Mercy Health Celebrates Patients Who Have “Graduated” to Better Health

For several years now, two unique groups of Mercy Health patients and their families have been treated to a special, invitation-only event hosted by Mercy Health. Both events have marked the achievement of healthy goals that have transformed the lives of these patients and their families.

On Friday, August 9, 2019, former Mercy Health bariatric patients and their families gathered at the Muskegon SportsPlex to celebrate their success. The event is called DUNEiversity, where patients participate in outdoor physical activities that were not possible prior to their bariatric surgery.

Hosted by Bariatric Surgeon Brian Gluck, DO, participants went on guided nature hikes, enjoyed paddle sports and yard game Olympics, and even had the opportunity to experience the thrill of the wheel luge. DUNEiversity celebrates how far formerly obese patients have come in their bariatric journeys.

The ultimate goal of a successful weight loss surgery is to live better, healthier and longer. This year’s participants in DUNEiversity have “graduated” to a healthier life due to their ongoing commitment to making healthy choices.

Four days later on August 13, 2019, hundreds of children and their parents gathered for the annual Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Reunion. This year’s event was held on Post Family Farms in Hudsonville.

Nearly 200 “grads,” or children who have been cared for in the NICU at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, accompanied by their parents and NICU staff, attended the celebration. Mercy Health’s NICU cares for 200–300 children each year.

The NICU Reunion celebrates former NICU patients’ lives and accomplishments. Often having arrived into this world too soon or with complications, these NICU grads and their parents are proud to show off how far they have come since their care as the smallest patients of Mercy Health.

Some participants were transported from regional hospitals to the 15-bed, Level II NICU at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s by the Mercy Health NICU Transport Unit, which is a fully equipped specialty ambulance.

Despite their rough start in life, these resilient children have continued to thrive, thanks to outstanding health care and love from family and friends.

Mercy Health’s mission is to serve as a transforming, healing presence in our communities. Our patients aren’t a number or statistic. That is true whether our patients are directly in our care or have “graduated” and are continuing to live their lives. We deeply care about our patients and are here for them every step on their individual journeys toward living remarkably healthy lives.

Protecting Yourself and Others from Illness

Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) vaccines have prevented countless cases of infectious diseases and saved millions of lives? Mercy Health would like to encourage you to care for yourself, and your loved ones, by reminding you of the importance of immunizations as preventive care.

According to the CDC, vaccines can protect both the people who receive them and those with whom they come in contact. Vaccines are responsible for the control of many infectious diseases that were once common. A vaccine actually eradicated smallpox, one of the most devastating diseases in history.

How do Vaccines Work?

When germs invade the body, they cause an infection. Once your body fights off the infection, you’re left with a supply of cells that help recognize and fight that disease in the future. A vaccination is designed to help your body create these cells to fight the disease by introducing a weakened form of the disease into your body. Your body then makes antibodies to fight the invaders so if the disease ever attacks you, your antibodies will destroy them.

To ensure vaccines are held to the highest standard of safety and efficacy, the CDC has measures in place to test and continuously monitor them. To learn more, visit the CDC Vaccine Safety website and read the Immunization Action Coalition’s Healthcare Personnel Vaccination Recommendations.

Besides preventing you and others from getting sick, if you’re enrolled in Trinity Health medical benefits most immunizations are 100 percent covered. For a complete list of immunizations and a schedule for receiving them, visit the CDC Immunization Schedules website.

Another great way to give a boost to your physical health is by maintaining your spiritual health through visualization. Visualization engages the imagination by thinking of a scene, a thought or a belief in our minds. This practice has been shown to decrease stress, blood pressure, manage chronic pain and promote general healing. Learn more about visualization and other spiritual practices at the Center for Engaged Spirituality.

Additionally, screenings and regularly scheduled vaccinations are important in sustaining your health. Having a primary care physician (PCP) who can coordinate your care is vital to your good health. A PCP typically specializes in family medicine, internal medicine or general practice.

If you don’t have a PCP, finding one is easy! Just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

Find a Mercy Health provider

Mercy Health is committed to providing resources that promote well-being though body, mind, and spirit and is dedicated to helping you live a healthy life.

Trinity Health is a Catholic health care facility that is firmly committed to maintaining fidelity to its Catholic identity by closely conforming to the Ethical and Religious Directives (ERDs) for Catholic Health Care Services., and the links they provide are independent sites and have no obligation to provide information that is always congruent with the ERDs. Trinity Health cannot guarantee their content and ask for your discretion when using information from these sites.

Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences is Partner in $1.66 Million Grant to Transform Health Care for Michigan Children with Epilepsy

Michigan children with epilepsy will see improved outcomes through expanded services funded by a $1.66 million four-year grant that the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has received. The grant will fund the Michigan Pediatric Epilepsy Project.

The focus of the grant is to improve health outcomes for children and youth with epilepsy, especially those in Michigan’s rural and medically underserved areas. This grant enables the Michigan Children’s Special Health Care Services Division to expand upon current efforts to improve access to specialized pediatric epilepsy services.

“This new funding opportunity provides greater access to comprehensive services for children, youth and their families living with epilepsy,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon. “By partnering with four of the major epilepsy centers in Michigan — Beaumont Children’s hospital, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences — epilepsy patients and their families will have better access to specialty care and more successful transitions to adult specialists to effectively manage their epilepsy.”

Adriana Tanner, MD, medical director of the Mercy Health’s Epilepsy Clinic, and Susan Woolner, CPXP, Mercy Health’s neuroscience patient and caregiver support and community partner coordinator, represent Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences on this task force.

“I am very proud to have been part of this task force for the past four years and even more proud that, as a group, we received this incredible grant,” said Tanner. “As the only adult neurologist on the task force, I will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of Mercy Health to ensure our kids with epilepsy transition in a smooth way to adult care.”

More than 13,000 Michigan children up to 17 years old have active epilepsy, and approximately 25 percent of Michigan’s youth population resides in rural areas. Children in rural and underserved areas often have less access to pediatricians, pediatric sub-specialists and coordinated care. By increasing access to care, this funding will help positively impact the overall health and well-being of children with epilepsy.

During the next four years, strategies to improve health outcomes among Michigan’s children and youth with epilepsy will include the following:

  • Widespread implementation of health care transition practices (transitioning from a pediatric to adult provider).
  • Adoption of practices to improve collaboration and communication between primary and specialty care providers.
  • Expansion of telemedicine.
  • Integration of shared decision-making practices between patients and providers.

Click here for more information about epilepsy care at Mercy Health Hauenstein Neurosciences.



Matt Biersack, MD, Named Chief Medical Officer for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s

Mercy Health has named Matt Biersack, MD, CPPS, the new Chief Medical Officer for Mercy Health Saint Mary’s. He succeeds Dr. David Baumgartner, who will retire on August 30.

Dr. Biersack began his career as an internal medicine resident at Mercy Health in 2007. He has served in various capacities since 2010, including as a full-time hospitalist, as medical director for the Hospitalist Group, and followed by his most recent role as chief quality and patient safety officer.

Over the years, Dr. Biersack has demonstrated strong leadership skills. He has filled prior leadership gaps in Process Excellence and Risk Management and has previously served as interim CMO. He was a natural choice for this position.

A graduate of Wayne State University School of Medicine, Dr. Biersack is a member of the American Association for Physician Leadership.

Congratulations, Dr. Biersack.

Open House Celebrates Relocation of Muskegon Workplace Health Clinic 

An open house celebrating the relocation of Muskegon Workplace Health Clinic took place on Tuesday, August 13 and was attended by Mercy Health colleagues as well as many local employers.

Located at 1670 E. Sherman Blvd. in Muskegon, the Clinic serves Mercy Health colleagues as well as thousands of employers in the Muskegon County area.

Muskegon Workplace Health Clinic hours are 7 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday, and partners with the attached Urgent Care for after-hours treatment.

For any questions regarding the clinic, please contact Shauna Gorajec at 231-672-2400.

Health Care Scrubs Camp Introduces Area Youth to Careers in Health Care

Mercy Health is committed to being a transforming, healing presence is our communities. But did you know that Mercy Health is also committed to introducing non-traditional students and minority youth to careers in health care?

One such initiative took place in July 2019, thanks to a partnership between Mercy Health and Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC). JPMorgan Chase Foundation funded the 2019 Scrubs Camp, where 24 middle school and high school youth from across Kent County participated in a weeklong, hands-on exposure to the health care field.

During the visits to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, students learned about careers in Radiology, Respiratory Therapy, Surgical Services and Sterile Processing.

“Colleagues from these departments shared stories of their own career journeys, as well as the education, credentials, skills and competencies needed for these professions. The participants also saw firsthand what a ‘typical’ day is like for health care workers, along with doing some hands-on activities,” said Kelly Wilczak, Mercy Health workforce program specialist.

Held at GRCC, Mercy Health Saint Mary’s and other employer sites, the students gave positive feedback about their experiences.

  • “I am definitely more interested in Surgical Technology and Sterile Processing. I did not know much info about those programs beforehand.”
  • “I learned that the Radiology Department has multiple avenues to choose from.”
  • “I enjoyed learning about all the different health professions. It really opened my eyes to all the opportunities out there in the medical field.”

“The goal of the camps is to expose students to the wide range of careers available in health care, to introduce them to educational offerings in health care at GRCC,” said Julie Parks, executive director, Workforce training. “We want the students to feel comfortable coming here and to get an opportunity to meet individuals working in health care who may turn out to become mentors for them if they go into health care careers.”



Patient Care Assistant Stephanie Schopieray Receives June 2019 Mercy Health Friends of Nursing Award

Stephanie Schopieray’s personal qualities of “excellence, compassion and respect” were highlighted in the Mercy Health Friends of Nursing Award nomination, submitted by a coworker who is an RN:

A patient passed away during the night shift and the nurse was on the phone when the family arrived. Stephanie stepped up, greeted the family, sat with the family and comforted the family during this time. She answered questions from the family and didn’t leave their side until the nurse was available. She went above and beyond her patient care assistant scope to make sure this difficult time was a little easier for the patient’s family.

Stephanie works on the Mercy Health Hackley Campus in N4.

Congratulations, Stephanie, on setting a wonderful example of putting the needs of the patients [and their families] at the center of our work.

Diabetes and Endocrine Center Recognized by National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

Michelle Lalick, Susan Price and Dr. Robert Rood represent the entire clinical team of Mercy Health Physician Partners Diabetes and Endocrine Center as it earns recognition from NCQA.

Congratulations to Mercy Health Physician Partners Diabetes and Endocrine Center for being recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA), effective July 2019.

The following Mercy Health providers are linked to this recognition:


Benjamin Borton, NP
Emilie Collins, MD

Leda Evans, NP

Megan Fitzpatrick, NP

Cyprian Gardine, MD

Siobhan Kent, PA
Susan Owen, NP
Ashley Therasse ,MD
Robert Rood, MD
Josefina Shen, MD

Courtney Soubliere, DO

“The NCQA Diabetes Recognition Program is only awarded to clinicians who use evidence-based measures and have proven outcomes providing high quality care to patients with diabetes,” said James Brown, clinical lead for Mercy Health Physician Partners Diabetes and Endocrine Center. “The fact that every provider in our office achieved this distinction is a true testament to the expertise of our clinical group. This recognition makes us a part of an elite group that is publicly recognized for providing the highest level of diabetes care.”

This recent recognition from NCQA builds on the multitude of other awards the MHPP Diabetes and Endocrine Center has earned for clinical excellence throughout the years.

“We have a lengthy history of earning and achieving clinical excellence awards, including our fellowship-trained diabetologist Dr. Robert Rood’s receipt of the American Diabetes Association’s Diabetes Healthcare Champion award,” said Brown. “Additionally, our diabetes education program is certified by both the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) and the AADE, and the American Diabetes Association has acknowledged Mercy Health for exceeding national standards for quality diabetes education.”

This recognition is valid for the next three years.

NCQA is a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to improving health care quality. NCQA accredits and certifies a wide range of health care organizations. It also recognizes clinicians and practices in key areas of performance. NCQA’s Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) is the most widely used performance measurement tool in health care. NCQA’s website ( contains information to help consumers, employers and others make more-informed health care choices. NCQA can be found online at, on Twitter @ncqa, on Facebook at and on LinkedIn at

Mercy Health Physician Partners Welcomes the Roossien Practice in West Olive

Five providers, practicing Family Medicine in West Olive, have joined Mercy Health Physician Partners. Led by Jack Roossien, MD, this practice is now called Mercy Health Physician Partners West Olive, and is located at 15151 Stanton St., on the northwest corner of US-31.

Roossien has been practicing medicine in West Michigan for more than 30 years. He joins Mercy Health Physician Partners with his staff, daughters Jessica Roossien, FNP-BC, and Lindsey Roossien, PA-C; and two additional providers, Sean Cunningham, DO, and Matthew Tornga, DO.

“I’m proud to have spent my career caring for the West Michigan community, and keeping a Christian approach to medicine was very important to me,” said Roossien. “By joining Mercy Health Physician Partners, we are able to expand our practice to serve even more of our neighbors, while continuing to support the services provided by North Ottawa Community Health System.”

Mercy Health Physician Partners has more than 90 physician offices across West Michigan. However, this is the medical group’s first location in West Olive.

“We are thrilled to welcome this practice and the entire staff to Mercy Health Physician Partners, and we look forward to caring for the residents of West Olive and the surrounding communities in Ottawa County.” said Mary Boyd, chief integration officer for Trinity Health Michigan. “This addition is an example of Mercy Health’s commitment to people-centered care as we are striving to bring remarkable care close to home.”

In addition to the new providers, the practice is undergoing renovations to expand and update its patient care space.

Mercy Health Physician Partners West Olive is hosting a free community open house on September 24, 4:30-6:30 p.m., to showcase the renovations and allow patients to meet the provider. The practice is currently accepting new patients, and appointments can be scheduled by calling 616-296-1020.

Helpful Tips for Those Living With Depression

Scared young woman talking to a therapist about abuse in a bright office

From time to time we all experience feelings of worry, unhappiness or grief. However, when changes in mood interrupt one’s ability to eat, sleep, work and participate in once enjoyable activities, depression may be the cause.

Those who live with depression may feel worn down, powerless and full of despair. Because of this, it can be extraordinarily difficult to find ways to help yourself. It’s important to remember that all is not lost and once you start treatment, you will begin to feel better.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) offers the following tips to help those who are living with depression find the path to recovery:

  • Do not wait too long to be evaluated or treated. There is research showing the longer one waits, the greater the impairment can be down the road. Try to see a professional as soon as possible.
  • Try to be active and exercise. Participate in an event or activity that you once enjoyed.
  • Set realistic goals for yourself.
  • Break up large tasks into small ones, set some priorities and do what you can as you can.
  • Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Try not to isolate yourself. Let others help you.
  • Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Do not expect to suddenly “snap out of” your depression. Often during treatment for depression, sleep and appetite will begin to improve before your depressed mood lifts.
  • Postpone important decisions, such as getting married, divorced, or changing jobs, until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and who have a more objective view of your situation.
  • Remember that positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as your depression responds to treatment.
  • Continue to educate yourself about depression.

You can also make an appointment with your primary care physician (PCP) who may refer you to a specialist, if needed. If you don’t have a PCP, just visit your insurance carrier’s website, look for the “find a doctor” area and follow the instructions.

When you’re living with any disease or condition, it may not always be easy to decide where to go for care. However, if you (or a loved one) are in crisis, it’s best to go to the emergency room.

For less severe matters that still require immediate attention, if you can’t get in to see your PCP, going to an urgent care facility can save you time and money.

Even if you require emergency or urgent care for your health situation, it’s always best to have a relationship with a PCP who knows your history and understands what is happening with your health over time.

Find a Mercy Health provider

Mercy Health is committed to helping you live a healthy life by nurturing well-being through body, mind and spirit.