Completely Unexpected

(l-r) Jaden Hop, Melissa Denslow, Kris Hop, Emma Hop, and Matt Hop

It was Matt and Kris Hop’s first experience with childbirth, and as with most couples, they were expecting a full-term birthing experience…but that’s not what happened.

Instead, their precious son, Jaden, “decided he was going to come join the world at 26 weeks and four days,” said Matt. “He weighed 2 pounds, 3.5 ounces and was 14.5 inches long.”


Now twelve years later, Matt reflected on the events that took place in September 2008:

Kris wasn’t feeling well and thought her urinary tract infection wasn’t getting better, he recalled. On a Tuesday she went to her Mercy Health physician for a follow-up appointment where she had an ultrasound.

“They stopped dead in their tracks,” said Matt. “Kris’ doctor sent her to her OB’s office in the same building, and the OB sent her to the hospital [Mercy Health Saint Mary’s] right away.”

It turned out that Kris was in labor. Following medical protocol for a situation like this, Kris was under the care of a team who worked to stop her early contractions, but on the following Saturday, Jaden was born and immediately taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

“At Saint Mary’s NICU, you’re going to get top-notch, personalized care. You’re not a number. They have years of valuable experience. Sometimes the staff can read your cues before you know what you need. You get to talk to nurses who have given all levels of care in the NICU,” said Matt.

As a micro-preemie baby, Jaden needed very specialized care. In fact, Jaden’s parents couldn’t even hold him during the first week. During the 84 days Jaden was in the NICU, the Hops began to think of the nurses as family.

“Saint Mary’s makes you feel like family. Jaden didn’t have a different nurse every single night. You come to know all the nurses. They are all people you can trust. We’re thrilled with the care we got there. We absolutely love them,” said Matt.

Yet, one nurse stood out to both Matt and Kris. “We still like to see nurse Melissa Denslow when we can,” said Matt. Melissa had a special bond with Jaden, as he was the first micro-preemie baby she cared for. The Hops attribute much of Jaden’s improvements to Melissa’s care.

When Jaden reached 6 pounds, he was able to go home. “It’s scary going home even though they train and prepare you for it,” said Matt. “You ask yourself how you’re going to do this without the NICU nurses. But you do it.”

Matt shared how the nurses get to know each child’s tendencies, so parents are better prepared when going home. “They let you know things like ‘Your son is a slow eater,’ or ‘This is how he best eats at night’.” The Hops found that all the little things they learned made the transition to going home easier.

Today, Jaden has no issues from his pre-term birth. He loves reading and playing with Legos. Playing Xbox and ultimate frisbee round out his special interests.

“You can’t have a better outcome than what we had with Jaden. He has zero issues. We attribute that to the care from the staff in the NICU…they were phenomenal. It speaks volumes about the personal care he received,” said Matt.

Kris and Matt are forever grateful for the care they received at the NICU at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s.

“They are there for you. They will do whatever you need. God put us at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s for a reason. We were right where we needed to be.”


New Director of Mission Integration Joins Mercy Health Muskegon

Cory Mitchell is announced as the new director of Mission Integration at Mercy Health Muskegon, effective March 2, 2020.

Mitchell holds a Doctorate in Bioethics and Health Policy from Loyola University Chicago and also earned a Master of Arts in Health Care Mission Leadership, a Graduate Certificate in Bioethics and Health Policy and a Bachelor of Arts in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. He is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration  from Syracuse University.

His background includes:

  • leadership and ministry in organizational ethics,
  • social services and outreach,
  • financial and data management and analytics
  • and military and veteran’s affairs.

As a senior leader in the ministry, Mitchell will provide executive leadership to strengthen the integration, assessment and ongoing development of our Mission, Core Values and Catholic ministry identity across the local ministry setting, including Mercy Health Physician Partners. He will also join his Trinity Health Michigan Mission Integration leader colleagues as a member of the Michigan Mission Council to strengthen Mission Integration across our local ministries and align Mission Integration across the region.

Mitchell is looking forward to joining Trinity Health, Michigan Mission Integration and the local community of Mercy Health Muskegon.



Lowering Your Risk for Disease

Did you know that according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics eating a healthier diet is one of the first lines of defense in the prevention of type 2 diabetes and heart disease?

March is National Nutrition Month and Mercy Health would like to encourage you to care for yourself, and your loved ones, by reminding you of the importance of healthier eating, spiritual well-being and preventive care.

The American Diabetes Association says that healthier eating is one of the most important things we can do to lower the risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that following a healthier diet can help prevent high blood pressure and may lower blood pressure that is already over the normal range.

Below are some tips from the NIH to help you make healthier food choices every day:

  • Keep healthier snacks, such as fruit and vegetables, at home and at work
  • Pack healthier lunches for you and your family
  • Choose low-fat dairy products
  • Eat whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, brown rice, pasta or oatmeal
  • Select lean meats and poultry
  • Choose more fish, beans, peas, nuts and seeds as protein sources

Another great way to reduce your risk of developing disease is by maintaining spiritual wellness. According to Mental Health America, there is a connection between spirituality and health. Spirituality can reduce the stress that often drives disease. Mercy Health offers the following suggestions to help you maintain your good health:

  • Discover and rediscover what makes your life meaningful. Find what brings your life purpose and align your choices with it. Wherever your passion is, there you’ll find your purpose.
  • Nurture your connection with God/your Higher Power through regular spiritual practices. Some people choose prayer, others meditate, some read Scripture, and others walk through nature. Whatever helps you in your relationship with the Divine, make time to foster your awareness of the Sacred.
  • The Center for Engaged Spirituality provides lots of information on various spiritual practices.
  • Connect with others who share your values. Having meaningful relationships with others, with focus on what is important to us, reminds us that we are not alone and can often bring joy to our lives.
  • Find opportunities to serve. Helping others in need, either through volunteer work or some other means, nurtures our spirit when we feel our actions make a positive difference for other people.

Last, but not least, getting annual physicals and tests from your doctor is key in sustaining your health and preventing diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. 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 Doctor

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

Hispanic Center of West Michigan and National Kidney Foundation of Michigan Receive Grant from Mercy Health Saint Mary’s

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s (MHSM) has awarded a $70,000 grant to the Hispanic Center of West Michigan and the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan to provide culturally appropriate nutrition and healthy lifestyle education to the Hispanic community. Participants will:

  • Participate in cooking demonstrations
  • Attend grocery store tours
  • Receive assistance with enrollment and education about government food assistance programs
  • Receive education on managing pre-diabetes and diabetes

In addition, MHSM has partnered with Heartside Gleaners Initiative for the Social Influencers of Health Signature Project to expand the Good Food Box program, which will provide participants with a box of fresh produce every other week to address food insecurity among the Hispanic population in Roosevelt Park.

Learn how you can volunteer — from sorting, packing and distributing food boxes to developing education campaigns — for the Good Food Box program.

Volunteer Opportunities for Heartside Gleaning’s Good Food Box Program  

In partnership with Mercy Health Saint Mary’s, Heartside Gleaning will be packing and distributing boxes of “Good Food,” i.e., fresh produce, weekly, to give to individuals and families participating in nutrition education programs with The Hispanic Center of West Michigan and The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan. Our vision is for a healthier community through increased access to healthy food.

Heartside Gleaning relies on a diverse network of core supporters, interns and volunteers to assist in implementing the mission of the Initiative. Heartside Gleaning is looking for individuals that wish to contribute to their community and are interested in rethinking food systems and nutrition. There are several opportunities to become a part of the Initiative, from sorting and packing food boxes to distributing food to those in need and developing education campaigns. We are happy to work with you to find a fulfilling volunteer or opportunity.

What: Packing and distribution

Where: 1111 Godfrey Ave., SW Suite 250, Grand Rapids, MI 49503

When: Packing and delivery opportunities are every Wednesday afternoon from 1:00 p.m. to approximately 5:00 p.m.


Individuals will meet at a central warehouse location (1111 Godfrey Ave., SW, Suite 250, Grand Rapids, MI 49503), receive a nametag and brief orientation (for first-time volunteers). They will then be assigned to tasks such as washing or sanitizing the food boxes, setting up boxes on the food packing line with produce and ensuring it remains stocked, packing assigned items into each box (assembly line style), labeling boxes and cleaning up after packing.


The individuals volunteering in this capacity will be working with the vehicle drivers to load, sort, and deliver boxes to final distribution locations. This might require some lifting, navigation, driving your own vehicle and coordination with site contacts.


In coordination with staff, individuals will develop and design educational materials for weekly distribution in the food boxes.

Additional Notes:

  • Being on-time and being able to stay for a minimum of 2-3 hours is important to our success.
  • Many of these tasks may involve moving and lifting heavy boxes, up to 50 pounds.
  • Food safety and sanitation is a priority and safe food handling practices will be observed at all times.

For more information, please email


Resilience by “Pushing Through the Issues at Hand”

Clinical Engineering at Mercy Campus: Diego Luna, John German, Nathan Vanderwagen, Brian Barker, Michael Short,Edmund Gregory and Chalie Weaver

While a Clinical Engineering department exists in nearly every hospital in the country, Mercy Health Muskegon has an extraordinary team that meets each challenge they encounter.

Led by Director Brian Barker, Clinical Engineering (CE) colleagues take in, process and prioritize work orders to ensure that every FDA-regulated piece of equipment is functioning properly within Mercy Health Muskegon. That amounts to approximately 40 work orders daily, Monday through Friday. Between October 1, and December 31, 2019, Clinical Engineering in Mercy Health Muskegon received 3,137 work orders. The team is responsible for every on campus and Mercy Health Physician Partners office along the Lakeshore with a geographical span of 80 miles from West Olive to Ludington.

Clinical Engineering colleagues who serve the Hackley Campus: Chalie Weaver, Brian Barker, Robert Voyt, (Lakeshore) Steven Ladd, Keith Cogbill and Daniel Bush.

“Our team of 12 technicians and two Operations Support Coordinators service 15,500 medical devices throughout the organization,” said Barker.

Nearly every major technological upgrade project, office move and major clinical purchase that affect Mercy Health clinical teams also directly impact the clinical engineering department. The consolidation of Mercy Health Muskegon and the transition to Epic are projects that directly impact the Clinical Engineering colleagues.

The major difference between Clinical Engineering and TIS is that TIS is responsible for the network hardware and connectivity, computers, printers and peripherals -which is also a monumental task for the health care industry – whereas CE is responsible for FDA-regulated medical devices.

“Clinical engineering is a high-stress job every day,” said Barker. “People’s lives depend on us doing it right.”

Diego Luna works at the computer.

Rather than letting the stress get to them, Barker said, his department has found a way to lean into the stress, or push through the issues.

“Every day in clinical engineering, we have a lot of pressure to do it right, but when we allow ourselves to get overwhelmed by the pressure, that can become an unhealthy stress reaction, resulting in negatively affecting skills and abilities,” said Barker. “By focusing on patient safety and doing the job right, first time, every time, and knowing work load will continue at a steady pace, the Clinical Engineering team presses on.”

In addition to its daily work and pressures, the Clinical Engineering department suffered the passing of two colleagues within a couple of months’ time. According to Barker, losing their colleagues was very personal for everyone in the department.

Keith Cogbill and Daniel Rush work together to repair a piece of equipment.

Barker explains that his job is “to make sure we are all looking out for each other during this especially challenging time. I watch for burn out among my team, and I encourage professional training and PTO. We need to keep safety of our patients at the top of our priority.”

Despite their challenges and additional stress, the team of clinical engineers employs resilience to work behind the scenes with every clinical department to keep the hospitals and each Mercy Health Physician Partners office along the Lakeshore operating smoothly.

Friend of Nursing “Ray of Sunshine” and “Friend to Everyone on Unit”


Friend of Nursing Award recipient Cortnie Walsworth serves as a health unit coordinator on the 7 floor. Walsworth was nominated by both patient family members and nurses on the 7th floor who genuinely appreciate her and was awarded for December 2019 at Mercy Health Muskegon.

Here are a few examples of the nominations taken from the forms:

“Cortnie is a wonderful member of our 7th floor family. She has excellent communication skills with our patient families. She walks with families to the new hospital without being asked. Cortnie will ask if there is anything she can do to help anyone who’s having a bad day. This is beyond professionalism. This is true compassion and caring. We love Cortnie.”

From a patient’s family member’s nomination: “During this difficult time, while I was having my husband in the hospital, not knowing if he will get better, Cortnie is like a ray of sunshine. She is always helpful, friendly and professional. She definitely deserves this award.”

A nurse writes: “Any time she is at the desk, I know it will be a good day! She takes ownership of many of the floor sitations and deals with them quickly, correctly and with grace and class. She is a GEM!”

Another nurse writes as part of her nomination: “Cortnie is amazing at her job. She is a friend to everyone on this floor, not just to nurses.”

Congratulations to Walsworth!

Wound Center of Excellence Awarded to Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Wound Care

Wound Care team at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s poses with its plaque.

Mercy Health is pleased to announce Saint Mary’s Wound Care is a recipient of RestorixHealth’s Center of Excellence award. Recipients of this award meet or exceed national wound care quality benchmarks over a six-month period.

“This achievement exemplifies the quality of care that we provide for our patients every day at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Wound Care. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our leadership, providers and colleagues,” said John (Jack) Morris, DO.

RestorixHealth’s highest achievement, the Center of Excellence Award, distinguishes centers that have demonstrated exceptional success by meeting or exceeding clinical, operational and financial benchmarks in different categories, including healing outcomes, assessment and care processes, debridement, vascular assessment and patient safety, along with a patient satisfaction rate of 96% or higher.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Wound Care is dedicated to optimizing outcomes and preventing lower limb loss in those patients with non-healing wounds. The approach to wound care is aggressive and comprehensive, coordinating traditional and advanced therapies and techniques that are proven to reduce healing time and improve healing rates.

The center is staffed with a multidisciplinary team of physicians along with nurses and technicians with advanced

Jack Morris, DO

training in wound care and hyperbaric medicine. Integrating a team of wound care professionals optimizes patient care, while offering the most advanced healing options.

Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Wound Care is located at The Wege Building, 310 Lafayette Ave SE Ste 220, Grand Rapids MI 49503 and is open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For




more information, please call 616-685-5170.

Managing Your Health While Living with a Chronic Condition

Have you recently been diagnosed with a chronic condition? Are you not able to properly manage your symptoms? Do you feel confused about the appropriate care needed to successfully manage your condition and prevent additional illnesses?

If so, review your health benefits for special programs designed to assist and support individuals with your condition so you can live a healthy life.

For example, you may be able to work with a nurse through your health plan who can:

  • Give you online resources to use anytime
  • Review the treatment plan and medications your doctor gave you
  • Explain possible side effects and answer your questions
  • Work with you over time to help you meet your goals for managing your health condition(s)

If you receive an outreach call from a nurse, please remember to return the call if you miss it.

Most importantly, have regular conversations with your primary care physician to discuss any of your health concerns and actions you can take to maintain or improve your well-being.

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

Cheryl Goodell Named New Chief Human Resources Officer for Mercy Health Muskegon

Cheryl Goodell

Mercy Health is pleased to announce that Cheryl Goodell, MSA, SHRM, is the new Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) serving Mercy Health Muskegon.

Mary Rosser will now be serving Mercy Health Physician Partners and Mercy Health Saint Mary’s full-time as their CHRO, with Cheryl Goodell dedicated to Mercy Health Muskegon.

Cheryl brings nearly 20 years of progressive leadership experience implementing complex HR initiatives for large organizations. In Cheryl’s most recent role as CHRO for Cherry Health, she led all talent acquisition, succession planning and retention strategies for the organization, which is the largest Federally-Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Michigan. She established strategic direction for Cherry Health’s compensation, benefits and diversity programs and initiated the Total Rewards strategy to foster employee engagement and retention.

Additionally, Cheryl designed wellness initiatives to help reduce medical claims. She currently teaches HR management classes for the Seidman School of Business at Grand Valley State University and has previously held executive-level positions for Citrus Memorial Hospital system in Florida.

In the community, Cheryl is the past director of Education for the Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM) Board and is a member of the Inform Professional Women’s Alliance, the Career Advisory Board for Aquinas College and the Grand Valley State University Industry Health Advisory Board.

Mercy Health welcomes Cheryl to our organization.