LANSING – The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) was recently awarded a $1.2 million grant over a three-year period by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal Child and Health Systems Branch for the Michigan Pediatric Epilepsy Project.

The focus of the grant is to improve access to quality health care for children and youth with epilepsy in Michigan’s rural and medically underserved areas. This grant award will enable the Michigan Children’s Special Health Care Services (CSHCS) Division to expand upon current efforts to improve access to specialized pediatric epilepsy services.

“This new funding opportunity will provide greater access to comprehensive services for children, youth, and their families living with epilepsy in rural and underserved areas of Michigan,” said Nick Lyon, director of MDHHS. “By partnering with four of the major epilepsy centers in Michigan – Beaumont Children’s, Children’s Hospital of Michigan, DeVos Children’s Hospital, and UP Health System Marquette – pediatric epilepsy patients and their families will be able to more easily access specialty care to help successfully manage their epilepsy.”

More than 13,000 Michigan children up to 17 years old have active epilepsy, and roughly 25 percent of Michigan’s youth population reside 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 overall health and well-being of children with epilepsy.

During the next three years, strategies to improve access and epilepsy management will include training and education, direct services (care coordination, telemedicine, transition planning, epilepsy action plans), technology designed to support families, family engagement, and marketing and outreach.

In addition to the children’s hospitals, other key partners in the project include the CSHCS Family Center, Epilepsy Foundation of Michigan, the Michigan Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Michigan Public Health Institute, Alcona Health Centers (Alpena, Cheboygan, Harbor Springs), Dickinson County Health Care System, Michigan State University Child Health Care Clinic, and the University of Michigan Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number H98MC26257, Awareness and Access to Care for Children and Youth with Epilepsy, in the amount of $414,000. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

For more information about the Michigan Pediatric Epilepsy Project, visit www.michigan.gov/pediatricepilepsy.

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