July 2023

Volume 2, Issue 7

Happy Summer!

Welcome to the new edition of HDNW Happenings.

Do you have questions about the health department? Have you heard statements in the community you would like clarified? If so, email your questions to the address below.


We can respond directly to you via email or with a telephone call, or we can answer the question for everyone by making a short video and posting it on our socials and YouTube channel.


We look forward to hearing from you. Enjoy the rest of July!


Connect With Us

Website » nwhealth.org

Email » [email protected]

Facebook » nwhealthdepartment

Instagram » healthdeptofnwmichigan

Twitter » nwhealthorg

YouTube » hdnw

Call our local office » 800-432-4121

Leadership in Public Health

Meet Dr. Joshua Meyerson

Where are you from originally and how did you come to settle in NW Michigan?

I was born in Detroit, Michigan and grew up in the suburbs. After leaving the state for medical school and residency, I missed the seasons and lakes of Northern Michigan and decided to start my career in Petoskey.


You are a trained pediatrician. How did that result in your role in Public Health?

Pediatrics is a specialty that is very in tune with the issues addressed in public health. Child health is so impacted by the environment and community in which they are raised, and health promotion and prevention is central to both fields.


What other experiences assist with your work with HDNW?

For many years in both my training and private practice, I worked in areas where addressing the social determinants of health were crucial to care, and I quickly learned that a doctor is only as good as the team they are a part of.


How do you explain what you do and who we are as an agency?

We are the communities’ health care provider – we help assess, diagnose, and come up with treatment plans to promote health at the population level, and then work with many others to accomplish these goals. As part of that mission, we provide many direct services to promote a healthy environment, healthy people, and healthy families.


What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Trying to be a productive member of three different agencies and 10 different county offices. (Dr. Meyerson is also the Medical Director for the Benzie-Leelanau District Health Department and District Health Department #4 based in Alpena.


What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Hearing about the many great things that our public health professionals do every day—whether in a clinic, out in the community or protecting the environment.


What is your No. 1 goal as a public health leader and why?

My goal is to help our agency fulfill its mission by empowering our team.


What do you love to do when you’re not at work?

I love being outdoors in nature, whether in the woods, on the water or on the ski trail.


What’s one fun fact about you?

I love winter as much as summer – think snow!


What’s most important to you?

That’s easy – my incredible wife and amazing two grown sons.

Community Impact

When Erin Hay found herself a new mother finishing high school, she welcomed Kristin Kays into her life. As a nurse and family support specialist with HDNW’s Healthy Families Northern Michigan program, Kristin began meeting with Erin and her six-week-old son.


Together, they got to know each other and set goals to build the life Erin wanted for herself and her son. Each month, Kristin would do home visits—times that young Jeremiah began to cherish.


“My favorite part of the program was the visits and how Kristin bonded with Jeremiah so well,” Erin says. “Jeremiah loved the visits so much that he would wait by the window or door for Kristin to come.”


On June 13, Erin, Jeremiah, and father figure, Keegan, graduated from Healthy Families. The diploma includes a list of accomplishments like:

·   I am able to help my child manage feelings and frustrations

·   I know what causes stress for myself and my family, and I have a plan to get help and support if this happens

·   I have a safe and stable place to live

·   I have and can access at least one positive support person or community resource in addition to my home visitor

·   I take my child to the doctor as needed to stay healthy


“This family has had so many successes since I have been working with them,” Kristin says. “I have watched Erin blossom into an amazing young woman and mother. They are a true success story for the mission of Healthy Families.”


Healthy Families is an intensive home visiting program from Prevent Child Abuse America. The focus is on the parent-child relationship and their bonding by providing resources, activities, and education to allow the parent to be their child’s first teacher and to create a secure attachment. Healthy Families also monitors child development and provides tailored resources to meet the family’s needs. 


Step by Step

Although motherhood was unexpected, Erin and Kristin established a plan for her to finish high school, get her driver’s license and obtain employment. In about a year, all three of these goals were met. Next, Erin saved enough money to move from a family member’s home to her own apartment in the Oden area.


“Erin did all of this while also creating a very special bond with Jeremiah and supporting his growth and development,” Kristin says. “When we discovered a delay in his gross motor and speech development, Erin balanced extra appointments with Early On to support Jeremiah’s speech, which really paid off! Jeremiah is no longer experiencing any sort of delay. He is not only speaking in full sentences and showing everyone just how funny his little personality is, but he is also counting and working on his ABCs!”


Jeremiah will turn four in September. Erin and Keegan are engaged and expecting a baby. As they move forward as a family, planning to purchase their first home, Erin says she’s grateful to have picked up parenting skills like how to cope with tantrums and how to calm Jeremiah when he has fits.


“The graduation means everything to me because it showed me how far Jeremiah has come and has grown from beginning to end,” Erin says.


If you know someone who would benefit from participating in Healthy Families Northern Michigan, email [email protected].

Beach Safety

Untitled Design

From June through August, HDNW samples water at more than 50 public beaches to check for safe E. coli levels for those recreating. The monitoring program helps protect public health and supports the economic benefits of having clean, safe swimming areas.

If a sample comes back with bacteria higher than is safe for full body contact, a beach advisory is issued and posted at the beach. The water is then retested. Public updates are provided on social media and through news releases. The advisories are often only in place for a day or two.

In addition to timely beach advisories, each Friday, HDNW posts the results of the beaches sampled that week at Local Report. In addition to local samples, travelers can check for advisories at other Michigan beaches at Statewide Report.

One-tenth of every dollar in the U.S. is spent on healthcare costs. Of the $3.5 trillion, only 3% is spent on public health prevention while the rest is spent treating chronic illnesses, according to the Health and Economic Costs of Chronic Disease report.

Community Engagement

One of Franklin Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” To better understand, HDNW formed the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC). The volunteer group is comprised of 12 residents who live throughout the four-county jurisdiction. The members represent varied backgrounds, careers, and belief systems.


Monthly meetings involve facility tours and discussions meant to help HDNW better understand the current perceptions of the health department and the work we do.


Since forming, the committee has:

· Toured the Charlevoix facility and been introduced to the essential services of public health,

· Toured the Northern Michigan Regional Lab in Gaylord and shared challenges discovered while using the agency’s website,

· Toured Harbor Springs/Petoskey location of Dental Clinics North and discussed how to address the recent politicalization of public health,

· Toured the Mancelona Family Resource Center and discussed the syringe services program and what hard questions—and answers—still need to be shared with the public to foster unity.


Members of the CAC are openly sharing their thoughts and concerns with leadership.HDNW using this information to better understand and communicate.

2022 Annual Report Releases

HDNW’s Annual Report is out! To link through and learn more about what we do and to meet some of our clients, click here: 2022 Annual Report.

July Wellness Wednesday

The HDNW program WIC Project FRESH is being featured on 9&10 News’ lifestyle program The Four. Airing at 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, host Eric Brazeal and HDNW Family Health Director Melissa Hahn discuss the free program and why it exists.


Project FRESH provides residents who are enrolled in WIC $30 to spend on fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets. The program helps families and their children get involved in the community, see firsthand what is grown locally, and support the farmers.


“This project puts them in that place so they can learn what’s available in our communities and talk with the farmers even about how to cook the fresh vegetables,” Melissa says during the interview.


To learn more about Project FRESH, click here: Project FRESH.

Join Us to Give Blood

Easy and convenient. That’s why HDNW is hosting blood drives in partnering with Versiti Blood Center of Michigan. On Tuesday, July 25, we are hosting blood drives at our Charlevoix and Harbor Springs/Petoskey locations. Both whole blood and double red cells may be donated.


We welcome you to link through and sign up for a time that works for you.


In Charlevoix, 220 W. Garfield, the drive runs from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sign up here: Charlevoix Drive.


In Harbor Springs/Petoskey, 3434 M-119, the drive runs from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sign up here: Petoskey Drive.


Which term describes a pathogen that spreads disease by infecting a host through close contact? (Hint: Also, the title of a 2011 thriller starring Kate Winslet.)

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Answer: Contagion