LiveWell For Your Heart

The Health Resources and Services Administration has awarded District Health Department #10 (DHD#10) funding in the amount of $200,000 for Year One of the “Dental Partnering for Health Project” in Lake and Mecosta Counties.

DHD #10, Spectrum Health Big Rapids Hospital, My Community Dental Centers (MCDC), Baldwin Family Healthcare and Ferris State University will be working 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, stated 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 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,” noted 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. “MCDC looks forward to working with community partners on this project”, noted Angela Begeman, Office Manager.

“This project will increase access to health care services by establishing referral partnerships between dental clinics and primary care providers,” stated Donna Norkoli, DHD #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

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number D04RH31633 Rural Health Care Services Outreach Grant Program in the amount of $200,000. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government.

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