Published on June 08, 2020

Children and Families to Benefit from Grant

Children and families will benefit from a $100,000 Community Impact Grant awarded to the MidMichigan Health Foundation, by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. This grant aims to improve healthy lifestyles.

As part of the grant, MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch plans to partner with interdisciplinary health care professionals in surrounding areas to develop and encourage age-appropriate activities and encourage active lifestyles. With plans to impact 1,500 individuals over the next year, the new Go Thrive! program builds upon learning from the previous program, Go Outside!

“Due to the results of the community needs assessoment and the massive success of our Go Outside! initiative launched in early 2018, we are capitalizing on that success and will launch the Go Thrive! program outside Ogemaw County,” said Brent Mikkola, community health specialist, MidMichigan Medical Center – West Branch. “We will help to combat childhood obesity by offering the program in Gladwin, Iosco, Roscommon, Arenac, Oscoda and Clare Counties.”

The Go Outside! initiative findings through pre and post surveys and observation suggest that sustained awareness of important program goals drove attitudinal changes and in turn, led to actions that positively affected students behaviors.

“Our findings not only showed an increase in awareness and knowledge of a healthier lifestyle, but also an increase in fruit, vegetable and water consumption as well as a decrease in screen time and more physical activity,” said Mikkola. “What we learned through our efforts with Go Outside! will be implemented in our Go Thrive! program. Through student, parent and teacher surveys, we have a better understanding of ways to reach children and families to improve health behavior in the home. Our success has allowed us to gain partnerships with more local area providers in order to reach more children and families that are in need of education and healthy lifestyle coaching.”

The goal of Go Thrive! is to expand on the previous Go Outside! success in combatting the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, specifically among rural, low-income children and their families in Michigan, by creating a community and collaborative effort that educates children and families about a healthy lifestyle to instill behaviors that change the culture of the community for generations to come. The Go Thrive! initiative includes a continued partnership with SVSU for education and the development of a phone application that will have an educational piece, realtime feedback for healthy choices and tracks progress for a family’s goals.

The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of health care, with a special focus on children and seniors. More information about the Health Fund can be found at