Vote for our second annual Collaborative Impact Award by November 30

This year, the Washtenaw Health Initiative brings back its Collaborative Impact Award, which recognizes local collaborations that have made a significant and positive impact on community health. 

In our community, various organizations are working toward similar goals. However, collaboratives can break down silos and allow individuals to achieve more, together. The WHI believes that collaboration, partnerships, networks, and other joint efforts can be used to solve complex problems that no single individual or organization can solve in isolation.

In 2021, Washtenaw Health Initiative members chose Hoteling the Homeless—a collaboration between the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County (SAWC), the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development, Washtenaw County Community Mental Health (WCCMH), and many others–for the Collaborative Health Impact Award.

Hoteling the Homeless provided safe, supportive housing in hotels during the fall and winter of 2020 to 2021 to protect individuals experiencing homelessess from community spread in congregate living facilities. 

While the 2021 award recognized collaboratives that promoted health equity and outcomes in connection with COVID-19, this year, the WHI accepted nominees working in areas outside of the pandemic.

Read on to learn about the 2022 nominees. Then, vote by clicking the button below.

Note: Voting is open to anyone who works for a WHI member organization and is confidential. One vote per person. Voting ends on November 30th, 2022!

Protecting the Latinx community during COVID-19

Mexiquenses en Michigan is a grassroots organization founded in 2016, led by the Latinx community. During the pandemic, Mexiquenses organizers partnered with the Washtenaw County Health Department, Packard Health (a local health clinic), and Michigan Communities Conquering COVID (an NIH-funded project housed at the University of Michigan) to follow the lead of Latinx organizers and community health workers, to plan and implement COVID-19 and Flu vaccination events, distribute safety supplies, and bring other health resources directly to communities.

From June 2021 – March 2022, the partnership held 15 pop-up vaccine clinics and supply distribution events at accessible, well-known locations, including churches, Latinx-owned restaurants, and mobile home parks. The group provided vaccinations and personal protective equipment to over 1,500 people. In early 2022, during the height of the omicron surge, partners distributed over 8,000 KN95 masks and 2,000 at-home test kits. At these events, community health workers also helped people sign up for health insurance and get connected to other health and social services. 
Partners continue to plan clinics and events in areas with lower vaccine uptake where people are more likely to experience barriers to accessing care.

Mexiquenses en Michigan
Washtenaw County Health Department
Packard Health
Michigan Communities Conquering COVID-19
Fostering collaboration to meet community needs

Barrier Busters is a group of 100+ social service agencies committed to improving services and responding to emergencies for Washtenaw County residents in need. The collaborative is housed under the Washtenaw County Office Community and Economic Development. 

Barrier Busters maintain a highly active listserv, with more than 300 front-line staff and managers, that acts as a powerful tool to gather information on resources that can improve care for clients. The organization hosts monthly meetings to introduce community resources and best practices, and has also developed an Unmet Needs Fund for members to request funding for client needs that are not covered by existing community resources. 

In 2021, Barrier Busters provided over half a million dollars in assistance to local jurisdictions. Large proportions of the assistance went to racial and ethnic minorities, including Latinx, Black, and immigrant populations, for utilities, housing, transportation, and health care. 

Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development
Barrier Buster members
In-home preventive care for high risk patients

From January 2021 – July 2022, Huron Valley Ambulance’s Community Paramedic (CP) program provided valuable patient resources during the COVID-19 pandemic through its monoclonal antibody treatment initiative. This collaborative effort delivered antibody treatments—which block the virus that causes COVID-19 from entering the cells in the body of high-risk patients, thereby limiting the amount of the virus within the infected body—to both high-risk COVID-positive patients and those with exposure to COVID-19.

The Huron Valley Ambulance (HVA) CP program collaborated with local health systems, health departments, and other healthcare and community partners to deliver patient care, treating high-risk COVID patients with monoclonal antibody infusions in their homes. Additional partners included the Washtenaw County Health Department, Livingston County Health Department, Henry Ford Jackson Hospital, Livingston County EMS, and Jackson Community Ambulance.

During the 18 months this program was active, HVA directly delivered 2,086 antibody treatments to patients in Washtenaw, Livingston, and Wayne counties. Infusions were primarily administered in patients’ homes, keeping infectious patients out of hospital emergency departments. Treating patients in their homes also offered increased comfort to sick patients and brought care to individuals who may lack transportation.

A case review found that in-home antibody infusion treatments from HVA CPs, prevented high-risk patients from seeking emergency department care or requiring hospitalization.

Huron Valley Ambulance 
Michigan Medicine, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor 
Washtenaw County Health Department 
Livingston County Health Department 
Henry Ford Jackson hospital 
Livingston County EMS 
Jackson Community Ambulance
Supporting individuals who experience overdose

Home of New Vision’s Recovery Opioid Overdose Team (ROOT) program is a quick response team (QRT) that provides post-overdose support to individuals that have experienced an overdose within the past 24 – 72 hours. 

Huron Valley Ambulance, Trinity Health Ann Arbor, Michigan Medicine, the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office, and other local law enforcement agencies provide referrals. The ROOT team then follows up within 72 hours to assess needs and provide up to 90 days of case management services. 

The ROOT team also responds to local emergency departments to provide post-overdose support within 3 – 5 hours of the incident and has partnered with several local organizations to place free naloxone (Narcan) nasal spray vending machines at the Ann Arbor District Library Downtown, Washtenaw County Health Department and Community Mental Health agency, and Northfield Human Services in Whitmore Lake.

ROOT has helped reduce rates of fatal overdoses and promote a community supportive of individuals with a substance use disorder, all while raising awareness of the devastating effects of drug poisoning.

Home of New Vision
Huron Valley Ambulance
Washtenaw County Community Mental Health
Washtenaw County Health Department
Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office
U-M School of Nursing
Trinity Health
Michigan Medicine
Preventing community violence 

In the summer of 2021, amid several violent altercations resulting in the shooting deaths of Antonio Bishop (24 yo), Arthur Ellerson (18 yo), Arshon Evans (17 yo), and Ziair Willis-Wilson (21 yo), Ypsilanti Mayor Lois Richardson convened a diverse group of community members with a singular focus: addressing community violence and saving the lives of our young people. 

It is believed that 80 – 85 percent of gun violence in our community is retaliatory. This means that violence in our neighborhoods is predictable, therefore it is also preventable. This suggests that if a young person in Washtenaw County is impacted by violence, there is a high probability that they will either wind up injured a second time or be involved in a homicide.

The CVIT has developed 14 recommendations to interrupt violence in our community. The recommendations—designed by people with years of lived experience in navigating, surviving, and in some cases perpetuating violence in our community—have been presented to 17 different government entities or affiliates of those government entities. Recently, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution accepting the recommendations, instructing all county departments to explore and adopt the recommendations where appropriate, and allocated resources to the work.

Significant progress has been made across the recommendations including: creating a network of individuals, community-based organizations, violence interrupters, and programs working together to identify, connect with, and intervene with those driving the violence; implementing through the Sheriff’s Office a new program (WeLIVE), focused on enhancing the anti-violence workforce; and, designing a remembrance mural in Ypsilanti created collaboratively between an artist and local youth.

City of Ypsilanti
Educate Youth
French & Wang
Mentor 2 Youth
Supreme Felons
SURE Moms 
Washtenaw County Administration
Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners
Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office
Washtenaw ISD
Washtenaw My Brother’s Keeper
Ypsilanti Housing Commission
Ypsilanti Community Schools
Ypsilanti Township Board of Trustees