Governor Gretchen Whitmer Tours Mercy Health Physician Partners Quarterline Family Medicine; Meets Separately With Talent Acquisition to Learn About Closing Skills Gap

Rebecca Cherry, practice manager; Gov. Gretchen Whitmer; Katie Alfredson, DNP, AGNP-C, lead nurse practitioner; and Gary Allore, president, Mercy Health Muskegon, take a tour led by Cherry and Alfredson.

Twice in less than a week, Governor Gretchen Whitmer met with Mercy Health colleagues and leaders to learn how Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System are closing the skills gap through collaboration with our community partners.

Gov. Whitmer visited Mercy Health Physician Partners (MHPP) Quarterline Family Medicine on the campus of Muskegon Community College (MCC) on February 18, 2019. The visit was part of a 50-event “Home for Opportunity” tour, aimed at closing the skills gap in Michigan so workers have the training they need to fill in-demand jobs. Gov. Whitmer met with Mercy Health Muskegon President Gary Allore and MHPP Quarterline Family Medicine leaders, Rebecca Cherry, practice manager, and Katie Alfredson, DNP, AGNP-C, lead nurse practitioner, to discuss the strategies Mercy Health is using to keep our health care talent local and keep our communities healthier in the process.

Quarterline Family Medicine is the first nurse practitioner-led clinic for Mercy Health. The clinic represents the successful collaboration of Grand Valley State University, MCC and Mercy Health Muskegon to bring a transformative and innovative health care service to the community.

Opened on February 11, 2019, MHPP Quarterline provides robust, interdisciplinary education to the health care students who rotate through the facility and allows Mercy Health the opportunity to create a local talent pipeline for medical assistants, nurses and other high-demand health care jobs now and into the future. The clinic will provide care for residents in the currently underserved Eastside area of Muskegon and MCC nursing and medical assistant students opportunities to earn required clinical hours.

Katie Alfredson, DNP, AGNP-C, lead nurse practitioner welcomes Gov. Whitmer to MHPP Quarterline Family Medicine.

Alfredson and Cherry led the group through the new facility. The tour included the onsite lab and eight exam rooms full of uplifting, bright murals that showcase the beauty of the West Michigan lakeshore. Additionally, the governor was able to meet the current Medical Assistant Apprenticeship program students, view the co-working stations, and see how the 4,000 square-foot Mercy Health clinic is seamlessly integrated into Muskegon Community College’s campus.

“Considering that Governor Whitmer is such a proponent of education, it was really exciting to show her the results of Mercy Health’s collaborative efforts,” said Alfredson.

Following the tour, a crowd gathered inside the Health and Wellness Center gymnasium to hear the governor speak more about the skills gap issue facing the State of Michigan.


Governor Whitmer with representatives from various community partners, including Grand Rapids Community College and from Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System, Shana Welch, on far right.

“We in Michigan, we are the place people used to move to from around the world for opportunity,” said Gov. Whitmer as she addressed the group. “In Michigan, you could get a good job that would pay you well enough, but when we look at where Michigan ranks compared to the rest of the world and the skills gap, we’re dramatically behind.”

MHPP Quarterline Family Medicine provides a perfect setting not only for community members to receive care, but it also serves as a place for various student disciplines to gain valuable clinical or health care experience.

“We are extremely proud of the collaborative partnerships we have with our West Michigan educational institutions,” said Allore. “Not only will students be able to train alongside our Mercy Health nurse practitioners, but the goal is to engage with them early on so that we are their first choice for employment when they graduate from MCC.”

Gov. Whitmer was not only interested in the MHPP Quarterline Practice, but also showed interest in how Mercy Health and Saint Joseph Mercy Health System are closing the skills gap on a broader level throughout the state.

Shana Welch executive director, Talent Acquisition, Michigan, was invited to a private conversation with Gov. Whitmer on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, to share how our organizations collaborate with community partners and workforce boards to develop apprenticeship and short-term credentialed programs.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Shana Welch, who has been asked to serve as the lead Healthcare Employer representative for the Governor’s Michigan Talent Investment Agency.

The conversations will continue, as Welch has also been asked by the governor’s Michigan Talent Investment Agency to be the lead Healthcare Employer to develop a statewide Healthcare Workforce sector strategy.

Additionally, Welch has recently accepted the opportunity to serve on the Michigan Talent Investment Agency Executive Development Committee, which aims to improve and strengthen statewide career and technical education programs.




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