Committed to Our Communities

Mission Fit Statement

The mission of Spectrum Health is to improve health, inspire hope and save lives. To fulfill this mission Healthier Communities focuses on reaching the highest level of health equity possible with the people, neighborhoods and regions we serve.

Spectrum Health dedicates $6 million every year to Healthier Communities to advance health equity in West Michigan. Spectrum Health Healthier Communities is committed to supporting work that reduces infant mortality, advances family economic security by improving health outcomes and improves community wellness by reducing chronic disease. Funding is monitored by an independent community board, the Community Commitment Advisory Committee (CCAC). 

What is health equity?

Health is defined as the “state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity."  Health equity is the absence of avoidable, unfair or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those groups are defined socially, economically, demographically, geographically or by other means. Health equity implies that everyone should have a fair opportunity to attain their full health potential and that no one should be disadvantaged from achieving this potential. Total health in a community cannot be present where health inequities exist.

What are our strategies?

  • Reduce infant mortality
  • Advance family economic security as a means to improve health
  • Improve community wellness and reduce chronic disease

What is our theory of change?

Spectrum Health Healthier Communities uses a theory of change to examine community need and decisions about how we use our resources. Our theory of change is simple: We focus on reaching the highest levels of health equity possible. To do this we believe that resources need to focus on the individual or systems that include institutions, networks of institutions or dynamics within the community. Spectrum Health Healthier Communities will focus its resources on these four drivers of health:


  • The influence of those around you and the potential positive and negative impacts they have on your overall health and wellbeing. Your network’s power to support you in the advancement of your goals, wishes and daily life. Your network’s collective knowledge, access to larger systems, and understanding of who you are and your situation. How a person or a group of people are materially situated in a community.


  • Self-esteem, strength of identity, coping skills, ambition, attitude, emotional intelligence and understanding of your own culture. The desire to see your life through a positive lens and the ability and willingness to meet your life goals. The ability and willingness of a neighborhood or community to organize around issues that ultimately impact health.


  • An individual’s ability to access available services or institutions without high cost and in your own language. The ability to adhere to medically appropriate advice and prevention, including medication and other medical regimens. The ability of a system to be accessible or incent adherence to a medical regimen.


  • The power of a community or neighborhood to solve its deepest issues. Quality may range from advocacy for policies that reduce health barriers to an organization delivering high quality, culturally appropriate care based on best practices.

Community Partnerships

Healthier Communities works closely with community partners to impact infant mortality, chronic disease and economic security outcomes in the community. We support our partners with funding, evaluation, technical assistance and network building. Our community partnerships are an invitation-only process.


Healthier Communities provides programming focused on infant mortality, chronic disease and economic security outcomes in the community. These programs work closely in collaboration with other institutions across the communities we serve, including partner organizations, funders, universities, school systems, health systems and governmental agencies.

Contact Us

Healthier Communities
665 Seward Avenue NW, Suite 110
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49504

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Phone 616.391.5000

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