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.



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.

2019 CGR Upcoming Events

Workshop with Debby Irving 

Racial justice educator and author of the award-winning book Waking Up White.

Thursday, October 3rd
1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Hilton Garden Inn, 
Benton Harbor

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

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

“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.

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


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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A Somber Accounting

As president of the class of 1990, Jerry was in frequent contact with classmates and friends from his high school days. He was often notified of these friends’ deaths and sometimes asked to speak at their funerals.   Here is the list Jerry Price assembled of 22...

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‘White Saviors? — or Just Well-Meaning?

Benton Harbor head coach Elliot Uzelac speaks with his team after practice on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016 in Benton Harbor, Mich. (Bryan Bennett | MLive.com) Story of Black Team’s Miracle Turnaround Provokes Myriad Feelings During a ‘Courageous Conversation’ ST. JOSEPH,...

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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.


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Now that she had more free time, Liz Garey wanted to put some of her energy into a cherished cause. She would work in her own small way to help close the racial fault line in this area of southwest Michigan, where a river separates the “Twin Cities” ...

WSJM News Director Doug Cunningham talks with Dr. Lynn Todman about the program. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Grant of $250,000 for support of the Community Grand Rounds Program. https://t.co/IaBG13uLRf

Finding Myself in the Story of Race | Debby Irving | TEDx Fenway

This talk is about white privilege and institutional racism are and how they manifest.


See Debbie live on October 3 at Community Grand Rounds

Watch the Community Grand Rounds interview with Kaiser Permanente's Bechara Choucair on community health and what matters. https://t.co/cFirdkH9A6

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