Millage Recipient Profile - Cherry Health

Cherry Health is an independent, non-profit Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) with a primary focus of providing high-quality health services to those who have little or no access to health care, regardless of income or insurance status. Cherry Health is the largest FQHC in the State of Michigan serving Barry, Eaton, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, Ottawa, and Wayne counties. Services provided by Cherry Health include primary care, women’s health, pediatrics, dental, vision, behavioral health, mental health, correctional health, five school-based health centers, and employee assistance for employers.

Cherry Health was awarded funding for three programs that meet the needs of pregnant women and families with young children:

  • Home Visiting: Maternal Infant Health Program for pregnant women and mothers with Infants (MIHP).
  • Play and Learn Communities: EatPlayGrow is an evidence-based curriculum that provides educational, engaging, and hands-on opportunities for caregivers and children to learn more about healthy development practices and how to implement them in their homes.
  • Healthy and Safe Homes: Their services will expand the availability of lead screenings in Pediatric offices.

The MIHP program is up-and-running despite the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is a MIHP success story:

Jane* came to Cherry Health when she thought she was pregnant. At the time, Jane was homeless and living out of her car with her two children, who were two and four years old. Jane had a pregnancy test, and her pregnancy was confirmed. She had a Welcome Visit with staff from Cherry Health’s Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) and began receiving services. At the intake appointment, Jane was assigned a case manager, visiting nurse, community health worker, dietician, and infant mental health specialist. The team worked with Jane to get appointments scheduled for her prenatal care, dental care, and vision care. Jane also received assistance coordinating appointments for her children with the dentist, eye doctor, infant mental health specialist, and pediatrician.

Through the support of Cherry Health’s Maternal Infant Program (MIHP), Jane was able to get assistance in finding housing for her family. Her MIHP case manager and community health worker helped her apply through community resources and she was placed in a local apartment. The MIHP team also helped Jane find baby items and furniture for her new home through local resources. Jane’s MIHP team worked with her on how to navigate and utilize services through the Michigan Department of Human Services (DHS) and The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Jane was able to find employment to support her family, and her team at Cherry Health MIHP was able to help her find affordable childcare and preschool for her oldest child. Jane’s team also assisted her in finding local food resources to help feed her family, and the dietician was able to provide Jane with education on healthy nutrition.

Jane met with the Medical-Legal Partnership program to discuss child support and custody issues with her two older children as well as her soon-to-be-born baby. Jane had a healthy pregnancy and delivery; she continued to work with Cherry Health MIHP after her baby was born. During Jane’s time with MIHP, she built a relationship and support network for herself and her family to continue to grow within Kent County.

* Names have been changed to maintain patient confidentiality. Photo is from the 2019 Community Baby Shower.

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