Educate and Activate

At Community Grand Rounds (CGR), we believe that positive change can occur by increasing awareness and education and equipping people with the knowledge needed to make systems change. Hear from several of the thought leaders featured in CGR. 

Voices

David A. Ansell, MD, MPH

Community Grand Rounds (CGR) invited David A. Ansell, MD, MPH senior vice president for community health equity for Rush University Medical Center and associate provost for community affairs for Rush University and author of “The Death Gap: How Inequality Kills” to discuss his work.

One Street Two Worlds

Watch Loren Hamel, MD chief strategy officer for the Spectrum Health System, and president of Spectrum Health Lakeland, in conversation with David A. Ansell, MD, MPH about their mutual commitment to health equity.

Why Are Things the Way They Are?

Watch this video as Dr. Lynn Todman asks  Dr. David Ansell about the double dynamic of racism and poverty. 

Bechara Coucair, MD

Bechara Choucair, MD, is senior vice president and chief health officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., and Hospitals, interviewed here by Spectrum Health Lakeland’s Norma Tirado on what matters most in community health.

Todman connects the dots between food deserts & violence: Sorter School Project, Benton Harbor, Michigan. 2015

Dr. Todman first saw a connection between food and urban violence while conducting focus groups among young black men in Chicago’s toughest neighborhoods. Participants told her, “Ya gotta eat,” to justify their drug dealing or burglarizing. But when one older man said, “This food is making us crazy,” Dr. Todman began to take her research in another direction. An urban planner by training, she wondered if nutritional deficiencies caused by living in “food deserts” were indeed making people crazy and even violent?

Dr. Todman turned her attention to studies by nutritional neuroscientists seeking answers about the association of nutritional deficiencies and anti-social behavior. While reviewing the literature on the subject, she overlaid a map of Chicago neighborhoods with food deserts and a map of Chicago’s most violent communities. The correlation was striking. The areas of the city with the least access to nutritional food were also the ones experiencing the most violence. “It was hard to ignore the relationship between food deserts and gun violence in the communities,” said Dr. Todman. “The association was strong enough and compelling enough for me to pursue this connection.” She recognized that while food is not the sole determinant of behavior, it is a relevant and critical factor. 

 Rationale: The Why Behind the Work

Understanding The Death Gap

Affirmation of CGR’s relevance took the form of the 2019 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). While conducting the CHNA Berrien County, MI we learned that the life expectancy for people in majority-black neighborhoods was as low as 67, while in mostly white neighborhoods it was as high as 86.

We also found a death gap in which people in majority-black neighborhoods were dying at rates that were as much as 5Xs higher than the death rates in majority-white neighborhoods.

Narrowing this gap is the fundamental aim of the health equity work at Spectrum Health Lakeland.

19-Year Life Expectancy Gap

People in majority black neighborhoods.

People in majority white neighborhoods.

History of Community Grand Rounds (CGR)

The mission of  Community Grand Rounds is to improve the health of the community by challenging structural racism.

From the start, our goal has been to change how people think, talk and act on the health impacts of racism.  Accomplishing these goals has involved both education and awareness. These stories share our journey and what we’ve learned along the way.  CGR team member, Ted Hartzell, took the lead in capturing these important milestones.  Thank you Ted for your work!

In our blog, you’ll hear from local community members and national thought leaders on the health impacts of structural racism. 

Health from the Pen of Policymakers

Health from the Pen of Policymakers

Health Equity Leader says Political Policies Created Poor Health in the U.S., and Only New Policies Can Undo the Damage and Improve Health ST. JOSEPH, Mich.—In city after city across the United States, it is no accident that major highways cut through communities of...

read more
Race and Algorithms

Race and Algorithms

Kidney Disease Researcher Reveals How Race is Literally Factored into Medical Treatment ST. JOSEPH, Mich.—It turned out to be perfect timing. On the very day kidney disease researcher Dr. Nwamaka Eneanya was telling a Zoom audience how Black people are harmed by...

read more
‘The Ancestors Have Been at Work’

‘The Ancestors Have Been at Work’

‘Hidden History’ Panel participants (clockwise from upper left): Randal Jelks, Ph.D., ABC57’s Brian Conybeare, Journalist-author Tim Madigan, and Thomas Mockaitis, Ph.D. To Understand Systemic Racism Today, History Panel Urges Americans to Learn about Tulsa, Other...

read more
The North Was Hardly Innocent

The North Was Hardly Innocent

‘Hidden History’ Panel participants (clockwise from upper left): Kabria Baumgartner, Ph.D, ABC57’s Brian Conybeare, Christy Clark-Pujara, Ph.D., and Jonathan Daniel Wells, Ph.D.   ‘Hidden History’ Panel Depicts How the Slave Trade Enriched Whites and How African...

read more
An ‘Outside-the-Walls’ Vision for Hospitals

An ‘Outside-the-Walls’ Vision for Hospitals

"Health Equity in Action" panelists were (clockwise from upper left): Aletha Maybank, MD, MPH; Lynn Todman, PhD; Reneé Canady, PhD, MPH; and Nicki Britten, MPH ‘Health Equity in Action’ Panelists Urge Health Systems to Reach into Their Communities ST. JOSEPH,...

read more
Health Equity Moves into the Neighborhood

Health Equity Moves into the Neighborhood

Medically Underserved Benton Harbor Gets a Med Center, with Social Services, in the Center of Downtown BENTON HARBOR, Mich.— In the heart of this small city, a place opened in early November where people can get flu shots, or home water filters, or masks and hand...

read more
Torture and Abuse in the Name of Medicine

Torture and Abuse in the Name of Medicine

Author of ‘Medical Apartheid’ Harriet Washington Explains Why African Americans, after 400 Years, Are Justly Suspicious of U.S. Medicine  ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- Why are many African Americans suspicious of health care professionals and institutions? What explains this...

read more