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Health Education Programs

Contact Amy for additional information: Amy.Oosterink@kentcountymi.gov

The Health Education Section is responsible for developing, implementing, and evaluating education programs targeting a variety of audiences. Each staff member is responsible for delivering services in one or more of the following areas:

HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, communicable disease, substance abuse prevention, sexual assault prevention, conflict resolution/anger management, life skills, fetal alcohol syndrome, parenting, dog bite prevention and responsible pet ownership.

The following information provides an overview of current projects in the Health Education Section. All services are provided free of charge. For additional information or to request a presentation, please contact the staff members listed under each topic area, or Amy Oosterink, Public Health Program Supervisor, at (616) 632-7278 .

Communicable Disease

Presentations on HIV, STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) and a variety of communicable diseases, including hepatitis and tuberculosis, are provided to youth, parents, teachers, and other audiences.  Presentations are age appropriate and can be tailored to meet the needs of specific populations. Topics covered include prevention, transmission, signs and symptoms or infection, and testing.

Tracy Fahner | Tracy.Fahner@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7271

Aaron Toffoli | Aaron.Toffoli@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7295

Health Education Risk Reduction Services

Health Education and Risk Reduction Services provides substance use disorder treatment facilities in Kent County with free communicable disease prevention education for their clients. Substance use disorder treatment providers may schedule group educational classes for their clients on the prevention of tuberculosis, HIV, sexually transmitted infections, and viral hepatitis. Clients will learn how infections are transmitted, identified, treated and prevented.

To schedule classes contact:

Tracy Fahner | Tracy.Fahner@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7271

Aaron Toffoli | aaron.toffoli@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7295

Reducing the Risk

Reducing the Risk (RTR) is a curriculum designed to reduce the rate of teenage pregnancy and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. RTR has been chosen as an effective evidence-based program by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Campaign to Prevent Pregnancy. Targeted to youth between the ages of 14 and 18, the 16-session curriculum focuses on delaying or reducing the frequency of intercourse and increasing the use of contraception and condoms. RTR is intended to supplement pre-existing health and sexual education curricula. 

Topics covered include:

  • An overview of STDs, HIV, abstinence and birth control methods

  • How to obtain and use contraception

  • Risks and consequences of sexual activity

  • Decision making, negotiation and refusal skills

  • Tactics to prevent & delay sexual activity

  • Strategies to strengthen parent-child communication

Tracy Fahner | Tracy.Fahner@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7271

Life Skills - Middle School

This 14-session curriculum improves students’ social and decision-making skills to reduce the likelihood they will use alcohol, marijuana, tobacco and other drugs.  The curriculum is targeted to youth in 6th through 8th grades and provides information on a variety of drugs, effective communication skill, decision-making, healthy relationships, goal setting, coping with anxiety and other topics.  Each session is approximately 1 hour in length and includes a number of activities and exercises to maintain participants’ interest and actively engage them in the presentation.  The Life Skills Training program is listed on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. 

Tracy Fahner | Tracy.Fahner@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7271

Aaron Toffoli | Aaron.Toffoli@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7295

Nicole Batway | Nicole.Batway@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7070

Life Skills - Elementary School

This 12-session curriculum focuses on improving students’ drug resistance, personal self-management, and general social skills to reduce the likelihood they will use or abuse substances. Topics include:  alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, effective communication, conflict resolution, and dealing with peer pressure. Each session is 45-60 minutes in length and includes a number of activities and exercises to maintain participants’ interest. The Life Skills Training program is listed on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. 

Sharon Schmidt | Sharon.Schmidt@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7219

Nicole Batway | Nicole.Batway@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7070

Recovering Hope - Fetal Alcohol Syndrome

Recovering Hope Mother’s Speak Out is a program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and is sponsored by the FASD Center of Excellence.  This program is provided for women in substance abuse treatment that are parenting a child, or at risk of having a child, with FASD. 

Amy Bercher | Amy.Bercher@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7217

Prescription & Over the Counter Drugs

This presentation is targeted to youth in 6th - 12th grades and is approximately 1 hour in length. This presentation will define misuse, abuse and addiction of prescription and over the counter (OTC) drugs and describe how prescription and OTC drugs can be just as dangerous as illegal drugs. Youth will learn that many prescription and OTC drugs can be very helpful for medical conditions, but can also be abuse making them very dangerous or even deadly. The presentation provides participants information on ways to keep themselves and other safe from the harmful effects of prescription and OTC drug abuse and misuse.

Tracy Fahner | Tracy.Fahner@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7271

Aaron Toffoli | Aaron.Toffoli@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7295

Prevention of Colds & Flu

Presentations on prevention of colds and seasonal influenza are available for businesses, service organizations, churches, senior and neighborhood groups. Topics addressed include:  influenza overview, reducing your risk or becoming infected, hand washing, cough etiquette, influenza vaccination, and caring for yourself and others when sick. Also get tips on what supplies you should have stored in the event you cannot get to the store due to illness. Presentations can be tailored to meet the needs of specific audiences.

Sharon Schmidt | Sharon.Schmidt@kentcountymi.gov | (616) 632-7219

Contact Us

Health Department

   

700 Fuller Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Administration
Monday-Friday
8:00am-5:00pm

Public Health Clinics

(616) 632-7100

(616) 632-7083

Mark Hall, MD, MPH
Medical Director

Adam London, RS, MPA
Administrative Health Officer

Animal Shelter

740 Fuller Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Monday-Friday: 9:30am-6:30pm
Closed for Lunch:
Monday-Friday: 1:00pm-2:00pm
Adoptions end 1 hour prior to closing.
Closed Saturday & Sunday

(616) 632-7300

(616) 632-7324

Environmental Health Services

700 Fuller Avenue NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

(616) 632-6900

(616) 632-6892

Employee Recognition

Nominate a Kent County Employee for Quality Service!