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Oakland County Health Division kicks off Milk-N-Moms Breastfeeding Bash

Oakland County Health Division’s Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program is hosting the Milk-N-Moms Breastfeeding Bash at Catalpa Oaks County Park in Southfield on Friday, Aug. 15 from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. This free event, which promotes the benefits of breastfeeding for National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, will feature kid activities, ice cream, Zumba, breastfeeding information and more.

“A natural first food, breast milk contains all the nutrients that newborns and infants need for healthy development,” said Kathleen Forzley, Oakland County Health Division health officer/manager. “Breast milk also provides infants with all the energy that they need during the first months of life as well as antibodies that help protect from common illnesses.”

Currently, about 75 percent of women in Michigan initiate breastfeeding but only 13 percent exclusively breastfeed at six months. Michigan Department of Community Health reports that exclusively breastfeeding for six months has several advantages for both baby and mother. It can help protect your baby against ear infections, lower respiratory infections, asthma, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes. There are health benefits for mothers as well. Breastfeeding helps shield them from breast cancer, ovarian cancer, Type 2 diabetes and postpartum depression. It also helps women return to pre-pregnancy weight, reduces risk of anemia, and provides unique bonding experiences for a mother and her child.

About National Breastfeeding Awareness Month
August has been declared Michigan Breastfeeding Awareness Month by Governor Snyder. Communities across Michigan have since observed August as a time to raise awareness of breastfeeding as the norm for infant and young child feeding and to celebrate the efforts being put forth to make Michigan more breastfeeding friendly. The 2014 theme is "Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal – For Life!”

For more information about WIC or the Milk-N-Moms Breastfeeding Bash event, please contact 248-858-1272 or visit www.oakgov.com/health or find us on Facebook and Twitter @publichealthOC. 
 

Defunct Pontiac community center remade into Wessen Lawn Tennis Club

The city of Pontiac may be sporting the latest and greatest new training grounds for Wimbledon, with the recent opening of a new grass-court tennis, social, and swim club.

Excerpt:

"The Wessen Lawn Tennis Club, a recently opened 24-court private outdoor grass-court center, is the creative reinvention of a closed community center and its grounds by Bill Massie, a local architect and the owner of the club...

Mayor Deidre Waterman of Pontiac is happy to see the dormant land in the heart of her 59,000-resident city come back to life. Pontiac, like Detroit, has been under state control because of financial problems. It emerged from a five-year run under an emergency manager in 2013.

“We’re working on recreating ourselves with a new spirit and vision, and this dovetails perfectly with the new Pontiac,” Waterman said. “We want to bring things that are unique and special to the city.”

Massie, who has invested $1.5 million in the club, has committed to keeping it connected to the community, pledging to hold junior lessons, donate equipment and host open swims next summer....

[Massie] is also developing the building into a bar and reception area, pro shop and offices, and, in the near future, a full-service restaurant for members and guests. The pool is being refinished and will open this summer. A few hardcourts and clay courts are in the plans.

Massie would like to bring an ATP-level tournament to Wessen and have junior and pro players train there for grass tournaments like Wimbledon."

More here.

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System and MDLIVE launch first-of-its-kind virtual physician appointments

Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) and MDLIVE, the nation’s leading provider of virtual medicine services and software, have announced the launch of a first-of-its-kind service providing virtual real-time physician appointments 24 hours a day, seven days a week across Michigan. This service for southeast Michigan residents will be led by St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland and St. Mary Mercy Livonia hospitals and will be available in west Michigan through Mercy Health.
 
MDLIVE is a secure, HIPAA-compliant, confidential telemedicine service that offers patients affordable and convenient virtual consults with an expert, board-certified physician via secured live streaming video, telephone or mobile app. Patients are connected with a SJMHS or MDLIVE physician who can evaluate their health concerns, offer advice and, if necessary, send prescriptions directly to their preferred local pharmacy (exclusions apply).
 
"Today's patients are accustomed to immediate access and connectivity through technology, and we in the health industry want to provide that same level of real-time connection in the field of medicine," said Dave Spivey, president and CEO, St. Mary Mercy Livonia.
 
SJMHS and MDLIVE physicians are board-certified in a variety of specialties, including family practice, internal medicine and pediatrics, and are licensed to treat or consult on a wide range of medical conditions and common ailments including ear infections, fevers, rashes, respiratory infections and more.
 
To ensure continuity of care, patients may choose to authorize their "online" physician to send information about their telemedicine visit directly to their primary care physician, specialists and/or other designated health care specialists. 
 
"Our partnership presents a unique opportunity to redefine how patient care is delivered," said Jack Weiner, president and CEO, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland. "MDLIVE is not a replacement for routine checkups or screenings with a primary care physician or specialist. Rather, the service provides access to round-the-clock care when a patient needs to be seen right away or doesn't want to sit in a waiting room.  Like a house call, this offers an option for patients to have their needs met in the comfort of their own home." 
 
SJMHS's relationship with MDLIVE is another example of its commitment to advancing the use of technology and improving access to care.  St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is a leader in telemedicine as the founder of the Michigan Stroke Network, a collaborative of more than 30 hospitals, including St. Mary Mercy Livonia, working together to deliver the most comprehensive stroke care in the state of Michigan. Participating hospitals use a network of telemedicine robots to access neuro-endovascular specialists at a moment's notice to ensure stroke patients receive the most comprehensive stroke care available.
 
“We’re excited to bring MDLIVE’s virtual connected care into the state of Michigan through established hospitals such as St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland and St. Mary Mercy Livonia,” said Randy Parker, CEO of MDLIVE. “This partnership further demonstrates our mission to give patients access to the best quality virtual medical care across the country. Saint Joseph Mercy Health System has the framework in place to deliver telemedicine and we look forward to growing this partnership in the future.”
 
MDLIVE is offered risk-free for 30 days. Starting at $49, the cost to access the "virtual office visits" is comparable to traditional office deductibles.  A free MDLIVE app is currently available for iPhone and iPad through the Apple App store.  An app for the Android device is now available on Google play.
 
Learn more at MDlive.com/Stjoeshealth and click "Get Started."
 
About Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is a health care organization serving six counties in southeast Michigan including Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne. It includes 537-bed St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, 443-bed St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, 304-bed St. Mary Mercy Livonia, 164-bed St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron, 136-bed St. Joseph Mercy Livingston in Howell, and 113-bed St. Joseph Mercy Chelsea. Combined, the six hospitals are licensed for 1,697 beds, have six outpatient health centers, five urgent care facilities, more than 25 specialty centers; employ more than 14,000 individuals and have a medical staff of nearly 3,200 physicians.  SJMHS has annual operating revenues of about $1.9 billion and returns $127 million to its communities annually through charity care and community benefit programs.
 
SJMHS is a member of CHE Trinity Health, the second largest Catholic health care system in the country. Based in Livonia, Mich., CHE Trinity Health operates in 20 states, employs nearly 87,000 people, has annual operating revenues of about $13.3 billion and assets of about $19.3 billion. Additionally, the new organization returns almost $1 billion to its communities annually in the form of charity care and other community benefit programs.
 
For more information on health services offered at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, please visit www.stjoeshealth.org.
 
About MDLIVE
Founded in 2009, MDLIVE is a leading provider of telehealth services and software, providing telehealth, online and on-demand healthcare that benefits consumers, employers, payers, hospitals, physician practice groups and accountable care organizations.  Headquartered in Sunrise, Florida, MDLIVE works with Board Certified physicians and therapists, nationwide to provide around-the-clock connected care.
 
The company’s cloud-based Virtual Medical Office software platform makes it possible for patients, healthcare professionals and plan administrators to collaborate seamlessly and securely via voice, video, email and mobile devices. Payers and providers can also utilize the HIPAA and PHI-compliant system to collect and share clinical data from patient medical records, lab results and in-home biometric devices for real-time risk assessments, wellness advice, diagnosis and treatment.
 
MDLIVE physicians can diagnose, treat and, if needed, write prescriptions (non-controlled substances only) for routine medical conditions 24/7/365 Anytime, Anywhere. Learn more at www.mdlive.com and connect with us on https://www.facebook.com/MDLIVETelehealth to join the telehealth conversation.
 
To see a brief video about MDLIVE’s connected care delivery services please watch www.mdlive.com/media/storkmdlive.html
 

HAVEN breaks ground on $8mil state-of-the-art facility in Pontiac

HAVEN, Oakland County’s only comprehensive center for the treatment and prevention of domestic and sexual violence, is taking a new stance against violence, one that will help people more effectively and efficiently. The nonprofit launched the public phase of its Plant the Seeds of Hope Capital Campaign for a new facility – slated to continue over the next 12 months – on June 18 during a private groundbreaking ceremony.
 
“This is a landmark moment in HAVEN’s long history,” said Beth Morrison, president and CEO, HAVEN. “Each day we help families in our own backyard find safety – a fundamental human need, as great as food or shelter. Your financial support will provide women and their children, who bravely take the first step in securing their safety, change their lives forever.”
 
For the $8 million initiative, HAVEN is currently seeking $3 million to be funded through new market tax credits and other incentive programs, leaving a $5 million fundraising goal. The funding will support the construction of a new HAVEN facility that will provide 36,000 square feet of residential, counseling, and advocacy space. The building will be located on approximately six acres of land, purchased in November of 2012, strategically located near the Oakland County campus in Pontiac.  

 
“I am proud to be part of building a new HAVEN,” said Sarah L. McClelland, campaign co-chair and chief control officer, Chase Commercial Bank. “The building will stand as a visible sign of the pervasive issues of domestic and sexual violence in our communities.”
 
HAVEN has reached 80 percent of the $5 million fundraising goal during the campaign’s “quiet phase,” which is a testament to the organization’s impact in Oakland County and beyond. This phase included outreach to the organization’s board of directors, major individual donors, and corporate and foundation partners. HAVEN now turns to the community at large to help fund the remaining dollar amount to reach the campaign goal.
 
“With the same spirit of the volunteers that began HAVEN nearly 40 years ago, we are optimistically asking our friends and neighbors, who share our vision that everyone deserves to live without fear, to invest in HAVEN’s future,” Morrison continued.

The process for victims seeking shelter, personal protection orders, copies of legal documents and restraining orders can be demanding and degrading. By housing services under one roof, HAVEN can make it easier and more comfortable for survivors to get help; thereby, reducing their risk of becoming frustrated by the process and potentially returning to their abusers.

“The current average length of stay in HAVEN’s Residential Program is 35 days – we expect that number to be reduced,” added Morrison. “By housing more services on site we will be able to streamline the steps our clients have to take towards safe and independent living.” 

This new HAVEN will be based on a model – the Family Justice Center – it will be a new, more effective way to work that will help expand HAVEN capabilities to provide victims with the help they need. Pioneered in San Diego in 2002, the Family Justice Center model provides a central location for the services victims need. It has been adopted by communities in 33 states and 3 countries, and has proven to:

·         Reduce homicides
·         Increase victim safety, autonomy, and empowerment
·         Reduce fear and anxiety for victims and their children
·         Reduce recantation and minimization by victims ?
 
“By bringing HAVEN out of hiding, we will shine a bright light on the responsibility we all have in ending violence against women,” said Brad Simmons, campaign co-chair and director, office of the executive chairman, Ford Motor Company.
 
Stucky Vitale Architects of Royal Oak designed HAVEN’s facility under the direction of Principal architect, John Vitale. Frank Rewold and Son Inc. of Rochester will be managing the facility construction.


To make a donation or learn more about HAVEN’s Capital Campaign visit www.haven-oakland.org or contact Rachel Decker at 248-322-3703 or rdecker@haven-oakland.org.Click here to view the campaign video.
 
HAVEN is Oakland County’s center for the prevention and treatment of domestic violence and sexual assault. As a nationally recognized nonprofit leader, HAVEN empowers survivors and provides education to promote a world of safe, equal and accountable communities where sexual assault and domestic violence do not exist. For more information about HAVEN and its programs and services visit www.haven-oakland.org or call 248-334-1284. For help, call 877-922-1274.
 

Advocates to celebrate crosswalk safety beacon on Clinton River Trail

A local volunteer group will soon cut the ribbon on Oakland County’s first nature trail crossing at a major roadway with a HAWK safety beacon.

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Advocates to celebrate crosswalk safety beacon on Clinton River Trail

A local volunteer group will soon cut the ribbon on Oakland County’s first nature trail crossing at a major roadway with a HAWK safety beacon.

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County Health Division and Healthy Pontiac, We Can Coalition garners innovation in health care award

The “Healthy Pontiac, We Can” (HPWC) coalition, facilitated by Oakland County Health Division, was recognized last night with an Innovations in Health Care Award at the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan’s (NKFM) Champion of Hope Tribute Dinner for their efforts to prevent chronic health conditions in the City of Pontiac. The award was presented by the Kidney Foundation, Michigan State Medical Society and Michigan Association of Health Plans. HPWC also received a special tribute from State of Michigan Senator Jim Marlaeu for “their extraordinary success in improving the health of Pontiac.”

HPWC received the award for their work to improve access to fruits and vegetables through local produce markets in Pontiac where some families face economic barriers to buying healthy foods.

“The Healthy Pontiac, We Can coalition is improving the quality of life for Pontiac residents by improving their access to healthier lifestyles,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “These awards show that the Health Pontiac, We Can coalition is a model program for Michigan and the nation. Congratulations on a job well done.”

The coalition has worked with key partners to create and sustain these produce markets that accept food stamps (SNAP/EBT), offer on-site nutrition education and healthy recipe demonstrations, and bi-lingual marketing aimed at engaging the city’s Hispanic population.

“The key to the success of this effort is community collaboration,” said Kathy Forzley, Health Division manager/health officer. “Many local partners have come together with a shared goal of increasing healthier eating to reduce chronic disease and health disparities. Healthy Pontiac, We Can is a premier example of a coalition’s impact on public health and the strength of partnership.”

HPWC, on behalf of Oakland County Health Division, has received funding and technical support from Michigan Department of Community Health 4x4 and SNAP-Ed grants and a National REACH Coalition Community Transformation grant to support these efforts.

Other project partners include: All Saints Episcopal Church, Centro Multicultural La Familia, Gleaners Community Food Bank, Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency (OLHSA), and Oakland University. The Oakland County Small Business Center has provided consultation to assist market leaders to strengthen business practices and help sustain their efforts.

The weekly produce markets are located: All Saints Episcopal Church, 171 West Pike St., Pontiac, Saturdays 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency (OLHSA), 196 Cesar Chavez Ave., Pontiac, Tuesdays 11 a.m.-1 p.m. SNAP/EBT is accepted at both markets.

About Healthy Pontiac, We Can
Oakland County Health Division, under the leadership of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, organized the Healthy Pontiac, We Can coalition in 2011 to help the Pontiac community eat healthy, get active, and live tobacco free. It is a diverse coalition which includes leaders in primary and preventive health care, mental health, human service agencies, education, the religious community, governmental agencies, and local residents. For more information, visit www.healthypontiac.org or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/healthypontiac.mi.

Website offers resources for caregivers

MichiganHomeCareGuide.com, a website created and managed by the Area Agency on Aging 1-B, is designed to help seniors and family caregivers in Southeast Michigan find quality in-home care.

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HealthPlus Brooksie Way Kickoff & Minigrants Awarded

The HealthPlus Brooksie Way kicked off 2014 by unveiling a new logo, showing the newly-modified half marathon course and presenting nearly $9,000 in Brooksie Way Minigrants to various community organizations, on. on May 3 at the OU Recreation Center on the campus of Oakland University in Rochester. 

“Each year The HealthPlus Brooksie Way gets more robust,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “Last year we had 6,100 participants. Our race registrations are already ahead of where we were last year at this time.”

The HealthPlus Brooksie Way, now in its seventh year and set for Sept. 28, is named in memory of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and the son of the county executive, who died in 2007. It has become one of the most popular regional fall half marathons. The 2013 race attracted 6,100 runners and walkers, including participants from 17 states and five countries. The course begins and ends at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University and includes parts of the Clinton River and Paint Creek trails, Rochester Hills and downtown Rochester.

Runners and walkers who have participated in past HealthPlus Brooksie Way races will note a course modification, which now takes them on Dutton Road. The change was made necessary because Tienken Road is not available because of ongoing construction.

Also during the kickoff, nine community organizations received checks for their projects from The Brooksie Way Minigrant program.
  • Baldwin Center, Inc., Pontiac -The Baldwin Center is presenting a Youth Basketball Clinic and League for about 40 students from their After School Program. The funding will pay for coaches and basketball equipment.
     
  • Brooklands Elementary PTA, Rochester Hills - The Brooksie Way Minigrant award will fund the 2014 Recess Run Club at Brooklands Elementary.
     
  • Chaldean American Ladies of Charity, Troy - The Chaldean American Ladies of Charity is holding an adventure camp day at Oakland Yard Athletics Activity Camp for 50 children on July 26. The Brooksie Way Minigrant will cover the day camp program fees.
     
  • Crossroads for Youth, Oxford - "Making Waves" is a two-part swim program offered to residents of Crossroads for Youth. The program is designed as a safety initiative, to teach youth how to swim in order to avoid unintentional drowning, and also to demonstrate swimming as a part of a healthy lifestyle and lifelong activity.
     
  • Down Syndrome Guild of Southeast Michigan, Royal Oak - The Brooksie Way Mingrant award will cover registration fees for five Oakland County children to attend the iCan Bike program in August at Cross of Christ Lutheran Church.
     
  • Friends of the Pontiac Parks Association, Pontiac - The Friends of the Pontiac Parks Association is presenting the 2nd annual Hustle in the Park - A Family Fun Fitness Event on August 23 at Beaudette Park. The scheduled activities include youth basketball, games for children, dancing and performances by Dance Force of Pontiac.
     
  • Leadership Oakland, Troy - The 2014 Leadership Oakland Class Project, Kids Adventure Day at the Parks, will be held on May 31 at Independence Oaks. The Brooksie Way Minigrant award is funding the children’s activities.
     
  • Oakland University Track & Field, Rochester - The Brooksie Way Minigrant award will fund twelve starting blocks for Oakland University’s new outdoor track and field facility.
     
  • Waterford Mott Cross Country, Waterford - The Brooksie Way Minigrant award is supporting a Waterford Elementary Running Program launched by the Waterford Mott Cross County coaches. Each elementary school in Waterford will participate, with a culminating race at Hess-Hathaway Park. The project will take place mid-September through the end of October.
The minigrants have returned more than $100,000 to support local health and fitness activities in Oakland County. The grants are awarded three times a year.
 
Online registration at www.TheBrooksieWay.com saves half marathon runners and walkers off the $75 entry fee charged to those who register on the eve of the Sept. 28 race. Entrants for the 10K and 5K races will also realize significant savings by registering early. Participants can also register online for the popular Team Challenge – which sold out last year – and celebrate after the race in the exclusive Team Challenge tent.

New this year the HealthPlus Brooksie Way is partnering with the Great Lakes Bay Regional Marathon in Midland. Entrants can save $10 off the current race registration for both races using a coupon code that will be announced next week. The popular Kid’s Race – sponsored by Fifth Third bank – is set for Sept. 27, the day before the bigger races. Kroger, the official half marathon sponsor, will soon offer race applications in all Michigan stores.

Health division announces infographic/poster contest for high school students

In honor of National Public Health Week and Alcohol Awareness Month, Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) is hosting an infographic/poster contest and inviting high school students to creatively convey the consequences and impacts of binge drinking on youth and teens. Students have a chance to win a $100, $50, or $25 iTunes gift card and will receive community service hours.

“We have many creative students in Oakland County,” said Kathy Forzley, OCHD manager/health officer. “We want to tap into their imagination to explain in a simple, visual way why binge drinking is unsafe for everyone, especially youth and teens.”

The contest winner will be chosen by OCHD’s Public Health Oakland Facebook fans. They will vote by liking their favorite entry on Facebook from April 28th through May 4th. Winners will be announced on May 5, 2014. The contest deadline is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, April 27, 2014. The contest is open to all Oakland County, Michigan high school students. For contest rules, visit the Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health or find them on Facebook and Twitter @publichealthOC.

“Binge drinking among youth tends to increase during celebratory times like spring break, prom, and graduation,” said Forzley. “We are hoping this contest will get students to think twice about underage binge drinking during these times.”

Students’ entries should educate about binge drinking, which is when someone drinks a large amount of alcohol in a short period (about 2 hours). Binge drinking, the most common form of excessive alcohol use, is defined as consuming 4 or more drinks during a single occasion for women and 5 or more drinks for men. A drink is defined as 5-ounces of wine, 12-ounces of regular beer or wine cooler, 8-ounces of malt liquor, 1.5-ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits or liquor (i.e. gin, rum, vodka, whiskey).

Binge drinking is very common among youth. About 90% of the alcohol consumed by youth is in the form of binge drinking, and that contributes to more than 4,300 deaths among youth under the age of 21 years in the United States each year. About 2 in 3 high school students who drink do so to the point of intoxication, and about 1 in 5 high school girls binge drink.

About National Public Health Week
Since 1995, when the first full week of April was declared National Public Health Week, communities across the United States have observed National Public Health Week as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. Each year, National Public Health Week focuses its effort on a different theme. This year's theme is "Public Health: Start Here.” The 2014 theme presents an opportunity for public health and clinical health professionals to engage with individuals and communities to help them navigate the changing world of public health. National Public Health Week runs April 7 - 13. For more information, visit www.nphw.org.

About Alcohol Awareness Month
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) Alcohol Awareness Month, held every April, was founded by and has been sponsored by NCADD since 1987 to increase public awareness and understanding aimed at reducing the stigma associated with alcoholism that too often prevents individuals and families from seeking help. For the 27th Anniversary of NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month, NCADD has chosen the theme "Help for Today. Hope For Tomorrow.” The theme is designed to draw attention to the pervasive impact that alcohol, alcohol-related problems and alcoholism have on young people, on their friends, on families and in communities. For more information, visit www.ncadd.org.

St. John Providence Health System announces collaboration with Crittenton on cancer care

St. John Providence Health System today announced a partnership with Crittenton Hospital Medical Center to provide patients in Rochester Hills and the surrounding communities with high-quality cancer care services at the new St. John Hospital Rochester Hills Cancer Center.   
 
St John Providence assumed management of the center, located on Crooks Road north of M-59 in Rochester Hills, through a lease arrangement in April.  The state-of-the-art, 30,000 square-foot new St. John Hospital Rochester Hills Cancer Center   houses a comprehensive array of oncology services, including radiation oncology, infusion services, and a medical oncology clinic along with future plans for cancer support services.
 
“St. John Providence is excited to partner with Crittenton to bring our comprehensive cancer program to the Rochester Hills community,” said Jean Meyer, president and CEO, St. John Providence Health System. “This collaboration will expand access to medical and surgical oncology specialists and medical researchers in Oakland County, as well as support the mission of both of our organizations to improve the health of individuals in a compassionate and caring environment.”
 
“Our Cancer Center has been a strong program for a long period of time and to continue this commitment to our community, our partnership with St. John offers the best option for future success,” Roy Powell, President and CEO, Crittenton Hospital Medical Center.
 
The St. John Hospital Rochester Hills Cancer Center offers a full continuum of cancer care, from prevention and screenings to treatment and support during survivorship.  St. John Providence and Crittenton’s cancer programs are both accredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, a designation that only one in four cancer programs at hospitals across the U.S. receive.
 
The St. John Providence Cancer Center of Excellence’s offers spiritually-centered, holistic care that focuses on whole person, body, mind and spirit. Its growing network of high quality care now includes comprehensive cancer services at six locations: in Grosse Pointe Woods (Van Eslander Cancer Center), Macomb Township (St. John Medical Center), Novi (Assarian Cancer Center), Southfield, (Providence Cancer Center), Warren (Webber Cancer Center) and Rochester Hills (St. John Hospital Rochester Hills Cancer Center).  
 
Crittenton Hospital Medical Center
Crittenton Hospital Medical Center (located at 1101 W. University Drive, Rochester, Michigan) is a 290-bed acute health care facility serving communities in Oakland, Macomb and Lapeer counties. The medical staff of nearly 500 physicians provides a wide range of medical specialties. As a fully-accredited teaching facility, Crittenton provides a campus for residents from Wayne State University’s School of Medicine who are specializing in Family Medicine, and Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT). Crittenton is also a teaching campus for nurses from Oakland University’s School of Nursing. For more information visit www.crittenton.com or call 248-652-5000.
 
St. John Providence Health System
St. John Providence Health System is one of the largest providers of inpatient care in southeast Michigan and one of the largest employers in metro Detroit. St. John Providence Health System provides comprehensive prevention, primary care and advanced treatment programs with more than 125 medical centers and five hospitals spanning five counties.

Oakland County among top 10 for health behaviors/health factors

Oakland County ranks second for health behaviors and eighth for health factors among Michigan’s 83 counties, according to the County Health Rankings Report released Wednesday. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson credited the county’s Health Division and his administration’s quality of life initiatives for the impressive scores.

“Our public health programs and quality of life initiatives promote active and healthy lifestyles,” Patterson said. “The Brooksie Way Half Marathon, Fuel Up To Play 60 which fights child obesity, and our employee wellness program OakFit are working together to make Oakland County a healthier place to live, work, and play.”

Oakland County has improved or maintained its position in 23 areas of measure in the County Health Rankings Report, which is produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Those areas include quality of life, health behaviors, adult smoking, adult obesity, teen birth rate, unemployment and violent crime rate.

In addition, the county measures up well for overall health outcomes, maintaining its 22nd ranking overall in Michigan for the second year in a row. Oakland County ranks ahead of neighboring Wayne and Macomb counties.

“We are very pleased with our overall health ranking,” said Kathy Forzley, Oakland County Health Division manager/health officer. “It reflects the commitment of our employees to improving the health and quality of life of our residents.”

The report is the only tool of its kind that measures the overall health of the nation’s more than 3,100 counties. Eight new measures were added this year including access to exercise opportunities, alcohol-impaired driving deaths, injury deaths, severe housing problem, and commute to work.

For more information about the health rankings or to review the report, go to oakgov.com/health.

Oakland County Health Division has a variety of programs and services that support healthy lifestyles by promoting and encouraging healthy behaviors; improving infant health; increasing accessibility of health services; ensuring a safe and clean environment; preparing for emergencies; and reducing the threat and preventing the spread of diseases.

Two Oakland County orgs receive 2014 Community Service Awards from Michigan Rec & Parks Association

Oakland County Health Division and Clinton River Area Mountain Bike Association (CRAMBA) received 2014 Community Service Awards from Michigan Recreation and Parks Association March 19 in East Lansing.

The successful nominations were submitted by Oakland County Parks and Recreation on behalf of both organizations. In an effort to create accessibility to affordable fruits and vegetables for low-income residents at the Oakland County Market, the Oakland County Health Division works with vendors to increase acceptance of food assistance programs and has supplied the Market with Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card readers.

“The collaboration of the Oakland County Health Division and Oakland County Parks is a perfect fit because they share a common goal: to promote and encourage healthy lifestyles,” Manager of Parks and Recreation Operations Sue Wells said.

CRAMBA volunteers assist in performing trail mapping, trail maintenance and event management at Oakland County Parks.   

“The partnership that has evolved between Oakland County Parks and Recreation over the years with CRAMBA has dramatically increased our ability to provide high-quality mountain biking experiences for park users at Addison Oaks County Park,” Wells said. “It’s such a pleasure working with the board and volunteers of CRAMB‎A and we couldn't be happier with the relationship that's evolved throughout the years. They are a true community asset.”

For more information about Oakland County Parks and Recreation, visit DestinationOakland.com, find Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook or follow on Twitter @DestinationOak.

Governor Snyder honors OakFit

Oakland County's employee wellness program, OakFit, is among the recipients of Michigan’s 2014 Governor’s Fitness Awards. “The Governor's Fitness Awards are a platform for recognizing individuals and organizations in Michigan that have made outstanding contributions to health and physical fitness during the last year,” a Governor’s office press release said.

“Our innovative OakFit program continues to garner recognition for the genius of its simplicity and its outstanding results,” Patterson said. “Not only are we improving the quality of life of our county employees, we are saving taxpayers millions of dollars in healthcare costs.”

Patterson thanked his staff for making OakFit such a success.

“Kudos to my Human Resources Director Nancy Scarlet and Wellness Coordinator Dawn Hunt for the outstanding job they do managing our wellness initiative.”

Back in 2007, Scarlet and Hunt oversaw the establishment of OakFit to help manage the county’s rising healthcare costs. Eligible employees are asked to participate in an on-site biometric health screening by a third party vendor which provides immediate results for cholesterol, glucose, blood sugar and BMI (Body Mass Index). It also includes one-on-one time with a nurse who discusses employees’ health histories and provides tools to help them toward a healthy lifestyle. In addition, employees fill out an online health risk assessment. Employees who participate in both the health screening and the health risk assessment get $100 added to their paychecks.

OakFit also offers a number of innovative programs to assist employees with taking responsibility for their health including weight watchers at work, instructor-led exercise classes, and lunch and learn series covering topics such as how to manage diabetes, among others. This year, OakFit added “fitness unleashed,” a walking program which allows employees to walk the dogs housed at Oakland County Animal Control & Pet Adoption Center during their lunch hour. More than 400 employees participated in this program this past summer.

"We see a real difference in the health consciousness of our employees," Scarlet said. "More and more of our employees are taking ownership of their health and reaping the benefits of a healthier lifestyle."

Since 2007, OakFit has helped Oakland County avoid more than $27.3 million in projected health care costs.

The Governor’s Fitness Award is not the only recognition for OakFit in the past year. Crain’s Detroit Business named Oakland County one of Michigan's healthiest employers. OakFit and 61 other organizations, events and individuals will be honored April 24 during the 2014 Governor’s Fitness Award Gala Celebration at Ford Field.

Scratch Golf Clubs announces partnership with Boyne Resorts

Together with Boyne Resorts, Scratch Golf Clubs is proud to announce the grand opening celebration of the first of two full-service custom fitting centers in Michigan.  Located at 27723 Woodward Avenue in Berkley, Michigan, The Fitting Center is a state-of-the-art custom golf club fitting facility, dedicated to analyzing golfers’ swings and providing them with the best custom fit equipment possible.  The second location is scheduled to open May 1, 2014, adjacent to the Donald Ross Pro Shop at the Boyne Highlands Resort in Harbor Springs, Michigan.
 
“We could not be more excited to enter this new venture with our friends at Boyne,” said Ari Techner, Founder and CEO of Scratch Golf Clubs. 
 
While featuring the signature products of Scratch Golf forged irons, handmade custom wedges, and handmade putters by James Ingles, The Fitting Centers also offer full custom fittings for any club in the bag, from driver to putter, from all of the top manufacturers including TaylorMade, Callaway, Nike, Titlest, and Ping.

“A common misconception that many people have about custom fit golf clubs is that it is a service for experienced and high-level players,” said Techner.  “The truth is that custom fitting is a service that benefits golfers of all skill levels, and in many cases, has a greater impact on golfers with a higher handicap.  Golf equipment is a significant investment for many golfers.  If a golfer is in the market for new clubs, they should get the equipment that is best fit for their play style.”
 
The grand opening celebration of The Fitting Center in Berkley will be held Saturday and Sunday, March 15-16, from 11:00 AM – 4:00 PM. 

Scratch Golf Clubs is a golf equipment manufacturer who relocated its business headquarters and most of its production operations to Southeast Michigan in August 2013.  Best known for its handmade custom wedges, Scratch Golf equipment is currently played by numerous professionals and top amateurs, with several players recording wins and dozens of Top-10 finishes.

To learn more about Scratch Golf Clubs and The Fitting Centers, please call 248.268.2812 or visit www.scratchgolf.com.

School of Nursing awarded grant from Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare

Leaders at the Oakland University School of Nursing (SON) announced today that with a new grant of $20,000 from the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, they will fund the scholarship of one DNP Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar and one DNP Jonas Veterans Healthcare Scholar in 2014.

As a recipient of the Jonas Center grant, the SON is part of a national effort to stem the faculty shortage and prepare future nurses as America's healthcare system continues to evolve.

The 2010 Institute of Medicine's (IOM) report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health advocates doubling the number of doctorally prepared nurses. The SON Jonas Scholars join nearly 600 future nurse educators and leaders at 110 schools supported by Jonas Center programs, the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program and Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program(JVHP). These scholarships support the IOM's recommendation of nurses pursuing PhDs and DNPs, the terminal degrees in the field.

"Many nurses admit that they do not feel adequately prepared to help veterans from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq reintegrate into society with the unique challenges they have," said Kathleen Spencer, Visiting Assistant Professor in the SON and Coordinator of Veterans Education Programs. "Receiving this grant will allow us to help nurses pursue doctoral degrees and ultimately help shape the way treatment is delivered to our heroes."

Dean Kerri Schuiling agrees. "Improving healthcare delivery models, policy reform and advocacy for our veterans is paramount. Thanks to organizations like the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, the SON will be able to educate more nurses to be nurse faculty, leaders and administrators."

The Jonas Center, the leading philanthropic funder for nursing, is addressing a critical need, evidenced by troubling data from the AACN showing that 2013 saw the lowest enrollment increase in professional RN programs in the past five years. This is due primarily to a shortage in qualified faculty.

"The call for more nurses – and thus the faculty to prepare them – is massive. Healthcare in America has never been more complex, yet tens of thousands of would-be nurses are turned away from the profession each year," said Donald Jonas, co-founder of the Jonas Center. "We've stepped up the pace and expanded our programs to meet this need."

About Oakland University's School of Nursing:
The Oakland University Board of Trustees established the School of Nursing (SON) in 1974, and the first students were admitted in the fall of 1975. At that time, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree was the only academic degree awarded by the SON. Graduate nursing programs began in 1984 leading to the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. The Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) program was established in 2006. All of the Oakland University School of Nursing academic programs are fully accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland named Michigan's best for knee and hip replacement

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) bested other Michigan hospitals in a recent Medicare analysis of knee and hip replacement recovery among U.S. hospitals.
 
In its recent analysis of 192 U.S. hospitals, Medicare identified 97 as having patients with the smoothest recoveries after hip and knee replacement surgeries. Among those, SJMO was the only one in Michigan that earned a "better" rating in the two categories in which hospitals were evaluated: readmission after hip/knee surgery and complications following hip/knee surgery.
 
The analysis is aimed at improving quality at U.S. hospitals.  In its analysis, Medicare looked at how often patients were readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge and how often patients suffered complications after the procedure. These include heart attack, pneumonia, infection or shock within seven days of admission, in addition to bleeding at the surgery site, blood clot in the lung or death within a month of admission.  Medicare also looked at complications from implants and infections of the joint or wound within 90 days of admission.
 
"St. Joseph Mercy Oakland adheres to the highest standards in orthopedic surgery and joint replacement," said Jack Weiner, SJMO President and CEO.  "Individuals who come to St. Joe for knee or hip replacement can be assured that our skilled and experienced surgeons and clinicians will provide them with the highest levels of patient safety and quality care along with an exceptional experience."
 
Most patients resume normal activities, such as walking, driving and shopping, in less than three weeks after surgery, and more than 90 percent go home rather than to a rehabilitation or extended-care facility.
 
This recognition coincides with SJMO receiving the Joint Replacement Excellence Award ™ and Orthopedic Excellence Award ™ by an independent national ratings organization.  These awards recognize hospitals for superior outcomes in hip and knee replacement, hip fracture treatment and spine surgery.  This means that patients who have surgery at St. Joe have a lower risk of complications and death.

SJMO has won local and national awards and recognition for its orthopedics program and Joint Care Center, among them:
·      Designation as a Blue Cross Blue Shield Distinction Center+ for Knee, Hip and Spine Surgery
·      Designation as an Aetna Institute of Quality for Total Joint Replacement and Spine Surgery 
·      Five-Star Rating for Excellence in Joint Replacement and Orthopedic Surgery as rated by an independent health care ratings organization.

SJMO patient outcomes are higher than national averages, and the hospital's Joint Care Center, which is a model for orthopedic programs around the U.S., provides a comprehensive and personalized program for patients undergoing elective surgery for total knee or hip replacement.  Recognized for quality, patient safety and cost-efficiency, SJMO's orthopedics program takes a multidisciplinary approach, focusing on seamless care from hospital to home.
 
In addition to hip and knee replacement, St. Joe's orthopedics program offers:
·      A renowned foot and ankle program
·      Cutting-edge procedures and minimally invasive surgery
·      Renowned rehabilitation program
·      General orthopedics
·      Treatment of hand, wrist and spine disorders and workplace injuries
·      Joint reconstruction and replacement
·      Orthotics and prosthetics services
·      Outpatient procedures
·      Pediatric orthopedics
·      Physical therapy
·      Sports medicine
·      Round-the-clock acute trauma and emergency care
 
About St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is a 443-bed comprehensive, community, teaching hospital and a long-time leader in health care in Oakland County.  Founded in 1927 by the Sisters of Mercy, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland has won numerous local and national awards for patient safety, quality and performance, and consistently ranks in the top 10 percent of hospitals nationwide.  A member of the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is a technologically leading hospital that combines advanced medicine and personal care to assist patients on their path to wellness. With dedicated physicians, nurses and hospital staff committed to providing quality care throughout the patient stay, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland has truly personalized the patient care experience.
 
About Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is a health care organization serving six counties in southeast Michigan, including Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne. It includes 537-bed St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, 443-bed St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, 304-bed St. Mary Mercy Livonia, 136-bed St. Joseph Mercy Livingston in Howell, 119-bed St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron and 113-bed Chelsea Community Hospital. Combined, the six hospitals are licensed for 1,726 beds, have six outpatient health centers, six urgent care facilities, more than 25 specialty centers; employ more than 14,000 individuals and have a medical staff of nearly 3,200 physicians. 
 
SJMHS is a member of CHE Trinity Health (http://www.newhealthministry.org), one of the largest Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation.  It serves people and communities in 21 states from coast to coast with 84 hospitals, 95 continuing care facilities and home health and hospice programs that provide nearly 2.4 million visits annually.  The organization was formed by the May 2013 consolidation of Trinity Health and Catholic Healthcare East.
 
For more information on health services offered at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, please visit stjoeshealth.org.

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland participates in global clinical trial to test new stroke treatment

St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) is one of 60 centers worldwide to participate in a clinical trial called SWIFT PRIME to test a new stroke treatment for patients who have an acute ischemic stroke, one caused by a sudden loss of blood to the brain due to a clot. Stroke is the fourth most common cause of death in the U.S.
 
Launched by Covidien, a healthcare products provider, the study is aimed at determining if patients treated with an interventional device, the Solitaire FR™, combined with a clot-busting medication, IV t-PA, within six hours of symptom onset will have lesser stroke-related disability than those who were treated with the medication alone.  In recent studies, use of the Solitaire has been shown to be a safer and more effective means of treating stroke than other previous methods.
 
"We are honored to be chosen as a trial site for this important study," said SJMO President and CEO Jack Weiner.  "We are always on the lookout for new methodologies and technologies that will allow us to provide our patients with the highest levels of safety and quality care."
 
SJMO principal investigator for the study is Andrew Xavier, MD, Interventional Neurologist and Medical Director of Neuroendovascular Services. Aniel Majjhoo, MD, Vascular and Interventional Neurologist; and Ambooj Tiwari, MD, MPH, Senior Fellow, Vascular and Interventional Neurology, join Dr. Xavier as Interventional Neurology investigators. 
 
Between 500 and 800 patients will be studied during the 52-month trial.  Patients will be evaluated within a day of treatment, with follow up in about 90 days. 

Adults 18-85 who display clinical signs consistent with acute ischemic stroke are eligible for the clinical trial.  These include: 
  • Sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg—especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

SJMO became Michigan’s first Certified Primary Stroke Center in 2004.  In 2006, SJMO launched the Michigan Stroke Network, a collaboration of more than 30 Michigan hospitals committed to bringing the latest in stroke care to communities around the state.  With telemedicine and real-time audio-visual technology, emergency room physicians at participating hospitals have access 24/7 to stroke specialists at SJMO.
 
To learn more about the Michigan Stroke Network, visit MichiganStrokeNetwork.com or call 866-522-8MSN (8676).
 
About St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is a 443-bed comprehensive, community, teaching hospital and a long-time leader in health care in Oakland County.  Founded in 1927 by the Sisters of Mercy, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland has won numerous local and national awards for patient safety, quality and performance, and consistently ranks in the top 10 percent of hospitals nationwide.  A member of the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland is a technologically leading hospital that combines advanced medicine and personal care to assist patients on their path to wellness. With dedicated physicians, nurses and hospital staff committed to providing quality care throughout the patient stay, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland has truly personalized the patient care experience.
 
For more information about health services offered at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, please visit stjoesoakland.org.   
 
About Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is a health care organization serving six counties in southeast Michigan, including Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne. It includes 537-bed St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, 443-bed St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, 304-bed St. Mary Mercy Livonia, 136-bed St. Joseph Mercy Livingston in Howell, 119-bed St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron and 113-bed Chelsea Community Hospital. Combined, the six hospitals are licensed for 1,726 beds, have six outpatient health centers, six urgent care facilities, more than 25 specialty centers; employ more than 14,000 individuals and have a medical staff of nearly 3,200 physicians.  
 
SJMHS is a member of CHE Trinity Health (http://www.newhealthministry.org), one of the largest Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation.  It serves people and communities in 21 states from coast to coast with 84 hospitals, 95 continuing care facilities and home health and hospice programs that provide nearly 2.4 million visits annually.  The organization was formed by the May 2013 consolidation of Trinity Health and Catholic Healthcare East.
 
For more information on health services offered at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, please visit stjoeshealth.org.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation hosts archery

Oakland County Parks and Recreation will host a five-week archery clinic for disabled veterans and individuals with disabilities at Rising Phoenix Archery in Troy. The program is for beginners and focuses on safety and shooting techniques.

“We are increasing our adaptive recreation programs to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities including disabled veterans. We are pleased to offer this inaugural archery clinic because county residents have included archery among their top interests in adaptive recreation surveys,” Recreation Program Supervisor Sandy Dorey said.

The archery program runs Jan. 27 – Feb. 24 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. Cost is $35/person. 

Part of a new Disabled Veterans Sports Initiative, the program is partially funded by a $20,000 Fueling Communities donation from BP. BP Fueling Community Grants are awarded as a means of giving back to local communities to support education, health, youth, food and housing.

Call 248-424-7077 for details or email adaptive@oakgov.com.

Rising Phoenix Archery is located at 3863 Rochester Road in Troy. 

Visit DestinationOakland.com for a downloadable registration form or to learn about adaptive recreation programs. Find Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook and follow on Twitter @DestinationOak.

Rankin donates refurbished Tissue Processor to Beaumont Health System's Schools of Histotechnology

Rankin Biomedical Corporation will be donating a Rankin refurbished tissue processor to Beaumont Health System’s Schools of Histechnology. The refurbishing has been completed and the processor will be delivered to the school at the end of this week.

“Rankin Biomedical is passionate about supporting the cancer diagnostic community and especially an educational organization like Beaumont’s Schools of Histotechnology. When we learned about the need for a tissue processor that the students can utilize for hands-on experience, we thought that it would be a great opportunity for us to show our support by supplying the school with a critical piece of lab equipment. We hope that it will further the great program that they already have in places,” says Brent Rankin, V.P., Business Development.

“We are very grateful for the donation of this equipment,“ says Sarah Bajer, BS, HTL, program director, Beaumont Schools of Histotechnology. “This will allow our students to get valuable, practical experience in tissue processing, helping them to learn skills that are critical to success in their career.”
 
Based in Holly, Michigan, Rankin Biomedical Corporation is a worldwide supplier of high quality refurbished pathology equipment, MOH’s lab equipment and histology equipment. Rankin provides equipment to medical and research facilities around the world. Every piece of equipment is individually and specifically refurbished, thoroughly tested, and warranted to be in excellent cosmetic and working condition. 

Beaumont’s Schools of Histotechnology were established in 1977 and to date have graduated more than 130 students.  The schools offer students an opportunity to combine a science degree with practical experience in histology, electron microscopy, enzyme histochemistry, immunohistopathology and molecular pathology. Students frequently participate in unique and advanced learning situations including problem solving, case studies and special projects. 

Radon test kits are half-price during National Radon Action Month

Oakland County Health Division will offer radon test kits for just $5 during National Radon Action Month this January. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson encourages residents to take advantage of this half-off price to test their homes for the potentially harmful gas.

"Radon is the second-leading cause of lung cancer," Patterson said. "The radon test kit is quick, easy and affordable."

Radon test kits for homes are available at Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield:
  • North Oakland Health Center, 1200 North Telegraph, Building 34E, Pontiac
  • South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield
Radon is a naturally-occurring, invisible, odorless gas that is usually harmless outdoors. When the gas is trapped in a building or home, however, it can be a health hazard. The Environmental Protection Agency says there is moderate potential for elevated radon levels in Oakland County homes. 

"You can't see or smell radon, and people tend to ignore the possibility that it might exist at high levels in their homes," said Tony Drautz, administrator of Health Division's Environmental Health Services. "The cooler months are an ideal time to test your home for radon because the windows and doors are closed."

If high levels of radon are found, contact Health Division's Environmental Health Services at 248-858-1312 in Pontiac or 248-424-7190 in Southfield.  

For more information, visit www.oakgov.com/health or www.epa.gov/radon. For up-to-date public health information, call Nurse on Call at 1-800-848-5533 or follow the Health Division on Facebook and Twitter @publichealthOC.

Help others with Walk for Warmth

OLHSA, A Community Action Agency, will host its 24th annual Walk for Warmth event on February 8 at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets. Sponsored by Genisys Credit Union, the event raises money to support emergency utility assistance, helping to keep Oakland County families warm throughout the winter.

Read more.

Community leaders celebrate new resource & crisis center

Local dignitaries, community leaders, board members and executive staff of Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority (OCCMHA), along with Common Ground and other OCCMHA partner agencies gathered recently to celebrate the new Resource & Crisis Center, which is located on the Oakland County Campus in Pontiac.

The event included a building tour, lunch and ribbon cutting ceremony.  The 48,000 square foot facility will be home to Common Ground’s crisis related services funded by Oakland County Community Mental Health Authority.  Services will include the 24-hour Resource and Crisis Helpline (800-231-1127), Emergency Psychiatric and ACCESS services, (currently located at Doctor’s Hospital in Pontiac); and the agency’s Crisis Residential Unit, (currently located in Royal Oak).  The new Resource and Crisis Center will open to the public on January 10, 2014.

Bloomfield Hills outdoor classroom part of the view

Students dedicated an “outdoor classroom” at Lone Pine Elementary School, a project that organizers hope will combat obesity, depression and attention disorders by allowing children to spend more time outside.

Read more


Disabled people grow vegetables and confidence at Everyone's Garden

Farmington Hills-based JARC, an association for children with developmental disabilities, participated in  Everyone’s Garden, a quarter-acre parcel in Berkley celebrating a year of cultivating relationships as well as vegetables. Everyone’s Garden founded, designed, built and managed by the Neighborhood Garden Coalition of Ferndale.  

Read more

Health division offers flu shots at community clinics

Oakland County Health Division is offering flu vaccine for $20 at community clinics throughout Oakland County this month. County Executive L. Brooks Patterson encourages residents to attend one of the clinics.

"I urge everyone to take the necessary precautions to stay healthy and, if they are able, get a flu shot as soon as possible,” Paterson said. “Our health division is offering a flu vaccine which guards against four of the most common flu viruses.”

Health Division Manager/Health Officer Kathy Forzley said that anyone who gets the vaccine will reduce the likelihood of getting the flu.

“The flu typically takes the lives of 36,000 Americans a year. Getting an annual flu shot not only lessens the chance of getting the flu, but also helps decrease the severity of the illness and complications,” Forzley said.

Residents can pre-register now at www.oakgov.com/health for the community outreach clinics that will be held at the following locations:
  • Troy Community Center, 3179 Livernois, Troy 
    o Tuesday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
     
  • Clarkston High School, 6093 Flemings Lake Road, Clarkston
    o Wednesday, Oct. 9 from 3 – 7 p.m.
     
  • Walled Lake Community Education, 615 N. Pontiac Trail, Walled Lake 
    o Tuesday, Oct. 15 from 3 – 7 p.m.
     
  • South Lyon High School, 1000 N. Lafayette, South Lyon
    o Tuesday, Oct. 22 from 3 – 7 p.m.
Online registrants will print out a consent form that they must bring to the clinic where they are pre-enrolled. Online payment options include Visa, MasterCard, Medicare, and/or Medicaid. Credit card fees apply. One may also pay cash at the time of the appointment. Those who are unable to register online may call 248-858-7350 or 248-424-7120.

Walk-in clients are welcome. Their payment options include cash, Visa, MasterCard, Medicare, and/or Medicaid (no checks or money orders). Credit card fees apply.

Residents can also receive flu shots at OCHD offices in Pontiac and Southfield from Noon – 8 p.m. Mondays and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. The Health Division offices are located at the following addresses:
  • North Oakland Health Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac
  • South Oakland Health Center, 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield.
For up-to-date information, visit www.oakgov.com/health, follow OCHD on Facebook and Twitter @publichealthOC, or call the Health Division’s Flu Shot Hotline at 800-434-3358. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions at 800-848-5533.

Beat the back-to-school rush for vaccinations

Don’t wait, vaccinate your child now before the back-to-school rush. Oakland County Health Division offers immunizations at its Pontiac and Southfield locations. Clinic hours are noon – 8 p.m. Monday and 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Offices are located at 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East in Pontiac, and 27725 Greenfield Road in Southfield.

"Vaccinations are one of the best ways parents can protect their children from potentially harmful diseases," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said.

Last year, the Health Division gave 57,433 immunizations to Oakland County residents. 

"Disease prevention is vital to public health. It’s better to prevent a disease than to treat it," said Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of the Health Division.

"Vaccines not only protect the people who receive them but also those with whom they come in contact. Vaccines are responsible for controlling many infectious diseases that were once common in this country and around the world," she said.

Health Division provides school-required vaccinations such as diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis A & B, meningococcal, and varicella, which are required by the State of Michigan for entry to all public and non-public schools. It also provides human papillomavirus (HPV4), rotavirus, shingles, rabies, seasonal influenza, and pneumonia. 

The cost for each vaccination varies. However, clinic visits require a $5 fee per visit, per client. Payment methods include cash, credit card, Medicaid, Medicare, and VFC (Vaccines for Children). For more information about vaccinations, visit www.oakgov.com/health, contact the Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533, or follow the Health Division on Facebook and Twitter @publichealthOC.

HealthPlus Brooksie Way race applications now available in 128 Kroger stores in Michigan

Walkers and runners who want to participate in the 2013 HealthPlus Brooksie Way just got an easy way to enter the family of races.

The Kroger Co. of Michigan is distributing applications for the half marathon, 10k and 5k races in 128 of the chain’s grocery stores stretching from Bay City to the north and Monroe to the south. Kroger is the sponsor for the half marathon race.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is thrilled with the new partnership. Besides distributing the applications, audio messages will be played in the stores touting The Brooksie Way. The race, now in its sixth year, is set for Sept. 29.

"Where can you find a race application – any Kroger store," Patterson said. "It makes our job that much easier. Bringing Kroger on increases the likelihood that we will increase our number of participants and already we're 15 percent over last year’s registrations. I want to publicly thank Kroger for its support of The Brooksie Way."

The Brooksie Way, which includes a half marathon, 10k and 5k races, is named in memory of Brooks Stuart Patterson, the son of the county executive, who died after an accident in 2007. The 10k race is new this year. The races can be run or walked and begin at the Meadow Brook Music Festival at Oakland University. The half marathon route goes through Rochester Hills, Rochester and includes parts of the Paint Creek Trail and Clinton River Trail. The 2012 race had about 6,000 participants.

Kroger, for its part, seemed equally smitten with the new partnership.

"As part of the Oakland County business community, we feel a sense of urgency to support organizations like The Brooksie Way to encourage healthy eating habits and active lifestyles as well as help individuals reach their goals," said Dale Hollandsworth, Kroger customer service communications manager.

Race Director Deb Kiertzner said details will be released later this month about a special Saturday race for children. Racers for the half marathon and shorter distances have about a week to take advantage of discounted entry fees. On July 16, the fee increases by $10 for the half marathon.

The Brooksie Way is endorsed by the Governor's Council on Physical Fitness/Michigan Fitness Foundation as an officially sanctioned race. The designation allows Brooksie participants to apply for inclusion in the Mackinac Bridge Labor Day weekend race.

Novice runners and walkers who want to participate in Brooksie Way races can register for the 16-week training program at www.TheBrooksieWay.com. Training locations are in Rochester, Grand Blanc, Milford and Royal Oak.

The Autobike is less work, more play

Why not get your bike to do the work for you this summer?

Excerpt:

"Remember when riding your bike was all about fun and adventure? Well, if you have forgotten, it's time you got to know  Autobike [in Troy]. Autobike, a Betaspring alum from Fall 2012, is now shipping an automatic shifting bicycle that delivers the simplest, smoothest, most comfortable riding experience ever to customers across the US...

Driven to bring back a riding experience that could delight a new generation of riders--and get riders who had abandoned their bikes back on two wheels--the team designed an automatically shifting bike with no on/off buttons, no shifting levers. Fast forward six months and the team has shipped to customers in MI, NH, TX, FL, TN, IN, NV, WA, and British Columbia so far and the pipeline is growing by the day."

More here.

FirstMerit Bank proudly presents the second annual Cruise In ShoesTM 5K run/walk

FirstMerit Bank announces it is sponsoring the second annual Cruise In Shoes 5K Fun Run/Walk, taking place at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 17, 2013, the same day as the 19th annual Woodward Dream Cruise.

“FirstMerit is very involved in the communities we serve and we are excited to be a part of the second annual 5K Fun Run/Walk. A morning run/walk through the streets of Royal Oak will be great way to start a fun-filled day at the Woodward Dream Cruise, “said Sandy Pierce, vice chairman of FirstMerit Corporation, and chairman and CEO of FirstMerit Michigan. “Even if you can’t participate in the event, we encourage everyone to come down to Woodward and be a part of the festivities.”

The run/walk will begin at 7:30 am on Yorba Linda Blvd, continue with a rare opportunity to run on historic Woodward Avenue, wind through several Royal Oak neighborhood streets and finish at Shrine High School.

Anyone interested in participating in the Cruise In ShoesTM can register online by going to http://www.CruiseinShoes.com/registration until August 15. Participants can also sign up for the event the day of the run at Royal Oak Shrine High School. 

About the Woodward Dream Cruise
The Woodward Dream Cruise presented by Chevrolet is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization and is the world’s largest one-day celebration of car culture. It attracts more than one million visitors and over 50,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special interest vehicles. The 19th annual Woodward Dream Cruise will be held Saturday, August 17, 2013 and will have many great events throughout the day. For more information, visit us at www.woodwarddreamcruise.com

About FirstMerit Bank
FirstMerit Corporation is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Akron, Ohio, with assets of approximately $24.5 billion as of close of business April 12, 2013, and 415 banking offices and 452 ATM locations in Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Pennsylvania. FirstMerit provides a complete range of banking and other financial services to consumers and businesses through its core operations. Principal affiliates include: FirstMerit Bank, N.A., FirstMerit Mortgage Corporation, FirstMerit Title Agency, Ltd., and FirstMerit Community Development Corporation. For more information, visit us at firstmerit.com


Nonprofit looks to open "art gym" in downtown Milford

Oakland County's forward thinkers are envisioning a gym where patrons can sweat over their sculptures instead of the treadmills.

Excerpt:

"Several physical fitness gyms are located across Oakland County — but how about gyms, instead, that focus on exercising community members' minds and creativity?

A nonprofit organization in the Village of Milford is looking to raise money to open an "art gym," a center where Oakland County residents can pay a monthly fee for studio space and use of supplies."

More here.

Looking for a unique recreation experience? A refreshing water workout!

Walk the 990-foot River Ride for health and fitness at River Walk Mondays and Thursdays, June 17 – Aug. 15 from 7:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Red Oaks Waterpark.

All abilities are welcome to enjoy a wonderful, low-impact workout. For ages 15 and older. The River Walk is an especially great therapy option for those with hip and knee replacements. 

Sign up for the season by June 20. Cost is $45/16 sessions and receive a waterpark pass for one free admission. Drop in cost is $4/walk.

To register, print the registration form.

For more information, call 248-424 -7081 or visit DestinationOakland.com.

The Red Oaks Waterpark is located at 1455 East 13 Mile Road in Madison Heights!

Get fit in the water this summer!Oakland County Parks and Recreation Waterpark Staff

Find us on Facebook!

Oakland County Parks and Recreation dedicates connector trail at Addison Oaks County Park

The Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission dedicated a new Connector Trail on Wednesday, June 5. The connector joins Addison Oaks County Park Main and East sections, and links directly to Cranberry Lake Park and indirectly to Bald Mountain State Recreation via Lake George Road. The event was attended by Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commissioners and staff; project partners; media and other stakeholders. A brief presentation was followed by a ceremonial ribbon cutting and trail tour.

“This is the first type of recreation project in the Oakland County Parks and Recreation system that not only connects two parcels of county parkland but also provides a direct link to two miles of multi-use trail in an adjacent park—Cranberry Lake Park in Oakland Township,” Executive Office Dan Stencil said. “We anticipate the Connector Trail to benefit current and future Addison Oaks County Park campers and visitors with additional opportunities for recreation within and outside of the park.”

The 2.4-mile trail includes 10-foot-wide boardwalks through wetlands areas and an 8-foot-wide aggregate trail with grass shoulders. The $612,390 project was funded by a $228,800 Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund Development Grant; Oakland County Parks and Recreation funded the remaining $383,590.

Scenic Addison Oaks County Park in northeast Oakland County offers 1,140 acres with two lakes and spring-fed ponds. The property has an extensive trail system for hiking, mountain biking, equestrian riding and cross-country skiing; and includes a campground, beach, boat rentals, fishing, picnic shelters and a 24-hole disc golf course. The park is also home to the Buhl Estate (conference center). Addison Oaks County Park is located at 1480 West Romeo Road in Leonard.

Visit DestinationOakland.com for details or find Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook.

Top Count Your Steps schools from Royal Oak, Novi and Berkley

Students from Shrine Catholic Grade School of Royal Oak took their "victory lap" around the Detroit Zoo as the 2013 winner of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's Count Your Steps initiative. They were joined by students from second-place Franklin Road Christian School of Novi and the Detroit Zoo mascots. Third-place Angell Elementary School of Berkley was unable to attend. The top schools were announced today in a special ceremony marking the 10th anniversary Count Your Steps finale celebration.

"Programs like Count Your Steps that promote active and healthy lifestyles are impacting the quality of life for residents in positive ways," Patterson said. "I believe in a decade or two that we will have measurably improved the overall health of Oakland County residents."

Shrine Catholic Grade School students walked an average of 164,374 steps per student this year. Franklin Road Christian School students walked an average of 138,707 steps per student for second place. Angell Elementary students walked an average 136,845 per student for third place.

More than 13,000 students from over 100 schools participated in Count Your Steps from April 8 - May 5 this year. They logged a total of 873,921,850 steps or 436,961 miles - more than 17 times around the Earth. Students also ate 290,956 servings of fruits and vegetables. Since the program's inception in 2004, more than 200,000 Oakland County third- and fourth-grade students have logged more than 18 billion steps or 360 times around the Earth.

Alarmed by the growing national epidemic of childhood obesity, Patterson launched Count Your Steps in 2004 to encourage Oakland County kids to become active and make proper nutrition choices.

"The number of obese children in the U.S. continues to rise," Patterson said. "I began Count Your Steps to address childhood obesity here in Oakland County. I am thrilled that after a decade, our numbers are strong."

Patterson, who had another engagement, recorded a message for the winners at the finale.

For more information about Count Your Steps go to www.countyoursteps.com.
 
2013 program sponsors include Platinum Sponsor PNC Bank; Gold Sponsors DTE Energy Foundation, Oakland County Parks and Oakland County Health Division; Silver Sponsor McLaren Oakland; Bronze Sponsor HAP; and Supporting Sponsors Beaumont Health System, Detroit Zoo, HealthPlus, and Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.

Unleash fitness at the Oakland Pet Adoption Center

Walking a dog this spring is a great way to improve physical fitness. That's why the Oakland Pet Adoption Center features a program called Fitness Unleashed, where working residents can come and take a dog for a walk or visit with a cat on their lunch hour. It is part of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's vision to improve the quality of life in Oakland County through more active and healthier lifestyles.

"It's a great way to get a little exercise in, and help a shelter animal stay socialized," Administrative Supervisor Joanie Toole said. "When it comes to getting fit, dogs make great accountability partners."

Dog owners are more likely to be physically active, decreasing their risk for heart disease and other cardiac conditions.  Dog walking also strengthens bones and helps to prevent osteoporosis because it is a weight-bearing exercise.

While dogs can get the heart rate up and rev metabolism, cats can enhance mental and circulatory health. Spending 15 minutes with a pet will cause chemical changes in the brain that reduce levels of cortisol, a hormone produced by stress that may lead to cardiac problems.

"Cats provide numerous wellness benefits. Petting a cat can naturally lower your stress and blood pressure levels. Animals are great at cheering you up because they love you unconditionally," Toole said.

Families looking to volunteer at the shelter can participate in one of the monthly volunteer training orientations for cat comforting or dog walking. Children must be 12 years and older to volunteer at the shelter. The Oakland Pet Adoption Center is located at 1700 Brown Road in Auburn Hills. For more information, please visit oakgov.com/petadoption or call 248-391-4100.

About OPAC
The Oakland Pet Adoption Center's mission is to provide a temporary safe haven for animals until it finds them permanent homes. The shelter, under the leadership of County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, offers housing and medical care to more than 5,000 animals on an annual basis. It has the best save rate in Michigan among public open-admission shelters whose intakes are greater than 5,000 animals. OPAC also is the public agency charged with enforcement of Michigan's Dog Law of 1919. It is responsible for animal control services in 40 Oakland County communities.

Hometown Hustle returns to benefit Rochester Community Schools Foundation

Registration for the 5K Hometown Hustle on May 11, the signature fundraising event for the Rochester Community Schools Foundation, is now open. The event drew in 850 runners in 2012 and raised $22,000 for the Rochester Community Schools Foundation. They hope to raise $25,000 this year. 

Read more.

Hiller's adds new mobility carts to help customers with disabilities

Hiller's has purchased a cart for disabled customers for each of its seven Michigan stores. The cart was designed by Alabama mom Drew Ann Long, who got a manufacturer and is now instrumental in marketing it via www.carolinescart.com.  Hiller said he paid $850 per cart, about twice what a regular grocery cart costs.

Read more.

Oakland County among Top 10 in state for health behaviors/health factors

Oakland County ranks third for health behaviors and sixth for health factors among Michigan's 83 counties, according to the County Health Rankings Report released Wednesday. The report is produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson credited the county’s Health Division and his administration’s quality of life initiatives for the impressive scores.

"A vigorous public health program combined with our quality of life initiatives that promote active and healthy lifestyles such as The Brooksie Way, Count Your Steps and OakFit are working together to make Oakland County a healthier place to live, work, and play," Patterson said.

Oakland County has improved and/or maintained its position in 20 areas such as health factors, health behaviors, adult smoking, adult obesity, residents attending college, and violent crime rate. In addition, the county measures up well for overall health outcomes, ranking 22nd in Michigan. Oakland County ranks ahead of neighboring Wayne and Macomb counties.

"We are pleased with our overall health ranking," said Kathy Forzley, Oakland County Health Division manager/health officer. "The county continues to either improve or maintain in key measures of health."

The report - based on multiple factors that influence health - is the only tool of its kind that measures the overall health of the nation's more than 3,100 counties. New measures this year include dentist ratio, daily fine particulate, and drinking water safety. For more information about the health rankings or to review the report, go to oakgov.com/health.

Oakland County Health Division has a variety of programs and services that support healthy lifestyles by promoting and encouraging healthy behaviors; improving infant health; increasing accessibility of health services; ensuring a safe and clean environment; preparing for emergencies; and reducing the threat and preventing the spread of diseases.

MichiganTrailMaps.com unveils new Manitou Island maps

North and South Manitou Island, wilderness jewels in Lake Michigan and part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, are now part of the Classic Trails of Michigan map series by MichiganTrailMaps.com.

The Clarkston-based publisher, in cooperation with the National Park Service, has released two new trail maps to the Manitou islands that are both accessible by a ferry from Leland.

Unlike Mackinac and many other Great Lakes islands there are no stores, resorts, restaurants or other tourist amenities on the Manitou islands, making them true wilderness escapes.

South Manitou is a 5,260-acre island with 17 miles of trails and primitive roads that provide access to  three walk-in campgrounds and various historic sites and natural features, including a stand of old growth white cedars and some of the highest dunes in Michigan. The island attracts almost 7,000 day visitors and campers annually.

Just three miles to the north is North Manitou, a 14,753-acre island with 30 miles of trails that wind through impressive stands of maple and beech, across clearings that used to be farm fields and along bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. North Manitou attracts almost 4,000 visitors a year as the premiere destination in the Lower Peninsula for backpackers.

The new maps measure 11 by 17 inches, are printed on durable card stock and are coated to be water resistant. They include all distance markers, contour lines, walk-in campgrounds, shipwrecks, historic buildings and ruins. Best of all, when folded they fit in a back pocket or the side pouch of a backpack.

The new maps will be available at Sleeping Bear Dunes visitor centers, outdoor stores throughout Michigan, the MichiganTrailMaps.com e-shop or from Manitou Island Transit (www.manitoutransit.com) , the ferry company that provides passage to the Manitou islands.

Launched in 2010, MichiganTrailMaps.com is one of the most extensive online resources for non-motorized trails in Michigan. The web site contains more than 165 trails with detailed trail maps that can be downloaded and printed, trail descriptions and directions to the trailheads. Visitors can search for a path by county, activity, region of the state or by park.

The Palace of Auburn Hills is on the ball with vegetarian-friendly food

Many sports fans are eschewing typical burgers and brats and going for the tempeh. The Palace of Auburn Hills is delivering on this craving.

Excerpt:

"First came Major League Baseball in 2002, followed by the NFL in 2008. Now, for the first time, thanks to the explosion in vegetarian options at sports venues across the continent, PETA has ranked the top 10 most vegetarian-friendly NBA arenas, and The Palace of Auburn Hills, home of the Detroit Pistons, has grabbed 10th place...To see all the delicious vegetarian offerings, please visit PETA's blog."

More here.

Lourdes Nursing Home named one of the best by U.S. News and World Report Magazine

Lourdes Nursing Home has been named one of the nation’s best care facilities by U.S. News & World Report, it was announced Tuesday by the national magazine.
 
The data determining the honor for the 108-bed facility comes from Nursing Home Compare, a web site operated by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).  The agency sets and enforces standards for nursing homes enrolled in Medicare or Medicaid.   CMS also collects information from states and individual homes and assigns each home a rating of one to five stars in each of three categories:  State-conducted health inspections; nursing and physical therapy staffing, and quality of medical care.  Lourdes Nursing Home received five stars, the highest rating.
 
“We are delighted and proud to receive this honor,” said Sister Maureen Comer, OP, Chief Executive Officer of Lourdes Senior Community, which in addition to the Nursing Home includes Fox Manor on the Lake (independent living), Mendelson Home (assisted living) and Clausen Manor (memory care).  “This is a tribute to the dedication and hard work of our staff, who provide loving and outstanding care to our residents, and to the Nursing Home administrator, Shela Myrick.”
 
An estimated 3.3 million Americans will live in the nation's nearly 16,000 nursing homes during 2013.  That translates to 1 in 7 people ages 65 and over, and more than 1 in 5 of those 85 and older.
 
Lourdes Senior Community, 33 acres on the shores of Scott Lake in Waterford, is home to more than 250 seniors in its four buildings.  Sponsored by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, formerly the Dominican Sisters of Oxford, Lourdes has been serving seniors since 1948 with four core values, Dignity, Service, Compassion and Spirituality, regardless of race, color, creed or religion. 

Patterson asks students to make public health video

County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is calling on Oakland County middle school, high school, and college students to create a short public service announcement video that highlights public health. The contest is designed to raise awareness about National Public Health Week.
 
"We have many creative young people throughout Oakland County," Patterson said. "We want to tap into their ingenuity to explain in a simple, visual way what the function of public health is."
 
Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of the Oakland County Health Division, said public health impacts everyone. "Public health plays a role in all our lives, whether we realize it or not. From the safety of what we eat and drink to the environments where we live, work and play, public health is working behind the scenes to protect the community."
 
The producers of the winning video in each category (middle school, high school, and college) will receive a $50 iTunes gift card. Individuals and groups who submit a video will receive community service hours for their efforts. The winning videos will be posted on the Health Division’s homepage, www.oakgov.com/health, and its YouTube page, "Public Health Oakland."
 
All entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Sunday, March 31, 2013. Parental consent is required for entrants who are 17-years-old and younger. The contest is open to all Oakland County, Michigan middle school, high school, and college students. For contest rules and to enter the video contest, visit the Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health.
 
About National Public Health Week
Since 1995, when the first full week of April was declared National Public Health Week, communities across the United States have observed National Public Health Week as a time to recognize the contributions of public health and highlight issues that are important to improving our nation. Each year, National Public Health Week focuses its effort on a different theme. This year's theme is "Public Health is ROI: Save Lives, Save Money." The 2013 theme was developed to highlight the value of prevention and the importance of well-supported public health systems in preventing disease, saving lives and curbing health care spending. National Public Health Week runs April 1-7. For more information, visit www.nphw.org.

Crittenton Hospital named presenting sponsor of the Stony Creek "Back to the Beach" 10k, 5k

Crittenton Hospital has been named the presenting sponsor of the annual Stony Creek “Back to the Beach” half marathon, 10K & 5K.  “Back to the Beach,” which takes place May 19 at Stony Creek Metro Park, is in its third year with an anticipated record field of participants.  “Crittenton realizes the importance of local events like “Back to the Beach” not only for their community impact, but for the promotion of healthy living that they encourage.  We’re proud to be a sponsor and look forward to helping grow this event over the years,” said Brian Birney, Director of Marketing and Communications at Crittenton. 
 
The Half Marathon is a single 13.1 mile loop that starts and finishes at Eastwood Beach.  Runners will find the course to be very scenic with a variety of running surfaces which include asphalt, runner friendly trail segments, dirt roads, boardwalks and city streets. 75 percent of the course is within Stony Creek Metro Park.  The 10k and 5k race are mostly on a scenic cross country trail, through the woods adjacent to Eastwood Beach, Southdale Park and the Trolley trails.
 
In 2012, the 1,290 registered runners and over 250 volunteers helped raise $18,000. The main charity, Medals 4 Mettle, received $8,000 which was their largest donation ever. Other charities supported were Special Olympics, Team Michigan Transplant Games, The Boys and Girls Club of Washington Township, Always Brothers and the Boys Scouts. Funds raised also went to many other local races and charities around southeast Michigan as well as supporting local bike and running trail improvements on local bike and running trails.

For additional information and to register, go to www.backtothebeachraces.com

Detroit a leader in dogs as therapy movement

USA Today is calling out Metro Detroit as one of the leader dogs in using pets in the social services realm.

Excerpt:

"Because of Henry -- a gentlemanly, chocolate-and-white Portuguese waterdog -- once-silent autistic students at Novi High School now have a voice.

A Doberman pinscher named Tuesday is credited with helping 11 former servicemen graduate last week from Redford District Court's first Veterans Court...

Michigan is among a growing number of states where dogs are moving into courts, schools, prisons and juvenile facilities on the heels of new research that shows the emotional and physical benefits of dog-person contact, particularly for people in pain or in trouble."

More here.



Final week to register for the 5th annual Oakland Edge Adult Hockey Tournament

Adult men and women hockey teams have one more week to register for the 2013 Oakland Edge Adult Hockey Tournament.
 
The tournament is set for April 12-14 at the Onyx Arena in Rochester. Teams are guaranteed a minimum of three games and up to five games. Team registration is $750. The entry deadline is March 11. Male players in the B, C and D divisions must be at least 30 years old. Participants in the women’s division must be at least 18. Elite A division players must be at least 21 years old. There are also a Men’s 50 and over division and a co-ed sled division for disabled athletes ages 15 and up.
 
Teams will play three 15-minute running time periods. Each team is limited to 18 players and all players must be registered with USA Hockey.
 
The top teams will play-off for trophies. Players on the winner and runner-up teams will receive awards. Each tournament participant gets a souvenir Oakland Edge t-shirt. A disk with a team picture and action shots is provided to each team. The number of teams is limited so register online to reserve your spot at www.oaklandedge.com.

OU INC. client cureLauncher captures top elevator pitch honors

OU INC client company cureLauncher won first place in the Elevator Pitch Competition at the 13th Annual Collaboration for Entrepreneurship (ACE).

Along with five other finalists, cureLauncher representatives shared the company's elevator pitch with more than 1,000 guests and an esteemed panel of venture capitalists serving as judges. Each of the finalists received coaching from the Michigan Small Business and Technology Development Center and their home incubator/accelerators.

The cureLauncher website helps people seeking medical treatment find reliable and understandable information about clinical trials looking to maximize enrollment. It also helps potential participants determine if they are right for the trial. The site, offered as a free service, is monitored at all times in order to assist visitors.

cureLauncher President Steve Goldner said, "This highly competitive event has already opened up new opportunities for cureLauncher, which accelerates its growth. We would also like to extend our appreciation to OU INC for all of the support and encouragement in preparing for the competition." 

Established on Sept. 1, 2012, cureLauncher has already enrolled a number of breast cancer trials.

Vice President David Fuehrer said, "Winning the ACE '13 pitch competition provides recognition for cureLauncher team effort and the success it's already achieved as a new Michigan business."

The win also was heralded by OU INC, which provides cureLauncher and other client companies a host of business development programs and resources.

"We are so excited about cureLauncher and their progress" said Amy Butler, executive director at OU INC. "They are tremendous to work with and passionate about their mission. This passion and their team are a winning combination to develop a solution that will help so many people."

OU INC is a SmartZone Business Accelerator and Clean Energy Research Center that enables clients to Reach Beyond the Ordinary. OU INC provides entrepreneurial resources and strategic business solutions for accelerating ideas to market focused on medical device, energy, and information technology industries serving the domestic and international communities. Further information is available at Oakland.Edu/ouinc. 

For more information about cureLauncher, log on to visit curelauncher.com.

Seven Oakland County "healthy" projects get Brooksie Way Minigrant funding for 2013

The Michigan Senior Olympics, a healthy eating program for children and wellness expo are among seven Oakland County programs that received nearly $8,000 in funding through The Brooksie Way Minigrant program.

The awards were handed out today by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson during a press conference at the Executive Office Building in Waterford. Since the minigrant program began nearly three years ago, 82 grants have been given out totaling more than $97,000.

"The Brooksie Way Minigrant program is proving to be extremely popular," Patterson said. "It helps local communities by supplying programs that promote good health. Since its inception, it has returned to the communities nearly $100,000 in grants. I'm delighted to make those awards in my son's name."

The Brooksie Way Half Marathon presented by HealthPlus is a series of races held annually the last Sunday of September each year. The race is named in memory of Brooks Stuart Patterson, the son of the county executive, who died after accident in 2007. Proceeds from the race help fund the Brooksie Way Minigrant program. This year's races are set for Sept. 29.

"HealthPlus has been the sole presenting sponsor of The Brooksie Way since its inception because the race provides individuals the means to take responsibility for their personal wellness while event proceeds provide crucial funding for county health programs," said Raj Bajpai, HealthPlus director of product marketing.

Patterson created The Brooksie Way Minigrant program to use race proceeds to promote healthy, active lifestyles for Oakland County residents. Minigrants are awarded three times a year. The maximum award is $2,000. Grant guidelines and applications are available on The Brooksie Way website, www.TheBrooksieWay.com, and are reviewed three times a year.

The 2013 Brooksie Way Minigrants were awarded to:

Oakland Schools - Great Start Collaborative
The award will fund "Eat Smart, Move More," an initiative of Great Start-Oakland focused on providing education for early childhood professionals and families of young children. The goal is to prevent childhood obesity by encouraging healthy eating habits and promoting physical activity.
 
Michigan Senior Olympics - Rochester
The Michigan Senior Olympics will purchase new equipment for the 2013 Summer Games, including: table tennis balls, archery targets and badminton shuttlecocks.
 
McLaren Oakland - Pontiac
McLaren Oakland will use the award to teach American Heart Association Family & Friends CPR classes in Clarkston, Ortonville, Pontiac and Waterford. The goal is to have 30 adults participating in each class. The program will instruct, as well as allow for hands-on practice with mannequins, choking and CPR for infants, children and adults.
 
City of Auburn Hills
Auburn Hills created a community-based walking program, Auburn Hills Senior Striders, for seniors age 50. The program is designed to encourage physical activity and social interaction while gaining the health benefits of regular exercise.
 
Judson Center, Inc. - Royal Oak
The Yoga Project is designed to help heal mind, body and spirit, and consists of yoga classes once a week with an experienced instructor specially trained to teach kids. The project will help kids let go of aggressive behaviors by encouraging relaxation, building self-esteem, reducing physical pain and aiding in emotional regulation.
 
Royal Oak Community Coalition
The Community Coalition in partnership with the South Oakland YMCA will sponsor a "Holistic Health and Wellness Expo" for Oakland County residents and families on March 16 at the South Oakland YMCA.
 
Rochester DDA
The Rochester Fire & Ice Festival, the premier winter activity for families in Oakland County, begins Friday at 6 p.m. in downtown Rochester and ends Sunday. The award will be used to promote the festival’s activities: ice skating, tube sledding, broom ball, dog sleds rides, cross-country skiing and snow shoeing.

Oakland County Health Division helps launch statewide obesity prevention efforts

Oakland County Health Division was recognized by the Michigan Department of Community Health as one of six "4x4 Health & Wellness" grant recipients to implement community-based obesity prevention strategies.The Health Division is partnering with the "Healthy Pontiac, We Can! Coalition" to support the launch of the state's "MI Healthier Tomorrow" public awareness campaign in Oakland County. The campaign complements the initiatives of Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson to improve the quality of life for residents through active and healthy lifestyles.

"The goal is for every Michigan resident to use tools and resources available to them for maintaining and/or attaining good health," said Kathy Forzley Health Division manager/health officer. "We share the vision for a healthier Michigan and Oakland County."

The new MI Healthier Tomorrow campaign focuses on helping people make changes to improve their health, which includes taking a pledge to lose 10 percent of their body weight. It encourages individuals to achieve what the state outlined in its Michigan Health and Wellness 4x4 plan. For instance, residents should know their four basic health measures: BMI (Body Mass Index), blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose; and keep those four health measures under control by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, getting annual physical exams, and avoiding tobacco use. Residents can use the MI Healthier Tomorrow tools to attain this goal.

"I fully believe that these lifestyle changes can significantly improve quality of life and drastically reduce the risk of many chronic diseases. I am pledging to lose 10 percent of my body weight on the MI Healthier Tomorrow website and I encourage others to join me," Forzley said.

Follow Forzley's progress on the Health Division's Facebook page at facebook.com/publichealthOC.

About Healthy Pontiac, We Can! Coalition
The Health Division is partnering with the Healthy Pontiac, We Can! Coalition to support the campaign by developing new initiatives that assist Pontiac residents in making healthier choices by:
  • Increasing physical activity in children enrolled in after school programs
  • Making improvements in local parks that encourage physical activity
  • Expanding and create new walking clubs
  • Launching a new weekly produce market that accepts EBT
  • Providing nutrition education and cooking demonstrations at existing produce markets
  • Supporting the statewide campaigns that encourage Pontiac residents to use the 4x4 tool and MI Healthier Tomorrow resources
Health Division organized the Healthy Pontiac, We Can! Coalition in 2011 to bring community-based health projects such as healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco-free living to improve the health and quality of life for Pontiac residents. It is a diverse coalition which includes leaders in primary and preventive health care, mental health, human service agencies, education, the religious community, and governmental agencies in addition to local residents.

The Michigan Health and Wellness 4x4 Plan and MI Healthier Tomorrow tools can be accessed from the Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health.

Beaumont's heart screening free for high school athletes; next one January 26

The leading cause of death in young athletes is sudden cardiac arrest. Beaumont Health System's "Healthy Heart Check" is a free heart screening for high school students that can save lives. 

Read more.

Snowshoe fun for the family

Bundle up for the Frosty Oaks Fest 5k/10k Snowshoe Race Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013 at Orion Oaks County Park in Lake Orion.

The race is open to everyone -- even if it’s your first time on snowshoes! No snow? No problem! Wear trail shoes for an invigorating run or leisurely hike.

Registration and snowshoe rental opens at the Orion Oaks Dog Park at 8:30 a.m. Snowshoe rentals are available. The race begins at 10 a.m. and follows the Massasauga Loop trail. Enjoy a bonfire and s’mores after the race. Awards will be given to the top two men and women finishers in six age categories.

Entry fee is $20/person by Feb. 9; $25/person on race day. A valid annual vehicle permit or daily pass is required for park entry (available at the park). Regiser early! A commemorative pair of winter gloves included for first 100 registered.

Find details at DesinationOakland.com.

Celebrate winter!

Birmingham OKs Gran Fondo bike race

The Birmingham City Commission voted in favor of the proposed Gran Fondo bike race scheduled to run the entire stretch of Woodward Avenue and feature both a professional race and a recreational ride for enthusiasts. The 54-mile ride will take place on June 30, pending support from remaining communities. 

Read more.

Family sledding hill is open at Waterford Oaks County Park

Families will find the 27-foot high and 325-foot long Family Sledding Hill at Waterford Oaks County Park an exhilarating way to enjoy winter.

“The hill is ready to go, weather permitting. It’s a great outdoor wintertime activity where family and friends can gather and get some exercise at no cost,“ Park Supervisor Katie Stavale said. “Many childhood winter memories are made at sledding hills. Kids come wrapped from head to toe in snowsuits and go up and down the hill for as long as they can. Visitors are welcome to bring their own snacks and hot chocolate to complete the fun.”

Entry is free. The hill is open daily from sunrise to sunset or as posted at the park entrance. Visitors must bring their own toboggans or sleds. Safety lanes are present to direct sledders back up the hill. Portable restrooms are available.
Waterford Oaks County Park is located at 1702 Scott Lake Road in Waterford. The park offers 185 acres with hiking trails, platform tennis and the Family Sledding Hill for winter recreation. For details, maps and more visit DestinationOakland.com or find Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook.

Beaumont Children’s Hospital opens Pediatric Epilepsy Clinic

Beaumont Children’s Hospital has expanded its neuroscience services Jan. 7 with a Pediatric Epilepsy Clinic, offering treatment options and services for infants, children and teens with seizures and epilepsy. The clinic offers comprehensive evaluations and schedules tests, including MRIs, PET scans and EEGs, for those with mild to complex forms of epilepsy.

About 50,000 new cases of childhood epilepsy are diagnosed each year. Epilepsy is a neurological condition in the brain that makes a person more susceptible to having seizures. A seizure occurs when parts of the brain receive a burst of abnormal signals that temporarily interrupts normal brain function. When a person has two or more seizures, he or she is considered to have epilepsy.

The clinic, located in suite 302 of the Medical Office Building at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, specializes in helping patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. To schedule an appointment, call 248-551-3302. 

"We treat all forms of epilepsy ranging from mild – when seizures are controlled with medications or not recognized, to catastrophic – when a person is having a seizure and is unresponsive. About one-third of patients with the severe form of epilepsy will not respond to any medication,” says Daniel Arndt, M.D., director of the Pediatric Epilepsy Clinic at Beaumont Children’s Hospital.

In addition to Dr. Arndt, a pediatric epileptologist who specializes in the treatment of epilepsy in children, the Pediatric Epilepsy Clinic works with a highly-trained, multidisciplinary team of specialists. The staff includes:  pediatric neurologists, pediatric neuroscience nurses, pediatric EEG technologists and a nurse coordinator who schedules testing and follow-up care. The clinic’s staff also collaborates with several specialties including pediatric neurosurgery, ophthalmology, radiology and physical, occupational and speech therapy.

With the unpredictability of epilepsy and the challenge it can present to some families, the clinic provides resources and guidance for parents and caregivers in a single location.

“We are providing a higher level of epilepsy care. We are using the most advanced EEG and imaging technologies available and working hand-in-hand with pediatric neurosurgeons,” explains Dr. Arndt. “The goal is to give our patients and families freedom from seizures and provide them with an excellent quality of life. We want patients to feel ‘normal’ again.”

About Beaumont's Neuroscience Services
The Neurology department at Beaumont treats all neurological diseases, including stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and migraine, among others. Beaumont also has a Myasthenia Gravis Treatment Center; a Neurology Clinic; a Neuromuscular Clinic for children; neuroradiology; and clinical neurophysiology.  Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak is recognized on U.S. News & World Report’s 2012-13 list of “America’s Best Hospitals” for neurology and neurosurgery. Find out more at http://neurosciences.beaumont.edu/.

Residents urged to get flu shots after sudden increase in cases

Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) urges residents to take preventative action and get vaccinated against seasonal flu in the wake of a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that said there has been a rapid increase in flu cases in Michigan.
 
In addition, the Michigan Department of Community Health has upgraded flu activity in the state from "sporadic" to the next higher level of "local," reflecting recent increases in confirmed influenza cases and a facility outbreak from the southwest region of the state. Both Influenza A/H3N2 and Influenza B are noted to be circulating and showing increases in several other areas of Michigan.
 
"Most of the flu cases seen this year are well matched to this season's vaccine, so a flu shot can offer good protection," said Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of OCHD.
 
Flu shots are available for $16 at Health Division offices from noon – 8 p.m. Monday and 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Offices are located at 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac, and 27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield.
 
Residents may pre-register for an appointment by calling 248-858-7350 (Pontiac) or 248-424-7120 (Southfield). Walk-in appointments are welcome. Walk-in payment options include Medicare, Medicaid and cash (no credit cards, checks or money orders).
 
"Flu is a life-threatening disease, especially for the elderly and infants who are at greatest risk of contracting illness. If you are around these high-risk populations, it's also important to protect yourself so you protect them." Forzley said.
 
Health professionals recommend individuals 6 months and older should get vaccinated against seasonal flu every year. It can take about two weeks after the vaccination for the body to develop protection.
 
Flu can be spread to others up to about six feet away, mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own eyes, nose or mouth. To avoid this, wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub. The flu usually comes on suddenly and can cause mild to severe illness, and at times lead to death. People who have the flu often feel some or all of these symptoms:
  • Fever or chills 
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
For more information, call Health Division’s Nurse on Call at 800-848-5533 or click on oakgov.com/health or facebook.com/publichealthOC.

Gov. Rick Snyder proposes 599-mile trail to show off state

Governor Snyder has proposed a 599-mile trail starting in Detorit's Belle Isle and winding through the entire length of Michigan, connecting pre-existing trail systems through both peninsulas all the way to Wisconsin. 

Read more.

Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan launches advocacy, resource hub

The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan has launched the first phase of Mode Shift: Move Together, an online news, advocacy and resource hub dedicated to engage, grow and empower a community of healthy lifestyle advocates in SE Michigan and foster community connectedness through its team of journalists and local bloggers. The site is co-funded by the Knight Foundation’s Community Information Challenge.

Read more.

Beaumont adds Lung Cancer Center

Beaumont Hospital Royal Oak is now home to the Cunnington Family Comprehensive Lung Cancer Center, a new facility specializing in multidisciplinary lung cancer diagnosis and treatment. 

Read more.

"Fab Five" running team of county executives takes third place in Brooksie Way 5K Race

Robert Ficano and Mark Hackel may not be names that come to mind when pondering sporting accomplishments associated with “The Fab Five.”
 
But Ficano and Hackel, the Wayne County and Macomb County executives, respectively, and Conan Smith, chairman of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, have brought newly found glory to “The Fab Five” – at least for another day. The trio finished third out of 26 teams competing in the 5k team challenge at The Brooksie Way Half Marathon and 5k races in September. The official team challenge results were just released. There were a total of 57 teams in both races, nearly double the 2011 number.
 
Patterson, who was unable to attend the race because he is recovering from injuries suffered in August in a serious auto accident, thanked his counterparts for entering the race and expressed mild surprise at the team’s fine performance.
 
“Congratulations to my sandbagging Democratic friends from Wayne, Macomb and Washtenaw counties,” Patterson said. “Their first time at the party and already they want to lead the band.”
 
Team members will be presented with a commemorative plaque during a celebration honoring the top finishers of the Team Challenge early next year. The team included Jeffrey Collins, Dana Smith, Ton Gray, Anthony Wickersham, June Lee and June West.
 
About 5,800 runners registered for the 2012 Brooksie Way Half Marathon and 5k, with about 1,500 runners entering the 5k race.
 
The Brooksie Way, celebrating its fifth year, is named in memory of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and the son County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who died in 2007. Proceeds from the race support The Brooksie Way Minigrant program.
 
“I was surprised they were as competitive as they were and finished as high as they did,” race director Deb Kiertzner said Monday. “We had some serious teams competing and the Fab Five knocked them out of third place.”

New market gives Pontiac residents access to healthy food

The Healthy Pontiac, We Can! coalition has partnered with the St. John United Methodist Church to bring a fresh produce market to Pontiac. The market, located at 620 University Drive, sells low-cost fruits and vegetables every Friday from 3-6 p.m.

"Pontiac’s fresh produce market, like my quality of life initiatives, promotes active and healthy lifestyles by increasing access to fruits and vegetables,” Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. “It is a much needed addition to the City of Pontiac."

The Healthy Pontiac, We Can! coalition conducted a survey in 2011 that found more than half of Pontiac residents who responded indicated the high cost of produce and lack of neighborhood sites to buy it was a barrier to include fruits and vegetables in their diets. As part of a 3-year strategic action plan to address some of the most pressing health issues facing Pontiac residents, The Healthy Pontiac, We Can! coalition engaged local community partners for a creative answer to increase residents’ access to low-cost produce.

"A diet high in fruits and vegetables decreases the risk of many chronic diseases, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, and some cancers," said Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of the Oakland County Health Division.

Community-based wellness projects such as Pontiac’s produce market are a priority for public health agencies across the state. With the recent launch of theMichigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan by the Michigan Department of Community Health, support will continue to grow. The goal of the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan is for every Michigan resident to use the 4 x 4 tool to maintain and/or attain health. This tool asks individuals to practice four healthy behaviors and keep four health measures in control.

"The Health Division shares L. Brooks Patterson's vision for a healthier Oakland County and the vision for a healthier Michigan as laid out in the Michigan Health and Wellness 4 x 4 Plan,” Forzley said. "One of the components of the Michigan 4x4 Plan is healthy eating. We encourage everyone to eat a variety of nutritious foods and beverages like vegetables, fruits, low- and fat-free dairy products and whole grains."

The Michigan Health and Wellness 4x4 Plan and tools for Michigan residents to assess their health and create a personal plan can be found online at www.michigan.gov/healthymichigan.

The Healthy Pontiac, We Can! coalition began in 2011 to bring health-related initiatives such as healthy eating, physical activity, and tobacco-free living to improve the health and quality of life for Pontiac residents. It is a diverse coalition which includes leaders in primary and preventive health care, mental health, human service agencies, education, the religious community, and governmental agencies in addition to local residents.

For more information, visit the Oakland County Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health.

Oakland County Senior Advisory Council hosted senior center workers seminar

Oakland County senior center workers, staff and volunteers learned about resources available to their clients and had the chance to interact with senior-related organizations at the Oakland County Senior Center Workers Seminar on Wednesday, Oct. 24 at the Waterford Oaks Activity Center.  They also learned the top five wishes from senior centers in the recent Senior Center Survey. The seminar was hosted by County Executive L. Brooks Patterson's Oakland County Senior Advisory Council.

"The council focuses on improving the quality of life of Oakland County's senior residents by evaluating what gaps may exist between their needs and available services," said Patterson. "Our senior population is projected to double in the coming years. We want to ensure that Oakland County’s senior residents have the resources they need to live active and healthy lifestyles."

Topics on the seminar's agenda included "Communication Brings Awareness" by Tina Abbate Marzolf, CEO of the Area Agency on Aging 1-B; "Oakland Parks & Recreation" by Sue Wells, manager of Oakland County Parks & Recreation; "Recruit, Train & Retain Volunteers" by Karyn Curro, executive director of Interfaith Volunteer Caregivers; and "Public Health Connections" by Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of Oakland County Health Division. Among the agencies that were on site with resource tables were Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency, Oakland Community College, The Brooksie Way, the Detroit Zoo, Oakland County’s Community & Home Improvement Division, Community Mental Health, and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The Oakland County Senior Advisory Council’s meets on the third Monday of every month. Their primary purpose is to inform the county executive about the needs and services required by older adults. Some of the current concerns and issues the SAC is focusing on include:
 
  •          Encouraging easily accessible, senior friendly areas for physical and mental exercise
  •          Supporting elder-friendly initiatives & practices
  •          Supporting volunteer services to assist aging in place
  •          Supporting elder-friendly access to information & resource assistance

For more information on the Oakland County Senior Advisory Council or the Senior Center Workers Seminar, contact Elaine Houser at 248-941-5870 or visit www.oakgov.com/seniors.

Kiehl's fans welcome venerable chain to Michigan

Respected skin care company Kiehl's Since 1851 has opened a new store inside the Somerset Collection, Troy. The upscale company is right at home at this upscale suburban mall. The New York-based beauty company has 52 stores nationwide; this is its first in Michigan. 

Read more.

Flu shots available at Oakland County Health Division

Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) is now offering flu shots for $16 at their Pontiac and Southfield offices. Flu clinic hours are noon – 8 p.m. Monday and 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Residents can pre-register online at oakgov.com/health.

"We encourage everyone to get a flu shot and reduce their risk of getting the flu this season," said Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of the Oakland County Health Division. "Each year nationwide, tens of thousands of people die from the flu. Receiving a flu shot helps lower the risk of getting the flu and becoming ill."

Outreach clinics will also be held at the following locations: 
  • Walled Lake Community Center
    615 N. Pontiac Trail
    Oct. 9, 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
    Nov. 2, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
     
  • Troy Community Center
    3179 Livernois
    Oct. 16. 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
     
  • Farmington Hills Costick Center
    28600 Eleven Mile Rd
    Oct. 23rd 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
The Health Division offices are located at the following addresses:
  • North Oakland Health Center
    1200 N. Telegraph Road
    Building 34 East
    Pontiac
     
  • South Oakland Health Center
    27725 Greenfield Road
    Southfield.
Online registration provides a consent form that must be taken to the clinic selected. Online payment options include Visa, MasterCard, Medicare and/or Medicaid, or residents may select to pay cash at the time of appointment. To register by phone, call 248-858-7350 or 248-424-7120. Flu shots are also available on a walk-in basis. Walk-in payment options include Medicare, Medicaid and cash (no credit cards, checks or money orders).

For more information, visit the Oakland County Health Division website at oakgov.com/health or on Facebook at facebook.com/publichealthOC.

Five Oakland County healthy projects get Brooksie Way Minigrant funding

A senior citizens drum and dance program and a 5K run to support the Children's Tumor Foundation are among five Oakland County programs that received a total of more than $7,500 in funding through the Brooksie Way Minigrant program.

The awards were given at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester during the sponsor reception for The Brooksie Way presented by HealthPlus.

"Brooksie Way minigrants continue to touch the lives of so many and impact our communities in new ways," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. "The race is celebrating its fifth anniversary on Sunday and we may hit the $100,000 mark in total minigrants awarded by the end of the year. Those are significant milestones."

This year's race is set for Sunday morning and begins at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University. The Brooksie Way is named in honor of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and son of the county executive, who died after an accident in 2007. The races include a half marathon and 5k run or walk and a one mile "fun run." As many as 6,000 participants are expected.

Bruce Hill, president and CEO of HealthPlus, has been a support of The Brooksie Way and the minigrant program since the beginning.

"HealthPlus has been supporting the Brooksie Way and its minigrant program for each of its five years because we believe these types of community initiatives help equip Michigan residents with the wellness tools they need to be active participants in their good health," Hill said.

Support from HealthPlus helps make the minigrant program possible. In three years, the program has awarded more than $90,000 in minigrants to 80 organizations for support of health and wellness projects in the county.

Patterson created the Brooksie Way Minigrant program to use race proceeds to promote healthy, active lifestyles for Oakland County residents. Minigrants are awarded three times a year. The maximum award is $2,000. Grant guidelines and applications are available on the Brooksie Way website, www.thebrooksieway.com, and are reviewed three times a year.

The 2012 Brooksie Way Minigrants were awarded to:
2012 Addison Oaks Event for The Children's Tumor Foundation
  • The Children's Tumor Foundation is a non-profit 501(c)(3) medical foundation, dedicated to improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by the neurofibromatosis. The funds will be used to help with costs of conducting the 2.5 mile walk and 5K timed run at Addison Oaks.
Troy Historical Society
  • The Troy Historical Society will purchase equipment for low-cost, traditional games that can be enjoyed by Oakland County children and families at the Troy Historical Museum. The society is planning four family fun days for "Games on the Green."
Creative Arts Center, North Oakland
  • The Pontiac Creative Arts Center is a non-profit organization serving the North Oakland community area with art education, programs and exhibitions. The funds will be used to pay for the instructors of dance and tumbling fall 2012 classes.
Power Upper Elementary School: Nature Club - "Nature Explorers"
  • The minigrant will expand the after-school activities to include: exploring the schoolyard’s habitat gardens, hiking and journaling. The club will encourage students to enjoy nature and be active outdoors.
Lourdes Senior Community: "Drums Alive!"
  • Lourdes Senior Community and Waterford Parks and Recreation will work collaboratively on a new exercise program. Once a week Drums Alive! will be offered at Fox Manor on the Lake. Participants will experience music, sound and movement therapy while combining drumming and dance to increase energy levels and improve health.

Annual trail run showcases autumn colors at Independence Oaks County Park

Oakland County Parks and Recreation and Riverbend Striders host the annual Hidden Forest Trail Run at Independence Oaks County Park on Sunday, October 14.

“We’ve been doing this run at Independence Oaks for 30 years. It’s a wonderful venue and one of the most beautiful parks in the Lower Peninsula,” Race Coordinator John Gault said.

Participants may select to run or walk a circuit of three varying lengths: a 2.5-mile circuit around Crooked Lake; a 5.5-mile circuit that laps twice around the Crooked Lake Trail and branches off onto Rock Ridge Trail; or an 8.5-mile challenging circuit that goes three laps around the Crooked Lake Trail and continues on to Spring Lake Trail. All races start at the same location at 9:30 a.m. Sign-in and packet pick-up begins at 8 a.m. at the Twin Chimneys picnic shelter.

Cost is $8/person, excluding an event T-shirt, and $17/person including an event T-shirt if registered by Oct. 7. Late registration after Oct. 7 is $10/person, excluding an event T-shirt, and $20 including an event T-shirt.

Prizes awarded to the top three finishers in each age division.

Participants may pre-register for the event online at www.riverbendstriders.com. Call 810-238-5981 for more information.

Independence Oaks County Park is located at 9501 Sashabaw Road in Clarkston. A daily pass or 2012 annual vehicle permit is required for park entry. Visit DestinationOakland.com for details on this and other events or find Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook.

Find local public health information on Facebook

Oakland County residents can now find the most current public health information on Facebook. Oakland County Health Division has launched its own Facebook page to make public health information more accessible and provide up-to-the-minute health news, events, emergency updates, prevention tips, and links to public health resources.

"Facebook is a great opportunity for us to reach out to residents,” said Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of the Health Division. “Public health impacts everyone, and it is important for individuals to know the latest health news. We hope our Facebook page will make it easier for residents to find out more about the essential services we provide.”

Find Oakland County Health Division on Facebook at facebook.com/publichealthoc

Residents are urged to protect themselves from West Nile Virus during upcoming outdoor events

The Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) urges all residents to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites and West Nile Virus (WNV) during upcoming outdoor events including Arts, Beats & Eats, the Michigan Renaissance Festival and other art and music festivals scheduled during August and September.

Oakland County has received confirmation of two positive human cases of WNV. Statewide the number of positive human cases is 17 and nationally, the number of cases is 693 including 23 deaths, the largest spike in WNV activity since 2004.

"WNV activity is present earlier than previous years.  Warm weather and periods of dry conditions may be to blame for the increase in the mosquito population and WNV activity this year," said Kathy Forzley, OCHD manager and health officer.  "It is important that residents use insect repellent to protect themselves and their families from mosquito bites during outdoor activities."

Residents are encouraged to take the following steps to avoid WNV and other mosquito-borne illnesses while outside:
  • Avoid being outdoors at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active
  • Wear light colored, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when outdoors
  • Apply insect repellents that contain the active ingredient DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or other EPA approved repellent to exposed skin or clothing, always following the manufacturer's directions for use
Most people bitten by a WNV-infected mosquito show no symptoms of illness. However, some become sick three-to-15 days after exposure. About one-in-five infected persons will have mild illness with fever. About one in 150 infected people will become severely ill. Symptoms of encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) and meningitis (inflammation of the spinal cord and brain linings) include stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, muscle weakness, convulsions and paralysis.

People 50 and older are more susceptible to severe WNV disease symptoms. Physicians are urged to test patients for WNV if they present with fever and signs of meningitis or encephalitis, or sudden painless paralysis in the absence of stroke in the summer months.

For more information, visit the Oakland County Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health.

Leapfrog Group gives hospital perfect scores

The Leapfrog Group recently honored Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital in Commerce Township as one of four Detroit Medical Center hospitals to receive an "A" Hospital Safety Score on an A-F scale based on available data on patient injuries, medical and medication errors, and infections.

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Milford Criterium draws national talent

The 2012 Milford Criterium races were the biggest and best yet with about 400 riders participating. This was the second year that the event has hosted the State Championships. 

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Deadline extended to apply for Brooksie Way Minigrant

Groups promoting health and wellness activities in Oakland County have a little extra time to apply for a Brooksie Way Minigrant.

The deadline, which was Aug. 1, is extended until Aug. 10 to give groups additional time to apply for a grant of up to $2,000 from the Brooksie Way Foundation. The grants support health or wellness activities in Oakland County. In two years, the foundation has awarded nearly $73,000 in minigrants to 70 organizations for support of various projects.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson created The Brooksie Way Minigrant program to use proceeds from The Brooksie Way Half Marathon and 5k to promote healthy, active lifestyles for Oakland County residents. Minigrants are awarded three times a year. The maximum award is $2,000. Grant guidelines and applications are available on The Brooksie Way website, www.thebrooksieway.com, and are reviewed three times a year - April 1, August 1 and December 1. Support from HealthPlus of Michigan helps make the minigrant program possible.

"The extra time might help some local charities apply and put some money back into the communities of Oakland County," Patterson said.

The Brooksie Way is an annual race named in honor of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and son of the county executive, who died after an accident in 2007. The 2012 race is set for Sept. 30.

The Brooksie Way Half Marathon begins and ends at the Meadow Brook Music Festival. It winds through the streets of Rochester and Rochester Hills and includes parts of the Paint Creek Trail and the Clinton River Trail. The 5k race is contained on the Oakland University campus. This year marks the fifth year of the race. Early entries are 20 percent above the record pace set in 2011 when about 5,000 runners and walkers participated.
 
The Brooksie Way Fitness Expo is set for Sept. 28-29 at the Oakland University Recreation Center. Information about the expo is at www.thebrooksieway.com.

Beaumont one of U.S. News & World Report's “Best Hospitals" for 18th year in a row

Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak once again ranks among the best hospitals in the nation according the the 23rd annual report released by U.S. News & World Report. This marks the 18th consecutive year that Beaumont has ranked on this list thanks to "high performance" ratings in specialty areas such as cancer, cardiology and endocrinology. 

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Calling all volunteers for the Brooksie Way Half Marathon and 5K

If you want to participate in The Brooksie Way Half Marathon and 5K races but you're not a walker or a runner, here is your chance.

The Brooksie Way presented by HealthPlus needs to fill more than 500 volunteer positions for this year's race, which is set for Sept. 30. Volunteers are needed at the start and finish line, at the pre-race Brooksie Way Health and Fitness Expo, on the course manning a water station and a host of other duties. Individuals and groups are encouraged to register online. A complete list of volunteer opportunities and registration can be found at www.TheBrooksieWay.com.

"Volunteers are essential to the success of the race," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. "We understand that not everyone has the time or energy to train for a race like the Brooksie but they still want to get involved. Maybe they have a spouse or a child or a friend who is participating in the race and they want to support them and 6,000 other runners and walkers we expect this year. This is the ideal way to help your family and friends and the community."

The Brooksie Way, which celebrates its fifth year, is named in memory of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and the son of the county executive, who died in 2007. Proceeds from the race support The Brooksie Way Minigrant program.

The 13.1-mile half marathon course begins and ends at the Meadow Brook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University. It winds through Rochester and Rochester Hills, parts of the Paint Creek Trail and the Clinton River Trail before returning to the campus. The 5k race is contained on the Oakland University campus as is the One Mile Fun Run.  You may walk or run any of the events. A half marathon competitive walk is among the races. There will be entertainment every mile on each course.

All half marathon entrants receive a neon orange long-sleeve Brooks technical shirt and finishers also receive a medal designed especially to commemorate the fifth year of the race. Participants in the 5k race receive a t-shirt. Finishers also receive a special medial.

A complete list of registration prices and deadlines can be found at www.TheBrooksieWay.com. Questions about volunteering can be sent to Volunteer Coordinator Sue Barnes at barness@TheBrooksieWay.com.

July is National Park and Recreation Month

Oakland County Parks and Recreation encourages families to celebrate July is National Park and Recreation Month by participating in events at Oakland County Parks that promote active lifestyles.

“I welcome residents to take advantage of our facilities, services and equipment and encourage individuals, families and groups to visit the 13 Oakland County Parks to explore the great outdoors and all we have to offer,” Executive Officer Dan Stencil said.

Market fresh
Meet local growers and artisans and buy fresh produce, flowers and crafts at the Oakland County Market in Waterford. Open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. from May – December and Saturdays year round. July crops include: beans, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, radishes, spinach, apricots, cherries, raspberries and more. Produce subject to availability.

Family fun
The extended 10-day Oakland County Fair at Springfield Oaks County Park in Davisburg from July 6 – 15 features exhibits, carnival rides, food, farm animals, pig racing and more. July 12 is Oakland County Parks and Recreation Day with free parking for guests with a valid 2012 OCPR Annual Vehicle Permit.

Experience catch-and-release fishing at Upper Bushman Lake at Independence Oaks-North or fish at 10 public-access lakes within Oakland County Parks.

Cool off with the family at Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights or Waterford Oaks Waterpark for a splashing good time. Both parks offer wave-action pools, interactive water features, picnic areas and concessions.

Golf
Choose from five well-conditioned golf courses to play a round with friends, perfect your game with a lesson, and introduce the game to a junior family member. Sign up for a four-person scramble; the series is offered on the first Tuesday of every month from May – October including July 3.

Camping
Embark on a new adventure or celebrate family traditions at two campgrounds. Addison Oaks and Groveland Oaks county parks offer individual or group tent sites and comfy cabins. Campers can take it easy on a sandy beach; rent a bike or a boat; fish; hike or mountain bike on the trails; disc golf at Addison Oaks; and enjoy mini golf and a skate park at Groveland Oaks. Each weekend in July offers themes and activities at both campgrounds including Luau, Sweet Retreat, Campground Carnival and more.

Trails and Dog Parks
Hike, ride a horse or mountain bike on paved and natural trails that total more than 67 miles within the parks system. Bring a furry friend to any of the three dog parks at Lyon OaksOrion Oaks and Red Oaks county parks. Yappy Day at Red Oaks Dog Park on July 28 features pet adoptions; games and activities for dogs; informational pet clinics; and demonstrations.

Playgrounds
The universally accessible Paradise Peninsula Playscape at Waterford Oaks County Park is open from dawn to dusk during the summer and features a log cabin play house, tree fort, slides and sand box in a setting that simulates Michigan’s water, rock and fossil features. Paradise Peninsula is one of 13 playgrounds in the parks system.

For individuals with disabilities
Individuals with cognitive or physical disabilities can choose from a variety of options including adaptive golf for $17/person on July 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 at 8:30 a.m. at Red Oaks Golf Course where adaptive equipment and support volunteers are also available. Attend the Oakland County Fair Special Needs Day on July 12 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. where individuals with disabilities and a caregiver will enjoy free carnival rides. The Summer Sizzler picnic at Independence Oaks County Park on July 27 features an evening of music, games, dinner, and a pontoon boat ride for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Visit www.DestinationOakland.com for details on all parks and events or find Oakland County Parks and Recreation on Facebook.

Beaumont among nation's top 100 hospitals

Thomson Reuters selected Beaumont Hospital in Troy as one of the nation's premiere care facilities.

Excerpt:

"Beaumont Hospital, Troy was recently named one of the nation’s 100 Top Hospitals by Thomson Reuters. The recognition is based on a hospital’s overall organizational performance. This marks the ninth time Beaumont has been recognized as a top hospital.

'The Thomson Reuters 100 Top Hospitals® study evaluates performance in 10 areas: mortality; medical complications; patient safety; average patient stay; expenses; profitability; patient satisfaction; adherence to clinical standards of care; post-discharge mortality; and readmission rates for heart attack, heart failure and pneumonia. The study has been conducted annually since 1993."

Read the rest here.

Nine Oakland County “healthy” projects get more than $10,000 in Brooksie Way minigrants

A program that surprises a child with cancer by bringing a horse to the family home for a day of fun activities is among nine ‘healthy” Oakland County projects that received a total of more than $10,000 in funding through the Brooksie Way Minigrant program.
 
The awards were handed out on May 24 by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson during the 2012 kickoff breakfast for The Brooksie Way Presented by HealthPlus at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester. News Talk Radio 760 WJR and the Paul W. Smith Show broadcast live from the event.
 
“Brooksie Way minigrants have touch thousands of lives in Oakland County by helping fund worthwhile community projects,” Patterson said. “Some of these projects might fall by the wayside, were it not for the minigrant program. My son Brooks would be proud to see his legacy continue through the promotion of health and fitness activities for Oakland County and its 1.2 million residents.”
 
The Brooksie Way is named in honor of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and son of the county executive, who died after an accident in 2007. The Brooksie Way, in its fifth year, includes a half marathon and 5k run or walk and a one mile “fun run.” The 2012 race is set for Sept. 30.
 
Bruce Hill, president and CEO of HealthPlus, joined Patterson in presenting the minigrant awards. HealthPlus is the presenting sponsor of The Brooksie Way.
 
“HealthPlus is proud to mark five years as The Brooksie Way’s title sponsor,” Hill said. “For us, The Brooksie Way has provided a wonderful way to engage the community in healthy activities while helping serve local populations in need. I commend L. Brooks Patterson for his good work and vision.”
 
Support from HealthPlus helps make the minigrant program possible. In three years, the program has awarded more than $83,000 in minigrants to 80 organizations for support of health and wellness projects in the county.

During the May 24th race kickoff, Patterson introduced the Detroit Medical Center (DMC) as the new finish line sponsor, unveiled the 2012 five year anniversary race logo and said the race will have more course entertainment and a larger post-race party than in past years. State-of-the-art chip in the bib timing and electronic finisher messaging is available to participants in all races.
 
Patterson also introduced the Brooksie Way Race team, which is now devoted solely to the Brooksie Way. In prior years, the team split time between the Brooksie Way and the Crim Festival of Races in Flint. The Brooksie Way is now an independent race led by race director Deb Kiertzner.
 
Patterson said there is still time to sign up for the 16-week training program, sponsored by McLaren Health Care that prepares novice runners for either the half marathon or the 5k. It begins in June in either Southfield or Rochester. Register at www.thebrooksieway.com.
 
Patterson created the Brooksie Way Minigrant program to use race proceeds to promote healthy, active lifestyles for Oakland County residents. Minigrants are awarded three times a year. The maximum award is $2,000. Grant guidelines and applications are available on the Brooksie Way website, www.thebrooksieway.com, and are reviewed three times a year.
 
The 2012 Brooksie Way Minigrants were awarded to:
 
Farmington Baseball Boosters, Farmington
“Farmington Community Baseball Cage”
The grant will purchase an outdoor batting cage at Farmington High School to benefit the high school baseball teams, the South Farmington Blues youth organization and the community.
 
CARE House of Oakland County, Pontiac
 “Yoga Exercise for Kids! – A Component of Child Sexual Abuse Therapy”
This innovative program consists of four six-week sessions for children ages six through 11.
 
Brooklands Elementary PTA, Rochester Hills
 “Run Club”
Students in grades one through five will have the option to run or walk a quarter mile lap during recess. They will be eligible for prizes, based on laps they accumulate.
 
Crossroads for Youth, Oxford
“Adventure Center – Zip Line to Success”
Adventure Center is committed to helping at-risk youth develop a healthy lifestyle through exercise. The grant will be used to purchase guide harnesses and helmets for zip line use.

Kidz Kare Inc., Rochester Hills
“Back to School Bonanza”
The minigrant will fund the purchase of medical supplies and publicity for a free health clinic for under or uninsured children up to age 18 in the northeast quadrant of Oakland County on August 11.
 
Oakland County Children’s Village Foundation, Pontiac
 “Raptor Respect”
The Foundation, in partnership with Waterford School District and the Leslie Science and Nature Center, presents “Raptor Respect.” This project includes intensive, hands-on guided lessons to promote knowledge and appreciation of birds and their native environments. It assists students with stress reduction, positive socialization, conflict resolution and handling challenges.
 
Brandon Township Parks & Recreation, Ortonville
 “Life Trail Advanced Wellness System”
A series of 10 activity stations built on the principles of functional fitness. The exercises promote muscle development and good health and will be installed in the Brandon Township Community Park.
 
Camp Casey, Royal Oak
 “Camp Casey’s Horsey House Calls”
This nonprofit organization brings a horse into the life of a child with cancer. The minigrant will fund a Horsey House Calls, where a child is surprised by a horse on her doorstep inviting her for an afternoon of riding and fun in her own backyard.
 
Bridgewood Church, Clarkston
“1 Day 5K”
The church is holding its 4th annual 5k run and 1 mile family fun walk on June 3. The minigrant will fund the race coordinator for the event.

Oakland County Health Division hosts video contest for high school students

Oakland County Health Division is looking for creative Oakland County high school students to create a short Public Service Announcement video that highlights the Oakland County Health Division Food Safety Program, which ensures safe food and proper sanitation in Oakland County's 4,500 food service establishments.

"This video contest is a unique way to get the word out about our Environmental Health Food Safety Program which completes more than 17,000 food service inspections every year to ensure safe food handling practices,” said Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer for the Health Division. “From the safety of what we eat and drink to the environments in which we live, work, and play, public health plays a role in all our lives, whether we realize it or not."

The contest, which began Monday, May 7, is open to all Oakland County, Michigan high school students. Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. Thursday, May 24. Parental consent is required for entrants 17 years old and younger. The contest is open to both groups (no more than five students per group) and individuals.

The top video entry overall will receive a $50 ITunes gift card. Individuals that submit a video will receive up to 10 community service hours. The top five individuals will receive a water park day pass. Each group that submits will receive up to six community service hours per individual. The top group will receive a water park day pass for every member of the group.

For contest rules and regulations or to enter the video contest, visit the Oakland County Health Division website at www.oakgov.com/health.

For media inquiries only, contact Kathy Forzley, manager/health officer of the Oakland County Health Division, at 248-858-1410.

Oakland County improves health rating for third year in a row

Oakland County remains one of the top 20 healthiest counties in Michigan, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s County Health Rankings report released on April 5.  Oakland County ranks 16th out of Michigan’s 82 counties in overall health outcomes, improving from 17th in 2011 and 18th in 2010.  The county also measures up well for overall key factors that affect health with a ranking of 6th out of 82. The Rankings, based on the latest data available for each county, is the only tool of its kind that measures the overall health of each county in all 50 states on the multiple factors that influence health.
 
“Public health has a critical role in making our communities healthier,” states Kathy Forzley, Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) Health Officer / Manager. “These rankings continue to show us that where we live, learn, work and play influences our health. They help identify barriers, showcase what we are doing well and target where improvement is needed.”
 
"Creating initiatives that promote active and healthy lifestyles such as The Brooksie Way, Brooksie Way Minigrants, and Count Your Steps is among the priorities of my administration," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. "Those efforts combined with a vigorous public health program are making Oakland County a healthier place to work and live."
 
Oakland County has improved in 14 areas such as overall health outcomes, mortality, adult smoking, teen births, air pollution, mammogram screenings and violent crime. However, action is needed for instance in the areas of adult obesity, physical inactivity, excessive drinking, sexually transmitted infections, and children in poverty. 

“Oakland County continues to improve in many areas and we are pleased to improve our overall health rank,” states Kathy Forzley, Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) Health Officer / Manager. ”But there is still community work to be done in other areas. This information helps out community develop new program and enhance existing services with a local perspective.”
 
The Rankings use a standard way to measure how healthy people are and how long they live. Researchers assess health outcomes using these five measurements: the rate of people dying before age 75, the percent of people who report being in fair or poor health, the numbers of days people report being in poor physical and poor mental health, and the rate of low-birth weight infants.  Also considered are health factors that affect people’s health within four categories: health behavior, access to and quality of clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment.
 
OCHD has a variety of programs and services that support healthy lifestyles by preventing the spread of disease; ensuring a safe and clean environment; promoting and encouraging healthy behaviors; preparing for emergencies; reducing the threat of diseases; improving infant health and increasing accessibility of health services.
 
For all Oakland County specific data links to the County Health Rankings website or information on OCHD services, visit www.oakgov.com/health.

Patterson calls residents and businesses to action for Cancer Prevention Study-3

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson is challenging southeast Michigan residents and businesses to take part in the American Cancer Society’s groundbreaking Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) that has the potential to change the face of cancer for future generations. The study will enroll a diverse population of up to a half million people across the United States and Puerto Rico.
 
Patterson was joined by representatives from Chrysler, General Motors, Beaumont Health System, and Henry Ford Health System at an American Cancer Society Great Lakes Division news conference March 29 at Automation Alley in Troy. Oakland County and the others have partnered with the American Cancer Society to help enroll local residents, employees, and their families in CPS-3.
 
Oakland County will host an enrollment site 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., May 1, 2012 at the Oakland County Executive Office Building Conference Center, 2100 Pontiac Lake Road, Building 41 West, in Waterford.
 
“This is an historic opportunity to find out which lifestyle choices are contributing to cancer,” Patterson said.
 
“I lost my twin brother to cancer more than four years ago. He was the picture of health. We don’t have any answers why he developed cancer. But CPS-3 provides an opportunity to get those answers perhaps 20 or 30 years down the road,” Patterson added.
 
The American Cancer Society is seeking men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer to participate in CPS-3. To enroll, individuals will be asked to read and sign an informed consent form; complete a comprehensive survey packet that asks for information on lifestyle, behavioral, and other factors related to their health; have their waist circumference measured; and give a small blood sample. The in-person enrollment process takes about an hour to complete. Periodic follow-up surveys of various lengths are expected to be sent every few years to individuals.
 
Previous studies by the American Cancer Society confirmed the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer and demonstrated the link between larger waist size and increased death rates from cancer and other causes.
 
In Michigan alone, it is estimated that more than 57,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer in 2012. More than 24,000 of those diagnosed will be right here in our own backyard. That’s more than 65 people every day just in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. According to the American Cancer Society, the total cost of cancer to American companies is nearly $264 billion a year in health care expenses and lost productivity.
 
“Oakland County is home to Medical Main Street, where we deliver world-class health care and conduct leading-edge life science research and medical device manufacturing. For Oakland County and some of its Medical Main Street partners to support this historic cancer study is a no-brainer,” Patterson said.
 
For more information about enrolling or volunteering, click on www.cancer.org/cps3 or call 888-604-5888.

Eight Oakland County "healthy" projects awarded Brooksie Way minigrants

Eight Oakland County projects - including a therapeutic horseback riding program for special needs students and a health education program aimed at low literacy residents - received funding through the Brooksie Way Minigrant program.

The awards were announced by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

"My son would be proud to see his name associated with so much good work occurring in the community," Patterson said. "The minigrants recognize the ongoing commitment of so many local organizations to fitness and supporting healthy lifestyles in Oakland County."

Support from HealthPlus of Michigan helps make the minigrant program possible. HealthPlus is the presenting sponsor of the Brooksie Way Half Marathon. In two years, the program has awarded nearly $73,000 in minigrants to 70 organizations for support of health and wellness projects in the county.

"Health Plus is committed to supporting innovative and effective wellness efforts made possible through win-win events like the Brooksie Way and its minigrant program," said Bruce Hill, president and CEO of HealthPlus of Michigan.

The Brooksie Way is an annual half marathon and 5K race named in honor of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and son of the county executive, who died after an accident in 2007.

The 2012 race is set for Sept. 30 and begins and ends on the campus of Oakland University and includes parts of Rochester and Rochester Hills and the Paint Creek and Clinton River trails.

Patterson created the Brooksie Way Minigrant program to use race proceeds to promote healthy, active lifestyles for Oakland County residents. The maximum award is $2,000. Grant guidelines and applications are available on the Brooksie Way website, www.thebrooksieway.com, and are reviewed three times a year - April 1, August 1 and December 1.

Awards were given to the following organizations:

  1. Sibshops Oakland, Bloomfield Hills: An activity-based support group for children who are not disabled themselves, but have a sibling who is. These children face unique challenges as the care and nurturing of their siblings significantly impacts their own lives. The grant will be used for a day-long fitness and educational event in July.
     
  2. City of Wixom"Senior Exercise Program" Wixom is expanding the reach of its senior exercise program offerings by purchasing inflatable exercise balls and discs.
     
  3. Oakland Literacy Council, Bloomfield Hills: "Healthy Literacy Workshop" The Oakland Literacy Council will hold two workshops - April 21 and Oct.17 - for its clients and tutors. The program objective is to help low literacy Oakland County residents become healthier, more informed citizens by providing them with the language, literacy and communication skills they need to find, share and understand information about their health.
     
  4. Easter Seals - Michigan, Inc., Auburn Hills: "Adventure Therapy Mountain Bike Challenge" The award will be used to purchase six to eight mountain bikes for the Easter Seals/Michigan Adventure Therapy Mountain Biking Challenge. This program is for teens through age 18.
     
  5. William and Marie Carls Family YMCA,  Milford: "Seniors on the Move"  A seven-week program designed to keep seniors active and engaged in healthy activities such as bowling, golfing, water aerobics, hiking, archery, senior spin classes and pickle ball.
     
  6. Royal Oak Community Coalition, Royal Oak: "Bike Clinic," A bike clinic for children and adults is set for April 15 at the Modern Skate building. The clinic will include: fitness and exercise tips; bike safety information; maintenance/repairs training; and information about Oakland County bike paths and locations.
     
  7. Patterson Elementary, Holly: "Hugs for Horses" A five-week therapeutic horseback riding program for special needs students in kindergarten through third grade. The program integrates multiple disciplines including fine and gross motor, speech and language, and social and emotional skills.
     
  8. Gretchko Elementary PTO, West Bloomfield: "Motor Skills for Academic Success/Motor Moms and Dads"An exercise program designed to enhance skills that are crucial for brain development. Students participate in motor activities, including exercises on balance bars, balance boards, mini-trampolines and sit-n-spins.
The Brooksie Way Half Marathon begins and ends at the Meadow Brook Music Festival. The Brooksie Way Fitness Expo is set for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 at the Oakland University Recreation Center.

The 16-week training program that prepares walkers or runners for either the half marathon or the 5k begins in May in either Southfield or Rochester. A six-week "Couch to 5k" program for those who want to jumpstart their spring training begins April 12 in Rochester. More information and registration is available at www.thebrooksieway.com.

The Brooksie Way joins Count Your Steps (CYS), another successful health program founded by Patterson. Count Your Steps encourages elementary children and families to engage in more physical exercise through a pedometer walking challenge. CYS/Brooksie Way is organized to develop and implement one or more programs to educate school age children and their parents on the importance of a healthy diet and exercise and to foster and promote programs to encourage public health and fitness.

Cyclists map best area routes

A group of enthusiastic cyclists convened last month at the Royal Oak Public Library to discuss the safest bike routes in South Oakland County. About 50 participants discussed initial data collected in the hope of producing a small-scale regional map with the safest and most scenic bike routes.

Read more.

Early Bird Registration Discount for Oakland Edge Adult Hockey Tournament Ends Soon

Adult men and women hockey teams that want to save $50 have until Jan. 31, to register for the 2012 Oakland Edge Adult Hockey Tournament.

The tournament is set for April 20-22 at the Onyx Arena in Rochester. After Jan. 31, team registration is $750. Teams are guaranteed a minimum of three games. Male players must be at least 25 years old to play in the “A” division and 30 years old to play in the other four divisions. Participants in the women’s division must be at least 21. Athletes in the co-ed Sled Hockey division must be at least 15 years old.

The number of teams is limited so register online now to reserve your spot at www.oaklandedge.com.

The Sled Division is sponsored by Wright & Filippis, the nation’s largest family-owned provider of home medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, respiratory services and medical supplies; and the Athletes with Disabilities Network.

Teams play three 15-minute running time periods. Each team is limited to 18 players and all players must be registered with USA Hockey.

Players on the winner and runner-up teams will receive individual awards. Each tournament participant gets a souvenir Oakland Edge t-shirt.

The Oakland Edge is presented by Oakland County and County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, the same people who bring you The Brooksie Way Half Marathon and 5K race, set for Sept. 30, as part of the county’s commitment to health and wellness.

The tournament is sanctioned by USA Hockey and the Michigan Amateur Hockey Association # MIT120229.

For more information contact Tournament Executive Director Ed Joss at (248) 858-2111 or cell at 248-721-1204.

OLHSA Walk for Warmth fundraisers will be held February 11 & 25

Walk for Warmth - OLHSA's biggest and best fundraiser for 22 years - is around the corner! Consider joining us today. Teams, individuals, and sponsors are welcome. You'll be helping your friends and neighbors stay safe and warm while enjoying a Saturday morning, family-friendly event! Distances are non-competitive and both Walks are indoors. Not bad, for February! Check us out on our website, here, or on Facebook, here. With your support we'll help even more families stay warm in 2012.

Become part of the movement! There are Walk for Warmth events all across the country as other Community Action Agencies raise awareness for this important cause. Walk for Warmth is held indoors in both counties OLHSA serves. The event is non-competitive and includes entertainment along the walk course, is family friendly, and includes perks like a t-shirt and refreshments.People who benefit from Walk for Warmth are residents of Oakland and Livingston Counties. They access the Emergency Utility Assistance program, which is funded by contributions from Walk for Warmth, when faced with a utility shut-off notice. Funds are used throughout the year, but many people associate utility emergencies with the cold winter months.

People who participate in Walk for Warmth are volunteers, stakeholders, elected officials, individual donors, corporate funders, event sponsors, community partners and community members, past and current clients, and vendors. People are invited to participate as individuals or by forming teams.

Help is available. 

Don't hesitate to call on us. We want to help you make Walk for Warmth a wonderful experience... And to help you beat your goal - Let's do it together! Email us today.


VNA Hospice needs volunteers

The Visiting Nurse Association (VNA) of Southeast Michigan is seeking volunteers to provide companionship to hospice patients, as well as in the office and to assist in writing patients' life stories. Required training is free and is offered Saturday, January 7 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Read more.

Breakfast of Champions - High Energy Health

Susan Bailey (LOXVII, Program Manager, Health and Wellness, DTE Energy) leads the "High Energy Health" session of Leadership Oakland's "Breakfast of Champions" series promoting strong leadership. This session is designed to help you manage your stress by managing your energy at work and home.

Read more.

New Martial Arts Studio

Pro Martial Arts now calls Lake Orion it's home and, thanks to the anti-bullying mandate from Lake Orion area schools, the studio offers more than just self defense training; there is also a focus on character building, behavior training, and physical fitness.

Ron Stencel, co-owner said that "physical fitness has always been important to me. While karate is definitely a great way to become physically active, we really want to emphasize the character education, the lifestyles and the non-karate part of the program. It's a great youth development program that uses martial arts as a tool for the skill set kids need growing up."

Read more.

Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant Gets Makeover

Colleen Smiley started Om Cafe in Ferndale in 1985, long before anyone read Michael Pollan's books. The menu included an array of homegrown fruits, vegetables and grains free of antibiotics, growth hormones and genetic modification. Though she was ready to retire a few years ago, she decided to keep it open on Fridays because she did not want to deprive her regulars.

But a few months ago, Om introduced new hours and new menu items thanks to her son, Thibodeau, who moved back to Michigan after leaving 12 years ago. He took over the business but gives the same attention to food, health and community that his mother did.

EXCERPT:

Thibodeau said his first mission was to find a great chef. He said he worked closely with the Culinary Institute of Arts in Novi and discovered Johnson. The chef had recently graduated but had experience as a restaurant owner and had earned recognition for his skill preparing Indian cuisine.

Read more.

Birmingham Plastic Surgeon Volunteers in Kenya

Dr. Mehul Mehta traveled with 19 other doctors to Kenya to perform 98 major operations along with support staff as part of the "International Surgical Mission Support" team (ISMS) over eight days last February. That's more than 10 surgeries a day.

Mehta is a plastic surgeon and assistant professor of surgery at Wayne State University who has been doing medical mission work since 1993. He has been to four to Third World countries; he and his wife also host fundraisers for their friends to help support the trips.

Read more.
 

Flu shots available for $11 through Oakland County Health Dept.

Oakland County residents can obtain their seasonal flu shots for just $11 at Oakland County Health Division offices in Pontiac and Southfield. Hours are 12 p.m. - 8 p.m. on Monday, 9 a.m. -  5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday.

"The Health Division’s goal is to keep people well," said Kathy Forzley, Oakland County Health Division manager and health officer. "Each winter, influenza typically takes the lives of 36,000 Americans. An annual flu vaccination helps to reduce a person’s chance of getting the flu."

The Health Division offices are located at the following addresses:

North Oakland Health Center
1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 34 East, Pontiac

South Oakland Health Center
27725 Greenfield Road, Southfield

Registration is preferred. To register for a flu shot, go to www.oakgov.com/health. Clients may select the location, date and time of appointment. Online registration also provides a consent form that must be taken to the clinic where the client is pre-enrolled. Online payment options include Visa, Mastercard, Medicare and/or Medicaid. If you are unable to register online, please call (248) 858-7350 or (248) 424-7120.  

Walk-in clients are welcome. Walk-in payment options include: Medicare, Medicaid and cash (no credit cards).

For more information, please visit www.oakgov.com/health or call the Health Division’s Flu Shot Hotline at (800) 434-3358. Nurse on Call is also available to answer questions, please call (800) 848-5533.

Women's self-defense classes offered by Oakland County

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, the Miss Michigan USA Organization and the Beverly Hills Club are presenting the 3rd annual Women’s Self Defense Program.
 
Join us for a FREE class during the month of October. The four hour class is being held at the Beverly Hills Club located at 31555 Southfield Rd. in Beverly Hills, MI.
 
Class dates:
Saturday, October 22: 1:30pm-5:30pm
Saturday, October 29: 1:30pm-5:30pm
 
To reserve a space call (248) 975-9700 x 5, or email ocso@oakgov.com. Indicate which Saturday you would like to register for, how many people and the names of the individuals you are wishing to register.  To download the program flyer, please click HERE.

OU celebrates record undergraduate enrollment

Oakland University has increased student enrollment this fall with a 1.7 percent increase, marking the 14th consecutive year of growth at the institution.

The university's population of 19,379 students, including those enrolled in the newly opened Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, "reaffirms that quality academic programs taught by world-class faculty have made Oakland University a first-choice among our student population," Oakland President Gary Russi said.


Part of Oakland's continued enrollment growth is also attributed to the 1,891 new transfer students who came to the university this fall and an undergraduate population of 15,838, the largest in OU's history.

Excerpt:  With its overall student population steadily rising, OU continues to expand its presence in Macomb County. The opening of the new Anton/Frankel Center this fall helped raise the total enrollment at the university's Macomb locations to 1,367 students, a 22 percent increase over 2010 figures. 

To learn more about the wide array of academic programs Oakland offers, visit oakland.edu.

Waterford native featured in Men's Health

Waterford native Shane Logan has been featured in Men's Health Urbanathlon 2011 as Chicago's Urbanathlete. Logan, who won the 2010 Chicago Urbanathlon, is gearing up to make sure he keeps the title for this year's event on Oct. 15.

The veteran marathoner, husband and father of two said that he runs about 90 miles a week to stay in shape for competition. In the Men's Health video, Logan says that he's "the guy they gotta catch."

Catch Logan's story here.

Brooksie Way minigrants near $67,000 in funding for seven Oakland County projects

A Southfield program that provides bikes for special needs children, an exercise program for seniors and a 5k walk to address the stigma of mental illness are among the latest recipients of Brooksie Way Minigrant funding.

Seven mini grants, which were given out Sept. 31 at the Royal Park Hotel during a sponsors reception for the Brooksie Way Half Marathon and 5k, are taken from race proceeds to promote health and wellness projects and active lifestyles in Oakland County. More than $9,400 will be given to the recipients, bringing the total of minigrant awards to nearly $67,000.

"Proceeds from the Brooksie Way are going to a creative and positive fund," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. "We are funding community programs that over time will elevate the health and wellness of Oakland County residents and improve their quality of life."

Support from HealthPlus of Michigan, the presenting sponsor for the Brooksie Way Half Marathon, helps make the minigrant program possible.

"As the presenting sponsor of The Brooksie Way, HealthPlus is pleased to help support the minigrant program," said Bruce R. Hill, HealthPlus president and CEO. "Our corporate vision is A Healthier Community and we’re proud to be involved in The Brooksie Way, which not only encourages healthy lifestyles, but helps support other groups as well."

The Brooksie Way is an annual half marathon and 5k race named in memory of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and the son of the county executive, who died after an accident in 2007.

Patterson created the Brooksie Way Minigrant program to use race proceeds to promote healthy, active lifestyles for Oakland County residents. Minigrants are awarded three times a year. Grant guidelines and applications are available on the Brooksie Way website. Grant applications are accepted and reviewed three times a year – April 1, Aug. 1 and Dec. 1.

Awards were made to the following organizations:

Dorothy & Peter Brown Jewish Community Adult Day Care Program at JVS, Southfield
PEP -- "Preventative Exercise Project"
The Dorothy & Peter Brown Jewish Community Adult Day Care Program at JVS will offer the Preventative Exercise Program, between Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 at its Southfield and West Bloomfield sites. The exercise program includes movement to music, tai chi and yoga to approximately 100 senior adults.

Community Network Services Fund, Farmington Hills
“Stomp Out Stigma 5k Walk” is a community walking event that promotes cardiovascular exercise and healthy living among Oakland County residents while simultaneously addressing the stigma of mental illness. The event is operated by Community Network Services Fund and the CNS Anti-Stigma Program. The event is held at Independence Oaks.

Oakland University Department of Campus Recreation, Rochester
“OU Walks! Across America” is a walking program designed for the students, faculty and staff of Oakland University is held through Dec. 1 by the university’s Department of Campus Recreation. Each participant records their steps and tracks their progress on a map of the United States posted in the Recreation Center. The challenge is for participants to walk the equivalent distance from Rochester to Los Angeles.

Dutton Farm Inc., Rochester
"Healthy Living"
Dutton Farm will use its Brooksie Way Minigrant to purchase indoor therapeutic exercise equipment for its participants to use during the winter months. This will expand its Healthy Living program’s year-round offerings.

Variety, The Children’s Charity (Detroit Tent 5), Southfield
"Bikes for Kids / Kids on the Move Program"
The grant will purchase and/or modify bicycles for use by local children with special needs.

Michigan AIDS Coalition, Ferndale
"Health & Fitness for Individuals Infected and Affected with HIV/AIDS"
The Michigan AIDS Coalition will present a six-week program that presents the facets of health and fitness for those infected and affected with the HIV/AIDS virus. Every Wednesday evening for six weeks, speakers will present various topics, including: nutrition, muscle therapy and Reiki.

Bridgewood Church, Clarkston
Bridgewood Church of Clarkston sponsors a "1 Day 5k / One Day to Feed the World event." The certified run includes a 1 mile family fun walk as an alternative for family participation. The event is part of a larger program, One Day to Feed the World weekend that benefits children in Pontiac.

Find out more at thebrooksieway.com.

Patterson hails three outstanding community leaders at annual Q2 awards

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson honored three individuals for making Oakland County a better place to live, work, play and raise a family at the 19th Annual Quality People, Quality County (Q2) breakfast at the Centerpoint Marriot in Pontiac on Sept. 14.

Receiving accolades this year were Marye Miller, executive director of the Older Persons' Commission (OPC) in Rochester; Forrest Milzow, philanthropist and owner of the Deer Lake Athletic Club in Clarkston; and Joseph Welch, president and CEO of ITC Holdings in Novi.

"All three honorees are enhancing the quality of life in Oakland County through their efforts to help others," Patterson said.  "They truly deserve this year's Q2 award."

Miller is improving the quality of life for Oakland County's senior population. She ensures older residents of all ages have access to programs and services that promote active and healthy lifestyles. OPC offers excellent adult day services; home delivered meals to seniors; a branch of the Rochester Public Library catering to the interests of older residents; senior advocacy services; and nutrition and transportation services. The OPC also offers a plethora of activities for active seniors who want to be involved in health and wellness, leisure travel, performing arts, and so much more.

Milzow's Q2 Award is as much about him as it is his late wife, Dr. Jacqueline Milzow, who passed away seven years ago this month. Jacqueline retired from Pontiac Schools after 30 years of caring for and educating Pontiac students with special needs. To honor his wife posthumously, Forrest established the Jacqui Milzow Memorial Scholarship Fund. It supports the Clarkston SCAMP Program, the Promise Zone of Pontiac, and Pontiac students who want to further their education in college. Milzow also opens the doors of the Deer Lake Athletic Club twice a year to children in the Abused and Neglected Unit at Children's Village. In addition, Milzow oversaw the construction of a mortgage-free home for the Shrauger family, who lost their home to financial difficulties caused by traveling back and forth to Texas to see their son who was wounded in Iraq.

When Patterson established his Emerging Sectors initiative in 2004, his vision was to have high-tech companies providing sustainable, high-paying jobs for decades to come. Welch, as president and CEO of ITC Holdings in Novi, is achieving that vision. Under Joe's leadership, ITC has been focused on investing in the high-voltage transmission system that provides best-in-class service to customers and transmission infrastructure improvements that increase reliability and lower energy costs. Joe, however, is more than a high tech job provider. He is a generous supporter of The Brooksie Way Half Marathon & 5k Race and the Dennis Toffolo Endowed Scholarship at Oakland Community College (OCC). Joe also dedicates countless hours as co-chair of the Oakland County Business Roundtable.

Past recipients of the Q2 Award since 1993 when Patterson first started the program include:  Late Hall of Fame baseball broadcaster Ernie Harwell, legendary Free Press sports writer Joe Falls, radio personality Dick Purtan, Flagstar Bank, and T&C Federal Credit Union to name just a few.

Keep up with more Oakland County news and information here.

Funding Available for Arts & Culture Projects

Oakland County Arts, Culture & Film is accepting grant applications for the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) Minigrant Program. The application deadline is October 3 for arts and culture projects that take place from January 1 through September 30, 2012.

Non-profit organizations, schools and local government units located in Oakland County are eligible to apply for funding. The MCACA Minigrant Program provides up to $4,000 in financial assistance, on a matching basis, for local, high quality arts and cultural projects that recognize a community need and require additional, limited funding to meet that need. Grant application and guidelines are available on-line at www.artsoakland.com.

Applicants residing in counties other than Oakland should contact the office for information on the location of their MCACA regranting agency. New requirement this year-- applicants musts participate in the Michigan Cultural Data Project and have their most recently completed fiscal year’s data entered at the time of the Minigrant application.

For further information, contact Kristie Everett Zamora, Coordinator of Arts & Culture at (248) 858-0415.

OU-Beaumont med school welcomes inaugural students

Oakland University's William Beaumont School of Medicine welcomed its first class of 50 students, Aug. 8. Michigan's first new medical school in 47 years attracted more than 3,200 applicants for the school's first class. The unique program offers students four years of basic science combined with clinical training and focuses on participatory small-group learning.

Of the 50 students admitted, 70 percent are Michigan residents and 15 percent of the students have moved to Michigan to attend the new school. William Beaumont School of Medicine also plans to tackle the predicted shortage of physicians in Michigan while improving the quality of medical care.

"Our focus is on educating the type of physician that you would want to care for you and your family -- one who is a master of the science of health care delivery," said Robert Folberg, M.D. and founding dean of the school.

After the initial 50 students, the School of Medicine is planning for classes to grow by 25 students each year, with a plateau at 125 students. Both Oakland and Beaumont are planning to build medical school buildings on their campuses to prepare for the anticipated expansion.

For more information on the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, visit oakland.edu/medicine.

Hope Network launches Troy research program, acquires Pontiac-based New Passages

New Passages Behavioral Health and Rehabilitation Services, located in Pontiac, has partnered with statewide specialty health care service, Hope Network based in Grand Rapids. Merging the companies will allow for a new Troy-based facility, Hope Institute for Research.

The Institute, headed by New Passages CEO and founder Dennis Jacobs, Ph.D, will help Grand Rapids-based Hope Network continue to be one of Michigan's leading providers of traumatic brain injury rehabilitation, developmental disability services and behavioral health treatments. Together, Hope Network and New Passages supply almost $40 million in services across Southeast Michigan and employ about 925 people in the region.

Hope Network CEO Phil Weaver said "As one seamless organization, Hope Network and New Passages will be able to provide innovative health care solutions that assure better outcomes for every individual and family we serve."

Find out more here.

Oakland County MSU Extension offers Food Safety Training

The Health and Nutrition Food and Safety team at Michigan State University Extension has created an online training video to educate state residents interested in opening a cottage food business

Focusing on the 2010 Cottage Food Law, the video provides training to ensure that safe food products are being sold to customers. Production, packaging and labeling of the product as well as safe storage and transporting are all covered within the video, available online through Vimeo.

The video or Webinar allows those interested in the food business to learn about the regulations and precautions that must be considered when selling cottage food products. After the video, viewers may take a quiz to measure retention of the material covered and then receive a certificate to display when the products are sold.

Watch the video here, or click here to learn more about the Oakland County MSU Extension.

Franklin, Birmingham make MI Apple Trail

Local artists have transformed gigantic fiberglass apples for display at 20 different farmers markets from Flint to Detroit for a new project, the Michigan Apple Trail.

Supported by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and secured by Detroit's Eastern Market and the Michigan Apple Committee, each community participating in the project selected an artist to transform the apple into something unique. Franklin and Birmingham will both participate in the project set to begin the first market in August and end mid-September when all of the apples will be shipped to Detroit's Eastern Market for a display and eventual auction.

Regular farmers market attendees may visit the other participating markets to vote for their favorite apple. Additionally, the program has created a passport system allowing attendees to get a stamp at every market they visit and upon receiving the fifth stamp; patrons may enter in a drawing for a special prize. After the project is complete, an auction and announcement of the winning apple will take place at the Apple Gala, with proceeds donated to the communities' farmers markets.

Take a bite out of this story.

The 2011 Brooksie Way listed nationally as one of 11 "Picture Perfect" fall half marathons

The Brooksie Way Half Marathon and its scenic course is getting national exposure as one of the most desirable half marathons to enter this fall. Active.com, the world's largest directory of sports and recreational activities, selected the Brooksie Way along with 10 other half marathons in such international destinations as Vail, Colo.; Myrtle Beach, N.C. and Napa Valley, Calif., as a must to run.

"Looking for a beautiful setting for your next 13.1?" Active.com wrote. "From Kingston Beach to California wine country, here are 11 picture perfect courses you should run."

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson was gratified to know the race, which is named in memory of his son, Brooks Stuart Patterson, had received national attention in only its fourth year. More than 6.5 million people receive weekly and monthly newsletters from Active.com. The special feature on the top 11 races is currently featured on the Active.com homepage.

"Incredible," Patterson said Wednesday. "We're in some tall cotton when our race is being compared with races in Vail, the California wine country or the Outer Banks of North Carolina. If you want to run on one of the most scenic race courses in the country, you don't have to leave Oakland County. It's right here in your own backyard."

The fourth Brooksie Way Half Marathon is set for Oct. 2 in Rochester Hills. The race begins on the campus of Oakland University and winds through the streets of Rochester and Rochester Hills and parts of the Clinton River Trail and Paint Creek Trail before returning to the OU campus. This year, the course will start and finish for the first time on the Meadow Brook Music Festival grounds. New this year is an expanded post-race party. All half marathon entrants receive an apple red long-sleeve Brooks technical shirt and finishers receive a medal designed especially for the 2011 race. A complete list of registration prices and deadlines can be found at www.thebrooksieway.com.

Besides the half marathon, there is a 5k race and a One Mile Fun Run on the grounds of Oakland University. You may walk or run any of the events. A half marathon competitive walk is among the races. Greg Meyer and Lisa Rainsberger, the last American male and female winners of the Boston Marathon, are schedule to run the half marathon.

Other activities include:

* A Corporate Team Challenge featuring chief executive officers who have pledged $1,000 to run in either the half marathon or the 5k. There is also a team challenge for five-person teams who compete against other teams for special awards.
* A Middle-School Challenge, sponsored by AT&T, to encourage the participation of middle-school aged runners.
* A One-Mile Family Fun Run. The race is not timed but participants will receive a T-shirt.
* A post-race celebration that features a rock climbing wall and inflatable bounce houses. Food will also be available for purchase.

The Brooksie Way is presented by Oakland County and the Crim Fitness Foundation and is sponsored by HealthPlus. Proceeds from the race support programs that promote healthy active lifestyles through the Brooksie Way Minigrant program. The minigrant program has distributed more than $50,000 to various Oakland County charities.

Rochester College offers new nursing program this fall


This fall, Rochester College will offer a new bachelor's degree program for nurses. The Michigan Board of Nursing has approved the 126-credit-hour program that is set to begin this fall for 24 nurses. The college's close partnership with nearby Crittenton Hospital has been an important factor in the development of the nursing program. And with just two weeks of marketing the program, sources say they've already attracted 50 applicants.

Excerpt:

"It's just making this school bigger and better and healthier and stronger," said Jaime Sinutko, director of the Rochester College School of Nursing. "We've got faculty members who have been teaching for 15 years plus." Although the nursing school is just 13 months old, Sinutko said it has bloomed in that time, eventually leading to the full BSN offering.

"A lot of other nursing schools accepted students based purely on GPA," Sinutko said. "They'll get all the 3.9 GPAs, but just because they have good grades doesn't mean (everything). They may not be the best nurses. Most of the schools in the area are turning away hundreds of applicants each year."

Find out more here.

OU offers online course on vegan living

Veganism is often a misunderstood lifestyle choice. While some still view it as "new age," researchers are finding evidence that following a balanced vegan diet boasts many health benefits while also preventing major diseases including most cancers, heart disease and type II diabetes.

This fall, Oakland University School of Nursing will offer the new professional development course "A Lifestyle Change to Improve Health: The Vegan Diet." The seven-week, online course will start in September and offers a unique self-study module each week. The course is not just for nurses or Oakland students -- anyone interested in learning about this alternative diet and lifestyle is welcome to register. Participants will learn how a well-balanced vegan diet offers benefits beyond the prevention of chronic illnesses that are often the result of poor diet and lifestyle choices. Additional benefits include weight reduction, increased energy levels and better overall health.

Oakland University Instructor Marilyn Mouradjian, MSN, RN, is a practicing vegan who has long incorporated the benefits of the vegan diet in her nutrition courses. "Our culture relies heavily on pharmaceuticals that often have serious side effects, which can prompt additional medication used to reduce those side effects. The vegan diet scientifically addresses the prevention and reversal of many chronic health conditions," Mouradjian said. Those enrolled in the course will enjoy a tasty approach to a wide variety of foods and menus that can eliminate the need for reliance on drugs. Instruction is designed to broaden individuals' dietary repertoires rather than restrict them. Mouradjian said, "The vegan diet has the potential to extend an individual's health while making delicious choices in their food selections. There will be wonderful recipes for students, like a French silk tofu pie."

For more information about the course or registration, visit www.oakland.edu/pace or e-mail tomouradji@oakland.edu.

Clarkston nonprofit designs dream room for Detroit teen

A Space 2 Dream (AS2D), a Clarkston-based nonprofit that benefits local children and teens has redesigned the bedroom shared by a 13-year-old girl and her younger sisters. The girls' room received a pop star-themed makeover after AS2D learned of Brianna's post-traumatic depression.

Tricia Delude, founder of AS2D, said that upon hearing Brianna's story, she knew the organization had found their next deserving recipient. In the past, the all-volunteer group has surprised other kids with specially decorated rooms ranging in themes from sports to jungle to haute couture.

AS2D accepts nominations through its website, www.aspace2dream.org. After a nominee is accepted, a meeting is scheduled with parents or guardians to help the group understand each unique story behind the child and bedroom in need of a loving surprise. The organization surveys the space to learn about the child's or teen's interests and aspirations before setting out to create the perfect space to dream, create, be inspired or just to feel special. To date, AS2D has revealed four surprise room makeovers to Michigan families and with each room,

Delude explains that "in addition to décor, we'll also provide essentials like beds and mattresses to ensure safety, comfort and a good night's sleep." AS2D accepts individual or corporate donations of time, money and used furniture to help fulfill its mission. The organization holds numerous fundraisers throughout the year, including an upcoming back-to-school children's fashion show and dessert event aptly titled, "Fashionably Sweet." Set to take place August 24th at 6:30pm in Clarkston, the show will feature some of its previous room recipients as models. Tickets are $20. For more information, visit www.aspace2dream.org.

Art teacher's "Wish" piece seeks community's words of hope

What is your wish? Bloomfield Twp. artist Heather Kelly wants to know.

She's hard at work on Wish, a 9' x 4' canvas combining digital photography, Adobe Photoshop software, metallic powder and acrylic paint,  a piece she will submit to Grand Rapids' Art Prize competition on Sept. 21.

Kelly is asking the community to submit their wishes to her, which she will distort and display on the three-panel piece over the image of a child. If she wins, Kelly plans to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Excerpt:

Most of the text is so small that it will appear as if it were a simple line to anyone not looking closely.

Kelly, who teaches graphic design, metals and the fundamentals of art at Troy High School, is utilizing the latest technologies to collect wishes for her project. In addition to a submission form on her project's website, www.artprizewish.com, Kelly set up a Google Voice account where anyone can text (248) 838-WISH and the message will show up in Kelly's email.

Read more here.

Courage Awards recognize those leading the charge against elder abuse

The Oakland County SAVE (Serving Adults who are Vulnerable and/or Elderly) Task Force presented the inaugural Courage Awards to individuals and organizations that have taken action to further awareness of or prevent the abuse and exploitation of vulnerable adults. The awards were part of SAVE's Elder Abuse Awareness Event, which was held June 22 at the Oakland County Board of Commissioners Auditorium in Pontiac.

This year's inaugural recipients were honored in two categories: The Courage to Speak Out and The Courage to Lead. The Courage to Speak Out awards were granted to Margaret Vogan, the individual honoree and Comerica Bank, the organization honoree. The Courage to Lead awards went to Oakland County Assistant Prosecutor Derek Meinecke, the individual honoree and the Auburn Hills Senior Center, the organization honoree.

SAVE's Elder Abuse Awareness Event is in recognition of 2011 as the Year of Elder Abuse Awareness in Oakland County, declared by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson in February. Featured speakers included Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Edward Sosnick, chair of SAVE; Oakland County Corporation Counsel Judith Cunningham, representing Patterson; and Dr. Peter Lichtenberg, executive director of the Wayne State Institute of Gerontology.

The SAVE Task Force was founded in 2005 to bring together stakeholders across the spectrum of care services to create a coordinated response to abuse and exploitation of Oakland County's most vulnerable residents. Elder abuse -- like domestic violence and child abuse -- comes in many forms. Experts recognize it as a public health issue for which there are no socio-economic borders. Millions of Americans are abused, neglected or exploited each year, with an estimated 84% of cases going unreported.

In addition to much needed financial resources, the effort to end elder abuse is critically dependent on the commitment and partnership between government agencies and community organizations such as law enforcement, adult protective services, aging services providers and faith-based organizations. SAVE fosters these relationships. Dedicated individuals also can play a key role in advocating for the safety and well-being of seniors and vulnerable adults.

The Oakland County Executive Office partners with the Oakland County Circuit Court and the Prosecutor's Office Elder Abuse Section to prosecute abuse and neglect of our vulnerable citizens. Other partners include Oakland County Adult Protective Services and Aging Network Providers. If you suspect that someone is being abused or neglected, make an anonymous report to Adult Protective Services at 866-975-5010. If you are not sure, call and talk with a professional who can guide you.

For more information about SAVE, visit oakgov.com.

Oakland County Programs Win 10 Achievement Awards from the National Association of Counties

Ten Oakland County government programs were named 2011 Achievement Award winners by the National Association of Counties (NACo).

Winners were notified in a letter sent this month from NACo Executive Director Larry Naake. They will be recognized on July 17 during the NACo's 2011 Annual Conference in Multnomah County, Ore. In the 22 years Oakland County has submitted programs for consideration, it has received 183 awards. This year's winners represent 30 states and 94 counties.

"These NACo awards won by Oakland County government underscore our continued commitment of leadership through innovation," Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson said. "I congratulate all of the winners for their fine work."

The Department of Information Technology won awards for seven of its programs:

  • Advance Payment System for Local Municipalities: Designed to accept payment for any type of bill or fee collected by local governments
  • E-Health Mobile: Allows users to take geographic information systems into the field to collect and update data in real time to speed up permitting and inspections
  • Facilities Management Campus Energy Map: Provides awareness of the energy levels for county-owned facilities
  • Mobile Touch: Allows for touch screen navigation and browsing of the county's public web site
  • NetVolunteers: A technology-based community outreach program that allows trained volunteers to perform citizen-to-citizen customer service
  • Parks Network Expansion: Expands the county OakNet network to remote areas of Oakland County Parks
  • Services Registration: Information Technology and the Health Division have a web-based services registration portal to allow residents to sign up for a variety of health-related services.

The Oakland County Sheriff's Office was recognized for its Jail Alliance with Support (JAWS) diversion program for inmates with mental illness.

The Health Division won for its program, Perinatal High Risk Case Finding, which established a partnership with three busy WIC (Women, Infants and Children) clinics to establish relationships between public health nurses and high risk clients to reduce poor birth outcomes.

Children's Village was recognized for its Life Experiences for Youth Placed in Residential Treatment Programs, a 10-week program in which village residents help nurture and train abandoned dogs from the Oakland County Animal Shelter for placement with new owners.

The Achievement Award Program recognizes counties for improving the management of and services provided by county government. Since the program's inception in 1970, it has honored hundreds of county government initiatives that have improved service delivery, achieved greater cost efficiency, improved customer service and helped to develop a better-trained work force

Find out more at oakgov.com.


Oakland County Parks & Rec celebrates National Parks and Recreation Month

Oakland County Parks and Recreation celebrates "July is National Parks and Recreation Month"" by offering close-to-home events and promoting healthy and active lifestyles.

"It's important for families, especially now with escalating gas prices, to have recreation opportunities available nearby," Executive Officer Dan Stencil said. "We have a very unique natural environment in Oakland County. July is our annual opportunity to raise awareness about the benefit of public parks, such as time to spend with family, improved fitness and educational activities."

Oakland County Parks and Recreation's latest addition, Independence Oaks-North, features a 312-foot boardwalk for hiking connected to a 180-foot-long fishing dock. Independence Oaks-North adds to the 68 miles of trails in the parks. The universally-accessible Paradise Peninsula Playscape at Waterford Oaks County Park, open from sunrise to sunset during the summer, features an "Up North Woods" cabin, tree fort, sand dunes area, challenge course, and climbing areas.

For our furry friends and their owners, Oakland County Parks and Recreation opened its first doggy agility course at Red Oaks Dog Park in Madison Heights. The course includes a seven-foot climbing ramp for dogs, see-saw, tire jump, tunnels, jump bars and weave poles. On July 2 at 10 a.m., Orion Oaks Dog Park is celebrating Independence Day by hosting a best patriotic-dressed dog contest.

Red Oaks Waterpark offers after-hours fun at the Waterpark Family Fun Fest on July 8 from 6 -- 9 p.m. for just $5/person. During the event, all waterpark features are open, and guests can also enjoy the Inflatable Obstacle Course, carnival games, a climbing tower and free frozen dessert.

Golfers can take lessons throughout July. At Lyon Oaks Golf Course, ladies are invited to lessons Mondays from July 11 – Aug. 8, and adults over age 16 are invited to lessons Tuesdays from July 12 – Aug. 9.

Guests are invited to watch the fireworks display at Addison Oaks County Park on July 1 and Groveland Oaks County Park on July 2. Addison Oaks and Groveland Oaks campgrounds offer themed weekend recreation programs with crafts, activities and music. Both parks offer cabins, modern and group sites, trails, fishing, swimming and bike rentals.

For event registration, maps and more July events, visit DestinationOakland.com.

Southfield farm reaps harvest for the hungry

The Emanuel Community Garden in Southfield has already cultivated 2,300 lbs of fresh organic produce, but they don't plan on stopping there.

The community garden, which is made possible through a partnership between the Emanuel Lutheran Church and the Southfield Parks & Garden Club, donates all the fresh fruit and vegetables to Forgotten Harvest.

They're looking for volunteers -- so garden lovers, grab a pair of gloves and head down to one of Oakland County's most productive urban farms.

Excerpt:

Sharon Hall, 63, a Southfield resident for nearly 20 years, usually spends about six hours a week at the farm. She's been working on the effort since day one.

"It's a really good thing," Hall said. "I really think that now especially there needs to be help given to people who are struggling financially -- there are people trying to keep a roof over their head. It's a struggle. All the produce goes to help hungry people. We go into the store and buy our fresh vegetables and all that, but there's a lot of people that don't have that option. They just don't get the same kind of nutrients that people who have more income can get."

Get a helping of this story here.

Family Fest offers after hours fun at Oakland County Parks and Recreation

Families and friends are invited to Waterford Oaks Waterpark Family Fest on June 24 and Red Oaks Waterpark Family Fest on July 8 from 6 to  9 p.m.

"Families can enjoy waterpark features after-hours, socialize, play games and have fun," Recreation Program Supervisor Rachel Boyd said. "This is a great, low-cost way to spend a summer evening outdoors."

All waterpark features are open until 9 p.m., including the Soak Station water playground; Spray and Play area for toddlers; River Ride and waterslide at Red Oaks Waterpark. The tropical-theme wave-action pool; children's interactive water playground and group raft ride are open at Waterford Oaks Waterpark. Special activities at both waterparks include Bouncer and Inflatable Obstacle Course, Retro Playground Games, scavenger hunts, Go! Fish in grass, carnival-type games, Go! Cache, The Climbing Tower, Puppet Mobile and free frozen dessert for everyone.

Tickets are $5/person in advance and available at the Waterparks Recreation Office or by calling 248-858-0916 or $7 at the door. Only 1,000 tickets will be sold for each waterpark. Waterford Oaks Waterpark is located at 1702 Scott Lake Road in Waterford. Red Oaks Waterpark is located at 1455 East 13 Mile Road in Madison Heights. For more information, visit DestinationOakland.com or find us on Facebook.

Brooksie Way Middle School Challenge Launches

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and AT&T Michigan today launched the Brooksie Way 5k Middle School Challenge, encouraging middle school students throughout the county to adopt a healthy lifestyle by participating in the Brooksie Way 5k race.

Patterson, flanked by executives from AT&T, told a room full of students from Hart Middle School in Rochester Hills that AT&T had made it possible for them to run or walk the Brooksie Way 5k race at no cost in exchange for their commitment to prepare themselves physically for the Oct. 2 race. All of the students who attended today's kickoff were given passes to an Oakland County Parks waterpark.

"With childhood obesity a national epidemic, programs like this can make a real difference," Patterson said. "I hope as many kids as possible take the challenge."

The challenge is open to all Oakland County middle school students on a first-come first-served basis, limited to the first 300 students who register. Students are given free race registration, training shirts and training support. It builds on Patterson's efforts to combat obesity that began in 2004 with the Count Your Steps Pedometer Walking Program for third and fourth graders.

The Challenge gives those in middle school the opportunity to train and experience an official 5k race. All registrants who finish the Brooksie Way 5k are eligible for prizes like bowling and waterpark passes. The 5k is run immediately before the Brooksie Way Half Marathon, a 13.1 mile race through Rochester, Rochester Hills and parts of the Paint Creek Trail and Clinton River Trail.

AT&T is sponsoring the challenge because of its ongoing commitment to the Michigan communities the company and its employees have served for more than a century.

"AT&T has called Michigan home for more than 130 years and we are proud to be a part of shaping our state's bright future," said Jim Murray, president of AT&T Michigan. "Without question, the health, well-being and education of our students are key parts of that future and why we are excited to join Brooks and Oakland County in this important and fun effort."

Patterson encouraged students of all fitness levels to get involved in the race.

"The program is not just for star athletes. We want to encourage everyone to join in and get healthier by moving more," Patterson said. "It is only in this way that we can reverse lower life expectancy among younger generations due to obesity.

You can register for the Challenge at CountYourSteps.org.

The Brooksie Way Half Marathon is Oakland County's premier road race and takes place this year on Sunday, Oct. 2 at Oakland University. There is also a One Mile Fun Run on the grounds of Oakland University. You may walk or run any of the events. Proceeds from the race support local programs that promote healthy, active lifestyles through Brooksie Way MiniGrants. More than $57,000 has been given to support local programs in little more than one year. More information on the races can be found at TheBrooksieWay.com.

Oakland County residents can help Joplin

On Tuesday, May 31, Main Street Oakland County Program Coordinator Bob Donohue and 51st District Court Judge Jodi Debbrecht, a native of Missouri, announced how residents of southeast Michigan can help the victims of the tornado that destroyed most of Joplin, Missouri.

With a little more than a week left, the response from southeast Michigan residents has been encouraging, but there is still work to be done to reach the goal of filling at least four semi-trailers. A caravan led by Donohue and Debbrecht will depart Oakland County on June 16 to deliver the donated supplies to Joplin, Missouri by June 17 to aid in its recovery efforts.

Here is a reminder of the supplies requested by Joplin, Missouri Mayor Mike Woolston:
    •    Portable power generators
    •    Heavy duty extension cords (all sizes)
    •    Construction lighting
    •    Electric fans (all sizes)
    •    Wheelbarrows
    •    Garden rakes and shovels
    •    New or used power tools (circular saws, drills, chop saws, miter saws, nail guns, etc.)
    •    Dust masks, work gloves and eye safety goggles
    •    Construction safety grade hard hats
    •    Contractor grade garbage bags
    •    Plastic storage containers (all sizes)
    •    Tarps and bungee cords
    •    Ropes (all sizes)
    •    Pet food
    •    And children's books

"This list of needs comes straight from Joplin's mayor, Mike Woolston," said Donohue. "We know Joplin -- a former Main Street community itself -- needs these supplies and will put them to good use in order to help its residents and businesses recover."  Please note that Woolston says they do not need water. They have more than ample supply of water that already has been donated.

The collection points are located in the following Main Street Oakland County communities:

•    Farmington City Hall, 23600 Liberty Street
•    Ferndale – Simply Self Storage, 181 West Marshall
•    Franklin Village Hall, 32325 Franklin Road
•    Highland Fire Station No. 1, 250 West Livingston Road
•    Holly DPW, 201 Elm Street
•    Lake Orion DDA, 51 North Broadway
•    Ortonville DPW, 159 Cedar
•    Oxford DDA, 22 West Burdick
•    Rochester DPW, 1141 North Wilcox
•    Walled Lake DPW, 718 North Pontiac Trail
•    Oakland County Government, 1 Public Works Drive, Building 95 West, Waterford

"We're benefiting from tremendous generosity from people all over the country," Woolston told Donohue. "But if people can give cash, that's the best way to help us right now." 

Monetary donations may be made to "Oakland County Helps Joplin" at the Oakland County Credit Union, 1375 North Oakland Boulevard, Waterford, Michigan 48327. Oakland County Credit Union President & CEO Allan McMorris made the first donation of $1,000 today on behalf of the credit union. All donations will go directly to help with the recovery of the Joplin tornado victims. Donations are not tax deductible.

For more information, go to OaklandCountyHelpsJoplin.com.  

Southfield physical therapy program gets some love from PBS

One Southfield fitness center's rehabilitation program for injured and disabled patients won them some acclaim from none other than PBS. Fitness Therapy Unlimited was featured in a 15-minute PBS documentary titled "A Wider World," which aired in metro Detroit area  on May 31.

FTU was founded by Greg Kirk of Macomb Township six years ago out of his desire to help patients beyond their physical therapy training following an accident. The athletic trainer works long-term with patients to help them with weight loss, whole-body conditioning and regaining mobility.

Excerpt:

Kirk focuses on conditioning the whole body and improving the overall health and wellness of an individual. Many patients have gained 20-50 pounds of extra weight following serious injuries, Kirk said, and have developed chronic back pain because of the weight.

"A lot of what we do is preventative therapy as well — like preventing the onset of diabetes," he said. "We want to show people out there that not only does life go on after an accident, but you can be mobile. There are ways to burn calories in a wheelchair. There are ways to get the body moving."

Miss the PBS series? Check out FTU's video channel or click here to read the rest of the article.



Oakland County wins MSU Turfgrass award

Oakland County is the first county in Michigan to be designated as a Certified Environmental Steward 2011-2013 by the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program at Michigan State University. The award was announced at the 2011 OakGreen Summit at the Oakland Schools Building in Waterford.

"Oakland County is very proud to be the first county government to receive this environmental certification award," said Art Holdsworth, director of Facilities Management. "It took a lot of time and effort on the part of Grounds Division Chief Phil Goulding, but the value of having achieved this was well worth the effort."

Oakland County Grounds Division garnered this recognition because of the way it manages its use of non-toxic chemicals on the grounds at its government campus and its environmental stewardship in the way it cares for grass, trees and plants.

"Kudos to our Grounds Division team for achieving this level of excellence in caring for our government campus," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. "When residents visit their county government campus, they will see the beautiful results of the Grounds Division's hard work."

The Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program is intended to organize efforts of the turfgrass industry, state agencies, Michigan State University (MSU), and environmental advocacy groups to advance the environmental stewardship of the turfgrass industry and to recognize environmental achievements. The program was developed at MSU with support from the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, Golf Association of Michigan, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Michigan Department of Agriculture. Over the past seven years, the Michigan Groundwater Stewardship Program has provided the base funding to develop the program. For more information, go to www.mtesp.org/.

Six more projects receive Brooksie Way minigrant funding

Six more Oakland County projects received funding through the Brooksie Way Minigrant program, bring the total to more than $57,000 given to support health and wellness projects in the county in little more than one year.

The awards were handed out by Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson during a kickoff for the 2011 Brooksie Way Half Marathon at the Royal Park Hotel in Rochester. News Talk Radio 760 WJR and the Paul W. Smith Show broadcast live from the event.

"The Brooksie Way races continue to fund worthwhile community projects that provide for healthy lifestyles," Patterson said. "My son Brooks would be proud to see his legacy promoting health and fitness activities for the 1.2 million residents of Oakland County."

The Brooksie Way is an annual half marathon and 5K race named in honor of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young father and son of the county executive, who died after an accident in 2007. The 2011 race, which is partnership between Oakland County and the Crim Fitness Foundation, is set for Oct. 2. The run/walk begins and ends at Oakland University.

Support from HealthPlus of Michigan helps make the minigrant program possible.

"HealthPlus is proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Brooksie Way Half Marathon since the race began in 2008," said Bruce R. Hill, HealthPlus president and CEO. "We're especially pleased that our support helps fund minigrants to so many worthwhile health-related non-profits and wellness programs, which helps make Oakland County a healthier community. It's rewarding to see the Brooksie Way and HealthPlus grow in southeast Michigan."

Patterson created the Brooksie Way Minigrant program to use race proceeds to promote healthy, active lifestyles for Oakland County residents. Minigrants are awarded three times a year. The maximum award is $2,000. Grant guidelines and applications are available on the Brooksie Way website, www.thebrooksieway.com, and are reviewed three times a year – April 1, August 1 and December 1.

Awards were given to the following organizations:
  1. Polly Ann Trail Management Council, Leonard: The Polly Ann Trail connects Orion, Oxford, Addison Townships and the Villages of Oxford and Leonard. It is 14.2 miles long and utilizes the abandoned P.O. & N. railroad corridor. The grant will fund marketing of the 13th annual Rural Pearl of a Ride on the Polly Ann Trail which will take place on July 23.
  1. Swan for Life Cancer Foundation, Clarkston: Founded in 2009, the foundation is committed to improving the quality of life for persons affected by cancer. Swan for Life's service hope is to alleviate some of the anxiety associated with a cancer diagnosis by providing education and a support network. The grant will fund "Integrative Medicine – A Wellness Program" that incorporates acupuncture, yoga, clinical massage therapy and nutrition counseling.
  1. POH Regional Medical Center, Pontiac: The center is presenting its first Fit for Life 5K Fun Run & 1-Mile Walk on June 11. The walk/run will begin and end at Beaudette Park in Pontiac. Health and wellness screenings will be available for participants and a healthy celebration lunch. The Brooksie Way Minigrant will fund 25 scholarships for Pontiac middle and high school students to participate.
  1. Main Street Franklin, Franklin: Franklin is one of the newest Main Street Oakland County communities. It is presenting its first Main Street Franklin Historic Farmers Market, from July through October. The grant will fund children's activities that are focused on healthy outdoor fun and eating habits.
  1. The Neighborhood Gardening Club, Ferndale: The Gardening Club is an independent organization of partners that include MSU Extension Master Gardeners, MSU University Extension 4-H, Oakland Livingston Human Service Agency, The Charter Township of Royal Oak Parks and Recreation Department and other representatives. The grant will fund a community garden in Royal Oak Township in an abandoned park behind Grant School.
  1. Troy Community Coalition, Troy: For over 20 years, the Troy Community Coalition provides substance abuse prevention programs and activities for adults and local youth. The coalition, in partnership with the Troy Police Department, offers a summer camp for the children residing at the Rochester Villas apartment complex and students residing near Morse Elementary School in Troy. The award will fund bus transportation to swimming field trips and admission fees to the swimming locales.
Patterson said the race will begin and end at the Meadow Brook Music Festival, making it more convenient for racers. The Brooksie Way Fitness Expo, set for Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, has a new location. It will be held at the Oakland University Recreation Center. The 16-week training program that prepares novice runners for either the half marathon or the 5K begins in June in either Southfield or Rochester. More information and registration is available at www.thebrooksieway.com.

The Brooksie Way joins Count Your Steps (CYS), another successful health program founded by Patterson. Count Your Steps encourages elementary children and families to engage in more physical exercise through a pedometer walking challenge. CYS/Brooksie Way is organized to develop and implement one or more programs to educate school age children and their parents on the importance of a healthy diet and exercise and to foster and promote programs to encourage public health and fitness.

Patterson announces top three Count Your Steps winners

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, with Detroit Zoo mascots Junior Z and Zooper Hero at his side, announced the top three schools and school districts whose students walked the most steps during the month of March at the eighth annual Count Your Steps finale.

Shrine Catholic Grade School placed first this year; Franklin Road Christian in Novi was second; and St. Fabian in Farmington Hills finished third. West Bloomfield School District took first place among participating school districts. Second place went to Avondale Schools. Clawson Public Schools finished third.

Shrine third and fourth graders joined Patterson and his furry friends to take a nearly two mile "victory walk" around the Detroit Zoo.

"I may be walking with the first place students today, but all the kids who got out and got active this year are winners," said Patterson. "The number of obese children in the U.S. has doubled in the past decade. My Count Your Steps initiative is designed to do something about it here in Oakland County."

Shrine's students earned the first place prize for the fourth year in a row by walking an average of 201,910 steps per student, a total of 55,323,390 steps. Franklin Road Christian's students walked an average of 195,108 steps per student, a total of 19,901,059 steps. St. Fabian's students walked an average 179,115 per student, or 18,269,778 total steps.

The West Bloomfield School District averaged 1,656,758 steps per week; Avondale Schools walked an average of 1,517,396 steps per week; and Clawson Public Schools reported in with an average of 1,093,156 steps per week.

The Count Your Steps program ran the entire month of March this year with more than 17,000 students at 142 schools participating, logging 1,081,120,626 steps or 511,894 miles - nearly 20 times around the Earth. Students also ate 261,980 servings of fruits and vegetables. Since the program's inception, more than 156,000 Oakland County third and fourth grade students have logged more than 16 billion steps or 288 times around the Earth.

Alarmed by the growing national epidemic of childhood obesity, Patterson launched Count Your Steps in 2004 to encourage Oakland County kids to become active and make proper nutrition choices. For more information about Count Your Steps go to www.countyoursteps.org

2011 program sponsors are: Platinum: PNC Bank. Gold: AT & T, Brooksie Way, HealthPlus of Michigan, The Palace of Auburn Hills, The Detroit Zoo, Oakland County Parks, POH Medical Center, and Oakland County Health Division. Silver: Health Alliance Plan (HAP) and St. Joseph Mercy-Oakland. Supporting: Medical Network One.

Splash into summer with half-off rates at Red Oaks Waterpark

Sticking around home for Memorial Day? The long weekend just got cooler. Consider a trip to Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights, which opens May 28. To make the family fun more affordable, Oakland County Parks and Recreation is offering half-off admission prices through Memorial Day weekend.

Admission includes all-day access to the triple-flume waterslide, the wave pool and the River Ride. Kids can enjoy the Soak Station, the children's water playground with 68 features, including water jets, slides, bubbler jets and a six-foot tipping bucket, or the Spray & Play, a water play area for toddlers.

Red Oaks Waterpark is located at 1455 East 13 Mile Road in Madison Heights. For more information, visit destinationoakland.com

Old-timey baseball returns to the Rochester Hills museum

Another season of old-fashioned baseball is underway at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm. The Rochester Grangers Vintage Baseball Club will hold games on May 28, June 4, July 10 and August 28. They'll throw out the first pitch at 1:00 p.m. and fans are encouraged to bring their own chair.

Vintage baseball captures the essence of the game in the early 1800s, when players didn't use gloves are were required to play the game with exceptional gentlemanly behavior. The games are nine innings, but the pitchers throw slowpitch and various terminology harkens back to the early days of America's past time.

For more information on the Grangers, and to see a full schedule of matches, visit rochestergrangers.com. Find out more about the Rochester Hills Museum here.

OU Med school to open; helps builds county's future as biotech leader

With a new medical school, a partnership between Oakland University and Beaumont Hospitals, slated to open Aug. 6, The Daily Tribune of Royal Oak says Oakland County is poised to become one of the nation's leaders in biotech.

Innovative companies, vacant office space and the forthcoming training institution for new doctors will make Oakland County a leader in bioengineering, the paper predicts.

It also may provide added stimulus to the local economy.

Excerpt:

Pete Auger, City Manager of Auburn Hills, said the school is an asset to the community. "We're still hoppin'. We're still growing. We're exploring a lot of new companies," Auger said.

Auburn Hills Mayor James McDonald, said, "It's going to be a boon for our city. Other things are in the planning stage, but it's here. This could lead to mom and pop establishments coming to Auburn Hills."

Read more here.

Crittenton, Doctors' Hospital create affiliate residency programs

Doctors' Hospital of Michigan in Pontiac and Crittenton Hospital Medical Center in Rochester have finalized a Graduate Medical Education affiliation agreement, combining their educational resources to promote and ensure the ongoing training of family medicine residents at each of their respective institutions.

Excerpt:

DHM has an 18-position Family Medicine residency program while CHMC hosts a 24 position program. The teaching programs play a vital role in servicing the community's medical needs and providing the State with a flow of primary care doctors for the future.

"Our Family Medicine Residency program and support of Graduate Medical Education is just one more way Crittenton is committed to enhancing the health status of our community," said Lynn Orfgen.

Find out more here.

Summer camping season at Parks & Rec kicks off May 20

Mark your calendars for Friday, May 20 -- the opening of camping season at Oakland County Parks! Addison Oaks in Leonard and Groveland Oaks in Holly will both be open for reservations.

Both parks offer four to six-person cabins for those who want to "sleep in style." All cabins include a refrigerator, electricity, table and chairs, outdoor fire pit and cooking grill. Campsites include a nearby modern restroom and shower building. Trails, fishing, swimming, boating, baseball and volleyball fields, row and pedal boat rentals, bike rentals and a children's playground are available at both parks Addison Oaks features a 24-hole disc golf course, 7.5 miles of trails and a 3.6-mile equestrian trail. Groveland Oaks features a spiraling waterslide, an 18-hole mini golf course, a skate park area and one-mile paved Thread Creek Trail.

Advance reservations are available for cabins, group sites and pavilions, as well as 48 select individual campsites at each park. Campsite maps are available online. Phone reservations will be taken Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Addison Oaks and 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Groveland Oaks until the campgrounds open. After May 20, reservations can be made for both campgrounds Monday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Reservations for cabins, pavilions and group areas for Groveland Oaks can only be made Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Full payment plus $8 reservation fee must be made at the time of reservation.

Call (248) 858-1400 to reserve a campsite. Find out more about Oakland County Parks here.

Crittenton series continues to explore the healing arts

Throughout history, gardens have been used to aid in the healing process -- from the Japanese Zen Gardens to the Monastic Cloister Gardens. As spring unfolds, Crittenton Hospital Medical Center continues its three-part Healing Arts series with Healing through Places. How do nature and "green spaces" impact hospitals and patient care?

Answering those questions will be Corey Bordine and Heather Glenday of Bordine's, the largest family-owned production and retail nursery in Michigan. Healing Through Places will be held on Thursday, April 28th at 7:00 pm in the Crittenton Hospital Medical Center Lobby. This program is free of charge and open to the community. Please call (248) 652-5345 or email FoundationEvents@crittenton.com for reservations.

The Crittenton Foundation is hosting the three-part Healing Arts Series in the midst of a community-wide fundraising effort, named the Cornerstone Campaign, to build a new five-story patient tower. The tower will add approximately 173,000 square feet of space and 90 private patient rooms. Initial plans also include a rooftop healing and remembrance garden. By utilizing rooftop areas, Crittenton will be able to maximize available space and enhance patient surroundings through additional green space. The hospital also plans to pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification for new tower construction. By promoting the use of energy-efficient water, heating, cooling and air filtration systems, Crittenton aims to lessen its environmental impact.

More information can be found here.

Oakland County Parks and Recreation nominees win three statewide Community Service Awards

MRPA (Michigan Recreation and Park Association) has honored Oakland County Parks and Recreation nominees with three Community Service Awards.

The awards were given to organizations and individuals and who provide outstanding "above and beyond" service to the parks system.

North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy received an award for providing financial support in the acquisition of a186-acre parcel adjacent to Independence Oaks, now Independence Oaks North. The property is one of the most significant high quality green spaces in the county, featuring rare species, natural communities and headwater streams.

Sharon Greene
, a lifelong equestrian and resident of Highland Township, received an award for her work in developing trail connectivity throughout Oakland County including greenway and equestrian trail easements around new subdivisions and helping initiate the Highland Equestrian Conservancy. As a freelance writer for The Oakland Press, she has been a consistent advocate for the Oakland County Parks and Recreation Commission in general, and especially with the 2010 millage renewal efforts.

Dennis Rahn is one of three volunteers who dedicates his time to sweeping the Oakland County Parks and Recreation beaches. His Search and Recovery Team uses metal detectors and sand scoops to retrieve items from the land and water. The teams visit the beaches twice each month during the busy summer season and are on-call if any park visitors lose something valuable and need help with their search. Rahn established the Search and Recovery Team in 1999.

For parks events, maps and more, visit DestinationOakland.com.

CareTech Solutions invests $5 million into ops center

Troy IT powerhouse CareTech Solutions dedicated its new 30,000 sq. ft. Healthcare Infrastructure Operations Center, a state of the art technology hub for storing and monitoring of data systems and applications for the company's hospital clients across the nation.

CareTech currently processes over one billion transactions annually, managing over 650 terabytes of data for its clients. The $5 million investment triples the capacity CareTech needs to quadruple its business over the last three years. The company plans to add up to 200 new jobs in 2011.

The center features 30,000 sq. ft. of data storage and performance monitoring stations staffed by more than 50 healthcare IT professionals. It also has three SAS 70 data centers and a 96-fiber WAN backbone between data centers to increase speed.

CareTech currently provides information technology and Web products for more than 150 U.S. hospitals and health systems.

For more informaton, visit caretech.com

Kalsec selects McGraw Wentworth of Troy

It's been nothing but good news for McGraw Wentworth.

The Troy-based group benefit consulting and brokerage firm was recently selected by Kalamazoo's Kalsec, Inc. to manage the medical, life and disability coverage for the organization's 300 Michigan and Texas employees.

Kalsec, a family-owned company established in 1958, produces spice and herb extracts, natural flavors, colors, antioxidants and nutritional ingredients for a bevy of industries; from manufactured food to beverage, nutritional and pharmaceutical companies. Kalsec's products are marketed and sold in over 70 countries around the world.

McGraw Wentworth will handle benefit plan design, usage analysis and regulatory compliance for Kalsec, while also developing open enrollment materials for employees.

The award-winning firm was recently recognized as a "Top Workplace" by the Detroit Free Press, and is currently the state's largest group benefit consulting firm.

More heart clinics at Beaumont Royal Oak

A generous gift from the Ernst family will provide Beaumont Royal Oak Hospital with a new state-of-the-art cardiovascular center that makes affordable testing and student health a priority.

The Ernst Cardiovascular Center, endowed by Max and Debra Ernst of Orchard Lake with a $3 million gift in memory of Max's late wife, Ellen Ernst, is a 4,537 sq. ft center featuring multidisciplinary clinics for heart valve disease, atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure.

Many of the center's services focus on testing, including "7 tests for $70" heart and vascular screening, and student heart training for $25. A portion of the Ernst's gift is earmarked to support free student heart screenings twice a year for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, an enlarged heart condition that can cause sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes.

Read more here.

New event this fall from Crittenton Hospital focuses on breast cancer, healthy living

A new class offered this month by Crittenton Hospital Medical Center will help keep women aware of two important (and related)  topics -- personal nutrition and breast cancer.

On October 26, Crittenton Hospital serves up the latest news and information on the links between healthy eating and breast cancer. Held at the Whole Foods store in Rochester Hills, renowned local chef Michelle Bommarito will provide tips and information on nutrition. Crittenton physicians Dr. Elayne Arterbery and Dr. Pamela Johnson will also shed some light on breast cancer and healthy eating.

Cost for the event is $5, advanced registration is required. Participants will receive food and a chance to win a Whole Foods gift certificate.

Please register online at www.acteva.com/go/rochesterhills or call 248.371.1400

Xconomy reviews VC activity in Metro Detroit

The new news site in town takes on Metro Detroit's emerging venture capital scene and the streak of investments it has been on lately.

Excerpt:

There are three reasons Michigan can feel good about a recent $8 million venture capital investment in Detroit-based medical imaging company Delphinus Medical Technologies.

  • It is an investment in a Michigan company;
  • The investment comes from an all-Michigan VC team;
  • It is an investment in Michigan-grown technology developed in one of the state's premier research institutions -- one that deals with real-life cancer cases every day.

Delphinus Medical's breast-cancer-detection technology, SoftVue, has been undergoing development at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit for the past 10 years. Unlike mammography, it does not use radiation or compression to image the breast to detect early stages of breast cancer.

Read the rest of the story here and more here and here.

Encompass Health Care aims to heal accident patients without a hospital trip

ER waits,  hospital stays, costly bills … there are plenty of reasons why severely-injured accident victims often avoid a return trip to the hospital.

A new health care facility in West Bloomfield hopes to treat patients who are victims of severe wounds.

Dr. Bruce Ruben, a wound care specialist, directs Encompass Health Care, a 5,5000 sq. foot facility designed to treat these patients, with a particular focus on paraplegics and quadriplegics. He and his team members will perform nutritional and circulatory assessments, prescribe antibiotics, and try to preserve traumatized tissue with the use of hyperbaric oxygen chambers.

Read more here.

Ciena Healthcare building its 34th Michigan nursing home in Waterford Twp.

Waterford Twp. is getting a new nursing home courtesy of Ciena Heathcare as they build their 34th here in Michigan.

Excerpt:

Southfield-based Ciena Healthcare Management, Michigan's largest nursing home chain, has broken ground on a $6 million skilled nursing home in Waterford Twp.

The 120-bed facility, located on the northwest corner of Telegraph Road and Dixie Highway, will be called the Regency at Waterford.

When the 65,000-square-foot nursing home opens this fall, Regency will offer 40 private rooms and 40 semi-profit rooms for short-term rehabilitation and long-term care.

"Regency at Waterford will have a homelike environment for all residents and include the latest safety features plus an easy to navigate floor plan for both residents and staff," said Mohammad Qazi, Ciena's president, in a statement.

Read the entire article here.

Medical Main Street creates jobs

Oakland County's Medical Main Street made strides over its first year of existence by bringing in 250 life science jobs and nearly $10 million in new investment.

Excerpt:

"We are thrilled at the progress we've made," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson. "Businesses relocate and expand in Oakland County because we have the skilled and educated work force, world-class universities, affordable real estate and attractive financial incentives to help companies thrive. Our business development representatives travel the world selling the benefits of locating in one of the premier business addresses in North America."

Patterson created Medical Main Street 18 months ago to capitalize on the county's burgeoning life science industry, which includes 93,000 health care and life science jobs and more than 4,300 life science and medical facilities. The county is projected to add 45,000 health care and life science jobs in the next 10 years, according to a study conducted by the Anderson Economic Group. There are nearly 4,900 active clinical trials throughout Oakland County and the state - more than California, Florida, Texas and New Jersey.

Read the entire article here.

Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine reaches development milestone

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education has awarded preliminary accreditation to the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

The LCME is the national accrediting authority for medical education programs in the U.S. and Canada. To obtain preliminary accreditation, Oakland University filed an application with the LCME in August 2009 and was visited by an LCME survey team in November 2009. At a February meeting in Chicago, the LCME voted to grant preliminary accreditation to the school based on its survey team's report.

"We are delighted that the LCME has recognized the quality and value of our team's efforts to create a dynamic learning environment to produce highly competent, patient-centered doctors with a commitment to lifelong learning," said Robert Folberg, M.D., founding dean of the medical school. "This important milestone keeps us on track to begin instruction in August 2011."

Along with providing new medical education opportunities for students, the school will help to create jobs and infuse the region's economy with millions of dollars. It will also enhance medical care throughout the region by ensuring a future supply of physicians, advancing medical research and attracting top-level medical leaders and students from around the country.

"This is a historic day for Oakland University and for southeastern Michigan as a whole," said Dr. Virinder Moudgil, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost at Oakland University. "This significantly expands our commitment to the role higher education will play in the region and the state, and it shows that we're ready and able to build an innovative, knowledge-based economy for the future."

"Beaumont has long been a national leader in providing post-graduate residency and fellowship training for physicians," said Ananias Diokno, M.D., chief medical officer at Beaumont Hospitals. "Our involvement in this new medical school will attract even more medical talent to us and to the region – benefitting our patients and the communities we serve."

As part of the OU-Beaumont partnership, students will receive instruction in basic sciences and research at the school of medicine on Oakland University's campus in Rochester, and take part in clinical training and applied research at Beaumont Hospitals.

Operation of the school will be supported with revenue from tuition, commercialization of intellectual property, partner contributions, research grants and philanthropy.


Baker College of Auburn Hills respiratory care program granted accreditation

The Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) and the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP) have approved and granted initial accreditation status to the respiratory care associate degree program at Baker College of Auburn Hills. Initial accreditation is valid for five years.


"We appreciate the incredible amount of hard work and dedication that went into this effort," said Jeffrey M. Love, Baker College of Auburn Hills president. "Congratulations to the entire program staff and faculty, with special thanks to respiratory care department chair Kathy Miller. It was through her perseverance and adherence to continuous quality improvement that we successfully completed the accreditation process."

The respiratory care program at Baker College of Auburn Hills prepares graduates for a highly professional and dynamic career as competent respiratory care practitioners. Also known as respiratory care therapists, they work with other health care professionals to evaluate, treat and manage patients with respiratory illnesses and other cardiopulmonary disorders.

Respiratory care practitioners may find employment in hospitals, home care companies, physician's offices, extended care facilities, outpatient centers, respiratory care equipment sales, or as educators in hospitals, colleges and universities. Therapists may choose to specialize in neonatology or pediatrics, sleep diagnostics, pulmonary function testing, rehabilitation, or critical and emergent care.

All of the 2008 and 2009 graduates from the Baker College of Auburn Hills respiratory care associate degree program are currently employed. In addition, 100 percent of the 2008 graduates have passed the credentialing examination issued by The National Board for Respiratory Care. To date, not all of the 2009 graduates have taken the exam.

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is a non-profit higher education institution, serving more than 43,000 students on 12 campuses and in four satellite locations. Baker grants certificates and associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees in business, health sciences, education and human services, and various technical fields, as well as a doctorate of business administration. As a career college, the Baker College system is pleased to report that 98 percent of its available graduates are employed. For more information about Baker College, please check out our Web site at www.baker.edu.



Oakland County recognized for retiree healthcare prefunding

The Center for State and Local Government Excellence has cited Oakland County government for its "multi-faceted approach" in addressing liability issues regarding post employment pension obligations for employees and retirees.

In its 13-page report entitled: "Prefunding Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) in State and Local Governments: Options and Early Evidence," the Center noted that Oakland County began prefunding its retiree healthcare liabilities in 1987, doing away with the "pay as you go" approach in favor of calculating accrued liabilities and funding the associated Annual Required Contribution (ARC). The county issued $557 million in taxable Trust Certificates in July 2007 at a rate of 6.23 percent over 20 years to fund its OPEB liability.

The report notes that despite experiencing investment losses due to a declining economy, the county nevertheless still managed to fully fund its $60.2 million ARC in 2008.

"We are extremely proud of the fact that Oakland County is the first county in America to fully fund employee and retiree healthcare through a Voluntary Employee Benefits program (VEBA)," said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson.

The Center, in its report, also noted in addition to the OPEB bond funded VEBA the county established a new Defined Contribution Retirement Plan for employees hired after January 1, 2006. These newer employees, as pointed out in the report, are enrolled in a Healthcare Savings Plan where they become 60% vested after 15 years of service and fully vested after 25 years.

The creative and innovative use of Trust Certificates has enabled Oakland County to save taxpayers about $150 million over the next two decades.

To view the entire report online, go to: http://tinyurl.com/prefundingOPEB

Local Rankin Biomedical offers low cost solution for nation's physicians, researchers on lab needs

In today's tough economic times, doctors and researchers are looking for low-cost alternatives to equipping their offices and labs. Michigan-based Rankin Biomedical Corporation has been selling refurbished lab equipment for over 15 years to research labs, hospitals, universities, and physician offices around the country. His commitment to quality and the training he provides is what has kept his business strong. 

Rob Rankin, President of Rankin Biomedical Research confirms, "We know that for a lot of physicians to make money, they need to do more of the labs in their own office." Rankin continues, "It's a source of new revenue for a lot of physicians and we can set them up with just a fraction of the cost it would normally take if they bought new equipment."

Rankin Biomedical Corporation offers free consultation to prospective clients and with every purchase comes a warranty on the equipment and a service contract. Rankin also offers training on the newly-refurbished equipment to his clients.

Rankin is also looking for unused and surplus equipment at his client's sites. He wants to buy it. He considers his company a "natural recycler." He buys what his customers no longer need or have excess of (thus providing them income) and he refurbishes that same equipment for another client that needs it. "It's a natural process" Rankin continued.

About Rankin Biomedical:
Rankin Biomedical serves the scientific industry by refurbishing laboratory equipment and recycling it back into the market. Our customer base is comprised of hospitals, universities, clinical and physician office laboratories, and veterinary hospitals. To view a sample of the products we sell visit: www.rankinbiomed.com


Oakland University-Beaumont medical school files accreditation application

The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine has filed an application for preliminary accreditation with the Liaison Committee for Medical Education, the national accrediting body for medical schools.

The application for preliminary accreditation is the second step in a five-step LCME process that must be completed to achieve full accreditation status.

"We developed a comprehensive plan for the medical school to establish an innovative, student-centered learning environment; to nurture front-line medical research; and to promote competence, compassion, integrity and passion for lifelong learning among our students," said Robert Folberg, M.D., founding dean of the medical school.

The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine will capitalize on the strength of OU's highly acclaimed human health and life sciences programs and research, as well as Beaumont Hospitals' nationally recognized resident and fellowship programs, medical specialty services and renowned medical research initiatives.

If the LCME reviews the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine application favorably, the LCME will conduct a site visit. Based on the survey team report, the LCME then votes on granting preliminary accreditation to the program.

If preliminary accreditation is granted, school officials may begin accepting student applications in the spring of 2010 and welcome the school's inaugural class in the fall of 2011.
 


Oakland County Michigan's Medical Main Street launches new website, showcases life science resources

Oakland County Michigan's Medical Main Street has launched a first-of-its-kind website that features a daily news feed "Story Crawler" highlighting the latest advances from the local life science community.

The website, which is found at www.MedicalMainStreet.org is a valuable resource for hospitals, medical device manufacturers, educators and others involved or interested in the life sciences and is unlike any life science website in the country, said Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who founded Medical Main Street.

 "We want this website to be the portal to our life science community," Patterson said. "On the website we have listings of active clinical trials, company lists, university research centers, hospital specializations and much more information that highlights all the resources we already have in the Medical Main Street region".

The "Story Crawler" feature updates the website with the latest life science information about local companies and the region.

 "We have to do a better job of educating the world on the vast resources that exist here in Metro Detroit and specifically in Oakland County," Patterson said. "You'll find that on the Medical Main Street website."

Medical Main Street is on LINKEDIN: Medical Main Street is on LinkedIn to help facilitate partnerships, discussions and collaborations in Southeast Michigan or for those interested in finding partners in Michigan's life science industry.

About Oakland County Michigan's Medical Main Street:
Oakland County Michigan's Medical Main Street is a unique alliance of world-class hospitals, universities, medical device and BioPharma companies creating a global center of innovation in health care, research and development, education and commercialization in the life sciences industry. Visit www.MedicalMainStreet.org to get involved in the medical solutions of the future.

Oakland County Medical Main Street Board Members:

•    Ken Matzik, CEO, Beaumont Hospitals
•    David Berge, Executive Director, Delphi Medical Systems
•    James "Thayer" McMillan, CEO, Ferndale Laboratories
•    Nancy Schlichting, President & CEO, Henry Ford Health Systems
•    Dr. Gerard Housey, President & CEO- Housey Pharmaceuticals
•    Ed Pagani, CEO, Lumigen
•    Philip Incarnati, President & CEO , McLaren Health Village
•    Stephen Rapundalo, Executive Director, MichBIO
•    Dr. Gary Russi, President, Oakland University
•    Michael Wiemann, President, Providence Hospital / St. John Health
•    Rob Chioni, President, Rockwell Medical Technologies
•    Bruce Barrett, President, Somanetics


Five Detroit-area health systems make top national quality list

Southeast Michigan lands five health systems on Reuter's top national quality list. One, of which, is Novi's Trinity Health.

Excerpt:

Five of Southeast Michigan's health care systems made Thomson Reuters' list of best hospital systems based on quality and efficiency measures.

Two of the systems, Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and Trinity Health in Novi, made the top 10.

The other three systems are Dearborn-based Oakwood Healthcare Inc., Detroit Medical Center and McLaren Healthcare Corp. in Flint.

The Thomson Reuters' study, which was conducted exclusively for Modern Healthcare, a sister publication of Crain's Detroit Business, evaluated 252 health systems with 1,720 hospitals.

Read the entire article here.

Beaumont approved for anesthesiology residency program

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education recently approved an anesthesiology residency program for Beaumont Hospitals.

The first group of 24 anesthesiology residents is expected to start its four-year program in July 2010 under the supervision of program director Roy Soto, M.D. The residents will work at the Beaumont hospitals in Royal Oak and Troy.

Dr. Soto joined Beaumont in 2008 from the State University of New York at Stony Brook to begin coordinating the anesthesia residency program effort.

"This new residency program enhances our reputation as a first-class place to practice medicine and is an important part of Beaumont's long range plans of becoming a major national research, education and tertiary care referral center," says James D. Grant, M.D., chief of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak and chair of the department of Anesthesiology at Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine.

John Pappas, M.D., chief of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at Beaumont Hospital, Troy says: "This is the first new anesthesiology residency program in Michigan in 20 years and we welcome the Troy hospital being a part of it."

It is the first anesthesiology residency program for Beaumont.

Beaumont anesthesiologists – all of whom are diplomates of the American Board of Anesthesiology – work closely with surgeons, the operating room nursing and support staff and certified registered nurse anesthetists to ensure that patients get the safest and most up-to-date anesthesia care available. Many of the Beaumont anesthesiologists have advanced subspecialty training in critical care, pain medicine, pediatrics and echocardiography as well as every currently recognized subspecialty in anesthesiology. The department also has pain clinics at its hospitals in Grosse Pointe and Troy; at the Beaumont Health Center in Royal Oak; and at Beaumont Medical Center, Macomb.


Baker College of Auburn Hills dental programs granted accreditation

The Commission on Dental Accreditation has granted accreditation to the dental assisting certificate and associate degree, and the dental hygiene associate degree programs at Baker College of Auburn Hills. The Commission is a specialized accrediting body that operates under the auspices of the American Dental Association and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

"Congratulations to Iris Lane, Sheree Duff, Kelly Roos and the entire dental program staff and faculty for this outstanding achievement," said Jeff Love, Baker College of Auburn Hills president. "It is through their hard work and dedication that we are able to achieve this accreditation."

The dental programs at Baker College of Auburn Hills were granted the accreditation status of "approval without reporting requirements," and the formal report of the Commission following their site visit listed no recommendations for program improvement. Accreditation is valid for seven years.

Baker's dental assisting programs are designed to prepare individuals to sit for two board exams: The dental assisting national board exam to earn the Certified Dental Assistant (CDA) credential, and the state of Michigan board exam to earn the Registered Dental Assistant (RDA) credential. Graduates of the Baker College of Auburn Hills dental assisting programs may work in a variety of dental practice settings, including solo and group practices, specialty practices, hospital dental clinics, dental schools, public health clinics and dental laboratories.

The dental hygiene associate degree program at Baker College of Auburn Hills prepares students to sit for four board exams: the national dental hygiene board examination, the northeast regional examination, the local anesthesia examination and the nitrous oxide sedation examination. These allow graduates from the program to practice the profession of dental hygiene. Baker's dental hygienist graduates may find employment as clinicians, educators, researchers, administrators, managers, consumer advocates, sales managers and consultants. They may work in a variety of health care settings, including private dental offices, schools, public health clinics, hospitals, correctional institutions or nursing homes.

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is a non-profit higher education institution, serving more than 38,000 students on 12 campuses and in four satellite locations. Baker grants certificates and associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees in business, health sciences, education and human services, and various technical fields, as well as a doctorate of business administration. As a career college, the Baker College system is proud to have achieved a graduate employment rate of 98 percent. For more information about Baker College, please check out our Web site at www.baker.edu.


Adult Well-Being Services, Wayne State to launch survey on seniors

Wayne State University and Adult Well-Being Services join forces on a two-year study looking into senior citizens living in SE Michigan.

Excerpt:

Adult Well-Being Services and the Institute of Gerontology at Wayne State University plan to work together on a two-year study aimed at providing comprehensive data on senior citizens living in Southeast Michigan.

The Bloomfield Hills-based American House Foundation, the Detroit-based Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and the Troy-based Kresge Foundation are funding the study with grants totaling $275,000.

The project’s goal is to better customize service for the growing number of seniors in region and to identify the financial, employment and volunteer assets those age 65 and older bring to the region.

Read the entire article here.

Baker College of Auburn Hills practical nurse program granted full approval by board of nursing

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The practical nurse certificate program at Baker College of Auburn Hills has been granted full approval status by the Board of Nursing.

"This is a wonderful achievement for our campus and for the nursing department," said Jeff Love, Baker College of Auburn Hills president. "Congratulations to our Director of Nursing Chris Levandowski, and to the entire nursing faculty and staff who, through their hard work and perseverance, made this happen."

Initial approval was granted when the program was initiated in 2006. After the second class graduated in 2008, the practical nurse program became eligible to apply for full approval status. This process, which included an in-depth self-study and site visit, culminated in notification of full approval status, which is valid for eight years.

Graduates of the Baker College of Auburn Hills practical nurse program may apply for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses (NCLEX-PN), which is a standard exam developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. Only graduates of approved schools are eligible to sit for the exam. After passing the exam, graduates become licensed to practice, or LPNs.

"As graduates from a fully approved program, our students are assured that the program complies with statutory and regulatory requirements as established by the state of Michigan," said Chris Levandowski. "Furthermore, these requirements safeguard the public, as they ensure that our nursing programs and nursing graduates meet set standards."

The largest private college in Michigan, Baker College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It is a non-profit higher education institution, serving more than 38,000 students on 12 campuses and in four satellite locations. Baker grants certificates and associate's, bachelor's and master's degrees in business, health sciences, education and human services, and various technical fields, as well as a doctorate of business administration. As a career college, the Baker College system is proud to have achieved a graduate employment rate of 98 percent. For more information about Baker College, please check out our Web site at www.baker.edu.


5th annual Michigan Celebrates Small Business Awards ceremony

Nine Oakland County businesses are represented in the "Michigan Top 50 Companies To Watch" this year.

  • Anesthesia Staffing Consultants, Inc., Bingham Farms -- Anesthesia Services
  • Billhighway, Troy -- Financial Services
  • Coatings Specialist Group, LLC, Rochester Hills -- Environmental surface treatments
  • DP+Company, Farmington Hills -- Marketing and advertising agency
  • Emerald Steel Processing, LLC, Madison Heights -- Steel products
  • Eview 360 Corp., Farmington Hills -- Design Services
  • Macprofessionals, Inc., Novi -- Information technology services
  • Netarx Inc., Farmington Hills -- Computer systems design services
  • SmartFinds Internet Marketing, Birmingham -- Internet marketing agency

Find the entire awardee list here.

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Patterson and daughter to host free screening of lyme disease documentary 'under our skin'

Pontiac, MI, May 6, 2009 -- Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and his daughter, Mary Margaret Warner, will host a free screening of "Under Our Skin," a one hour and forty minute documentary on Lyme disease. The event will be held at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 13, 2009 at the Michigan State University Management Education Center, 811 W. Square Lake Road in Troy. Governor Jennifer Granholm has declared May Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Michigan.

Patterson's daughter, Mary Warner, became an advocate for the treatment and cure of Lyme disease after she contracted the debilitating illness in 1994 while still in high school. But as a result of proper medical treatment her condition improved dramatically and she is now considered free of Lyme disease.

The movie synopsis says "Under Our Skin" is a powerful and often terrifying look at not only the science and politics of Lyme disease, but also the personal stories of those whose lives have been affected and in some cases nearly destroyed.

"People who have Lyme disease, know someone with Lyme disease or just want to learn more about it really need to see this movie," said Warner. "What I hope people take away after watching the documentary is that they are not alone and they can get better."

Since Lyme disease was first discovered in the early 1970's in children living around the city of Lyme, Connecticut, it has remained a virtually mysterious ailment often misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, MS or ALS. The Centers for Disease Control estimates that more than 200,000 people may acquire Lyme disease each year, which is more than AIDS, West Nile Virus and Avian Flu combined.

The free screening of "Under Our Skin," the only such showing in Michigan, is made possible through funding from the Michigan Lyme Disease Association. A free reception will be held immediately following the documentary. For more information on the movie or Lyme disease in general, contact MLDA at 888-784-5963 or go to www.UnderOurSkin.com.


OU-Beaumont medical school announces new associate deans

Rochester, Mich. -- Robert Folberg, M.D., dean of the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, today announced the appointments of six associate deans to work with him in establishing an institution of distinctive education and research opportunities.

"We're excited to have assembled a team of first-class teachers, researchers and administrators who will lead the medical school in work guided by innovation, quality and a commitment to community outreach," said Dr. Folberg. "By providing our students with an exemplary medical education, these outstanding professionals will help produce a class of physicians that provides the best medical care available in the communities they serve."

School officials see the confidence these medical professionals have placed in the powerful partnership between Oakland University and Beaumont Hospitals as glowing testimony to the fact that Michigan has and can attract the outstanding talent, diverse resources and driving initiative it will need to build a more prosperous future.

As the state looks to overcome the most daunting economic challenges it has faced in decades, the appointment of these highly accomplished deans reinforces the promise of a broad and beneficial impact the medical school will have on health care, higher education and overall quality of life in the region.

Beaumont Hospitals President and CEO Kenneth Matzick said, "We are very pleased with the progress of the medical school, as evidenced by the appointment of these outstanding associate deans. We remain strongly committed to the school's development, for the benefit of Michigan's residents and the state's economy."

The new associate deans announced by Dr. Folberg include:

•   Robert J. McAuley, Ph.D., as associate dean for educational information technology. He also will serve as clinical assistant professor of biomedical science. McAuley has an extensive and diverse work history at the University of Illinois at Chicago, serving as chief information officer, adjunct assistant professor, associate dean and assistant dean. He also taught in the Department of Psychology at Roosevelt University in Chicago.

•   John Musich, M.D., as associate dean for graduate and continuing medical education. Dr. Musich serves as corporate director of medical education for Beaumont Hospitals. He also has served as Beaumont's associate medical director, chairman and residency program director for the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and corporate chairman for Obstetric and Gynecologic Services. Dr. Musich has held assistant and associate professor positions at Mercy College of Detroit, University of Michigan Medical School, Wayne State University Medical School and the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

•   David L. Felten, M.D., Ph.D., as associate dean for research. Dr. Felten is vice president for research and medical director of the Beaumont Research Institute. He also has served as a clinical research professor of anatomy and cell biology. Prior to joining Beaumont, he was dean of the School of Graduate Medical Education at Seton Hall University, founding director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of California Irvine College of Medicine, and professor and chair of the Department of Neuroscience and director of the Markey Charitable Trust Institute for Neurodegenerative Disease and Aging at the University of Rochester School of Medicine.

•   Michele D. Raible, M.D., Pharm.D., as associate dean of undergraduate medical education and a clinical assistant professor of pathology. Dr. Raible served as deputy head for pathology education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she oversaw both undergraduate and graduate education and faculty development. Her previous work includes serving as director of education for the Department of Pathology at Loyola University Medical Center.

•   Linda H. Gillum, Ph.D., as associate dean of academic affairs, faculty development and diversity, as well as an associate professor of biomedical sciences. Gillum built a 30-year career in health care education as a member of the dean's office at the University of Michigan Medical School, focusing on both student and faculty affairs. She also served as assistant provost for academic affairs at the University of Michigan.

•   Angela Nuzzarello, M.D., as associate dean of student affairs. Dr. Nuzzarello has served as associate dean for student programs and professional development at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. She has taught in general medical, behavioral science and psychiatry curricula at the Feinberg School of Medicine and at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria. Her work has focused on the health and wellness of medical students and on treatment of anxiety disorders.

"Both Oakland University and Beaumont Hospitals have garnered regional and national recognition for maintaining the highest standards in their education and health care endeavors, and it's clear this wouldn't have been possible without a strong commitment to welcoming only the most skilled, knowledgeable and dedicated faculty and staff members," Folberg said. "The same commitment will guide our efforts at the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and we fully expect to maintain and build on the distinguished reputations of both of these respected institutions."


Beaumont Hospital nurtures patients, patents

Royal Oak-based Beaumont Hospital's new commercialization center helps to bring new medical devices to life.

Excerpt:

Beaumont offers services from prototype development and real-world testing to regulatory approval preparation. Unlike similar efforts usually on a university level, the Beaumont Commercialization Center is a for-profit endeavor that offers access to a high-volume hospital system.

"The end goal is better products for Beaumont, as well as others," said John C. Shallman, director of strategic business development for the commercialization center. "We can bring to bear actual clinical, practical, economic decisions ... into the design process."

Read the full story here.


Eleven Oakland University nursing students receive 'gift of a lifetime' scholarships

Rochester, Mich. -- Eleven nursing students at Oakland University's School of Nursing have received the gift of a lifetime thanks to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program. During the fall 2008 and winter 2009 semesters, entry-level students in Oakland's School of Nursing Bachelor of Nursing Science Accelerated Second Degree program were eligible for 15 scholarships totaling $150,000 over three semesters. Those who have been awarded scholarships were selected based on financial need and merit.

Oakland's School of Nursing was among the first institutions in the nation and one of two in the state of Michigan to receive grant funding from the program, which was launched by the RWJF and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

"This program aims to safeguard the health of the nation by helping to ease the nurse and nurse faculty shortage," said RWJF President Risa Lavizzo-Mourey. "This new initiative also will advance our strategic goal of promoting leadership in the health professions."

The students who received this generous financial assistance were Suzanne Curtis, Karyn Davis, Jennifer Lane, Kevin Magnotte, Jennifer Spiller, Theresa Carrier-Torrealba, Innocent Idusuyi, Katerina Karnas, Amanda Lee, Natalie Martin and Tiffany Ostrowski.

For Katerina Karnas, receiving this scholarship "meant everything." With two young children and a husband who is blind, the financial support has helped greatly. "I really want to be a nurse because I love caring for people and I want to move around and be busy with people," Karnas said. "I feel like I've accomplished something and I am willing to work very hard. I won't let anyone down."

Grateful recipient Karyn Davis had taken an education leave from her job as a patient care technician in order to pursue her dream of becoming a nurse. "This gift means everything to me. My brother kept telling me to have faith and that things would work out. So when I got the news about the scholarship, he was the first person I called. I am looking forward to becoming a nurse in the emergency room or intensive care unit."

Barbara Penprase, director for the Accelerated Second Degree Program, thought that the timing for the grant was impeccable. "Michigan has been hit with such difficult economic times and unemployment. The dire need for professionals in the healthcare industry offers such a great opportunity to re-educate those looking for a rewarding and in-demand career in nursing."

Penprase was impressed with her students' dedication to the program, as well as with the number of them interested in pursuing a future master's degree, which is the required credential to teach.

By bringing more nurses into the profession at the baccalaureate and master's degree levels, the new scholarship program will also help address the nation's nurse faculty shortage. Data from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration show that nurses entering the profession at the baccalaureate level are four times more likely than other nurses to pursue a graduate degree in nursing.

The RWJF and AACN initiative aims to help alleviate the nations' nursing shortage by dramatically expanding the pipeline of students in accelerated nursing programs. According to RWJF, accelerated degree programs offer the most efficient route to licensure as a registered nurse for adults who have already completed a baccalaureate or graduate degree in a discipline other than nursing. Although enrollment in these programs has steadily increased over the past few years, many potential students are unable to enroll since already having a college degree disqualifies them from receiving most federal financial aid programs for entry-level students.

The New Careers in Nursing scholarships address this problem as well as the overall nursing shortage by enabling hundreds of students to launch their nursing careers through accelerated education. AACN serves as the National Program Office for this RWJ initiative and oversees the grant application.

For more information about the Accelerated Second Degree Program or the scholarship program, contact Barbara Penprase at (248) 370-4486 or via e-mail at penprase@oakland.edu.

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