COVID-19 Vaccination Update (2/25/21)

Our vaccine supply from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services remains steady with vaccine still currently allocated at 60 percent to health departments and 40 percent to health systems across the state. We continue our strategy of providing vaccine allotment to our local health departments and employed physician groups, where eligible community residents and patients can more readily access it.

St. Joe’s has a special focus this week to vaccinate teachers, with 1,000 doses reserved for teachers in both Oakland and Washtenaw counties.

Please continue to be patient. It will take several months to vaccinate everyone who is eligible. All vaccines are by appointment only.

Here’s an update on the current status at each of our locations:

Feta Kale Salad with a Honey-Garlic Vinaigrette

Serves 4


  • 1 large bunch kale
  • ½ cup blueberries (or seasonal fruit of your choice)
  • ½ cup crumbled feta
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • ½ cup canola (or other vegetable) oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 Tbsp. minced garlic


  1. Make the dressing: combine oil, vinegar, salt, honey and garlic. Shake, then allow to sit for at least 10 minutes to let flavors combine.
  2. Prepare the kale leaves: rinse, remove thick middle stems and chop into strips.
  3. Add blueberries or seasonal fruit to kale.
  4. Toss salad in dressing and enjoy!

Seasonal Eating During the Dark Days of a Michigan Winter

Did you know you can still eat local Michigan produce even on a 6-degree, snowy February day? It’s true–there are greens galore, root vegetables for days, and apples aplenty. Not to mention all the frozen or preserved foods that are available. How are we growing greens with a foot of snow on the ground? Growers use greenhouses or, more commonly, hoop houses. Less expensive than a green house, a hoop house is a passively heated structure where plants are grown in the soil and allow the growing season to be extended.  

Why make the effort to eat seasonal produce?

  1. It tastes better.  Fruits and veggies start to lose their nutrients (a.k.a. their flavor) as soon as they are harvested. Local food doesn’t have to travel as far and thus can get to your table faster. Spinach from our hoop house will last two to three weeks in the refrigerator. Can the same be true for boxed greens from the store? Also, sugar is nature’s antifreeze. As temperatures drop, cold-hardy vegetables increase their sugar content to prevent ice crystals from forming and damaging the plants.  
  2. It’s good for you. Those nutrients that are being lost post-harvest are what you need to stay healthy this winter. A University of California study showed that vegetables can lose 15-55% of vitamin C within a week. Kale, which grows well in the winter, is a powerhouse source of vitamin C, which can help fight off colds and reduce the duration of illness. 
  3. It’s good for your local farmers. Winter is a slow time for your local farmers and buying produce now can help farmers get through the lean times. Many Farmers Markets are held year-round; check out this directory from Taste the Local Difference to find a farm market near you.  
  4. It’s a fun way to expand your cooking skills. Have you ever cooked a rutabaga or celeriac? If not, now is your chance. Kale salad is a favorite winter go -to recipe. The trick is to massage the shredded kale with a little bit of olive oil, so it turns dark green and becomes easier to chew.

Curious to learn more about how to eat seasonally in the winter and even year-round? Check out this guide on what’s in season throughout the year in Michigan. Another great way to eat more local, seasonal food is to sign up for a subscription with a local farmer. Sometimes called a Community Supported Agriculture Program or a Farm Share, these programs connect consumers directly to farmers which makes it easy to get a box of the freshest produce each week.  

Did you know that several Trinity Michigan hospitals have farms on their grounds? St Joe’s Ann Arbor, St Joe’s Oakland, and Mercy Health Muskegon all have farms that work to grow not only vegetables, but also a healthy community.

The Farm at St Joe’s Ann Arbor is 11 years old and has many programs that connect people, farmers and health. Learn more about our program here.

2021 Farm Share Get a weekly or bi-weekly box of local produce! Learn more here. Need financial assistance? Check out our Fair Share option. 

Ypsi Area Online Market A virtual farmers market with pick-up options at the Farm or in downtown Ypsilanti. Start shopping here

Nutrition Buddies: Virtual after -school cooking classes this spring with our resident physicians for 12-14 year olds struggling with food insecurity. Families receive two-seasons of the Farm Share for participating. Contact: for more info or to sign-up. 

Looking for other options? Register today for the 2021 virtual CSA Fair and read this article by MSU Extension for Tips on Joining a CSA

Healthy & Delicious Cookies

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup dried cherries (may substitute other dried fruit)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup low-fat granola with no dried fruit
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2.Using a hand-held mixer or a stand mixer, beat the butter, applesauce, egg and vanilla extract until just combined in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and stir until combined.
4. Stir dried cherries, coconut, granola, and chocolate chips.
5. Cover dough mixture and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before baking.
6. On a parchment lined baking tray, drop 1 rounded tablespoon of dough on cookie sheet. Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until cookies are golden brown; rotate pan halfway through cooking.
7. Remove cookies from oven and allow to cool on tray for 3 minutes before removing to a wire rack to finish cooling.

An American succumbs to heart disease every 36 seconds – Take action to lower your risk

With over 600,000 victims a year, this silent epidemic is the leading cause of death for men, women, and most ethnicities. But February is Heart Month and the perfect time to take action to protect yourself.

Warning Signs

It’s easy to put off taking care of our heart health. But with 50% of adults affected by heart disease, you may be at risk without even knowing it. Below are some common warning signs to look for. If these describe you, it’s probably a good idea to schedule a checkup with your doctor.

  • Overweight – Obesity is one of the leading causes of heart disease.
  • Over 50 – As we age, our risk for heart disease increases.
  • A smoker – Smokers have nearly twice the risk for heart attacks as non-smokers.
  • Have high blood pressure – Untreated high blood pressure is a major factor in heart disease and should be treated with help from your doctor.
  • Live a sedentary lifestyle – If your job has you sitting most of the day you’re at an elevated risk.
  • Have high stress – Stressful workplaces, family life, and lack of sleep can all contribute to heart disease.
  • Drink alcohol – Regular drinking of alcohol can contribute to high blood pressure.
  • Have a family history – Shared genetic and environmental factors can make you more susceptible to heart disease.

What can you do?

Heart disease is deadly. But it’s also preventable. Even small changes to your everyday lifestyle can reduce your risks. Here are a few simple steps you can take to help keep your heart healthy.

  • Stay active – Whether it’s a leisurely walk or an intense workout, try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Eat Healthier – Have a glass of water instead of soda. Make a home-cooked meal instead of grabbing fast food. Don’t eat after 8pm. Small choices can have a big impact.
  • Schedule a Checkup – Make sure you’re scheduling regular checkups with your doctor to keep track of your cholesterol and blood pressure.
  • Quit smoking. – Smoking has been linked to many health problems, including heart disease. The CDC has information on ways to quit.
  • Sleep Right – Try to get eight hours of sleep a night to help lessen stress.

Is it safe?

If you need to schedule a checkup, we’ve implemented comprehensive safety protocols such as temperature checks, mandatory masks, social distancing and personal protective equipment to ensure your visit is safe. You can also check with your doctor to see if virtual appointments are an option for you.

Take Action

Learn more about the St. Joe’s cardiovascular program or find a physician today. St. Joe’s has a nationally-recognized cardiovascular team dedicated to helping you manage your heart health. You’ll find advanced, patient-centered care, the latest treatments and the tools you need to live healthier.

Curried Lentil Soup

Recipes by Alexandra Babcock, MPH, RDN, DipACLM  and Chantal Singer, RDN

Serves 4


  • 2 cups vegetable broth 
  • 1-2cups water  
  • 1 cup green or brown lentils  
  • ½ yellow onion, chopped  
  • 1 cup dark leafy green (kale, collards, chard), chopped  
  • 4 medium baby red potatoes, diced  
  • 2 medium celery stalks, chopped  
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped  
  • 1 tsp cumin  
  • 2 tsp curry powder  
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 


  1. Begin by laying out all ingredients and kitchen equipment.  
  2. Chop celery, onion, carrots and add to a medium to large sauce pan with 1 Tbsp of water. Place on medium heat and begin to sweat the onions.  
  3. While cooking, dice potatoes and kale. Set aside.  
  4. Add spices to the vegetable mixture in the pan and toast until fragrant.  
  5. Add potatoes, lentils, and water to the pan and bring to a boil.  
  6. Reduce to simmer for 15-minutes or until vegetables are cooked through. You may add more water if needed.  
  7. Finally, add kale and cook and until wilted, but still bright green.  
  8. Serve immediately with a slice of whole-wheat bread.  

Chef tip: soup will freeze well and keep in your freezer for up to 3 months.  

Low sodium bread: Ezekial 4:9 (regular has 75 mg sodium, low sodium has 0 mg sodium)

Low sodium crackers: WASA crackers (whole grain, light rye, gluten-free)

G-Bombs Savory Oatmeal

Recipes by Alexandra Babcock, MPH, RDN, DipACLM  and Chantal Singer, RDN

Serves 2


  • 1 cup steel cut or whole, rolled oats  
  • 2 cups water  
  • ½ cup button mushrooms, chopped  
  • ½ yellow onion, diced  
  • 1 TBSP nutritional yeast  
  • 1 cup kale, chopped  
  • 1 cup low sodium white beans, rinsed  
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped  
  • 2 tsp garlic powder  
  • 1 tsp chili flakes  


  1. Begin by laying out all ingredients and kitchen equipment.  
  2. Place oatmeal in a saucepan with water. Store to combine. Place on medium high heat for 5-20 minutes according to directions for oats selected. TIP: Rolled oats take less time, while steel cut is a more whole, food version of the oat plant and takes longer to cook. You can prepare oats in bulk and store in the fridge for 3-5 days.  
  3. Dice onion and chop mushrooms and kale. Chop walnuts, if purchased whole. Set aside on plate or cutting board.  
  4. In a medium sized sauté pan, add 1-2 TBSP of water. Add onions and mushrooms to pan and cook until onions are glossy.  
  5. Add nutritional yeast, garlic, and chili flakes and cook for another minute.  
  6. Add the rinsed beans and kale. Fold to combine, Careful as the beans are soft and may mush. Cook until beans are warm and kale wilted, approximately 2 minutes.  
  7. Serve ½ cup portion of cooked oatmeal in a bowl. Top with 1-1.5cup portion of vegetable mixture.  
  8. Finally, top with chopped walnuts and enjoy!  

Chef tip: If you enjoy more spice, serve with a low-sodium hot sauce of your choice.

Low sodium hot sauce brands: Trader Joe’s No Salt Added Chili Pepper Sauce, Doc’s Salt Free New Orleans Hot Sauce or Tabasco Original OR add more crushed red pepper flakes for more heat.

Observing Black History Month With Leadership Profiles in Diversity…

To celebrate Black History Month, we have been publishing profiles of medical leaders of color from a range of functions and professional experiences to spotlight how diversity makes us stronger, more vital.

Mickie Long, Business Manager, Radiology Services, St. Joe’s Oakland

  • How has being a person of color shaped your experience as a health care leader? Being a black male health leader provided an opportunity to learn from other cultures and what others have to offer outside my experience. Being open to other cultures, religions and people helped me grow and achieve a lot in life. As a young man I experienced a number of challenges including homelessness, along with obstacles placed in my way by individuals and organizations – which did not define me. Staying focused and willing to change and having my own goals kept me moving forward, driving toward new careers that included 8 years of service in the U.S. Army, HVAC repair, Law Enforcement and auto mechanics, before I discovered radiology 20 years ago. While it seemed like the odds were against me at times, I kept pursuing my education, earning an associate’s degree and then completing my bachelor’s degree. I was also able to surround myself with people who kept me motivated in programs where I continued to grow personally and professionally. When I started in this field I knew very little about medical imaging, but I saw a future here and have never looked back, only forward.
  • What or who has been an inspiration to you during your journey? Nobody succeeds in life all by themselves and there have been too many people to name who inspired me. I can say my mom’s grace and patience with people was an inspiration. My dad’s firm guidance gave me balance and direction when I needed it. Sometimes even the people who doubted me provided inspiration to keep going. As I read about Malcom X, his transition toward building relationships and moving toward unity provided a model that I still use. My fourth grade teacher Mrs. Tellis who supported and appreciated me provided another foundation. My brothers and my children along with pastors all provide a caring, spiritual life that guides me every day. I also need to recognize the positive and respectful leadership of Karin March, Shannon Striebich, Keyantee’ Davis and Virginia Chambo. The big picture is that there is a lot of support here and room to grow.  
  • Education: Associates Degree: Oakland Community College. Bachelor’s Degree: Ashford University, graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Health Care Administration program.  
  • Expertise: Radiology, 20 years of experience.

Melanie A. Edwards, MD, Thoracic Surgeon, IHA Cardiovascular & Thoracic Surgery, St. Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor

  • How has being a person of color shaped your experience as a health care leader?  I don’t wake up every morning thinking ‘I’m a black woman surgeon,’ I focus on patient care and making a difference in the lives of patients… but I know as a thoracic surgeon who is a woman of color, I am an under-represented minority. There are not many similar providers who share my experience and that does shape my perspective as a mentor.  Mentoring is complex, there is a scarcity of female mentors as persons of color in the field of thoracic surgery, but the up side is that the support between women of color in this field is crucial. To help guide younger physicians, I work with the Society of Thoracic Surgeons to provide early career education on a range of topics and have also coauthored an article on mentorship. 
  • What or who has been an inspiration to you during your journey? 

My inspiration starts with family. I come from a family of hard working immigrants. In addition to medical mentors, I have also been inspired by Atul Gawande a writer for the The New Yorker who covers a range of vital health care issues including the importance of quality and listening to patient voices.

 – Education: Dr. Edwards earned her medical degree from the Loma Linda University School of Medicine in Loma Linda, California. She completed her general surgery residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center through Harvard Medical School and cardiothoracic surgery fellowship at Saint Louis University. Furthermore, she completed a minimally invasive thoracic surgery fellowship at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and serves in the leadership of several other professional organizations including Women in Thoracic Surgery.

– Expertise: Minimally invasive and robotic thoracic surgery.  Providing treatment for lung cancer, esophageal cancer, surgery for benign esophageal disease, mediastinal lesions, chest wall masses and hyperhidrosis.

Maria Woods,  St. Joseph Mercy Livingston Hospital, Patient Access Manager Inspired Colleagues’ Dedication

How has being a person of color shaped your experience as a health care leader?

Working in health care is a calling for most of my colleagues. It’s the desire to help others that attracts and keeps you working in this profession. Being a person of a multi-cultural background has given me the ability to have a better understanding of different perspectives when it comes to serving our communities. I am always open to opportunities to grow, learning from my experiences and sharing with others as well.

What or who has been an inspiration to you during your journey?

The people I work with every day inspire and motivate me; especially during this difficult pandemic year.  Everyone has pulled together to serve our patients, families and each other in a way that you could not have imagined.  Witnessing my colleagues work harder each day to help our patients and serve our entire community is an inspiration and it keeps me focused on our healing mission.

  • Education: Bachelors in Business Administration – European University  
  • Expertise: Revenue Excellence- Outpatient Patient Access at St Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Financial Counseling at St Joseph Mercy Ann Arbor, Patient Access Team Lead then Manager at St Joseph Mercy Livingston

Darryl Cook,  St. Mary Mercy Livonia, Nurse Manager is Inspired by his Team, Passion for Service

How has being a person of color shaped your experience as a health care leader?

My experience as a health care leader here at St. Mary Mercy’s over the past five years has been great. During my leadership journey starting in the Marine Corps, I’ve been exposed to diverse leadership styles and have led men and women from a variety of backgrounds and ethnicities. My prior leadership experience has prepared and given me the ability to identify with and lead people of all cultures. Being a minority in leadership has been my experience for my entire professional career, and that perspective has been extremely valuable.

What or who has been an inspiration to you during your journey? Although I’ve had many inspirations during this journey, including my colleagues on the Nurse Management team, Director and CNO; my biggest inspiration has been my TEAM on 3 South. This TEAM shows up every day and they leave nothing on the table at the end of their shifts. They are one of the most selfless, motivated and professional teams that I’ve had the opportunity to lead and that’s why I love coming to work to support them as they support me.

  • Education: Madonna University Bachelors of Science in Nursing
  • Expertise: Unit Manager – Progressive Care and Stroke Unit
  • Military Service: Served nearly ten years in the Marine Corps, achieving the rank of Staff Sergeant while serving in Japan and posts in the U.S as an Administrative Chief.

Big Game Healthy Recipes

Recipes by Alexandra Babcock, MPH, RDN, DipACLM 

Veggie Spring Rolls with Peanut Dipping Sauce  

Serves 4  


  • 6 rice papers/spring roll wrappers  
  • 1 bell pepper  
  • 1 head of romaine or leaf lettuce  
  • 1 cup shredded carrots  
  • 3 cucumbers  


  • 4 Tbsp Peanut Butter 
  • 2 Tbsp Siracha hot sauce  
  • 1 Tbsp Maple Syrup  
  • 2 Tbsp Soy Sauce  
  • 1 tsp garlic powder (optional)  
  • 1 tsp ginger (optional)  


  1. Begin by washing all vegetables and laying out all ingredients.  
  2. Thinly slice the bell pepper and cucumbers. Rip the lettuce in half, removing tough stems or end pieces. Set aside.  
  3. Dampen one rice paper under room temperature water for 10-15sec. Set on a cutting bord and in the center lay 3-4 pieces of bell pepper, cucumbers, a tbsp of carrots, and a piece of lettice.  
  4. Then carefully fold the edge of the paper over the middle of the vegetables. Tuck in the ends as you roll the top over to form the roll.  
  5. Set on a plate to serve.  


  1. Add all ingredients to a small mixing bowl.  
  2. Stir until combined and smooth.  
  3. Serve on the side with rolls.  

Buffalo Cauliflower  

Serves 6  


  • 1 cauliflower 
  • 1 cup flour  
  • 1 ½ cup plant milk  
  • ½ cup hot sauce  


  1. Preheat oven to 425F and lay out all ingredients washed and measured.  
  2. In a mixing bowl combine the flour, milk, and hot sauce. Stirring to create a thick batter.  
  3. Chop or break bite size florets off of the head of cauliflower. Set aside the stem for soup stalk or compost.  
  4. Dip, shake, and lay. Dip the cauliflower in the batter. Shake off the excess. And lay the cauliflower floret onto a greased or lined baking tray.  
  5. Complete until all are coated.  
  6. Bake for 15-20min or until golden brown.  
  7. Top with extra hot sauce before serving.  

5 Layer Bean Dip  

Serves 6  


  • 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained  
  • 1 cup skim Greek yogurt  
  • 1 avocado  
  • 1 cup salsa 
  • 1 cup frozen or canned corn  
  • 1tsp garlic powder  
  • 1 lime, juiced  
  • 2 tsp chili powder  
  • 5 sprigs of cilantro  
  • Salt to taste  


  1. Begin by washing all vegetables and laying out all ingredients.  
  2. In a small bowl, add the beans, salt, and chili powder. Mash until smooth and set aside.  
  3. In another bowl, scoop out the avocado and add ½ of lime juice and garlic. Mash until smooth and set aside.  
  4. In a third bowl, add yogurt, cilantro, and ½ of lime juice and stir until combined.  
  5. Now to assemble all ingredients. Layer in small cups bowls, or one large dish, first the beans. Then follow with the Greek yogurt and then avocado mixture. Finally, top with salsa then teh corn forming distinct layers with each ingredient.  
  6. Garnish with left over cilantro and serve with carrot chips.