Local students honored for health essays

FLINT TWP. — Two students from Genesee STEM Academy were honored last week for their expressions of how their family health history had impacted them and how it was important in their lives. The awards took place at the Genesee Health Plan (GHP) annual Health Care Hall of Fame dinner held at Genesys Banquet Center in Grand Blanc Township.

First Place winner Devon Clausell Jr. wrote about the impact of diabetes in his family—including the loss of his great grandfather. He detailed the steps his family is taking to keep the disease at bay, including eating right and exercising.

The second-place winner was also from Genesee STEM Academy, Akiyah Williams. Her essay also detailed her family’s struggle with the same disease. She too expressed the intent to live a healthy lifestyle to avoid health struggles.

Congressman Dan Kildee made an appearance on his way to another event but eloquently said GHP’s role in the county.

“The best way to advocate that health care is a human right is to prove the value of it—you do that,” he said in his remarks. Genesee Health Plan assists the community in obtaining low cost health insurance via their plan or one of three others, the Healthy Michigan Plan, the Affordable Care Act health care marketplace, or Medicaid.

The non-profit launched in 2001, providing health care coverage to more than 90,000 county residents with doctor’s visits, cancer screenings, prescription drugs, x-rays and many other life-saving services.

Other services they provide include flu and other immunization resources, community health workers, women’s health programs, grandparent support services, prescription assistance, health navigation nurses, discounted vision services and the Senior Dental Program.

Several staff members were awarded for service years and service above and beyond the call of duty during the dinner. Other community members were honored, including Representative Tim Sneller of Burton, who was lauded for his partnership in promoting GHP throughout the county.

Sixth District Genesee County Commissioner Drew Shapiro, who represents the southeast corner of Grand Blanc Township and the Linden area, presented the Health Career Scholarship to a student who was instrumental in saving her dad’s life after a horse-riding accident.

Lauren Wissing is a Senior at Lake Fenton High School and intends to use the scholarship to pursue her dreams of being an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) via enrollment in the Genesys EMT Training Program this fall.

Additional awards were give to Traci Dantzler, DDS, a dentist who received the Physician Leadership Award for her work in helping to bridge the gap between the community and access to oral health services. And Raymond Gist DDS, who provides leadership and advocacy for dental health to GHP in the community.

Jennifer Szumowicz was honored with the Volunteer Award and assists in using her professional expertise in the area of prescription assistance to residents. Dr. Lawrence Reynolds, who has practiced pediatrics in the area since 1990, was inducted into the HealthCare Hall of Fame for his tireless support of GHP as well as working with the City of Flint on the clean drinking water issue.

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