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3.30.17 – Luncheon Notes

SPOKES Notes by Dan Durkee

Our meeting was opened in song with The Star Spangled Banner led by Kevin Paul, followed by an invocation by Keith Lang.  President Michael Sytsma then shared a Rotary Relevance moment with a brief video of Kevin Paul playing piano at a local event following an afternoon of volunteering at our Habitat for Humanity Veterans Build project, and the good news that our Service Above Self Award Dinner raised $58,000 and thanked those who attended and recognized our group of sponsors.  Doris Drain introduced guests and visiting Rotarians, and Mark Potter shared photos from the Habitat for Humanity project and expressed appreciation for all who participated and encouraged others to volunteer for future opportunities coming up.  Cindy VanGelderen introduced our newest member, Tim Thompson, who recently moved from Denver and is Managing Director of the Grand Rapids office of O’Keefe.

Bill Manns then introduced Rochelle Sather, Manager of the Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Heartside Health Center who spoke of its mission for care of the underserved. The family medicine practice offers health care to a large population of homeless, uninsured, and underinsured in the Wealthy and Division neighborhood.  Founded in 1988 and grant funded in 2001, the center served over 3,000 homeless in 2015 and a total of 15,521 patients in 2016.  Rochelle shared some of the primary barriers to care which include a lack of resources or coverage with insurance plans, proper nutrition, and transportation.  They have learned that a key to care of the homeless is to build a relationship with them and they do so by providing weekly blood pressure screenings and outreach meetings where they are.  An annual Back to School Bash served 1,000 families last year and they expect even more at this year’s event on August 12th.  Successes for the clinic include increased behavioral health and development of a pain and addiction clinic directed by Dr. James Hudson.  Clinic physician Dr. Heather Bunting shared a personal story about a patient who had suffered from anxiety and depression his entire life and benefited from therapy.  Dr. Hudson related that patients enter the clinic expecting to be disrespected because that is what they know, and when they are treated with respect it opens a door with them.  He has found that after 28 years in family medicine, working at the clinic is “the best medicine I’ve ever done”.


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