January 2024

Volume 3, Issue 1

Looking Ahead

Regardless of the season, HDNW continues to work on improving and connecting with residents. Here’s a glimpse of what’s coming:

  • Rolling out a new, easier-to-use website,
  • Modernizing our social media presence and print materials,
  • Continuing to assess local health to offer services that most help our residents, and
  • Finding new ways to get to know residents and answer their questions.

If you have a question or comment, we welcome you to email us here or through the following:

Website » nwhealth.org

Email » [email protected]

Facebook » nwhealthdepartment

Instagram » healthdeptofnwmichigan

X » nwhealthorg

YouTube » hdnw

Call our local office » 800-432-4121

Spread the Word!


Can you help? We’re trying to better connect with the 109,000 residents that live in our four-county region.


Here are some ways you can help get the word out about who we are and what we do:

  1. Share this e-news with friends and contacts,
  2. Follow our social media sites listed above,
  3. Schedule one of our experts to speak for your service club or organization,
  4. Contact Janenne to learn more about serving on our Citizen Advisory Committee,
  5. Attend a monthly Board of Health meeting, and
  6. Send an email letting us know what you’d like to know more about.


Leadership in Public Health

Q: Tell us about your role at HDNW.

A: I am a part-time supervisor with the Community Health division, and the part-time mental health therapist at East Jordan Middle/High school.


Q: How long have been part of the team?

A: I have been with HDNW since September 2014, so a little over 9 years now.


Q: What led to your career in public health?

A: I was always drawn to working with children as a therapist. I started my career as a home-based therapist, then worked at Community Mental Health as an outpatient therapist and later supervised youth programs there, such as Wraparound and a juvenile court diversion program called Multi-Systemic Treatment. I have also worked as a foster care program supervisor.


I was drawn to working with youth because I believe strongly in prevention! Working to remove barriers, building on strengths, and supporting children and their families is my passion – which ultimately led me to HDNW. Our mission speaks to my heart and soul! Now, as a supervisor, I get the pleasure of working with many great therapists at our school sites that carry out this mission daily!


Q: What is one challenging aspect of your job?

A: Oh man, this is a hard one, because when working with people, especially young people, you can face many challenges – accepting that you can only do so much to support them and you don’t have control to change every harmful aspect of their lives is probably the most difficult to accept at times.


Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A: I feel lucky because there are many rewarding aspects to my job – in both of my roles! As a therapist, it is rewarding when I get to watch a youth grow internally stronger and see them believe in themselves and the changes they can make, or watch their family grow stronger together so that they can live the rest of their lives happy and successful, whatever that means for them!


As a supervisor, it is rewarding when my team feels supported so they can support the youth and families they are working with. I strive to help our team feel satisfied in their roles, and I strive for our community partners (such as the schools) to see value in the work we do in our communities!


Q: Tell us a bit about your family.

A: My family consists of myself, my husband Patrick, and our 3-year-old son Tristan (and our 13-year-old husky Callie). We have been married for 11 years and adopted our son from birth. We live in Boyne City.


Q: When off work, what’s your passion?

A: When I’m not working, I love to play with my son. He has a lot of energy, and I’m counting on him to keep me young! I like to walk our dog, swim, and enjoy our northern Michigan beaches! I love plants and gardening, and I’m an avid reader! In the summers, our family goes boating almost every weekend. We enjoy bonfires, and just listening to music and hanging out with each other outside.

Meet Rebecca Litzner

Community Health Supervisor

The safe operation and maintenance of public swimming pools and spas are regulated and licensed by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy. Annual inspections are conducted by HDNW to assure these facilities are safe for the public and meet state requirements. Water quality is routinely monitored. For more information, click here.

Partner Feature

S.K. Martin owns and operates Curiosity Ink in Petoskey.

When S.K. Martin moved to Petoskey, she was still early in her career. She furthered her craft while working for a couple of different other businesses before opening her own studio.


“I had a bit of experience managing tattoo shops and most tattoo artists hope to have their own place someday - it's the dream, isn't it?,” she asks.


Once the various factors aligned in life and business, S.K. made the leap. She prepared her business plan and opened her own business, Curiosity Ink in Petoskey. With artists prepared to join, she set about creating her ideal atmosphere –for herself, her clients, and the other artists. The focus: the art itself and creating custom pieces.


“Our goals at Curiosity Ink involve cultivating a comfortable environment for both our clients and artists, with a high standard of work and room to learn and further develop our craft,” S.K. says. “Currently, we have four full-time artists. We'll be expanding our space in 2024 and hope to accommodate guest artists and potentially more permanent artists down the road.”

Tattoos on the Rise

With tattoos becoming mainstream, more residents are seeking body art. According to S.K., the craft has exploded in popularity over the last two decades, and Petoskey is no exception. Fortunately for the artists, the industry is evolving as well, with better tools and products improving the process and outcomes for clients.


“There are more folks demographically who want tattoos, and more varieties/styles than ever, which makes for a very complex and fast-paced business,” she says, noting that cleanliness and quality are a primary focus for her as a business owner.

Most of the necessary know-how regarding regulations that help maintain studio standards is available through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and HDNW, but there are plenty of “ins and outs that are simply learned through hands-on experience,” according to S.K. “This is why those seeking to enter the tattoo industry are best advised to seek a legitimate apprenticeship with a knowledgeable mentor at a facility that prioritizes the health and safety of all.”

Everyone at Curiosity Ink has the mandatory Bloodborne Pathogen Certification to handle the everyday precautions necessary for performing tattoo procedures, but this is just one requirement. The staff keeps a variety of other standards for them personally and the facility.


“We keep one another accountable and we all chip in to make sure our venue remains tidy and accessible,” S.K. adds. “If there are ever any questions or concerns regarding health and safety relevant to tattooing, HDNW is the one I reach out to with such inquiries. We both value the community and hope to play our part in keeping it strong.”


In the Schools

Get a Clue!

During Central Lake’s annual door decoration contest to celebrate the holidays, HDNW staff took advantage of the Board Game theme to join in the fun by revamping the game "Clue." "Get A Healthy Clue" is the new game where students follow clues to find either Mrs. Klooster or Mrs. Hoeksema in the school and what tool they'll be using when you find them. 


“We had a lot of fun ‘cartoonizing’ ourselves and showing students and staff how to move us around the board,” says Mrs. Hoeksema. “We plan to make a contest out of this to encourage students to visit our center daily and keep track of our adventures!”

Breastfeeding Awards

HDNW is among four workplaces recognized for going above and beyond the law to support breastfeeding and is being recognized with the Michigan Breastfeeding-Friendly Workplace and Outpatients awards. Among others, some of the ways employers encourage breastfeeding include:

  • Developing corporate policies to support breastfeeding women.
  • Providing designated private space for women to breastfeed or express milk,
  • Allowing flexible scheduling to support milk expression during work,
  • Giving mothers options for returning to work, such as teleworking, part-time work, or extended maternity leave,
  • Providing onsite or nearby childcare,
  • Providing high-quality breast pumps,
  • Allowing babies at the workplace, and
  • Offering professional lactation management services and support.

Our offices have private lactation rooms. In addition to supporting staff, the spaces are used by clients when they are visiting our offices.

What is health equity?

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Need help finding health insurance? Call 1-800-432-4121

Answer: Health equity is when everyone has a fair opportunity to attain their highest level of health. This often means meeting people where they’re at to level the playing field.