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. 

How a Health System Can Earn the Trust of African Americans

How a Health System Can Earn the Trust of African Americans

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – Medical Writer Harriet Washington has some advice for what a health care system can do to earn the trust of the Black people who come through its doors. After her online presentation Sept. 24 to the Spectrum Health Lakeland system in southwest...

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How to Build Trust in a Pandemic

How to Build Trust in a Pandemic

A Team of ‘Community Influencers’ Gave Vital Coronavirus Information to Black and Hispanic Communities BENTON HARBOR, Mich.—Early in the coronavirus pandemic, it was becoming clear that African Americans and other minorities were far more vulnerable to the virus in...

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The Coronavirus — and a Bit of Levity, Too

The Coronavirus — and a Bit of Levity, Too

‘Community Influencer’ Ronnika (R.J.) Williams Works Out a Formula of Engagement with Her Facebook Audience BENTON HARBOR, Mich.— Sometimes you can serve up a serious message with a side order of humor. If you do it right, it makes for easier digestion. Ronnika (R.J.)...

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His ‘Boil-Over’ Point

His ‘Boil-Over’ Point

  The George Floyd Killing Provokes a Torrent of Thoughts about Racism in America from a 62-year-old Black Man  BENTON HARBOR, Mich.— My friend James “Terry” Stokes called me up the other day. It had been a few weeks since we’d connected. We talked briefly about...

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Terry Stokes, in Short Takes

Terry Stokes, in Short Takes

Terry Stokes in his apartment in Benton Harbor, Mich.   Wide-Ranging Thoughts on Racism, American-Style An hour-and-a-half interview with Terry Stokes unleashed a torrent of thoughts on why white people act the way they do, and how he and other Black people have...

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How Racial Trauma Can Live Inside You for 55 Years

How Racial Trauma Can Live Inside You for 55 Years

Therapist and author Sheila Wise Rowe (left) talks with Christina Edmondson, dean of Intercultural Student Development at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Mich., after Rowe’s speech at Calvin in February 2020. Therapist-Author Sheila Wise Rowe Recalls the ‘Lies’ She...

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Three Ways that Help People Heal from Racial Trauma

Three Ways that Help People Heal from Racial Trauma

Therapist-author Sheila Wise Rowe talks about what it feels like to suffer the trauma of racism. GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – People of color who suffer racial trauma can find comfort and wholeness through three paths – lament, community and true reconciliation – said...

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Reaction: Kent State and the War That Never Ended

Reaction: Kent State and the War That Never Ended

The four students on the left were killed by National Guardsmen at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4, 1970. They are (top left) Allison B. Krause, 19; (top middle) Jeffrey Glenn Miller, 20; (bottom middle) Sandra Lee Scheuer, 20; (bottom left) and William Knox...

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Of Race and ‘Weathering’

Of Race and ‘Weathering’

‘Weathering’ Theory Scholar Says Researchers Don’t Focus Enough on Black Americans’ Lived Experience By TED HARTZELL BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. – The pictures on the auditorium screen showed five vibrant, accomplished young women, all African-American, all in their 20s...

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