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Michigan Health Council Awarded $484,233 to Create Training Program Aimed at Improving Health Litera

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE December 7, 2020 PRESS CONTACT: Ana Hornburg 517-908-8229 or [email protected]

Lansing, Mich. – The Michigan Health Endowment Fund recently awarded Michigan Health Council (MHC) $484,233 in a round of grants intended to address healthy aging. With this award, MHC will work with PACE Southeast Michigan and Nancy Combs Communications, LLC to develop and pilot a health literacy provider training program titled “The Power of Understanding: Health Literacy & Older Adults.”

“We’re incredibly thankful to have support from the Health Fund as we work to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities in Michigan,” said Melanie Brim, President and CEO of MHC. “Our strategy will be to implement changes that improve health information resources; enhance communication between providers, participants and their caregivers; support informed decision-making and access to services; and ultimately, lead to improvements in clinical and quality of life outcomes.”

The Power of Understanding will improve the capacity of PACE Southeast Michigan care team members to identify and address gaps in health literacy among PACE participants and their caregivers. Health literacy is the ability to obtain, read, understand, and use health care information in order to make appropriate health decisions and follow instructions for treatment.

“In contrast to the old ‘blame-the-patient’ perspective toward what the patient may not understand, our project will focus on educating providers and enhancing organizational competencies,” said Nancy Combs, CEO of Nancy Combs Communications. “We’re excited to work directly with PACE Southeast Michigan – which already does such a great job of surrounding their participants with empathic, wraparound care – to grow even stronger as a health-literate organization.”

The Power of Understanding will serve about 500 PACE Southeast Michigan participants, all older adults with a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, as well as their family home caregivers. The project will also train the full range of PACE clinical providers who serve on the participants’ Interdisciplinary Team (IDT) – physicians, registered nurses, care managers, pharmacists, social workers, dietitians, physical, occupational and recreational therapists; center and home care coordinators; participant care associates; and transportation staff. In addition, University of Michigan College of Pharmacy Advanced Practice students assigned to PACE for their 4th-year experiential rotation will be trained.

“We look forward to empowering our team to be at the forefront of the health literacy training movement,” said Mary Naber, President and CEO at PACE Southeast Michigan. “We’re confident this work will have a positive impact on all of our participants and their caregivers for many years to come.”

Work will begin on ‘The Power of Understanding: Health Literacy & Older Adults’ on January 4, 2021. Success will be measured by improvements in the three critical objectives of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s Triple Aim framework: improved patient care experiences, improved health of populations, and reduced health care costs.


About Michigan Health Endowment Fund The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of healthcare, with a special focus on children and seniors. You can find more information about the Health Fund at

About Michigan Health Council Michigan Health Council (MHC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization on a mission to create products and provide services their partners rely on to build health care workforce capacity. Learn more at

About PACE Southeast Michigan PACE Southeast Michigan is a unique health care plan that provides home and community-based care and services to help seniors maintain their independence. For more information, visit

About Nancy Combs Communications, LLC Nancy Combs is a seasoned health communicator and community health strategist with a track record of more than three decades working in health system, public health and health plan settings.



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