The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute (GRAAHI) is an independent, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization that is funded by numerous entities that are equally committed to its mission.
To promote health care parity in the Grand Rapids African American community through advocacy, education and research to achieve positive health outcomes.
To ensure that all West Michigan residents will have optimal health care and benefit from health systems without race being an impediment.
GRAAHI is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization
Excellence: exceeding expectations…transforming lives.
“Excellence is to do a common thing in an uncommon way.”
-Booker T. Washington
Through programing such as Real Women Real Change, we are redefining the way health education is delivered in urban communities. Women enter wanting to make health related changes and leave forever transformed.
“Real Women Real Change made a significant impact in my life. The program helped me realize that a lifestyle change was possible, and gave me the courage to face the challenge head on. During the 10 week course I was able to eliminate one blood pressure medication, and increased my exercise from 15 minutes to 45 minutes daily. Since my graduation in 2013 I have continued to make strides. I have lost a total of 6 dress sizes for a total weight to date of 38 lbs., and I’m happy to report that I am under 200 lbs. for the first time in 10 years. Thank you Real Women Real Change and GRAAHI!”
-Shelley Lyle, 2013 Participant
As we continue our quest for excellence the upcoming years will mark expansion for the program. In the summer of 2014 a pilot program for women 30-39 years of age will be available, drawing inspiration from the use of hip hop and other aspects of urban culture to highlight the importance of preventive health behaviors. In 2015, the traditional program will be expanded to target multicultural and Hispanic populations.
Our goal is simple- to exceed your expectations!
Integrity: Trust is earned. Respect is appreciated. We are intentional about transparency and work diligently to earn the trust and respect of community and systems.
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.”
We are honest about our intentions and keep the organizational mission, goals and values at the forefront of our work. Our integrity and commitments to change are evident in our community endeavors, namely our Strong Fathers program. As a partner in the Strong Beginnings collaborative, GRAAHI is committed to connecting fathers with their children. Strong Fathers is designed to assist men in raising healthy children and actively supporting their families. The program consists of home visits, the Dads All Day small group, Barbershop Talk, and various celebratory events throughout the year.
Innovation: Understanding that we cannot create new solutions using old tools, we bring creativity and vigor to the work we do. Our constant quest is for cutting edge solutions to the health and health care needs of African Americans and others residing in the urban core.
“We cannot solve a problem by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created it.”
The Grand Rapids African American Health Institute leads the way in many of its efforts. This year marks the 6th Rhythm Run, one of the first predominately African American races in the country. Since its inception, the race has been expanding to include a community fun day with health related vendors, a farmers market, health screenings, kids games and healthy refreshments. GRAAHI is working to expand the rhythm run brand, and will partner with groups in Flint to launch a satellite run in 2014.
The formulary tool is yet another example of the innovation in action. First released in 2009, the tool provided consumer level information on drug availability by plan. The tool is currently under construction, with a new site slated for release in 2015. The newly revamped site will be user friendly, and offer information and education on diabetes and cardiovascular disease. With so many individuals and families selecting their own health plan as a result of the ACA, we feel that this information is needed and welcomed. The adoption of the Affordable Care Act has increased the number of individuals searching independently for health insurance. Therefore, this tool will definitely assist in helping families make informed decisions.
Leadership: Leadership is everyone’s business. The path ahead will not be easy, but together we will accomplish extraordinary things.
GRAAHI will walk along side its partners to promote equity in health and health care and those social factors that determine health.
Through efforts such as the newly designed GVSU urban health studies concentration and the TEAMM minority mentee program, GRAAHI is working collaboratively with GVSU to ensure that students are ready and equipped to meet the needs of a diverse population upon graduation.
The partnership with the Urban Core Collective, one of the first of its kind in the nation, is working to improve black/brown relationships, foster the training of indigenous leaders, and reintroduce the Urban Core as a desired place to live. As a core agency, GRAAHI has been instrumental in the startup and continued success of this impactful group.
“Leadership is the art of mobilizing others to want to struggle for shared aspirations.”
-Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner