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St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
44405 Woodward Avenue
Pontiac, MI 48341

Community Health Ambassadors Program
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St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Launches Community Health Ambassadors Program

New Program Promotes Healthy Living and Prevention of Chronic Disease

Pontiac, Mich.—St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) has launched a Community Health Ambassadors (CHA) program to promote healthy living, screen for and prevent chronic disease and engage citizens to be active in their health care.

The goal of the program is to extend SJMO’s community outreach efforts in the greater-Pontiac area.  Working with the hospital’s Community Programs Department, the CHAs will build new and strengthen existing relationships at community “gathering places” in their assigned territories—churches, schools, community centers, grocery/convenience stores, salons/barbershops, block clubs, housing developments and more.

The CHAs will arrange outreach and health education opportunities, which include screenings for blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol in addition to Body Mass Index measurements. They will be responsible for the planning and implementation of the events, coordinating them with the SJMO Community Programs Department, conducting the screenings and promoting the department’s other events and classes.

Each CHA is required to have 16 hours of training before being assigned a territory.  To earn the $2,250 stipend, each CHA must engage 150 different participants in health promotion/screening events during the course of the program year.

The first group of CHAs comes from a variety of professional backgrounds:  nursing accounting, home health, community activism, entrepreneurship and social services.  Initially, the CHAs will serve the city of Pontiac, but as other pockets of need in northern Oakland County are identified, current or future CHAs will be assigned to those areas.

The CHA program was begun because of “the need for well-trained lay health educators in the community,” said Joy Calloway, SJMO Director of Community Programs.  “The community needs a strong connection with its health provider, and the CHAs provide that at the grassroots level.  The CHAs are well-connected in the community, dedicated to health promotion and disease prevention and uniquely suited for these roles, structured specifically for community outreach work.”

According to Calloway, the initiative was in the planning stages for more than a year.  “I am thankful that our CEO (SJMO President and CEO Jack Weiner) has approved this concept and undertaken this endeavor,” she added. “Intensive community engagement is a proven strategy for promoting health and reducing disease.  We have a model group of individuals for this first group; they will surely set the standard for an SJMO Community Health Ambassador.”

The CHAs first combined event is Healthy Affair IX, a community health fair, scheduled for 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at Welcome Baptist Church, 143 Oneida, Pontiac.  The health fair is free of charge, and the public is invited.  Free parking is available.

For more information about the Community Programs Department or becoming a Community Health Ambassador, call Calloway at 248-858-3760.

About St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
St Joseph Mercy Oakland is a 443-bed comprehensive, community, teaching hospital and a long-time leader in health care in Oakland County.  Founded in 1927 by the Sisters of Mercy, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland has won numerous local and national awards for patient safety, quality and performance, and consistently ranks in the top 10 percent of hospitals nationwide.  A member of the Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, St Joseph Mercy Oakland is a technologically leading hospital that combines advanced medicine and personal care to assist patients on their path to wellness. With dedicated physicians, nurses and hospital staff committed to providing quality care throughout the patient stay, St Joseph Mercy Oakland has truly personalized the patient care experience.

For more information about health services offered at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, please visit 

About Saint Joseph Mercy Health System
Saint Joseph Mercy Health System (SJMHS) is a newly expanded health care organization serving southeast Michigan. Health coverage spans six counties, including Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, St. Clair, Washtenaw and Wayne. It includes 537-bed St. Joseph Mercy in Ann Arbor, 443-bed St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac, 304-bed St. Mary Mercy in Livonia, 136-bed St. Joseph Mercy Livingston in Howell, 119-bed St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron, 113-bed Chelsea Community Hospital and 74-bed St. Joseph Mercy Saline. Combined, the seven hospitals are licensed for 1,726 beds, have five outpatient health centers, five urgent care facilities, more than 25 specialty centers; employ more than 14,000 individuals and have a medical staff of nearly 2,700 physicians. 

A member of Trinity Health, the nation’s fourth largest Catholic health care organization, SJMHS is committed to providing a remarkable patient experience by using leading edge technology in a comforting and healing environment. As a mission based organization, Saint Joseph Mercy Health System provides approximately $100 million in community benefit to the communities it serves each year.

For more information on health services offered at Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, please visit


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