Washtenaw SUD Systems Transformation

Community health leaders in Washtenaw County have indicated that substance use disorders are a top community health issue. As part of the work of the Livingston/Washtenaw Community Health Innovation Region, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services have provided funds so that Washtenaw County can engage in a rigorous systems change process, known as ABLe Change, to better address substance use disorders.

Just what is ABLe Change? It’s a process to promote systems change through a series of community conversations about a particular challenge. The evidence-based design emphasizes engaging diverse perspectives, thinking systematically, implementing effectively, adapting quickly, incubating change, and pursuing social justice.

Upcoming work

The ABLe Change process began in November 2018 when stakeholders from local health systems, community-based providers, mental health providers, substance use disorder treatment programs, law enforcement, education, housing services, faith-based institutions, and additional county departments met to create shared vision and systemic view of substance use disorders and to better understand community needs. The process will continue until June 2019, at which time multiple action teams will begin to implement strategies, with measures for monitoring success in place.

Read about the convenings:


ABLe Change includes many members of the Washtenaw Health Initiative, as well as other community members and stakeholders who have expressed an interest in participating.

For more information

Contact Matt Hill, Project Manager, Washtenaw Health Initiative, at hillmat@umich.edu