UP health grants announced

HANCOCK — Several Copper Country agencies received one-time grants aimed at improving quality and access to health care.

The two-year grants came from Investing in Upper Peninsula Health, a collaboration between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation and the Superior Health Foundation.

An eight-person panel chose the recipients from a pool of 57, said Audrey Harvey, vice president of BCBS and executive director/CEO of the BCBS Foundation.

The funds are aimed at improving the quality of health care and expanding access. It is aimed at addressing critical health problems in the U.P., such as obesity, mental and behavioral health, substance abuse and chronic disease.

“One of the things that I wanted to do with this grant was to really take the opportunity to put in some requests and measures that would allow us to have a good handle on the impact of these grants,” she said. “I have a vision where at the end of these two years, we’ll be telling wild success stories all across the U.P. about the value of these grants.”

Harvey was on hand Wednesday to present checks to Dial Help, BHK Child Development and the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department.

The U.P. grant program is a one-time occurrence, Harvey said. However, U.P. organizations can still apply for grants through the BCBS’s ongoing giving program, which includes research and community grants. More information is available at bcbsm.com/foundation.

Other Copper Country or U.P.-wide recipients were:

• Bay Cliff Health Camp, which received $48,000 to enhance its “Life After Stroke” wellness program for stroke survivors, spouses and caregivers.

• UP Health Care Solutions, which received $65,000 to reduce the incidence of visual impairment from diabetic retinopathy for Baraga, Houghton, Keweenaw and Ontonagon counties.

• Great Lakes Recovery Center, which received $50,000 to support four residential treatment facilities with a recreational program aimed at youth and to provide service for mental health and substance abuse.

• UP Diabetes Outreach Network, which received $50,000 for preventing Type II diabetes to increase awareness and testing for prediabetes, as well as expanding access to diabetes prevention programs.