Tag Archives: detroit

Can bicycles help revitalize Detroit?

by Tom Schuelke, Challenge Detroit fellow

Challenge Detroit ModeShift3Hello Beaumont Readers and Happy New Year! I hope that you had a refreshing holiday season and have a jumpstart on your New Year’s Resolution (for my take on Detroit’s New Year’s Resolution click here). As we strive to hit temperatures above zero outside it may seem like a strange time to talk about bicycling in Detroit. However, that is the challenge that the Challenge Detroit fellows took on and finished up in mid-December.

Why Bicycles Are Important to Detroit

Growth of the bicycling community in the city can help play a significant role in the revitalization of Detroit because bicycling can contribute solutions to some of the city’s greatest challenges. For example, I mentioned in my last post that Detroit has some troubling statistics surrounding the health of its population. Bicycling can help make our residents healthier. Studies have shown that riding a bicycle just 3 hours/week reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50%. Additionally, adolescents who bicycle are 48% less likely to be overweight as adults. (Stats courtesy of People For Bikes.) Beaumont has also taken a leading role in bicycle advocacy in the metro Detroit area for these reasons. Check out their Oakland County bike map here.

Challenge Detroit ModeShift4Population decline is another well-known problem of the city. Since the height of its prosperity in 1950 when the population was over 1.8 million people, Detroit has consistently been shedding its population to where it now has only 700,000 people. In fact, the new mayor Mike Duggan has already stated that his entire tenure should be graded on if the population rises once again. Bicycling can again help here. 47% of Americans say that they want more bike paths, lanes and trails in their community. Continued growth in Detroit’s bicycling infrastructure could help the city stabilize its population; maybe even help to grow it.

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The Role of Health Care in the Revitalization of Detroit

(photo via NPR.org)

(photo via NPR.org)

by Tom Schuelke, Challenge Detroit fellow

Hello Beaumont readers! Since this is my first actual post on the blog, I’d like to start by expressing my appreciation to Beaumont and all of the readers for allowing me to share my Challenge Detroit experience with you. Over the course of the next year, I hope to connect all of you to what I am learning about Detroit, what the program is accomplishing in Detroit and whatever else you would like to know about. The topics will range from light-hearted to heavy and I hope we can learn from each other with open, respectful dialogue. So, without further ado…

The Role of Health Care in the Revitalization of Detroit

For my first post, I was asked to write about my thoughts on the role of health care in the revitalization of Detroit. Having no idea where to start with such a grand question, I turned to a MBA’s best friend – statistics. I specifically was interested in the current state of health of the residents of Detroit. As you may have guessed, the results of my search didn’t look very good. According to statistics pulled from the Michigan Department of Community Health, if you live in the city of Detroit you are almost twice as likely to be hospitalized for a preventable condition as compared to the state as a whole; almost four times more likely in the case of asthma. Information from the “Healthy Michigan 2010” report reveals that 28% of the population living in Detroit has a disability, compared with 19% in the state as a whole.  Clearly the statistics paint a bleak picture for health in the city.

The Problem with Bad Health

What does this have to do with the revitalization of the city you ask? Other than the argument of health being a good thing in general, there is a well-documented (try here, here, or more generally, here) correlation between health and economic development. Indeed, this relationship holds true for Detroit. We just discussed how Detroit is rather health-poor. Economic indicators for the city follow suit. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that unemployment within the city is sitting at 18.8% – over double the statewide rate of 8.8%. Additionally, the US Census Bureau reports that the median household income of Detroit is $27,862, compared with $48,669 statewide.

As any statistician will tell you however, correlation does not imply causality. Even though health and economic development seem to go together, it is very hard to tell which comes first. In the case of Detroit, I decided to look up the availability of doctors with the thought that Detroiters were unhealthy due to a lack of access to health care. As it turns out, Detroit has a similar number of doctors per person (8.4 per 1000 people) and primary care physicians per person (1.85 per 1000 people) as Chicago (8.3 per 1000 people and 1.91 per 1000 people respectively). Additionally, there are 30 free/sliding scale clinics within five miles of the heart of the city. From this, it is reasonable to conclude that access to health care is not really the issue. It seems that economic stability is holding back health for the population of Detroit.

From the Motor City to the Medical City

If economic stability is what Detroit needs, why can’t that come from the health care industry? The medical industry is already the largest employer in the city according to The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation. The DMC, Henry Ford and Blue Cross Blue Shield employ over 26,000 people within the city. In fact, a study performed by the Milken Institute revealed that Detroit had the 7th largest health care economy in the nation.

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Chair of Imaging makes tradition of clowning around on Thanksgiving

Dr. Meza (center) with his son-in-law and daughter in last year's Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit.

Dr. Mezwa (center) with his son-in-law and daughter in last year’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit.

As you’re watching America’s Thanksgiving parade this year, keep an eye out for Duane Mezwa, M.D., Beaumont’s corporate chair of Imaging Services. He’ll be the one in make-up, a wig and a cape as a member of the Distinguished Clown Corps.

“I’ve been a member of the Distinguished Clown Corps for 18 years now,” he says. “You’re marching with the movers and shakers in Detroit but because we’re all in costume, you can’t tell who is who. It’s a fun way to start the holiday season.”

Dr. Mezwa “got hooked,” as he says, on being a clown when one of his colleagues, Greg Raiss, M.D., from Radiology at Beaumont Hospital, Troy nominated him to be in the corps. “You have to be nominated to join,” he says. “You then make a donation to The Parade Company and enjoy the experience. You work with some wonderful ladies in the costume department at The Parade
Company, so that’s all provided for you. For a while there, every year I would get a new nose, but I’ve changed direction so now I’m into wild glasses.”

At 5:30 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, Dr. Mezwa and his family report to the Boll Family YMCA in Detroit for costume and makeup. Professionals are on-hand to apply just the right amount of face paint to transform him from doctor to clown. The clowns load onto a bus in full costume to take their place in line in the parade.

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Beaumont’s Challenge Detroit fellow ready to make a difference

Tom Schuelke is excited to be here.

Tom Schuelke

Tom worked at GM for five years and led the team that created the front shutter grill on the Chevy Cruz that helps with  gas mileage.

He’s the new Challenge Detroit fellow for Beaumont this year and he’s working with the Beaumont Medical Group. “I’m already on a few big projects,” he says. “I feel like I’ll immediately be able to make a difference here and that’s excellent. ”Challenge Detroit is an initiative aimed at boosting the reputation and vitality of Detroit through “challenges” by young professionals.

Beaumont’s part is to host a fellow who will live, work, play, give and lead in Detroit for one year. My professor forwarded me the information about Challenge Detroit,” he says. “I jumped on the opportunity. It sounded like a great chance for me to use my newly developed skills in business to help.”

During the year he’s with Beaumont, Tom will help with a government-mandated upgrade for medical billing codes by coordinating the upgrades with Information Technology and the professional training sessions. In addition, he’ll be working on the Physician 360 Project, which synchronizes and stores information on Beaumont doctors.

Originally from Rockford, Mich., he has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan. He worked at General Motors for five years and led the team that created the front shutter grill on the Chevy Cruz that helps with gas mileage and went into nearly 3 million cars worldwide.

“But after five years at GM, I found myself missing something,” he says. “I wanted to be able to help people – I really wanted to use my time and talents to make a difference in people’s lives. So I went back to school to the U of M Ross School of Business, which is one of the few business schools in the nation to off er a curriculum on social enterprise and non-profit management. I have my MBA with a focus on finance and social enterprise.”

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Beaumont and Playworks Detroit Brighten Bennett Elementary School

Move that bus!

The Bennett Elementary School playground in Detroit received an extreme makeover this weekend from Beaumont’s department of orthopedic surgery and Playworks Detroit volunteers. The volunteers spent their Saturday afternoon painting and creating a beautiful, vibrant playground for the students.

This project began as a vision of the late Dr. Harry Herkowitz, former chairman of orthopedic surgery at Beaumont.

“Dr. Herkowitz had a vision and the Playworks project was only the first step,” said Tammy Breece, Dr. Herkowitz’s former assistant. “We have a stellar department and he knew we could come together as a team and do something great for the community. I’m grateful to everyone who came out on a Saturday morning to make Dr. Herkowitz’s vision a reality. ”

Take a look at the transformation of the playground – before, during and (most importantly) after!


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When the power failed, our people didn’t

On August 14, 2003, about 50 million people, from Michigan to New England and Canada, lost power when a tree branch in Ohio started an outage that quickly spread. At 4:10 p.m. on Friday, the hospital plunged into momentary darkness. Word quickly spread that the power outage wasn’t just a local problem, but potentially a national crisis. With more than 900 inpatients and 391 Emergency Center patients, the hospital was full.

Because of the teamwork and commitment to patient care, our patients continued to receive the quality of care they are accustomed to at Beaumont, despite limitations because of emergency power, and eventually, because of  water restrictions.

This ad ran just a few days after the blackout to recognize our staff for their extraordinary efforts during the blackout.

This ad ran just a few days after the blackout to recognize our staff for their efforts during the blackout.

Now, ten years later, it is encouraging to look back and see how Beaumont was able to continue to treat patients because nursing and ancillary staff reported to work as assigned, despite not having power in their own homes. We were able to continue to run the hospital because non-patient-care staff and volunteers reported to work and offered their services, whether it was running food to patients, collecting lab specimens or delivering water and ice to staff. And we were able to continue because of the hundreds of physicians who came in to offer their services wherever they were needed.

Here are a few memorable moments from the staff that were working at Beaumont during the blackout:

“I was working on 3 North at the time and some of the rooms heated up to 80 degrees within two hours. We had one patient, who insisted on going home so we escorted her down the stairs – one of us on each side. The dietary employees and others formed a human conveyor up the stairs to serve a cold dinner. Everyone stayed reasonably calm, as there wasn’t much we could do but wait. It’s one of those life events you don’t forget.”

“I worked the weekend of the blackout in the phlebotomy department, which posed many logistical issues as many had to experience as well. We had carts that were stuck on the floors so we had to keep them secure in the nursing stations until an elevator was available. The phlebotomists worked 2 x 2 – one with a flashlight and one to draw the patients. We had to make the patient confident of our abilities first, since appearing with a flashlight sure looked questionable! But it was a great alternative so we could still give care to the most immediate of needs.”

“Helping Hands of Home Services realized from this event that a Disaster List had to be maintained and contact made asap with all at-risk clients in such an event. The lessons we learned still impact our daily operations.”

“The heat was unbearable with no air conditioning, but the camaraderie was unprecedented! We were allowed to relax the dress code, within reason. I remember that a folded bandana around the head helped keep the sweat under control as you worked. And work we did.  Just not what you usually did. So many people toted food up never ending stairs to feed the patients.  And with no street lights or signals working, just getting to and from Beaumont was a challenge. Glad I had the experience…once!

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Sunny Day, Sweepin’ the clouds away

Cookie Monster and Elmo, on a vacation from Sesame Street and in town at the Fox Theatre in Detroit performing Sesame Street Live, made their way to Beaumont Children’s Hospital to visit with some of our patients and families. Many of the patients are unable to go out and see the show, so Cookie Monster and Elmo brought the show to them and performed the “Cookie Crumba Rumba” in the Children’s Miracle Network Garden area.

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Around Beaumont – “The Beaumont Family”

After taking a quick picture of this sculpture (depicting a mother, a father and two children) on the Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak campus this fall, I wanted to find out a little more about its history. Here are some interesting facts I learned:

  • It was created by world-renowned sculptor Marshall Fredericks.
  • Fredericks’ other notable works include “Spirit of Detroit” outside of Detroit city government headquarters; “Christ on the Cross” in Indian River; and the “Star Dream” sculpture in downtown Royal Oak.
  • The sculpture was a gift to the hospital in 1954 from Lola Jennings Erb in memory of her late husband.
  • It stands 16-feet tall and weighs over 300 pounds. It is made of polished aluminum.

What is your favorite piece of art on Beaumont’s campuses? Are there other pieces of art around Beaumont that you’ve wondered the origin of?

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8 questions with our Challenge Detroit participant

Ali Beydoun is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan and current Challenge Detroit participant. While at the University of Michigan, Ali earned his Bachelor of Science degree with Distinction in Brain, Behavior and Cognitive Science. Ali is from Dearborn.

What made you want to get involved with Challenge Detroit?

While at U of M, I began to understand the importance of doing the most good in every possible situation.  This motive is what compelled me to apply to the Challenge Detroit program.  My whole life, I wanted to be a doctor.  This is still the case, but before I attend medical school I want to have hands-on experience and give back to the community that raised me. After deciding to take a gap year before applying to and matriculating in medical school, Challenge Detroit posed the perfect year long initiative to satiate my philanthropic appetite, as well as give me exposure to the Paris of the West through a unique and comprehensive lens.

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And the winner is… 2012 Pulse Awards

2012 Pulse Awards

The second annual Pulse Awards took place on Friday, Nov. 30 at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak. The event, highlighting news articles, radio and television broadcasts and social media efforts that have fostered greater public awareness of the impact of heart disease and stroke in the metro Detroit area, is hosted by Beaumont and the American Heart Association.

2012 Award Winners

TV Heart Coverage

  • Dr. Frank McGeorge and Sarah Mayberry
    WDIV-TV, Local 4

Radio Heart Coverage

  • Warren Pierce
    WJR 760 AM

PULSE AwardWritten Heart Coverage

  • Jill Halpin
    Observer and Eccentric Newspapers
  • Cassandra Spratling
    Detroit Free Press
  • Paula Pasche
    Oakland Press
  • Robert Sklar
    Detroit Jewish News

Legacy Award

  • Pat Anstett
    Detroit Free Press

TV Stroke Coverage

  • Jorge Avellan

Radio Stroke Coverage

  • Violet Ikonomova
    WWJ Newsradio 950

CPR/AED TV Coverage

  • Sean Lee and Deena Centofanti
    Fox 2 News

CPR/AED Written Coverage

  • Haley Goldberg
    Michigan Daily

Social Media Coverage

  • Kimberly Hayes Taylor
    B.L.A.C. Magazine

Public Affairs Coverage

  • Cindy Kainz
    Bloomfield Community Television

Most Creative Cause Campaign

  • Catherine Kelly
    Michigan Citizen

TV Heart Partner of the Year

  • FOX 2 News

Radio Heart Partner of the Year

  • 97.1 The Ticket
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