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Oakland University Pontiac Initiative

North Foundation Hall, Room 121
318 Meadow Brook Rd.
Rochester, MI 48309-4454
(location map)
(248) 370-4455
[email protected]

Group of adults and kids holding a sign with a picture of a world map that says "Let the Adventure Begin"

Health Care and Wellness

The Health & Wellness pillar consists of Oakland University faculty, Pontiac health systems and local recreational organizations working together to promote and enforce positive health behaviors within Pontiac.

Pillar Leads

Deidre Hurse head shot
Deidre Hurse, Ph.D.
OU Lead
Assistant Professor of Foundational
Medical, OUWB SOM
[email protected]
Terry Dibble head shot
Terry Dibble
OU Lead
Special Instructor
Human Movement Science
[email protected]
Tanesha Taylor head shot
Tanesha Taylor
Pontiac Lead
Pontiac Youth Recreation and Enrichment
[email protected]
David Bowman head shot
David Bowman
Community Partner
Director of Community Health
St. Joseph Mercy Oakland
[email protected]
  • Develop a comprehensive health education plan that increases the community’s access to and use of existing resources
  • Support at least six health-related events in the community
  • Have OU students and faculty contribute 500 hours towards health-related initiatives
  • Provide opportunities for at least 1,000 youth to be involved in formal sports and recreation activities
Prescription for Health
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan awarded Oakland University $50,000 to pilot test a "Prescription for Health" program that connects Pontiac residents at risk for chronic disease with vouchers for fresh fruit and vegetables and opportunities to be active. This project brought together Healthy Pontiac, We Can! partners Oakland County Health Division, Honor Community Health, Mercy Place Clinic, Gary Burnstein Community Health Clinic, and local health and wellness partners MaxOut Fitness, SmashHit Kickboxing, Anytime Fitness, St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Wellness Center, Sprout Fresh Food Store, All Saints Episcopal Church produce market, Oakland County Farmers Market, and Eastern Market.
PAL Program
The Oakland County Sheriff’s PAL program secured a $200,000 grant from United Way of Southeast Michigan to expand youth recreation and mentoring programming throughout the city. PAL has served over 1,000 families in 2018, and provides opportunities in basketball (including midnight basketball programs on Friday nights), cheer/dance/tumbling, soccer, baseball/tee-ball, karate, and mentorship programs. The PAL program, led by the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, is working to strengthen collaborations with Wild Dogs Futbol Club, Pontiac Public Library, and the City of Pontiac Youth Recreation and Enrichment Center, among others.
Healthy Pontiac We Can!
Healthy Pontiac, We Can! is a group with members from local hospitals, mental health agencies, human service agencies, schools, churches, government agencies, and the Pontiac community.

For more information, contact Dr. Jennifer Lucarelli, [email protected] or [email protected].
Passport to Medicine
The Passport to Medicine program (P2M) is a program developed to promote healthcare careers among underserved and underrepresented populations. The program targets Pontiac middle school students, to inspire them students to pursue a career in healthcare. This is achieved in a multi-faceted way during the academic year: tailored monthly in-classroom interactive sessions led by medical students (2017: one classroom with 25 students; 2018: six classrooms with nearly 200 students), healthcare-related experiential activities at the School of Medicine (OUWB) and the Troy Beaumont Clinical Skills Center, and a year-long pen-pal/mentoring program encouraging adolescents to discuss academic, career, social-emotional, or other issues.

The P2M program has collaborated with two OUWB student interest groups, the American Medical Women’s Association and the Pediatric Interest Group to accomplish various aspects of this multi-faceted program. These student groups create longitudinal relationships with middle school students through the regularly scheduled in-classroom sessions and can use this relationship to recruit students for experiential activities at OUWB. Members of the Pediatric Interest Group recently presented on their programming at the 2019 University of Michigan Conference on Adolescent Health.
Outcome Data
  • Secured $2.4 million grant from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health Grant 
  •  Assisted Oakland County Police Athletic League (PAL) to launch summer youth sports leagues, which serves approximately 450 Pontiac youth 
  • Developed a non-motorized transportation plan to make Pontiac more walkable and bikeable utilizing extensive community engagement strategy which hosted 7 public sessions and received feedback from over 200 Pontiac residents 
  • More than 4,424 school children throughout the entire Pontiac School District now have access to enhanced lunchrooms, wall-sized school menus, and food service staff training via a unique taste-test toolkit (6 elementary schools) 
  • Received a $50,000 grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to pilot test the Pontiac Prescription for Health Program 
  • Secured a $200,000 grant for the Sheriff’s PAL program through United Way for Southeast Michigan ($15,000 subcontract to Oakland University for evaluation)