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Michigan Health Council Receives Award to Advance Health Equity Through Educational Resources

MHC is One of 16 Recipients Nationwide of AARP & RWJF Health Equity Innovations Fund Awards


February 1, 2023

PRESS CONTACT: Ana Hornburg 517-908-8229 or [email protected]

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Health Council (MHC) is among sixteen organizations nationwide to receive a Health Equity Innovation Fund award. The awards from the AARP Center for Health Equity through Nursing and the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), are for projects offering promising solutions aimed at eliminating structural inequities, particularly structural racism, within the nursing profession, health systems, or community, and for projects that help improve access to care and services for those most disproportionately impacted by health disparities.

MHC will partner with Catherine’s Health Center, Nancy Combs Communications, and Michigan Primary Care Association to implement a comprehensive health equity education and training program that explores the structural concepts of implicit bias, health literacy, social determinants of health, and equity.

“The goal of the project is to help those serving the most vulnerable to explore how their beliefs, perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors may impact interactions with those they serve,” said Nancy Combs, Principal of Nancy Combs Communications.

The 16 winning projects are from: California (3), the District of Columbia, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland (2), Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin (2) and West Virginia.

“We look forward to providing our team with new tools to better meet the needs of our patients,” said Megan Erskine, CEO of Catherine’s Health Center. “This in-depth training will help us continue our commitment to providing culturally competent care and reducing health disparities in the communities we serve.”

Structural racism is pervasive within the nation’s health and health care systems and, despite progress, still poses significant barriers to health and wellbeing for far too many. Additionally, health and wealth disparities disproportionately affect people of color, as well as older Americans, women, people with low-income, those with disabilities, those from LGBTQ communities, and those who live in isolated rural communities.

“Our member health centers share a commitment to addressing health disparities,” said Debbie Edokpolo, Director of Health Equity and Social Justice at MPCA. “We’re proud to be part of a project that will help provide education on some of the structural biases and barriers found in healthcare.”

The Michigan Nursing Action Coalition, which consists of nurses and nursing advocates who want to participate in developing health care solutions, will use outcomes from this project to develop tools for Michigan nurses to advance health equity at their own organizations.

“The clearest path to health equity is a well-prepared healthcare workforce,” said Melanie Brim, President and CEO of MHC. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to create innovative new resources that can be used by healthcare organizations and providers nationwide.”

The awards will be administered by CCNA at the AARP Center for Health Equity through Nursing. Resources and information regarding this project will be available 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 healthcare workforce capacity. Learn more at

About the AARP Center for Health Equity through Nursing and the Campaign for Action:

The AARP Center for Health Equity through Nursing serves as a vehicle for change and national resource for advancing health equity. CCNA is an initiative of AARP Foundation, AARP and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and it runs the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, an initiative of the same organizations building a healthier America through nursing. Since its founding in 2007, CCNA has created national and state multi-sector networks to stimulate collaboration, innovation and spur for better health and well-being through nursing.




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