Healthcare News

Michigan is Experiencing a Hepatitis A Outbreak

By | Health Care News

Calhoun County is one of several counties in Michigan being affected by Hepatitis A, a serious liver infection. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale stools, and jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and/or skin). The disease is spread through contact with infected persons, or use of illegal drugs.

How can you prevent the spread of hepatitis A?  If you are at risk, get vaccinated.  Talk with your healthcare provider about vaccination.  Also, practice good hand hygiene.  Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using the bathroom and before preparing or eating food.  Finally, make sure you avoid sharing food, beverages, or other items like toothbrushes with others.  We can stop the spread of Hepatitis A in Michigan.  Learn more:

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Grace Health Receives a Grant from Chemical Bank

By | Health Care News

Renee Underwood and Sarah Russell of Chemical Bank present Linda Wetherbee, CPNP and Diane Craig of Grace Health with a check for $3,500 to purchase books for Grace Health’s Reach Out and Read, Early Literacy Program. New, age-appropriate books are given to children 6 months – 5 years of age by the provider during their well child visit.  The provider explains to the parent/guardian the importance of reading to/with a child – linking health care to literacy.

Grace Health’s Reach Out and Read, Early Literacy Program started in 2004. Through the generosity of organizations like Chemical Bank, Grace Health has provided over 51,700 books to children since the start of the program.  Chemical Bank stated, “We hope our donation will  help children develop a greater appreciation for reading, while at the same time help to improve literacy among the younger population.”

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Grace Health Staff Raise Funds for Hurricane Relief

By | Health Care News

Grace Health staff raised funds to help those who have been affected by the recent hurricanes. A group of staff members (Jennifer Colberg, Melanie Gardner, Lori Wesner, and Lynne Olmstead) came up with a plan for various events staff could participate in to raise money for hurricane relief.  Throughout the entire month of October staff had the opportunity to purchase raffle tickets at a chance to win 1 of 6 gift baskets.   Staff paid to wear jeans on Jean Day, Friday, October 20.  Not only did staff contribute financially to the cause, but they also put their baking skills to the test and made several homemade items for the Bake Sale on October 27.  For every $1,000 raised, a raffle ticket was drawn giving a staff member 8-hours of PTO.  All funds raised will be given to Samaritan Purse for Hurricane Relief 2017.

Grace Health thanks the following community organizations for donating gift cards and/or items for the gift baskets: Finley’s, Fitness Loft, Keyes Auto Body, Minges Creek Salon & Spa, Taqueria San Francisco, Goodrich West Columbia 7 Theaters, Wirtz Family Popcorn, NCG Cinema, Barista Blues, Culvers, Fun 4 Us, Steak and Shake, Taco Bell, FYE, Sweetwaters’ Donuts, Continental Pastries & Deli, Biggby Coffee, and Lux.  Through the kindness of these organizations and all of the efforts from Grace Health staff a total of $5,798.50 was raised.  A big THANK YOU to all who helped!

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Celebrating Certified Nurse Midwives

By | Health Care News

Although National Midwifery Week is October 1 – 7, 2017, Grace Health is recognizing its nine Certified Nurse Midwives during the month of October. What is a nurse midwife? Some people may think midwives only assist during labor; however, they can do much more. Grace Health’s Certified Nurse Midwives, provide health care to women which means they perform physical exams, prescribe medications, order laboratory tests, provide prenatal care, gynecological care, labor and birth care, and provide education and counseling for women of all ages. They specialize in knowing the difference between normal changes that occur and symptoms that require extra attention. Evidence-based medical care is used when there is a specific concern for the health of mom or baby. Grace Health’s Certified Nurse Midwives work with women during pregnancy and respect the goals and choices of each woman and family.

Grace Health asked some of its patients what they thought of their Midwife. This is what a few of them had to say:

“I had the same midwife through my whole pregnancy. She is amazing. When I was in labor, she was there for me. She jumped in when I was having back labor pains and showed my boyfriend how to push my hips together to relief the back pain. She stayed by my side.” – Kaleana Kidder

“My midwife helped us so much during our labor experience, she not only made me feel as comfortable as possible, she also was there for Julian and had him involved (his main worry was being left out). I first met my midwife during the CenteringPregnancy they offer at Grace Health which I highly recommend. She was able to be there for my entire pregnancy and deliver my baby. We were able to build a special bond which made my experience so much easier. She coached me through the entire 7 hours without pain medication and she knew exactly what she was doing. I’m so thankful for my midwife, I couldn’t have done it without her. To anyone who is considering a midwife I promise you won’t regret it”. – Denise Carpenter

“I saw a midwife for my prenatal care. My midwife helped guide my decision for delivery planning and supported my choices. During labor, my midwife was extremely reassuring in an emergency situation with having to have a C-section”. – Lindsay Wriston

If you have questions about certified nurse midwives or would like to schedule an appointment, call Grace Health at 269-441-3443

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Mom and Baby Tobacco Free Program Graduates

By | Health Care News

In January 2017, Grace Health started a Mom and Baby Tobacco Free Program. This is a smoking cessation program targeted at pregnant women to improve pregnancy health and birth outcomes by helping women quit smoking during pregnancy.  Women who quit smoking are less likely to have a premature and low-birth weight baby.  Staying smoke-free after the baby is born extends a positive health outcome for women and their families.

To participate in the Mom and Baby Tobacco Free Program, patients must commit to quit smoking during pregnancy. Grace Health providers and staff meet with them regularly to discuss their progress and provide the support they need. We often recommend resources such as Michigan Quit Line, Bronson Battle Creek Fresh Start program and Maternal Infant Health Program.  Program participants who are successful in quitting smoking throughout pregnancy receive free diapers and a gift card.

Robin Cooper and Sarah Furdero recently graduated from Grace Health’s Mom and Baby Tobacco Free Program. Robin said, “I am thankful for the program and smoking is really important to stop when your pregnant.”   Although Sarah tried to quit smoking before, her baby gave her a good reason to quit – “I tried to quit several times but when I got pregnant the decision was to quit something bad for something good.”

To learn more about Grace Health and the services provided visit their website at

Robin Cooper Sarah Furdero

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Grace Health Receives Bikes

By | Health Care News

Grace Health recommends that children have a yearly physical exam which is an important step in helping to keep your child healthy. To encourage parents to bring their children in for a well-child exam, children brought in during the months of July and August had their name put in a drawing for a chance to win a new bike and helmet.  Congratulations to our winners:  Avril Elliott, La’ Montiana Walker, Lamar Burton, and James Yeomans.  Grace Health would like to thank Meridian, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, and Priority Health for donating a total of 4 bikes and 4 helmets for the drawing.

Bike Winner.Avril Elliott.Meridian (2) Bike Winner.James Yeomans.United Health Care (1) Bike Winner.Lamar Burton.Priority Health 091217 (2) Bike Winner.LaMontiana Walker.United Health Care (2)

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Peter Chang, MD, MPH Appointed as New CEO of Grace Health

By | Health Care News

Grace Health Board of Directors announced on June 14, 2017 the appointment of Peter Chang, MD, MPH as the new President/CEO of Grace Health.  He will assume responsibilities on July 1, 2017 and will succeed Dr. A.J. Jones who is retiring at the end of June after over 25 years of service.

“The Grace Health Board of Directors is confident that Dr. Chang is the right leader to continue to meet the needs of our patients and the community we serve,” says Board Chair, Rose Miller.

When Dr. Chang came to Battle Creek 23 years ago, he wanted to live in a smaller town with strong values. He joined Grace Health’s team in 1994 as a Family Practice Physician because he believes it is important to treat patients as people – not conditions. This belief aligns with Grace Health’s mission – We provide quality health care with the belief that all individuals have the right to considerate service at all times, with recognition of their personal dignity – and is evident in the care he has provided for our community over the years.  He plans to lead Grace Health by continuing to focus on patients and helping to build a healthier community.

Dr. Chang served as Grace Health’s Chief Medical Officer from 1996 until November 2009 while continuing to provide care for patients on a daily basis. In January 2016, Dr. Chang resumed the position of Vice President/CMO.  He received his Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Kansas School of Medicine and became Board Certified by the American Board of Family Practice. Dr. Chang also obtained a degree in the Executive Masters Program in Health Management and Policy from the University of Michigan.

Grace Health (GH), formerly known as Family Health Center of Battle Creek, has been providing health care to Calhoun County, MI residents since 1986. GH is a dually-designated FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center: Community Health Center and Health Care for Homeless provider). GH’s target populations are un(der)served, low/no income and un(der)insured persons. GH sees patients of all ages (both male and female), all races and ethnicities.  In 2016, GH provided more than 133,900 services for just over 31,000 individuals, approx. 23% of the county’s population (70.3% uninsured or w/Medicaid coverage), averaging 530 new patients monthly.  GH currently employs a staff of over 320. GH services include:  Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Dental, Behavioral Health, ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat), Optometry/Vision Care, Podiatry and Physical Therapy.

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Grace Health Receives Grant from Lions Club

By | Health Care News

The Battle Creek Cereal City Lions Club provided Grace Health (GH) a $5,000 legacy grant in conjunction with the International Lions Clubs Centennial Celebration. These funds are being used for the purchase of eye glass display cases. GH began providing vision/optometry services in March 2016 and added glasses on June 21, 2017.  Patients are now able to get an eye exam and glasses all at GH.  For those in need, the Lions Club and GH are partnering to establish an eye glass program to provide free glasses.

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Grace Health Opening New Site in Downtown Battle Creek

By | Health Care News

Grace Health’s (GH) new downtown Battle Creek site will open Monday, June 12 – giving GH two locations in Battle Creek. Family Medicine and Behavioral Health services will be provided at the new site located at 62 E. Michigan Avenue.  To begin, GH’s downtown location will be open for walk-ins Monday – Friday from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm – no appointment needed.  This new site will allow anyone in the downtown area to easily walk to GH to receive medical care.

Community members are invited to join GH for an Open House at the downtown location on Tuesday, June 27, from 4:00 pm until 6:00 pm. People may tour the facility, talk with staff, and learn more about the services GH provides.

GH has been providing health care to Calhoun County, MI residents since 1986. GH is a dually-designated FQHC (Federally Qualified Health Center: Community Health Center and Health Care for Homeless provider). GH sees patients of all ages (both male and female), all races and ethnicities. In 2016, GH provided more than 133,900 services for just over 31,000 individuals, approx. 23% of the county’s population (70.3% uninsured or w/Medicaid coverage), averaging 530 new patients monthly.  GH services include:  Family Practice, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, OB/GYN, Dental, Behavioral Health, ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat), Vision / Optometry and Podiatry.

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Dr. Jones Retiring from Grace Health

By | Health Care News

Dr. AJ Jones plans to retire from Grace Health (GH) at the end of June after more than 25 years of service. He started as the Director of Operations in April 1992 and became the President/CEO in August of that same year.  Dr. Jones has been the President/CEO for just over 25 of GH’s 31-year history.

When Dr. Jones took over leadership of GH, there were a small number of staff providing care for just over 900 patients. Grace Health has now grown to the largest non-profit health center in Calhoun County with over 325 staff members providing care for almost 32,000 patients with more than 133,000 visits in 2016.

He saw GH go through a few name changes. It began as North Avenue Women’s Center in 1986, then changed to Family Health Center of Battle Creek in 1992 and later changed to Grace Health 2015.

Dr. Jones wrote GH’s first federal government grant to receive funding to meet the needs of our community members. As a result, GH became a Federally Qualified Health Center.  Although Grace Health started by only providing women’s health services, through Dr. Jones vision, direction and leadership additional services have been added to provide health care for the entire family and to meet the increasing needs within the community for access to quality care.  GH services now include:  Family Practice; Internal Medicine; OB/GYN; Pediatrics; Dental; Ear, Nose, and Throat; Behavioral Health; Vision/Optometry and Podiatry.  Physical Therapy will be added within the next few months.  Other services provided by GH are: on-site interpreters, Portable Dental, Patient Advocates, Outreach & Enrollment Counselors, Maternal and Infant Health Program, CenteringPregnancy and CenteringParenting, Maternal Oral Health Program, Diabetic classes, Nutrition Counseling, Behavioral Health Group Therapy classes, Reach Out & Read program, and much more.  Dr. Jones goes out in the community and meets with GH Executive Management team and Directors on a regular basis to evaluate the needs of GH’s patients and the community and looks for ways services can be expanded to meet the ever-increasing needs.  Not only has Grace Health increased services provided in Battle Creek, but it also added a site in Albion back in 2003 which currently provides dental services.  In June of this year, Grace Health will add a site in downtown Battle Creek (62. E. Michigan) where family medical care and behavioral health services will be provided.

Constant growth and the addition of services, led to new construction and multiple expansions and renovations. Dr. Jones led and oversaw all construction starting with the move from 632 North Avenue to GH’s current location at 181 West Emmett Street in February 1998.  Due to Dr. Jones’ forward thinking, the multiple expansions and renovations that have been done throughout the building helped to increase efficiency and quality of care for patients.  The main building (west campus) is now 66,000 square feet and the OB/GYN building (east campus) is 45,000 square feet for a total of 111,000 square feet at the Battle Creek location – the largest Federally Qualified Health Center site in Michigan.

Education is very important to Dr. Jones. He encourages staff to further their education and always strive to learn more.  As a result of difficulty in finding qualified Medical Assistants, Dr. Jones started a program at Grace Health in which staff go through several months of training to become a Medical Assistant.  He also started an incubator program for newly hired Nurse Practitioners.  This program provides a mentor to the new Nurse Practitioner.  The mentor answers questions and provides assistance as needed for the Nurse Practitioner. For the future of GH, Dr. Jones is leading GH towards becoming a teaching facility and is working with Western Michigan University residency program.  Not only will this help staff increase their knowledge in health care, but it will also result in better care for patients.

Throughout GH’s history, Dr. Jones’ has ensured the mission has stayed the same: At Grace Health, we provide quality health care with the belief that all individuals have the right to considerate services at all times, with recognition of their personal dignity.

Not only has Dr. Jones been the driving force behind all the improvements and addition of services at GH to meet increasing needs of patients and the community, but he has also been instrumental in forming community collaboratives in an effort to decrease gaps in health care services. In 1999, he started the Maternal Infant Health Commission after the close of OB services.  He started the Access to Care Group in 2000 which is a group of community members who meet on a monthly basis to assess needs in the community, evaluate gaps in health care and work on solutions for improvement.  Dr. Jones also started the CEO Forum in which CEO’s from community organizations meet on a regular basis to share information to help ensure community needs are being met.  Over the years, Dr. Jones has served on multiple committees at both community and state level.  The committees and Boards he served on include:  CEO Forum, The Coordinating Council, Access to Care, Miller College Board, Southwest Michigan Rehab Foundation Board, Southwest Regional Rehabilitation Board, Michigan Primary Care Association Board, Michigan Primary Care Association Membership Committee, Northcentral Neighborhood Planning Council 2, Battle Creek Advisory Nursing Board, Health Care Leadership Forum, Minority Health Partnership, Regional Health Alliance (RHA) Leadership Cabinet, RHA Issue Action Group – Choose Health, RHA Issue Action Group – School Wellness Advisory Group, Substance Abuse Council, Teen Health Work Group, United Way Campaign Committee, United Way Directors’ Association, and Y Center Board of Directors.  Although this list is not all inclusive, it provides a highlight of the various committees and Boards he served on to help with improvements in our community.

The Board of Directors, GH staff and patients, wish to publicly thank Dr. Jones for his tireless dedication to GH and our community. We appreciate all that he has done to make a difference.

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