Last year, the Ironmen Health Center in Mancelona received a small grant from the State of Michigan to serve as a pilot site for Project Connect, a national initiative of Futures Without Violence.
"Erika didn't stop there," said Pat Fralick, Director of Family & Community Health, "She took the content of Project Connect and spread its message to our other school health clinic and throughout the Health District. She was also invited to attend a 'Train the Trainer' in Washington, D.C. to train other professionals in the field across the state of Michigan."
Van Dam trained all of the Health Department's Public Health Nurses and Public Health Technicians in recognizing and responding to adolescent relationship abuse. She reviewed the agency's policies and procedures with staff from the Women's Resource Center and revised them to assure they were relevant and comprehensive. The Michigan Department of Community Health's Child & Adolescent Health Center Program has since shared the revised policies and procedures with all Coordinators across the state. Both the Hornet Health Center and Ironmen Health Center have developed additional events and activities with Van Dam's help, including providing small groups of adolescents with skills and tools to recognize relationship violence and provide leadership in their schools to prevent it. The Hestia Women's Giving Circle provided funding to conduct this training at the Hornet Health Center in Pellston.
The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For more information about the Health Department's adolescent health services, call Van Dam at 231-347-5832.