Family Medical Center of Michigan: Daughter Follows Father into Career of Medicine

TEMPERANCE, Mich. – Ten years ago, Authority Health launched its teaching health center and recruited community physicians willing to serve as preceptors for incoming residents. Dr. Sin Ching Chiu, who worked at Family Health Center on Lewis Avenue, enjoyed teaching and thought it would be mutually beneficial to have residents working under his direction.

“I thought it would be a good idea for us to precept family practice residents,” Chiu said in a written statement. “In our area, there are lot of interesting cases that they can learn from.”

Chiu learned that firsthand as a third-year family practice resident in a rural health rotation at the Family Health Center.

He said it wasn’t the diseases that challenged him, but the underlying factors that influenced patients – known today as the “social determinants of health.” It’s a “really challenging, difficult environment” because of this.

Currently serving as medical director of Family Health Center, Chiu likes teaching because he learns new ideas coming out of medical school while sharing techniques he has developed in practice.

When working with residents, Chiu will advise them “to look at the whole well-being of the person.”

“It’s not just the physical being. It’s the underlying medical and economic situation. If you understand their background, then you can understand why there is a pathological disease,” he said.

He offered the same instruction to one of his three daughters, Nathaline Chiu, who decided to carry on the family legacy as a physician.

The 35-year-old shadowed her father, learning to be patient, kind, and an engaging educator. As a physician, she wants to ensure her patients understand their diagnosis and treatment plan.

Following medical school, Nathaline received a master’s degree in public health. When looking for a residency program, she decided on Authority Health because it offered a certificate in population health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health. She became chief resident of family medicine at Authority Health in Detroit and completed her residency training this year.

“I really wanted the opportunity to delve into the population aspect of family medicine,” she said in an email. “I feel that to be able to care for the patient you have to understand the environment that they grew up in and the factors that influence their health from the past to their present. That population health aspect and looking at the patient holistically would help me be a better physician.

“Right now, I am most looking forward to being the sole provider of my patients and also being able to collaborate with my colleagues on various patient cases. I am also looking forward to possibly being a mentor to the next generation of physicians.”

Although she is not a mother at the moment, Nathaline said she would like to see her children work in the medical field and continue the family legacy.

“I would like my children to work in population health or in the medical field (not necessarily a doctor) because I may be biased but I think that is where they can contribute the most to the world,” she said. “I want them to learn to be compassionate towards others and be culturally competent. However, ultimately I want my children to be happy and to do what they are most passionate about.”

In September, Nathaline will be working with Lutheran Medical Group in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Her father will continue to work as a family medical specialist in Temperance.

–Courtesy of Family Medical Center of Michigan (Editor’s note: This story also appeared in the Monroe Evening News; photo provided.)

InterCare Graduates First Class of Dental Assistant Apprentices

BANGOR, Mich. – On May 12, InterCare held a graduation ceremony for its first class of dental assistant (DA) apprentices. The four graduates are Janiqua Allen, Katerika Lee, Sylvia Perry and Tasha Walton. The apprentices participated in months of online training, gained experience through clinical apprenticeship time and took their certification exams. Dental assistants are an important part of the oral health team who help dentists and dental hygienists, prepare patients for care and manage dental instruments.

The DA Apprentice program provides jobs for people in our community and fills open positions that allows InterCare to provide services in the community. “You are making a meaningful impact in our clinics,” Velma Hendershott, InterCare’s President and CEO, said to the graduates. “Your work is valued, and we’re glad you chose this path.”

The clinical instructors and preceptors for the program were Shelly Clay, RDA and Stacy Morgan, RDA. Rita Rogers, RDH was the program leader. Lead dental assistant Jamie Phillips and Benton Harbor health center manager Robin Golliday, RN, MBA also provided assistance. The Michigan Primary Care Association provided program development, funding and support of the program.

Congratulations, graduates!

–Courtesy of InterCare Community Health Network Communications & Marketing

Thunder Bay Community Health Service Names CEO

HILLMAN, Mich. – Thunder Bay Community Health Service, Inc., has appointed Richard Bates, MD, CPE, as the organization’s new chief executive officer.

Dr. Bates is a graduate of Alma college and Michigan State University. He received his Doctor of Medicine from Wayne State University and is a Certified Physician Executive. He practiced medicine for over 25-years and has held many executive leadership positions throughout his career, most recently acting as the Chief Medical Officer at Thunder Bay.

“I believe in social justice and have a passion for serving others in our rural communities. Northern Michigan is home, and these communities represent our families, friends, and neighbors. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to serve others and carry on the mission of building healthier communities. ”

Outside of work, Dr. Bates enjoys spending time with his family, his wife Cheryl, children and granddaughter. He is an active community member and enjoys hiking, gardening, rooting for local sport teams and exploring spirituality.

CHASS Unveils New Mammography Services

DETROIT – This week, Community Health and Social Services (CHASS) Center, Inc., in Southwest Detroit, unveiled CHASS Center’s new Mammography Services that will help to ensure thousands of women in the metro Detroit community receive critical life-saving breast cancer screenings each year. Felix Valbuena Jr., MD, CEO, CHASS Center was joined by Senator Debbie Stabenow, Congressman Shri Thanedar, Detroit Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison, stakeholders and community leaders at a ribbon cutting ceremony this morning.

Photo gallery can be found here.

“The expansion of the our mammogram services will provide CHASS Center with the resources, equipment and technology available to continue to provide the most advanced care to our patients,” said Felix Valbuena Jr., MD, CEO, CHASS Center. “Mammograms remain the best way to detect early signs of breast cancer. We are thrilled to be able to offer this life-saving screening to the community and further our mission of providing high quality, affordable care to underserved populations in Detroit.”

In 2020, CHASS began a fundraising campaign with the vision to ensure every women of age served at CHASS receives an annual mammogram regardless of their ability to pay. This goal was made possible through the support of generous donors including Empowerment Foundation, DMC Foundation, Meadowbrook Country Club Rally For the Cure and a public donation drive. With a projection of screening 180 women between the ages of 40-74 per month, CHASS’ Mammography Center estimates screening over 2,100 women annually.

“Since 1970, CHASS has been ensuring that people have access to quality, affordable health care in Detroit. And now with their new mammography service, they will be able to help people live long, healthy lives. I will continue to lead the fight to ensure that community health centers have the funding they need so clinics like CHASS can keep providing their patients excellent care,” said Senator Stabenow.

“I applaud the CHASS Center’s relentless dedication to delivering comprehensive healthcare services to Detroit’s underprivileged individuals and families,” said Congressman Shri Thanedar. “It is an honor to have taken part in the ribbon-cutting event that expanded CHASS’s mammography services which will provide countless women with life-saving breast cancer screenings each year. I look forward to working with them further to promote access to healthcare for all Detroiters.”

“Thank you to the team at CHASS for the amazing work they’re doing, removing barriers, and ensuring access to essential health care for Detroiters who need it most,” said Deputy Mayor Todd Bettison. “With the addition of this new mammogram machine, CHASS aims to make sure every woman who needs this potentially life-saving test will have access, regardless of their ability to pay.”

A trusted health resource in the community for over 50 years, CHASS Center is a federally qualified health center formed to develop, promote, and provide comprehensive, accessible, and affordable quality primary health care and support services to all residents of the community, with emphasis on the underserved African American and Latino populations in Detroit. Since 1970, CHASS has served as a one-stop-shop for care, helping patients overcome environmental factors that prevent them from achieving, or maintaining, good health.

Treating nearly 12,000 patients annually, CHASS offers a full spectrum of ongoing services including primary and preventative health care, as well as dental and behavioral health services for individuals of all ages.

CHASS Center offers linguistically and culturally proficient care.  The Center accepts patients of all ages and insurance status from uninsured to insured, including Medicaid and Medicare.

The Community Health and Social Services (CHASS) Center, Inc. is a community-based, not for profit organization formed to develop, promote, and provide comprehensive, accessible and affordable quality primary health care and support services to all, with special emphasis on the underserved African-American and Latino populations. CHASS is committed to the overall well-being of the community.

(Courtesy: CHASS Communications and Marketing; photo provided)

EJFHC’s Rachel Krino Named Northern Michigan’s Most Influential

TRAVERSE CITY–Rachel Krino, the marketing and outreach director for MPCA-member Bellaire and East Jordan Family Health Centers, has been named to the Record-Eagle newspaper’s list of “Influential Women of Northern Michigan.”

“I am honored to be featured in Record Eagle’s Influential Women of Northern Michigan,” Krino said. “I’m passionate about helping communities have a voice and to come together to help one another. (But) my contribution isn’t about recognition or awards, but rather finding fulfillment in helping where it is needed. Together, we build healthy, happy communities.”

Krino was nominated by community member and health center board member, Patti Savant.

FULL STORY of Influential Women of Northern Michigan.

InterCare Graduates First Class of New Medical Assistants

BANGOR–Recently, InterCare Community Health Network celebrated the graduation of its first class of medical assistant (MA) apprentices with a graduation ceremony. The eight graduates will soon be completing a 12-month program that combines paid on-the-job training with online classes, and are ready to take the certifying exam to earn the title of Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA).

The graduates are Brielle Gibson, Daisy Mireles, Maria Palacios, Brenda Parada, Quenetta Parker, Tammicia Reid, Krissy Thomas and Ana Vazquez.

Medical assistants are skilled healthcare professionals who help medical providers (doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants) in clinics. They take vital signs, draw and prepare blood samples, perform EKGs, assist providers with procedures, enter data in the patient’s medical record and have other duties. Once they pass the certification exam, the new medical assistants will work in one of InterCare’s clinics in Bangor, Benton Harbor, Eau Claire, Holland or Pullman.

The MA Apprentice program offers training for well-paid jobs, fills needed positions in the clinics and provides opportunities for InterCare employees and community members to advance their careers. “We’re proud of our graduates and we’re excited to celebrate them,” said Velma Hendershott, InterCare’s President and CEO. “Their growth and new contributions will help us on our mission to improve the health of our communities.”

The Medical Assistant Apprenticeship program was developed in partnership with the Glocal Institute. Other educational initiatives at InterCare include a Dental Assistant Apprenticeship program and a partnership with A. T. Still University for physician assistant clinical rotations.

–Courtesy David Burgess, InterCare Communication & Marketing Specialist

TBCHS Celebrates 40 Years Serving Northeast Michigan

HILLMAN–For the last 40 years, Thunder Bay Community Health Service (TBCHS) has proudly provided Northeast Michigan with access to primary health care. Along the way TBCHS has grown by offering services in five primary care clinics in Hillman, Atlanta, Rogers City, Onaway and Fairview as well as extending primary care and behavioral health services to students in 20 local area schools across six counties in partnership with two educational service districts.

To mark this exciting occasion, TBCHS celebrated with an outdoor event recently at the clinic where it all began in Hillman. TBCHS was thrilled to have the opportunity to welcome staff, families, patients, community partners, legislative representatives and the many other individuals that have supported their mission over the years to recognize the growth and impact of the organization and set intentions for the future of Thunder Bay as well.

Two staffers from the Michigan Primary Care Association–Director of Member Services Kochheiser and Michigan Community Health Network Executive Director Russ Kolski–were on hand to take in the festive celebration. Kochheiser presented TBCHS administrative staff with an award on behalf of the MPCA to recognize four decades of service to the surrounding communities.

Not only has Thunder Bay expanded to new service areas in the last 40 years, but it has also expanded offered services to include pharmacy, behavioral health, dental, optometry, substance use disorder (SUD) and medication assisted treatment (MAT), lab and radiology services, psychiatry, internal medicine, insurance enrollment assistance programs, community health worker services, care management, and a variety of telehealth options as well.

“Thunder Bay Community Health Services could not have grown to become the organization it is today without great and dedicated staff, directors and community partnerships throughout its history. One of the areas of growth that I am most proud of is the school based health services that we have been able to provide to children and students across all of Northeastern Michigan,” said Ben Bolser, TBCHS’ Board Chair.

Food was provided by Nowicki’s Sausage Shoppe, ice cream by 32 Below, and music by Steve Rea all compliments of TBCHS. Kids were invited to join their parents and have fun with a chalk and bubble area in the Hillman Clinic parking lot.

TBCHS board chair, Ben Bolser, CEO Michelle Styma and board members led a dedication and ceremony to acknowledge Thunder Bay’s history and mission and express the hopes for the future.

“I am proud of Thunder Bay and the incredible growth we have had in the past 40 years to focus on our mission of building healthier communities. I look forward to our future years and the great services our organization will continue to provide in our northern Michigan communities” said Michelle Styma, CEO. During the dedication, Alvin Bartow was present and acknowledged for being a founding member of TBCHS. The ceremony ended with a Congressional Commendation presented by Brandon Kargol from the office of Congressman Jack Bergman. Tom Kochheiser, Director of Member Services at the Michigan Primary Care Association presented an award in recognition of Thunder Bay’s 40th Anniversary.

All along, Thunder Bay Community Health Service’s mission has been to commit its resources to building healthier communities in Northeast Michigan; TBCHS is honored and excited to have the opportunity to continue improving the health of our communities for another 40 years and beyond.

–Courtesy of Thunder Bay Community Health Service

Gov. Whitmer Visits MPCA Member Thunder Bay Hillman Location

HILLMAN–Governor Gretchen Whitmer traveled here to northern Michigan and visited Thunder Bay Community Health Service (TBCHS). The Governor was welcomed by the TBCHS staff and Board of Directors to share Thunder Bay’s school-based health center program model and the need for continued support to afford opportunities for access to care for the children and adolescents in our northern Michigan communities.

Thunder Bay provides primary care and mental health services in 20 local area schools across six counties in partnership with two educational service districts bringing much needed resources to the students and their families in our communities.

“Now more than ever, we need to ensure all kids have access to the resources they need to be safe and successful. Governor Whitmer has continued to be an advocate to meet the needs in our schools and within our communities and we appreciate her support,” said TBCHS chief executive officer Michelle Styma.

Governor Whitmer had an opportunity to tour the Hillman Health Center and meet with staff to learn more about their full complement of services including primary care, dental, optometry, behavioral health, substance use disorder and pharmacy. TBCHS is celebrating 40 years of building healthier communities in the northern Michigan region providing care to all patients regardless of income or insurance status.

–Thunder Bay Community Health Service

Alcona Opens New Facility, Adds New Residency Program

ALPENA–Alcona Health Center (AHC) last month commemorated the opening of its new medical facility in Iosco County with a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Present at the event were members of the Chamber of Commerce, local officials, community partners and other honored guests.

After some initial delays, construction on the new building, located at 208 South State Street in downtown Oscoda began on June 1, 2020. The 20,000-square-foot, two-story facility was framed with an eye to the future with the possibility of expansion to a third floor.

Chief Executive Officer Nancy Spencer said, “Alcona Health Center is pleased to see the completion of this project. We feel this new modern facility is a great addition to the downtown area and will provide easier access for everyone. The building will house the same high-quality, comprehensive medical, behavioral health and dental services that Alcona Health Center currently offers. Expanded healthcare services will also be available through collaborations with community partners.“

AHC moved its existing medical and behavioral health services from the Aune Medical Building on the old Wurtsmith Air Base to the second floor of the new location on May 2. AHC Dental followed the next week, moving into their new home on the first floor of the new facility.

Additional space in the building is being leased by MyMichigan Health and Quest Diagnostics (lab services). MyMichigan is slated to move into their suite on the first floor in June and will be offering imaging services, rehabilitation services and specialty clinics.

An interactive virtual celebration and tour of the facility has been shared on social media and on the AHC website.

In other AHC news, Alcona also has entered into a new collaboration with MyMichigan Medical Center Midland to bring a rural track, family medicine residency program to Alpena County. This residency program allows licensed, recently graduated doctors, to continue their training in a hands-on environment. These residents receive mentorship and supervision from a Faculty Healthcare Provider while gaining real world experience and a better understanding of what it means to practice medicine in a rural setting.

MyMichigan Midland Family Medicine Residency – Alcona Health Center Campus will be located within the existing AHC location in Ossineke (11745 U.S. 23 South). Joining the AHC team will be Faculty Provider, Michelle LaFave, MD and second-year family medicine residents – Christian Grant, MD and David Westphal, MD.

Dr. Grant earned his medical degree from American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, St. Maarten, Netherlands-Antilles. Dr. Westphal earned his medical degree from Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Both healthcare providers have chosen to further their training through the residency program at the Alcona Health Center Campus in Ossineke for the next two years. Under the guidance and supervision of their Faculty Provider, they will begin seeing patients in early July of 2022.

Dr. LaFave will be filling the role of a faculty provider for the family medicine residents. She has considerable experience practicing Family Medicine in rural northeast Michigan and brings a passion for teaching to the role. Dr. LaFave will directly oversee the residents, mentoring them during appointments and reviewing patient charts. “I am excited to bring my experience in family medicine in a rural setting to this venture!” she stated. “Mentoring the family doctors in this setting achieves community healthcare needs now and is the way forward in adjusting to future needs.”

Patients who establish care with Dr. Grant or Dr. Westphal will benefit from the care of two healthcare providers reviewing their chart and attending to their healthcare needs – a licensed, recent medical school graduate and the experience of Dr. LaFave.

Those interested in establishing care with either Dr. Grant or Dr. Westphal are encouraged to phone the health center at (989) 471-2156. While they do not start seeing patients until July, appointments for both providers are currently being scheduled.

In 2023, two additional family medicine residents will join the program. Residents participating in the MyMichigan Family Medicine Residency program who choose the rural track at the Alcona Health Center Campus will each be seeing patients at the Ossineke office for two years. There will be up to four residents in the program at a time. Additional information about the program can be found at and at

“We are excited to collaborate with MyMichigan Medical Center Midland to bring this rural track family medicine residency to Alpena County,” said Spencer. “Not only do we have the opportunity to expand access to healthcare in our community through the residency program, we also hope that the experience the residents have in northeast Michigan encourage them to stay in the area to practice.”

“The residency program is so excited to partner with the Alpena community and Alcona Health Center to train residents in a rural setting. We know that physicians tend to stay in or near the community where they train and hope that this endeavor will continue to grow primary care in Northern Michigan,” adds Dr. Kelly Hill, MyMichigan Midland Family Medicine Program Director.

–Courtesy of Alcona Health Centers