Health program launched by Oakwood, city

Sunday Times Newspapers

TAYLOR — Mayor Rick Sollars said he would have supported the healthy living program as proposed by Oakwood Healthcare System even if it hadn’t been offered with neither strings nor cost.

“It’s a great opportunity at a price we can’t beat — nothing,” Sollars said. “It’s an improvement on the quality of life.”

Late last year city officials were approached by Oakwood with the goal of creating a “healthy community” program, originally to be set in either Taylor or Trenton; the two-year program will now include both communities as part of the health care organization’s outreach program.

A presentation before the Taylor City Council last month revealed some rather sobering statistics and needs, Sollars said.

“Wayne County, as a whole, is the most obese county in all of Michigan,” Sollars said. “That was quite shocking, and we became prime candidates for the partnership.”

Under the agreement Oakwood will provide a series of programs at local venues — recreation and senior centers — to offer free health screenings, access to care, health literacy and education sessions and more. The program was launched in conjunction with the Affordable Care Act with the goal of connecting members of the community with access to doctors and medical facilities.

Sollars said facilities such as the Taylor Teen Health Center, 26650 Eureka, and others will be used to launch the program.

“There are some pre-screenings and other free services related to diabetes, blood pressure and such,” Sollars said. “Oakwood will help write programs related to weight loss and to help develop alternative healthy lifestyles.”

Among the misconceptions the program will try to correct, for example, is that weight loss is simply a matter of exercise or diet when in reality, “It’s a lifestyle change,” Sollars said.

“The other nice thing about it is having access to these professionals could lead to other improvements,” Sollars said. “There could be issues related to diabetes, and through different strategies this can help people understand the risks.”

Sollars plans to have the city take more than a passive role in the program. He plans this fall to initiate a “walk with the mayor” program at the recreation center to encourage and provide support for people to take
the first steps toward a regular exercise regimen.

“It will allow us to engage and do this collectively as a group and help each other,” Sollars said. “A lot of this comes down to your support staff.”

Oakwood will bring to the program its own resources along with those of the National Kidney Foundation for diabetes prevention, and “Cooking Matters” workshops in partnership with Gleaners Community Food Bank of Southeastern Michigan to help teach families how to prepare nutritious and affordable meals.

Program details and locations will soon be announced.

For more information contact Oakwood at 313-295-5253.

(James Mitchell can be reached at