Thursday, October 28, 2021
8:00 - 9:30 a.m.

This event will be held virtually. Instructions for joining the Zoom webinar will be sent ahead of the event.

Join us for a free community discussion on healthy aging in northern Michigan presented by Grand Valley State University and Northwestern Michigan College. Panelists from across the community will share information on local resources, why healthy aging is important for our community, and how to start planning. 

The Health Forum of Northern Michigan is offered in the fall and spring of each year. It is a collaboration between the GVSU Traverse City Regional Center and Northwestern Michigan College. It is supported by a planning committee of community leaders in the Grand Traverse area. The event is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of West Michigan. 

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Contact Shannon Owen at or (231) 995-1785.


Deb Allen

Deborah B. Allen, CFRE, Chief Development and Community Engagement Officer, Grand Traverse Pavilions


Román Barraza, MD, Internal Medicine with subspecialties in Hospice & Palliative Medicine

Heidi Gustine

Heidi Gustine, Executive Director of the Area Agency on Aging of Northwest Michigan

Christine Nefcy

Christine A. Nefcy, MD, FAAP, Chief Medical Officer, Munson Healthcare

Dave Mengebier

Moderated by: 
David Mengebier
, President and CEO of Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation

Special Notes:

Rural Health Awards

Starting in 2021, Grand Valley State University's Office of the Vice Provost for Health is celebrating rural health by acknowledging the accomplishments of outstanding organizations and practitioners serving the northern Michigan communities. We strive to make efficient, effective, and lifelong partnerships and collaborations that work to close the gap in health disparities between urban and rural areas. The awards were presented at our March 18 Health Forum of Northern Michigan event and are done so in partnership with our Grand Valley State University Traverse City Regional Center.

Note: To be eligible for the awards, the healthcare organization and/or practitioner must practice in northern lower Michigan or the upper peninsula of Michigan.

2021 Rural Health Care Organization Award: War Memorial Hospital

David Jahn, president and CEO of War Memorial Hospital in Sault Ste. Marie, accepted the 2021 Rural Healthcare Organization Award. Jean Nagelkerk, GVSU vice provost for health, said the hospital is dedicated to serving northern Michigan by providing comprehensive, quality care to individuals, families and communities.

2021 Rural Health Practitioner of the Year Award: Dr. Marlyn Conlon

Dr. Marilyn Conlon, from Wellspring Psychiatry in Traverse City, will receive the 2021 Rural Health Practitioner of the Year Award. Conlon is an expert in behavioral health, serving as a guide and resource for many individuals in northern Michigan.


Event Sponsor:

Blue Cross Blue Shield Blue Care Network of Michigan

Event Sponsors:

GVSU logo

NMC Logo

Page last modified October 18, 2021