’s most important for us and our loved ones as we approach the yearend. Prioritizing will help keep us from racing through opportunities, from missing out on what’s right in front of us. Let’s purpose to be present, to speak our hearts, and to give the gift of time.


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HDNW Office Coordinator Tiffany Race (far right) presents backpacks full of personal items for children to the team at Up North Adoptive & Foster Closet, (from left) Shari Plain, Linda Morris, and Darla Edwards.

After sharing opportunities for you to partner with us in gift giving last month, we were shocked at your outpouring. After reading HDNW Happenings, residents reached out and provided substantial help in meeting the needs of

Up North Adoptive & Foster Closet, a nonprofit which provides backpacks with personal items to children and youth who are removed from where they’re living, sometimes without the opportunities to pack their belongings.

Your response reminded us of why we are so attached to up north living and the sense of community we share.

Toys for Tots

HDNW staffers (from left) Kristina Athey and Tiffany Race deliver the toys we collected at our offices to Capt. Mike Hoeft with Toys for Tots.

Leadership in Public Health

(From left) HDNW Medical Director Dr. Joshua Meyerson, Health Officer Dan Thorell, and Deputy Health Officer Holly Campbell exemplify holiday cheer during the agency’s All-Staff Gathering.

While HDNW leadership went all-out to be festive, serious inspiration was shared during the All-Staff Gathering Dec. 14. The gathering is the only day of the year that staff from throughout the 4 counties get together to talk shop, families, vacations, and the future of HDNW.

Health Officer Dan Thorell recognized the primary 2023 accomplishments as:

  • Continuing transparency with residents through speaking engagements, social media, news releases, Community Listening Sessions, and facility tours,
  • Investing in staff through summer office visits,
  • Updating billing and purchasing software,
  • Modernizing space in the Gaylord office on Livingston Boulevard so it can be used for meetings and trainings within the agency and by partner organizations,
  • Getting approval to digitize land use records for public access in Emmet and Antrim counties,
  • Completing successful site visits with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services officials at the school-based health and wellness programs, and
  • Helping push the Kindergarten Oral Health Assessment bill (dental screenings) over the finish line at the state level.

“Each of you plays an important role in the work we do,” Dan says. “We appreciate your commitment to our agency, a commitment that translates into preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health for area residents.”

HDNW is part of a regional emergency preparedness network that helps communities prepare for, withstand, and recover from public health incidents -- both short- and long-term. Depending on what happens, we are either a primary or a supportive part of a regional group of emergency responders.

In Our Schools

Nurse practitioner Carrie Miller performing a patient exam at GBDWC.

As area schools have requested help providing students with health and wellness support, HDNW has responded. One of our school-based clinics is in the Gaylord High School, and it serves youth ages 5 to 21 from throughout Otsego County.

Our staff at Gaylord Blue Devil Wellness Center provides direct care and referrals to area providers based on students' and families’ needs. The center was featured Dec. 14 on the 9&10 News lifestyle program, The Four. To watch the 6-minute segment click here.

Onsite Blood Drives

“I wanted to take a moment to extend my heartfelt gratitude to you for hosting blood drives in our great State of Michigan,” says Kristin Ronchetti-Brenner, Area Vice President for Versiti Blood Center of Michigan in a letter of thanks. “Your relentless commitment to our mission has a profound impact on the health and wellbeing of countless patients in our community.”

HDNW shares this thanks with you—everyone who has signed up and given the Gift of Life through our blood drives. According to Kristin, Versiti supplies blood to more than 50% of the hospital beds in the state.

As part of HDNW’s ongoing partnership with Versiti, we are hosting two blood drives in January. Please feel free to sign up to participate in the one closest to you.

Harbor Springs/Petoskey Office

3434 M-119, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

10 a.m.-3 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 24

Schedule an appointment here.

Charlevoix Office

220 Garfield Ave., Charlevoix, MI 49720

9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22

Schedule an appointment here.

Thank you.

Beware: Elder Scams on the Rise


More than two-thirds of older Michigan residents, 50 to 80, say someone has tried to scam them by phone, text, email, mail, or online in the last two years. That’s one of several illuminating findings related to older adults and fraud from the first Michigan Poll on Healthy Aging.


The poll was conducted by the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation at the University of Michigan — with support from the Michigan Health Endowment Fund — and will be the first in a recurring series beginning next spring.


To check out the full findings from the first poll and sign up to receive updates on new polls, click here.

What global public health issue is increasing at such an alarming rate that several countries have experienced double and triple escalation over the last 3 decades?

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Answer: Obesity