Purpose Prize

Marc Freedman Portrait

The Latest from CoGenerate

Overheard on Text: Imposter Syndrome

Overheard on Text: Imposter Syndrome

As colleagues from different generations (x/millennial), we’ve been leading talks and workshops sharing our insights about working across generations – what we call “cogeneration.” As we plan, we’re usually texting furiously, sharing ideas and reflections. So we...

This Cogenerational Pair Calls for ‘Radical Inclusion’ of Youth

This Cogenerational Pair Calls for ‘Radical Inclusion’ of Youth

I was thrilled when I heard about the new book, Why Aren’t We Doing This! Collaborating with Minors in Major Ways, written by Denise Webb, age 20, and Wendy Schaetzel Lesko, age 73, (both pictured above) and published by Youth Infusion, a clearinghouse co-founded by...

Music Is Having a Moment — And It’s a Cogenerational One.

Music Is Having a Moment — And It’s a Cogenerational One.

Sunday’s show featured three big moments reminding us that music can be a bridge not only across race, culture, and genre, but also age. Tracy Chapman & Luke Combs. Much attention, rightfully, has gone to the duet between Tracy Chapman, who turns 60 next month,...

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Lucille Smith

Voices of Detroit Initiative (VODI)
Purpose Prize Fellow 2010

Smith builds collaborations among diverse public health care providers, reducing costs for Detroit’s public health system and improving the care of the city’s uninsured.

Lucille Smith recalled how a patient once told her that she knew she was having a stroke yet the ailing woman told concerned onlookers, “Don’t call an ambulance! I can’t afford it!”

A longtime hospital administrator in Detroit, Smith had heard too may variations of that story. So in 1999, Smith jumped at the chance to become executive director of the Voices of Detroit Initiative, a newly created organization charged with building collaborations among the region’s diverse public health care providers. In order to efficiently pool resources, minimize costs, leverage collective expertise and encourage the broadest dissemination of strategies, Smith relied on her deft people skills to unite once competing organizations and agencies.

Since Smith’s arrival, more than 75,000 poor and uninsured people, predominantly people of color, have been enrolled in the Voices of Detroit Initiative system, which borrows innovations from private health systems. Now, each uninsured patient is assigned to one local provider that provides primary, preventative and care management services and referrals. Providers share a comprehensive data collection and tracking system.

Looking ahead, Smith says, “I expect to become a pioneer in helping to develop provider-friendly health care information technology while also promoting healthier lifestyles in communities of color.”