The Kent County Health Department's initiative to increase breastfeeding among African American women is one of 33 health programs in Michigan to receive grant money from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The Kent County Health Department's African American Breastfeeding Peer Mentor Program aims to increase breastfeeding by African American women through peer mentoring and education. The program will receive $31,300.

Other West Michigan grant winners include:

  • WMU-Western Regional Area Health Education Center's Healthcare and Human Services Pipeline Program. The program will receive $34,200 to help enroll recent high school graduates into college-accredited allied health track with 12 tuition-free college credits.
  • YMCA of Greater Grand Rapids' Health Matters Program. The program will receive $33,178 to improve health for teens and young adults through physical activity lessons, healthy eating knowledge and health education.

A total of 33 projects in Michigan will each receive a grant of up to $35,000 in one-time funds thanks to the Health Innovation Grants administered and announced by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The projects address issues with chronic disease, health transportation, mental illness, substance abuse, homelessness, health disparities in children, dental care, and more. In total, MDHHS is granting $993,572 for the projects.

“This year’s funded projects will go a long way toward addressing unmet needs in healthcare delivery systems,” said Nick Lyon, director of the MDHHS.

This is the fourth year Michigan has awarded the Health Innovation Grants. Last year, 41 projects were funded for a total of $1.3 million. Organizations that had completed projects from previous years were allowed to reapply. Organizations were also allowed to apply for funding to support replication projects resulting from completed 2016 initiatives.

Eligible applicants include public, non-profit, and private organizations. When considering applications, MDHHS looks for projects that have the potential to be replicated and have clearly defined outcomes.

Organizations are encouraged to include matching funds in their proposal in support of their intended projects. The projects reported a total matching amount of $1,272,600 for a total impact of about $2,266,000 in the state of Michigan.