I’m Lynn Todman, PhD 





About Me


I am the Executive Director for Population Health at Spectrum Health Lakeland (SHL) in St. Joseph, Michigan. In this role, I support the strategic efforts to improve the health of the regional population.

Since 2018, I have been a commissioner of the city of St. Joseph. I am also a member of the Downtown Development Planning Committee. 


I’ve been a keynoter, a panelist, and a moderator at conferences throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe on a variety of topics, including social exclusion, the social determinants of mental health, mental health impact assessment, and health equity.

I have also addressed issues such as poverty, unemployment, food insecurity, incarceration, violence, and homelessness.



I am passionate about population health and, in particular, the health of communities of color and raising awareness of how racism can impact health.


We are working to determine the impact that both Community
Grand Rounds and Brave Talks are having on our community at large. This research leverages my role as a Robert Wood Johnson Culture of Health Leader.

Previously, I examined the relationship between diet and anti-social behaviors among youth. I did this work to determine whether living in a food desert (one of the many social determinants of health) might be a factor contributing to community violence. I am currently developing research around other social determinants of health, such as employment, income, education and housing.



You're Invited!

Dr. Arline Geronimus from the University of Michigan, will come talk to us about how social and biological factors influence our health and health equity. Please RSVP below and join us on Oct 22nd!

2019 CGR Upcoming Events

Arline T. Geronimus, ScD Professor Health Behavior & Health Education

Tuesday, October 22nd
1:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Howard Performing Arts Center, Berrien Springs

Brave Talks Story: Liz Garey

In Retirement, She Has Experienced an ‘Epiphany’ about the Extent of Systemic Racism. Her Approach to Change? – the ‘Ripples’ Method...

BRAVE TALKS STORIES: The people taking part in southwest Michigan in continuing conversations – called Brave Talks – about racism’s effect on health are finding themselves changed. Here, as part of a series, is one participant’s story.

“In the United States, as in other racialized countries in the world, racially stigmatized and disenfranchised populations have worse health than their more advantaged counter evident in higher rates of mortality, earlier onset of disease, greater severity and progression of disease, and higher levels of comorbidity and impairment. In addition, disadvantaged racial populations tend to have both lower levels of access to medical care and to receive care that is poorer in quality.”

– David Williams

Community Grand Rounds (CGR)

Community Grand Rounds is a three-year speaker series designed to educate both health care providers and community members about the connection between racism and health outcomes in Berrien County, Mich.


Launched in 2018, Community Grand Rounds (CGR) hosts local and nationally recognized speakers who discuss the issues of health equity and population health. Speakers address the health implications of racism as well as the emerging sciences of epigenetics and social genomics. The events are designed for professionals in medicine, allied health fields, and social work, as well as government leaders and community members.

Visit the Community Grand Rounds Speaker Series

Community Grand Rounds (CGR) is an effort to raise awareness and understanding of this new science and its implications for health. In a series of speakers and discussions, Spectrum’s clinicians, administrators, and board members, as well as government and community leaders will learn from experts about the impact of racism on health. The goal is to inform and to set the stage for further discussions and actions leading to improved health outcomes across the population served by Spectrum Health Lakeland.

Facts Matter

What is the impact of stress on health?

Tasha N. Turner, MA, LLPC, Program Director, Trauma Informed Initiatives  discusses our physical response to stress. 

What is the body's response to stress?

Our physical well-being is reliant on our mental and emotional state.

Health Inequities in Berrien County, Mi

The Community Grand Rounds Initiative requires the use of a health equity lens to identify and address the impact of institutional policies on health inequalities. The statistics support this focus.

Everyday Discrimination and Metabolic Syndrome - Racially Diverse Women's Health. Beatty (2018)

For every 1 point increase in discrimination score, 3% increase in incidence of Metabolic Syndrome (hypertension, obesity, lipids).

Discrimination and Cardiovascular Risk in Low-Income African American Youth. Goosby (2015)

Increase in perceived discrimination among youth aged 10-15 significantly associated with higher inflammatory markers and onset of hypertension.


Discrimination and Depression among African American Men. Wheaton (2018)

Everyday discrimination is a consistent predictor of depression among African American men throughout their life.

The acclaimed author of A Raisin in the Sun and civil rights activist, Lorraine Hansberry, died of pancreatic cancer at age 34 in 1965. At her funeral, author James Baldwin said: “It is not at all farfetched to suspect that what she saw contributed to the strain which killed her, for the effort to which Lorraine was dedicated is more than enough to kill a man.”


What is Community Grand Rounds?

 Dr. Lynn Todman shares how “CGR” became a speaker’s series designed to deepen the understanding of how racism impacts the health in communities of color.

What inspired Community Grand Rounds?

Spurred on by the findings of Lakeland Health’s Community Needs Assessment, Todman found significant health disparities in the region that she wanted to delve into further.

What can people expect to take away from CGR?

Todman shares she wants people to walk away with increased awareness around the following:

  1. There is no biological basis for the concept of race
  2. Racism is a form of psychological trauma
  3. Like all forms of trauma the toxic impacts are preventable.

Interview with Dr. Bechara Coucair

Kaiser Permanente’s Dr. Bechara Coucair interviewed by Spectrum Health Lakeland’s Norma Tirado on what matters most to community health. 

Does a better diet lead to better behavior?

While the science indicates that it does, children in one Benton Harbor, Michigan, school helped to demonstrate the link between better mental health and a food palate that involves less sugar, preservatives, trans fats and other additives and more fish, whole grains and green leafy vegetables. During the 12-week project, the students at Sorter ate meals based on scientific studies over the past 20 years that show a strong correlation between diets high in omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and other essential nutrients help to reduce aggressive and anti-social behavior. Here’s what we learned from Sorter School’s staff and project leads.

Let's talk about health

Here are some interesting and important TED Talks on the subject of racism and its impact on health. The first is by Dr. David Williams, our July 2018 Community Grand Rounds speaker.


The new field of epigenetics sees that genes can be turned on and off and expressed differently through changes in environment and behavior. Rachel Yehuda is a pioneer in understanding how the effects of stress and trauma can transmit biologically, beyond cataclysmic events, to the next generation. [Listen to her podcast here]

David Williams Live Stream CGR Event

Understanding The Health Consequences Of Racism & What You Can Do About It. July 10, 2018 10:00 am to 11:30 am


Shining a Bright Light on Whiteness

‘Waking Up White’ Author Invites White Audience Members to Look Inside By TED HARTZELL BENTON HARBOR, Mich.—You don’t get much whiter than Debby Irving. Her husband Bruce attests to this on the jacket of her book, “Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of...

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Tips for How White People Can ‘Wake Up’

BENTON HARBOR, Mich.—There’s something that happened to Debby Irving a lot when she was signing copies of her book, “Waking Up White: And Finding Myself in the Story of Race,” after its publication in 2014. Invariably a white person would say to her: “You know, I...

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Lessons from a Black Man and a White Intruder

Finally, I’d get the chance to know Gentry better. As one of the youth leaders of our church at the time, Gentry told Bible stories with mesmerizing charm. He spun tales of gore and redemption and salvation in a way that kept teenagers engaged. He got them talking and asking questions.

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A Diverse Team from 25 States

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Names Lynn Todman a Culture of Health Leader Todman Joins 39 Other Fellows Working Toward Health Equity By CGR Communications ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – Being a leader can sometimes be lonely. But when you can lean on and bounce ideas off other...

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14½ Months, 22 Deaths

Jerry Price, manager of diversity and inclusion for Spectrum Health Lakeland, lost 22 friends in a period of just over one year.   Mounting Losses of Black Male Friends in Their 40s Makes Man, 46, Ponder the Reasons. His No. 1 Suspect: Long-Term Stress ST....

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"Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity."

Please contact me below with thoughts, suggestions, questions or just to say hello.


Latest Tweets. Come join us on Twitter. (click here)

Weathering and Health Equity with Arline Geronimus, ScD on October 22 from 1 - 3 in Berrien Springs. Register today or visit https://t.co/M46h8YoMSo for more information.https://t.co/1fbIwISZsj

Exploring what it is to be white at Community Grand Rounds. Author, Debby Irving discusses waking up to racial injusticeshttps://www.heraldpalladium.com/news/local/exploring-what-it-is-to-be-white/article_d599e988-fc44-5e67-9d2d-28a333ca87fd.html

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