Grand Rapids African American Health Initiative

Contact Information

Contact Person: Shannon Wilson
Contact Info:


In 2004, the Grand Rapids African American Health Initiative was born out of the Grand Rapids Urban League to focus solely on the health of African Americans in Kent County, especially on health issues such as: infant mortality, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The agency seeks to achieve health equity through education, advocacy, and research in the community and health care settings.

GRAAHI has partnered with Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids "Strong Beginnings" Healthy Start Program, Healthier Communities, Metro Health Hospital, Mercy Health, Grand Valley State University, and Alliance for Health.

Activities & Objectives

Educational Efforts
GRAAHI has educated the Kent community about diabetes management through the Diabetes FACE Program, has increased awareness of chronic kidney disease and hypertension/cardiovascular disease, and how social determinants of health impact the progression of these diseases.

Advocacy Efforts
GRAAHI has collaborated with Blue Cross Blue Shield doctors in a round table discussion about health care reform and its impact on African Americans, has used GIS mapping to look at social determinants of health in the Grand Rapids communities to aid in resource allocation, and has worked with Grand Rapids "Strong Beginnings" Healthy Start Program on infant mortality work.