Grant to help Health Department prevent Heart Disease

Thanks to a three-year grant recently awarded to District Health Department No. 10, heart disease prevention efforts in Mecosta and Lake counties will get a shot in the arm.

The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded DHD No.10 funding in the amount of $200,000 for the first year of the “Dental Partnering for Health Project” in the two counties.

DHD No. 10, Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital, My Community Dental Centers, Baldwin Family Healthcare and Ferris State University will work together on the project to reduce the risk of heart disease in adults.

“Lake County’s health rankings indicate a high need for resources in combating cardiovascular disease,” said Kathy Sather, CEO of Baldwin Family Health Care. “This funding opportunity will allow resources for a community health worker to connect those in need of services to resources. We are very hopeful we will begin to see declines in disease as a result of this funding.”

Starting this summer, these partners will conduct screenings of eligible adults using the CDC’s Heart Age Calculator to determine a participant’s risk of heart disease.

“This is an excellent learning opportunity for our students and reflects Ferris State University’s mission of preparing its students for successful careers, responsible citizenship, and lifelong learning,” said Emmanuel D. Jadhav, assistant professor of public health.

Once risks are determined, participants will be referred to appropriate healthcare resources to reduce these risks. Resources include: help to quit tobacco use, weight management, physical activity resources, diabetes prevention classes and high blood pressure management. Healthcare providers will also be trained to assess patients for dental problems and provide referrals to dental services.

“This project will increase access to health care services by establishing referral partnerships between dental clinics and primary care providers,” said Donna Norkoli, DHD No. 10 project coordinator. “This project will also increase awareness and knowledge of the importance of regular dental care and the relation to heart disease. Participants will be tracked for the three years of the project to determine if risks for heart disease were reduced through this program.”

For more information about this project or to sign up for screenings, contact Donna Norkoli, project coordinator, at

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Big Rapids Pioneer Staff

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