Case Studies

In the case studies, you can follow THRIVE’s story from the very beginning, all the way up to the interdependent portfolio of interventions they developed last year and are starting to implement.

Special Thanks to the Michigan Endowment Fund for funding these case studies.


Cultivating Health and the Economy, Side by Side
October 2018

Have you ever gone into work sick because you couldn’t afford to miss a day? Or perhaps you are a small business owner trying to figure out how to pay for your employees’ health insurance as you balance the cost increases and need to expand your staff? Then you know that health and the economy are related, but you may not realize just how much. One region in central Michigan not only saw the connection, but set out to discover exactly how health and the economy influenced each other in their communities and how they could simultaneously have a positive impact on both.

Their initiative, called THRIVE (Transforming Health Regionally In a Vibrant Economy), is a cross-sector collaboration that includes a wide range of stakeholders in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region. It grew from the visionary realization of how interdependent health and the economy really are, and how they continuously affect each other.

The collaboration and commitment among everyone involved in THRIVE has enabled some major accomplishments. They have amassed an incredible pool of data about the people living in their region and the organizations that influence health and well-being there. They used that data to understand how health and the economy are connected. Based on that information, they’ve identified priority areas where they can have the greatest positive impact. They formed teams to focus on those priorities, and by the end of 2018 THRIVE will have assembled a list of evidence-based interventions and actions they plan to take to influence—even transform!—those priority areas. And they’re just getting started!

Going Big: A Case Study About Addressing Big Challenges in Health and the Economy
December 2018

Sometimes, a problem can seem too large and complex to comprehend, let alone fix. Some things can seem like immovable boulders that will stay in place forever.

While perhaps intimidating, there’s an opportunity to “go big”—to tackle big problems with equally big solutions.

Maybe one person can’t budge a boulder alone, but get a crowd—or region—together all pushing at once, and it will move.

Whether it’s a boulder or something larger, big challenges require transformational solutions and novel thinking in addition to effective collaboration. If, instead of pushing with their bare hands, the whole region got together and built a boulder-pushing machine, they could get the boulder farther than they ever dreamed. That level of collaboration doesn’t just happen on its own. It requires a shared understanding that moving the boulder is in everyone’s best interest, and is greatly bolstered when it’s based on shared values, knowledge, and standards.

One prime example of a team-up that has gone big—not just by getting together, but by taking a bold, new approach that goes beyond “business-as-usual”—is in the heart of Michigan, and it’s called THRIVE.

Stepping Out: Launching the First Stage of Interventions to Transform a Regional System for Health and Well-being

June 2019

Entrenched systems shape the everyday lives of all people—from the quality of their education, to which health care options they can access, to which side of the tracks they get to live on. In the face of those seemingly intractable forces, it can be hard to imagine what it could take to move the needle and change those systems. Fortunately, innovators have been exploring this challenge for a long time, and they’ve found that, through hard work and collaboration around a shared vision, the status quo in a region can be challenged, changed—and maybe even transformed. They’ve discovered it takes people (and their organizations) working in partnerships to build bridges across sectors to address all the various factors that produce health, well-being, and economic prosperity.

One such initiative is THRIVE (Transforming Health Regionally In a Vibrant Economy), a cross-sector collaboration that is spearheaded by two regional multi-stakeholder groups—MiHIA (Michigan Health Improvement Alliance), working toward “achieving a community of health excellence,” and GLBRA (Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance), focused on economic prosperity. The initiative, aiming to be inclusive and transparent, involves a wide range of other stakeholders in Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region. THRIVE recruited The Rippel Foundation’s ReThink Health initiative to help them plan, design, and test a strategy for jointly tackling the health and economic challenges of their region.



THRIVE is inviting you to continue your engagement, ongoing involvement,
and communication regarding the delivery of improved health and sustained economic growth in the Great Lakes Bay Region