We are stronger together. This has never been more evident as the Great Lakes Bay Region came together to respond and provide assistance with collecting and securing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for those essential workers battling the COVID-19 pandemic. One hundred thousand pairs of gloves, hundreds of gallons of hand sanitizer, goggles and disinfectant wipes from classrooms, and hundreds of hands creating homemade masks are just a few of the items donated and created by the Great Lakes Bay Region in the past six weeks.

In early March, when we stood at the beginning stages of the COVID-19 pandemic entering the United States, we realized the weeks that followed would determine how we as a region survive – and eventually emerge – from this unprecedented time.

As the President called upon various industries to donate what items they could to hospitals and other essential industries, the THRIVE initiative (Transforming Health Regionally in a Vibrant Economy), a co-led initiative between the Michigan Health Improvement Alliance (MiHIA) and the Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance (GLBRA), quickly took action and began coordinating the PPE donation, distribution and manufacturing process for the Great Lakes Bay Region.

With the help of partners like Saginaw Valley State University to house the donations, local partners donating their supplies, and organizations like Dow and Nexteer pivoting their manufacturing processes, universities bringing in their research labs, 3D printing assets and other business support, THRIVE has been able to help supplement essential businesses with the items they need.

In the coming months as our region will work to gain back momentum and re-establish our economy post-pandemic, THRIVE is pleased to announce that we are hosting a virtual event with the Surgeon General on May 26th. The Surgeon General’s national platform, Community Health and Economic Prosperity, is a welcome message in our region, as it seamlessly aligns with THRIVE’s mission to deliver improved health and sustained economic growth in our communities. It is noteworthy that the Surgeon General motto is “better health through better partnerships” and he seeks to forge new partnerships with non-traditional partners.

The link between population health and the economy has never been so pronounced, and THRIVE is proud to assist in these regional efforts to combat the effects of COVID-19. If you would like more information, please visit our website at https://thrivegreatlakesbay.org/ and follow us on Facebook at @thrivegreatlakesbay.