November 2023

Volume 2, Issue 11

Holiday Giving

Where did the year go? Suddenly, we’re shopping for the Thanksgiving meal and filling our calendars with holiday gatherings and fundraisers.

HDNW is partnering with several local nonprofits to help area families with food and gifts for children.

  • Toys for Tots collection boxes are in the entrances of our offices so anyone can drop off donations prior to Thursday, Dec. 7.
  • We are collecting nonperishable foods during our All Staff Gathering on Thursday, Dec. 14, for donation to area food pantries. Feel free to drop off food at our offices.
  • We are donating backpacks and requested contents to Up North Adoptive & Foster Closet in Gaylord. If you’re interested in donating, we still need these new items: 15 backpacks, 20 blankets no larger than 30-by-40 inches, and 15 stuffed animals. They may be dropped off at our offices by Thursday, Nov. 30.

We will deliver your contributions for you.

As always, thank you for caring about our northwest Michigan neighbors.

Learn More About HDNW

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Call our local office » 800-432-4121

Leadership in Public Health

HDNW Deputy Health Officer Holly Campbell takes time to speak with host Eric Brazeal about the difference between public health and private healthcare. Link through to watch this five-minute interview from the November 8 airing of Wellness Wednesday on 9&10 News The Four.

Harvest Fest Happenings

While there were gatherings throughout our four counties on Oct. 31, staff from our Gaylord Blue Devil Wellness Center turned their “trunk” into a Halloween display during the Harvest Fest at E-Free Church. (From left) Marissa Luck, Carrie Miller and Carrie's daughter, Laina, connected with families – even through snowfall. Way to go the extra mile and share goodwill!

Citizen Advisory Committee

On Nov. 8, the Citizen Advisory Committee (CAC) met and learned about the Community Health Innovation Region, a 31-county northern Michigan partnership of residents, healthcare providers, nonprofits, and hospitals which works to determine residents’ greatest needs and address them. HDNW is one of seven local health departments involved in the initiative, which saves money and maximizes resources through economies of scale to help people living in our rural area.

Eight months into the CAC meetings, volunteer members continue to take tours, meet staff, and participate in discussions on HDNW’s community programs. They provide feedback to help us better communicate and connect with our communities.

To learn more about the Community Health Innovation Region, please check out this two-minute video.

When HDNW was founded in 1930, common community diseases included whooping cough, measles, typhoid fever, smallpox, scarlet fever, diphtheria, venereal disease, and tuberculosis. Due to public health initiatives such as immunization, improved hygiene and sanitation, and infection control, most of these diseases are nonexistent or very uncommon in our area today.

Recognition for Ironmen Health Center

Ironmen Health Center and Health Department of Northwest Michigan staff (from left) Stephanie Vanniman, Mental Health Professional; Rachael Miller, Public Health Technician; and Julie Korth, Nurse Practitioner; show their new Bronze Certification from the Adolescent Health Initiative. The certification recognizes the staff’s efforts to tailor care to youth.

If you want to know how to improve, ask the people/students you serve. The staff at Ironmen Health Center (IHC), located adjacent to the Mancelona Public Schools, has spent more than a year asking students, school staff, and parents questions on how to better meet their needs.

In recognition for the detailed self-assessment, IHC earned a Bronze Adolescent-Centered Environment Certification through the University of Michigan’s Adolescent Health Initiative. The certification is based on the center minimizing barriers to health and improving care for kids.

IHC is in the Mancelona Family Health Resource Center, which was opened in 1996 to improve people’s access to social services, higher education, employment opportunities, and healthcare. The school-linked IHC—operated by HDNW—prioritizes adolescents by scheduling appointments for health and wellness during the school day. The staff includes a nurse practitioner, mental health professional, and telehealth option—all designed to help kids stay in school.

Helping to Grow Families

Family Health Director Melissa Hahn and Family Health Supervisor Kristin Kays (center left and right) receive recognition for co-creating the new “Family Planning and Pregnancy Guide.” Savannah Cool (far left) and Crissy Napont of Great Start Collaborative & Family Coalition of Charlevoix, Emmet, and Northern Antrim Counties present a certificate of appreciation for Melissa’s and Kristin’s contribution. The guide serves as a type of handbook with information on health before and after pregnancy, nutrition during childbearing years, depression, smoking and nicotine use, safe sleep, and more.

Many vapes or e-cigs contain nicotine as well as chemicals that are known to cause birth defects. Ready to quit? Dial 800-QUITNOW (800-784-8669).

2023 Great American Smokeout

HDNW and the American Cancer Society are asking you to quit tobacco products as part of a national—yet personal—movement. The Thursday, Nov. 16, Great American Smokeout encourages people to quit—starting with day one.


Nobody is alone in their effort.


The Smokeout reminds people that it’s never too late to quit and to keep quitting until it sticks. Quitting tobacco is not an easy task. It takes time, a plan, and doesn’t happen overnight.


Do you have a plan? A quit plan can include:

  • Choosing a date,
  • Listing your reasons,
  • Noting your triggers like stress or boredom, and
  • Having coping methods in place to combat nicotine cravings.

Click here to access the “Guide to Quitting Smoking.”

Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) is increasing eligibility from the age of 21 to 26 years old as of Jan. 1, 2024. HDNW staff is helping qualifying residents enroll in this insurance program. CSHCS helps people with chronic health problems. To see if you qualify, call us locally at 800-432-4121.

HDNW Fundamentals

Employees have established 25 Fundamentals to help us stay focused on who we are and how we can best help our communities. We are continuing to share these Fundamentals with you. For the complete list, click here

Fundamental 9

Act with integrity. Keep your word. Follow through. Be respectful always.

That's a Wrap

Jay Russell brings his three sons to the clinic at East Jordan Elementary School for their annual flu shots. The youngest gets a swab rather than a shot.

While HDNW continues to offer immunizations at our office clinics, the community-based initiative we launch each fall is ending. At the request of the community, staff packed up our coolers, immunizations, and supplies to offer 13 community, 14 senior, and 12 business-based clinics.

The annual outreach helps residents conveniently update their vaccinations. Through the clinics -- held by invitation at schools, senior centers, senior living facilities, and private businesses -- 1,496 residents received a total of 2,180 flu, senior flu, COVID-19, and children’s vaccinations.

Who coined this famous public health friendly saying: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?”

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

Answer: Benjamin Franklin