Two new members join WHI Steering Committee, diversify committee perspectives

Amid recent efforts to bring more community perspectives to the WHI Steering Committee in order to better represent the entire community it serves, the Washtenaw Health Initiative has welcomed two new members: Alex Plum, executive director of the Corner Health Center, and Steve Petty, CEO of 5 Healthy Towns.

Alex Plum

Plum joined the Corner Health Center in October 2022 after working with Henry Ford Health in Detroit for seven years. His passion for creating partnerships in order to improve the health of local communities has been central to his work in bridging the gap between integrated care and community social services. Plum adopts a “global to local” health care approach, using models from around the world and applying them to local health care systems.

Plum’s addition to WHI’s Steering Committee introduces Corner Health’s youth-focused and LGBTQ+ perspective to the committee.

The Corner Health Center works to equip 12 to 25 year olds with the tools, resources, and education necessary to sustain healthy lives. Their services include primary care, pregnancy care, behavioral health care, psychiatry, gender affirming care, and LGBTQ+ sensitive care. Additionally, their Corner Store is one of Ypsilanti’s few food pantries, where patients can secure free groceries, household items, books, beauty supplies, and more.

Steve Petty

After 15 years of work at the Ann Arbor YMCA, Petty joined 5 Healthy Towns (5HF) as the CEO in 2021. From his time at YMCA continuing into his work at 5HF, Petty’s focus lies in building connections and working from the ground up to address community needs. At 5HF, Petty works to connect lower-resourced, rural communities to pertinent services and expand access to care. He is an avid proponent of the stewardship model, which emphasizes the need for collaboration between organizations and individuals that are already working in their communities in order to enact change.

Petty brings 5HF’s community-driven approach and understanding of rural needs to the WHI Steering Committee. 

The 5 Healthy Towns Foundation was started to improve personal and community wellness in five rural Michigan communities — Chelsea, Dexter, Grass Lake, Manchester, and Stockbridge — small towns with lower population densities than cities on the Eastern side of the county, like Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti. Through partnerships with various local organizations, 5HF launched their One Big Thing initiative in 2019, dedicated to improving the mental health and wellbeing of these five communities by working with the communities themselves to tackle barriers to resources and reduce feelings of isolation. 

With these additions to the Steering Committee, the WHI hopes to continue incorporating new perspectives to better understand the health needs of underserved communities.

Interested in learning more about the WHI’s steering committee? Email Matthew Hill at