Health Education for Groups

Healthier Communities offers extensive programming to educate professionals and their clients to improve the health of our community. Our professional development and education team offers presentations on a variety of health-related topics. Our educators include exercise physiologists, registered nurses, lactation specialists, social workers, community health educators and registered dietitians. Fees may apply.

Cardiovascular Health for Your Clients

Controlling Your High Blood Pressure
Do you have high blood pressure or a family history of high blood pressure, or are you at risk for developing high blood pressure? Many people have high blood pressure and don't know it. Learn what you can do to prevent and control high blood pressure.

Know Your Numbers
You can have heart disease without any symptoms. That's why recognizing and controlling your risk factors can help you reduce your chances of having a heart attack and stroke. This presentation will review the major risk factors for heart disease and stroke and what you need to know about them.

PATH (Personal Action Towards Health) (Six-week class)
PATH is a workshop that empowers people to take an active role in managing a chronic or long-term health condition. Workshops meet for six weeks, in two-and-a-half-hour sessions each week.

Prevention and Treatment of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that develops in a deep vein, usually of the leg. Learn how you can prevent DVT and how early treatment is important to reduce the risk of complications. 

Stroke and High Blood Pressure: What’s the Connection
Do you have high blood pressure? Did you know there is a strong connection between high blood pressure and having a stroke? Come find out if you are at risk for having a stroke and what you can do to lower that risk. 

Stroke Prevention and Symptom Recognition
Would you know if you or someone you are with is having a stroke? Did you know a stroke can be prevented? This presentation will review: the risk factors for stroke; how you can prevent and/or control them; how to recognize the symptoms of a stroke; and what to do if you or someone you are with is having a stroke.

Women and Heart Disease
More women die of heart disease than the next four leading causes of death combined. This class will help give you a better understanding of your risk factors so you can take control of your health and prevent heart disease.

Learn more about these presentation topics.

Back to Top

Community Health Worker (CHW) Training

MiCHWA CHW Training Program (14-week course)
Spectrum Health Healthier Communities is partnering with the Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) to provide the Michigan Community Health Worker Alliance (MiCHWA) standardized curriculum for the State of Michigan. Upon successful completion, the student will receive a certificate from MiCHWA and GRCC. Competencies covered include:

  • Advocacy and Outreach
  • Community and Personal Strategies
  • Legal and Ethical Responsibilities
  • Teaching and Capacity-building
  • Communication Skills and Cultural Competencies
  • Coordination, Documentation and Reporting
  • Healthy Lifestyles
  • Mental Health

Learn more about these presentation topics.

Back to Top


Diabetes Self-Management Workshop (Six-week class)
The Diabetes Self-Management Workshop is a two-and-a-half-hour class held over six weeks for people with type 2 diabetes. The purpose is to help participants learn more about living with diabetes and how to best manage their diabetes.

Exercise and Diabetes
This class will answer questions on how to exercise safely if you have diabetes. Learn ways to add more movement into your day while keeping blood sugars in check. You will leave energized and have a new understanding about how an active lifestyle can improve your health.

Learn more about these presentation topics.

Back to Top


  • Inclusion and Diversity in the Workplace

Learn more about this presentation topic.

Back to Top

Infant and Pediatric

Baby Care
For those not attending a "Preparing for Childbirth" class but interested in learning more about the practical reality of caring for a baby, this is for you. It's also an ideal class for parents who are adopting a baby! We'll talk about all kinds of concerns, and we welcome your questions. You'll learn about popular parent topics, such as: 

  • Bathing your baby 
  • Feeding your baby
  • Soothing a crying baby
  • Your baby's sleep habits
  • When to call the doctor

" Single session (3 hours). Preregistration is required. Online registration is available at, or call 616.391.5000 Option 1.

Breastfeeding Your Baby: Why Breast is Best and How to Get Started
Every new mom wonders (and often worries) about breastfeeding. We think this topic receives lots of confusing-and sometimes misguided-publicity. Our certified lactation specialist will take the mystery out of this unique aspect of motherhood. Don't laugh, but we ask that you bring a baby-sized doll or stuffed animal with you so you can practice holding and positioning-it works!
This class is for you and your support person. Having a support person increases success. We'll discuss: 

  • How breastfeeding works 
  • How it affects you, your baby, your partner and your post-pregnancy experience
  • How to help your baby "get it" with latch-on tips 
  • How to hold your baby while breastfeeding so both of you are comfy and cozy 
  • How to know when/if your baby is getting enough to eat 
  • How to nurse a sleepy baby 
  • What's the deal on pumping, how it works and do you have to do it 
  • How to plan for the transition of going back to work

Single session (2.5 hours). Preregistration is required. Online registration is available at, or call 616.391.5000 Option 1.

Dads on Deck: For Dads-to-Be
Yes! A guys-only, one-time session that gives a male perspective on what's happening in your life-now, when the big day arrives and once you take your new baby home. Led by an experienced "Dad's class" educator, this is your chance to: 

  • Ask questions (no holds barred) and get straight answers
  • Learn how you can support mom
  • Understand more about caring for your new baby

Preregistration is required. Online registration is available at:, or call 616.391.5000 Option 1.

Feeding Infants and Toddlers
Eating is a big part of our daily routine. For those with a baby in the house, it can also be both overwhelming and a challenge to begin feeding an infant baby foods and dealing with picky toddlers. Learn the current recommendations and techniques for feeding an infant as well as preparing or getting through those picky years.


Good Start for You and Your Baby
Did you know that you could have a positive effect on your baby's intelligence and their long-term physical health starting day one of your pregnancy? With a few simple steps, you can set your baby up for a good start for life!

This class covers the importance of good nutrition and the benefits of physical activity during pregnancy, after delivery and for lifelong health. Come learn about the exciting research regarding how diet and physical activity can affect your baby's brain health and microbiome (gut) health. 

Classes are led by a registered dietitian and an exercise specialist, who will share great information on topics like:

  • How does exercise during pregnancy affect my baby?
  • What foods are best to have a healthy pregnancy and baby? What should I avoid?
  • How does nutrition and tummy-time help affect my baby's brain development?
  • What is a healthy microbiome and how does it influence my baby's health?

Learn more about these presentation topics.

Back to Top

Nutrition and Food

Thinking Outside the Salt Shaker
Are you looking to lower how much salt you eat without losing the flavor? Join us to hear the latest research on the potential health benefits of these vibrant flavors, tips for choosing lower-sodium options and how you can use herbs, spices, citrus, vinegars and more to add zest to your meal plan. Whether you want to eat healthier, lower your blood pressure or help someone who is, this class is for you!

Added Sugar: What You Need to Know
Sugar is being added to our food and drinks, oftentimes in very unlikely options. In fact, recent data indicates that around 75 percent of supermarket options contain added sugar. In this class you will learn how to outsmart the food industry with a newfound awareness of where added sugars are found and how they impact your health.

Basics of Eating Right: Eating Well for a Healthy Heart
This presentation covers the bare bones of eating well. This class touches on the foods we want to increase, as well as those we want to decrease, with healthy meal examples using the USDA MyPlate to boot.

Food, Mood and Hormones
What is belly fat? Does fat located around your waistline pose a greater disease risk than fat on your thighs or arms? Can certain foods beat back belly fat? Learn the answers to these questions and more as we walk through the latest health advice for better "waist" management.

Brain Food: The Link Between Food and Memory
It is well known that what you eat affects your heart, but did you know it also affects your brain? Join a registered dietitian to learn more about the connection between healthy eating for your brain and learn what foods feed and what foods harm the brain. 

DASH Diet: Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
When it comes to top diets, both the Mediterranean Diet and DASH diet top the lists. The DASH diet is a plant-focused diet, rich in fruits, vegetables and nuts, with low-fat and nonfat dairy, lean meats, fish, poultry, mostly whole grains and heart-healthy fats. You fill up on delicious fruits and vegetables, paired with protein-rich foods, to quench your hunger. Sound delicious? Join this class to learn more about how you can bring this to life into your own daily food choices. 

Dietary Fats: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Saturated fats, unsaturated fats, trans fats. The names alone are enough to confuse you. Join our registered dietitian nutritionist, who shares the latest nutrition research as we walk through the maze of dietary fats. Explore the good, the bad and the ugly when it comes to fat and what you can eat on trend by including healthy fats in your every day.

Eating Well with Heart Failure
Part of managing heart failure well is choosing the right foods, but what does that look like? This class covers what foods to choose most, what foods to limit and how to make it all work in real life. 

The Good Gut: How Food, Mood and Immunity Intermingle Within
Did you know you have more bacteria in your digestive tract than cells in your entire body? These bacteria, known together as the microbiome, powerfully interact with our bodies, affecting our mood, our weight, our immunity and our general health. Research is showing that what you eat and your lifestyle have a big influence on these bacteria. Join our registered dietitian to learn more about these influential bugs living inside you and how your diet and lifestyle habits affect your microbiome.

Is a Gluten-Free Diet Right for You?
Gluten-free foods are now appearing in restaurants, grocery stores and perhaps your own kitchen. As gluten-free awareness continues to build, you may be wondering exactly what this mysterious protein is, why it can be troublesome and how you can safely prepare gluten-free meals. Learn the answers to these questions and more as a registered dietitian discusses the gluten-free diet, reasons for following it and tips for creating a gluten-free kitchen in your own home. The next time you come across a gluten-free option, you will know if it's right for you.

Exploring Gluten-Free Grains: Tips for Living on More Than White Rice
Most gluten-free diners are filling up on processed flours made from white rice and starches, ingredients typically stripped of any nutritional value. Join our registered dietitian to learn why it is important to swap out refined flours for gluten-free whole grains or whole "pseudo" grains. Get to know what options are available, bust some myths surrounding carbs and protein and acquire tips for cooking gluten-free healthily.

Eating Right When Money's Tight
As the cost of food continues to rise, can you still eat healthy without breaking the bank? Absolutely. Come learn how to make every dollar count at the grocery store, how to make a meal plan and know what foods give you the most nutrition at the lowest cost.

Tips for a Nutritious Holiday
Discuss ways to add nutrition and movement to your holiday celebrations this season. 

Healthy Habits through the Holidays
Learn more about what and how habits are established, using this information to build healthier ones into your holiday season. 

The Plant-Based Diet: What Is It and Why Is It Worthwhile?
Plant-based. A style of eating that is exactly that, centered on plants (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds), with meat, poultry, fish and dairy used more as condiments if at all. This class explores the health and environmental reasons supporting this eating pattern, while also laying out simple steps toward creating (or re-creating) meatless meals in your own home. 

Snack Well: Tips for Balancing Nutrition Needs between Meals
Learn what foods to choose throughout the day that will sustain, energize and nourish you. With the help of a registered dietitian, after this presentation you will be able to make creative and smart snacking choices to fuel your day. (Class may be geared toward young children or adults.)

Intuitive Eating: How to Tune in to Your Natural Hunger and Fullness Cues 
Many of us are not aware of true hunger and fullness cues, and we eat more than our bodies actually need. "Intuitive" eating is designed to help you to get in touch with your body and mind, eating when you are hungry and stopping when full. Registered dietitians will help you recognize the difference between physical and emotional hunger and how to identify your hunger and fullness cues. Learn how to help put an end to dieting forever.

Ten Tips Toward Living Well, Mediterranean Style
Research continues to indicate that the Mediterranean lifestyle may be the key to reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases-and food plays a starring role. Thankfully, the foods (including avocados, nuts, beans, salmon and olive oil) taste great too. Join our registered dietitian as she guides you through 10 simple steps toward incorporating the rich flavors of the Mediterranean into your day-helping you to live well and eat better.

Meal Planning
If you are like many others, dinnertime rolls around again, and all you can do is stare at the refrigerator wondering what to cook. Wouldn't it be better to know what is for dinner every night and, better yet, have some nights when dinner is ready for you? It's time to meal plan, and it is so easy to do. Come learn how to meal plan so you can take the stress out of cooking. 

Eating Well through Menopause
Many women, as they progress through menopause, face the frustration of weight gain, hot flashes and moodiness. On top of that there are many confusing messages about what to eat and what not to eat during menopause. This presentation will cover nutrition recommendations during this stage in a woman's life, plus discuss which foods can be helpful and which ones are just myths.

Tips for a SMART New Year's Resolution
Tired of breaking your New Year's resolutions? This time, finally turn your good intentions into a permanent lifestyle. Join a registered dietitian and ignite your motivation to start eating healthy and exercising to help you succeed in your weight loss journey. Make this the year you move more, weigh less and start on the road to better health.

What's Your Why? Identifying the Reason behind Your Resolution
Did you ever wonder what is motivating you to make and break your intentions? Discover the "why" behind your choices, and make this the year you finally turn your good intentions into a permanent, healthier lifestyle. Attend this presentation to explore the importance of positive self-talk, learn ways to sustain a healthy lifestyle and maximize positive health choices. Make this the year you reach your goals.

Learn more about these presentation topics.

Back to Top

Physical Activity

Change Your Mind. Move More.
Do you want to increase your energy, improve your mood and start feeling better about yourself? If you often talk yourself out of exercise before you even have your tennis shoes on, then this class is for you. You will leave the class with a fresh perspective on an active lifestyle and the desire to give it a try-without the excuses.

Exercise and Menopause

Learn how physical activity can take you from surviving to thriving during menopause.

Get Brain Smart: Healthy Body. Healthy Brain.
The brain is as healthy as the body that carries it. Learn how movement optimizes your brain health by improving memory, warding off Alzheimer's disease and improving your mood.

Getting Started with Resistance Training
Thinking of resistance training, but not sure where to start? This class is perfect for beginners and highlights different methods of resistance training, including resistance bands, medicine balls, dumbbells and body weight as ways to improve strength and tone up.

Sleep 101
Do you ever wake up tired or have a hard time falling or staying asleep? Sleep is vital to good health. Discover ways to get a better night's sleep and improve your health.  

Move More. Steps for a Healthy Life.
What if cutting health care costs was as easy as putting one foot in front of the other? This class highlights how regular exercise can improve brain health and reduce your risk for cancer diabetes.

Changing for Good
Making healthy changes often seems overwhelming. This class teaches you how to build a healthy lifestyle one small change at a time. You will learn how to set simple, realistic goals to get you started and keep you going. 

Learn more about these presentation topics.

Back to Top


Eating Right for Chronic Lung Disease (COPD)
Just as diet plays a key role in living well with diabetes and heart failure, the foods you choose also impact lung disease. Our registered dietitian will explain exactly how dietary choices have an effect on how you or your loved one feels and how you can better plan and prepare meals to help you feel your best.

Learn more about this presentation topic.

Back to Top


New Tobacco Products: Are They Safe?
Are They Safe? Talk to a certified tobacco treatment specialist and get answers to your questions about emerging tobacco products like vapes, e-cigs and hookah. Are they safe for use or not so much? What really are the facts?

Quit 101
This two-hour class focuses on the evidence-based tips and tools that will help you quit smoking. Facilitated by Libby Stern, MSW, a nationally certified tobacco addiction specialist who is also a former smoker, the program will help you develop a quit plan and find the motivation and skills you need to stop tobacco once and for all.

Tips and Tools for Quitting
Explore the approved, evidence-based tools and techniques to help you or someone you love quit tobacco once and for all.

Learn more about these presentation topics.

Back to Top

How Else Can We Support You?

If you have an educational need outside of these offerings, we are happy to discuss your interests. You or your clients also may be interested in subscribing to Health Beat at for the latest tips, expert insights and news you can use to keep healthy and well.

Monthly In-Services

We offer monthly education sessions the second Wednesday of each month from September to June. The topics are designed to fit the needs of professionals of community organizations that offer health and human services. Visit Monthly In-services for more information about in-service topics, locations and registration instructions, or call 616.391.3310.

Contact Information

Healthier Communities
Professional Development and Education