Michigan Community Health Center Executive Director Honored for Leadership

Source:  Peter Phelps, Senior Manager, Marketing Services, Battle Creek Health System

AJ Jones, ND, president & CEO of the Family Health Center of Battle Creek (FHC), received the 2009 Dale G. Griffin Healthcare Leadership Award. This accolade, which recognizes exemplary contributions that improve the quality and accessibility of health care in greater Battle Creek, is presented annually by Battle Creek Health System.

“AJ has long been an advocate for those who thought they had no voice in personal health care,” says Denise Brooks-Williams, president and CEO of Battle Creek Health System. “He is a champion and believer that all people should have access to quality health care, with respect for their personal dignity, without regard of income level or ethnic background. He leads a dynamic organization that does some amazing things for those in need. He is a most worthy winner of this prestigious award.”

Speaking about Dr. Jones, Dr. John JH Schwarz, former U.S. representative, state senator, mayor of Battle Creek, member of the BCHS medical staff, and past winner of the Griffin Award says, “We are indeed fortunate to have AJ Jones helping others as he does. He is someone who has contributed so very much to the health and wellbeing of the residents in our community.”

A Michigan native, Dr. Jones holds a Doctorate of Nursing and Master’s of Science in Nursing degrees from the Rush University College of Nursing in Chicago, Illinois, and a Bachelor of Science degree from the Michigan State College of Nursing. His professional experiences include public and private health care administration as well as direct patient care. He was an assistant clinical nurse manager in Kalamazoo before coming to Battle Creek in 1987 when he began work at Visiting Nurse Services. He served as a case manager and consultant in Grand Rapids from 1990-1992, before returning to Battle Creek as director of operations at the Family Health Center. Soon thereafter, he was named FHC president and CEO, a position he has held since 1992.

Dr. Jones has worked with community leaders to address serious challenges facing Battle Creek due to a critical shortage of obstetrical and gynecological physicians. He achieved approval by Bureau of Primary Health Care/Health Resource and Service Administration to add OB/GYN services to the center’s scope of service delivery. He has spearheaded two major drives to expand the current Battle Creek facility by more than 30,000 square feet to accommodate the new OB/GYN services, the center’s physical capacity for pediatrics and family practice exam rooms, and increase the dental area from 10 to 20 exam rooms and chairs. Under his leadership, FHC is in the process of converting from paper files to electronic health records.

The Griffin Award is named in honor of longtime community leader and volunteer Dale G. Griffin who died following a battle with cancer in 2001.

Past winners of the award include Chris Christ (2001); Charles Seifert, MD (2002); John JH Schwarz, MD (2003); Jack Mawdsley, EdD (2004); Joseph M. Stewart (2005); Rick Tsoumas (2006); John Girardot, M.D. (2007); and Barbara L. Comai and William B. Comai, MD (2008).

Battle Creek Health System, sponsored by two parent organizations—Trinity Health (the fourth largest Catholic health system in the U.S. with 21 hospitals, 9 nursing homes, 19 senior house facilities, 8 home health care agencies, and 4 hospices in Michigan alone) and BCHS Community Partners, is accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Battle Creek Health System, a member of the Mercy Cancer Network, is a recipient of the 2008 HealthGrades Orthopaedic Surgery Excellence Award(tm) and 2009 Five Star rated for joint replacement surgery and total knee replacement. HealthGrades is a leading health care information company that provides objective ‘report card’ ratings nationwide. BCHS provides excellent health care for the community and promotes wellness for the whole person with access and compassion for all. For the latest medical information, visit the BCHS web site at http://www.bchealth.com or call the BCHS Marketing Department at (269) 966-8132.

In response to the announcement, Michigan Primary Care Association’s executive director, Kim Sibilsky, said, “AJ Jones is a true leader in primary care services to the underserved, an innovator, and an advocate extraordinaire. We applaud Battle Creek Health System for recognizing one of Michigan’s best.”

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