Category Archives: News

GRID begins 2nd year

As 2019 begins, the Center for Healing & Hope has an open schedule for appointments to register Goshen residents for GRID cards.

GRID (Goshen Resident Identification Card) is a valuable way for someone living in Goshen to verify their identity and address. GRID is accepted by all Goshen city services as a valid form of identification. It is not valid for driving or for voting.

People with GRID cards also can get benefits from Goshen businesses. These benefits include discounts or special offers from several Goshen restaurants and stores.

Since the Center for Healing & Hope launched GRID in December 2017, almost 1,000 Goshen residents have obtained a GRID card.

The Center for Healing & Hope schedules GRID registration sessions every other week. These sessions alternate between Friday afternoons and Saturday mornings. Currently these are many openings in the schedule and anyone who calls for an appointment can be scheduled for the next session.

To obtain a GRID card, please call the Center for Healing & Hope, 574.534-4744. Callers will learn what documents are needed in order to register for a GRID card. For information, visit the GRID section of our website.

Diabetes Alliance Program provides affordable care

The Center for Healing & Hope has launched the Diabetes Alliance Program (DAP), an innovative way of providing comprehensive diabetes care to patients at an affordable cost.

DAP is designed to ensure that people with diabetes can afford all the services recommended by the American Diabetes Association to manage the disease and avoid costly complications. Rather than pay for each doctor visit and each additional service, DAP patients pay a membership fee of $30 a month. Membership gives DAP patients access to services and supplies that would cost more than $3,000 a year at a traditional medical practice. Included are six doctor visits per year, lab tests, vaccines, testing supplies, diabetes education, a diabetic eye exam and many free medications—some of which would cost $500 a month at a pharmacy.

In its first three months, 40 members have enrolled in DAP, with most patients already experiencing significant improvements in their health. One of the first participants to join recently got the good news that her A1C (an average of her blood sugar levels for the last three months) dropped from 10.3 to 6.9, almost reaching the goal she set. A couple working together to address their diabetes has made changes in their diet and exercise, and both husband and wife are experiencing increased energy levels.

DAP is managed by the Center for Healing& Hope Chronic Care team, which formed in late summer. In addition to DAP, the team has another special program for people diagnosed with pre-diabetes, helping to prevent the disease. The team also helps patients manage other serious chronic illnesses like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, COPD and asthma. In addition, the Chronic Care team has been credentialed in the Breast and Cervical Cancer Program, which provides free cancer screenings to women 30years and older. This program has already helped two women with serious problems get needed mammograms and treatments.

The Center for Healing & Hope beganthese chronic care services to complement the work of its Urgent Care team. For19 years, the Center has provided care to uninsured patients for minorillnesses and injuries, relying on volunteer doctors and nurses. However, theprevalence of patients returning with ongoing health issues, such as diabetesand high blood pressure, prompted the Center to hire Dr. Michelle Shelly andestablish the Chronic Care team. 

The Urgent Care clinics are open two evenings and one morning each week and continue to rely on the generosity of volunteer medical and clerical staff. The Chronic Care services, offered on Monday evenings and Wednesdays, are intended to provide ongoing, consistent care for people who need both medical services and the collaboration of a team of caregivers working with them to manage their illnesses.

Dr. Shelly reports that patients are responding with gratitude to DAP and the new services. “It’s felt so overwhelming to take care of my diabetes. Trying to pay for all the things I needed was out of my reach,” one patient said. Another said, “Having the team invested in my health makes me want to work harder to do what I can to be healthier.”

The Center for Healing & Hope is able to provide these services at affordable costs for people without insurance or a family physician because of generous support from the community. Recent gifts from the Bontrager Foundation and Elkhart County Community Foundation have provided significant funds to cover start-up costs for the Chronic Care services.

For more information about the Diabetes Alliance Program, free cancer screenings or other Chronic Care services, call the Center for Healing and Hope at 574-534-4744. The Center also welcomes volunteers to join the Chronic Care team to help provide these important services to our community.

Thank you, volunteers

“It’s an amazing thing,” Sharon Miller, Center for Healing & Hope board member, said at the beginning of the annual Volunteer Appreciation Brunch. “It’s an amazing thing that people with a passion come together to do really good work. Thank you so much for your amazing work.”

More than 50 volunteers joined in the celebration that honored the doctors, nurses, chaplains, registrars, cashiers and all the others who contribute their time and expertise to the Center.

One part of the thanks to volunteers was a specially designed wall hanging that includes comments from patients about their appreciation. Mikaela Toler (at center in photo with Bryan Mierau and Marbella Chavez) created the artwork using quotes from the patient satisfaction surveys.

Gil Pérez, clinic manager, said, “I want to emphasize that without you the Center would not be able to function.” In addition to the work they do, Gil said, “Each one of you has been a teacher to me.”

Sandra Camacho, volunteer coordinator and office manager, announced that clinic and office volunteers contributed 3,280 hours in the previous 12 months. The medical professional with the most hours in the clinic during that time was Verda Weaver, volunteer nurse. The person with the most non-clinical hours was Mim Kiogima, former office manager for the Center.

When the Center began issuing GRID (Goshen Resident ID) cards in December 2017, there was a need for volunteers to assist with the registration sessions. Marbella Chavez, immigrant resource coordinator, announced that 252 GRID volunteer hours had been contributed, with Tim Hershberger of Interra Credit Union having the highest count among that group.

Along with the thank-yous that each staff member shared with the group came a call for more volunteers. The Center is continually seeking more people who have a heart to help others and make a difference in the community.

“It’s important for you to know that with your time and your smile, you give of yourself. It’s amazing. Thank you,” Sandra said.




EAT•SHOP•GIVE supports CHH and local businesses

EAT•SHOP•GIVE, the annual fall fundraiser for the Center for Healing & Hope offers $20 certificates to 25 local restaurants and businesses.

Half of the sales will go to support medical care and immigrant assistance programs at the Center for Healing & Hope, and half of the sales will support the chosen businesses.

View a video highlighting Eat-Shop-Give businesses.

Certificates to these participating businesses will be available:
Better World Books,
Constant Spring,
D&T Automotive,
Dutch Maid Bakery,
El Duranguenze,
Electric Brew,
Flowers by Phoebe,
Goshen Farmers Market,
Honey’s Frozen Desserts,
Maple City Market,
Maple Indian Cuisine,
Miso Japan Hibachi and Sushi,
Olympia Candy Kitchen,
San Marcos Mexican Grill,
Soapy Gnome,
South Side Soda Shop,
Ten Thousand Villages,
The Cell Phone Store,
The Nut Shoppe,
Tropicana Ice Cream Shop,
Universal Tamal,
Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi,
Woldruff’s Footwear and Apparel.

Follow this link to details about the certificates for each of these businesses.

Certificates may be used any time before December 31, 2018.

In addition, two local businesses are matching gifts given above the cost of certificates. Dutch Maid Bakery will match gifts up to $2,000 and Menno Travel will match gifts up to $1,000.




EAT•SHOP•GIVE certificates will be available for purchase until October 27 or until sold out. Those interested may purchase certificates through the website (, by phone (574-534-4744) or at the CHH offices, (902 S. Main St, Goshen).

Welcome two staff members

Two new staff members have joined the Center for Healing & Hope: Sandra Camacho as office manager and volunteer coordinator, and Erin Castro as medical assistant.

Sandra is office manager and volunteer coordinator, working in the Center’s administrative offices. She will coordinate volunteers who work in non-medical roles with the Center, including clinic chaplains, registrars and cashiers. She previously worked for Concord Community Schools in a variety of roles, including teaching English as a Second Language, assistant business manager, managing registration and secretarial work.

“I love working with people and I like networking,” Sandra said. “I’m looking forward to using my administrative background and ability to do interpreting to connect people with resources. I’m especially interested in working in an organization that has a purpose of helping the community.”

Erin, as medical assistant, will work closely with Dr. Michelle Shelly, a physician who has recently joined the Center’s staff. She will assist with gathering information from patients, doing some laboratory tasks and maintaining medical records.

Several years ago, when Erin was working toward an AA degree as a medical assistant, she did an externship at the Center for Healing & Hope in the two sites the Center then had in Elkhart as well as the long-standing Goshen site. She has worked with Dr. Shelly for three years in her practice in Goshen. She also is currently working toward an RN degree.

“I’m glad to be a part of the community outreach that offers extended clinic hours as well as chronic care,” Erin said.

Bryan Mierau, executive director of the Center, said, “Both Sandra and Erin join CHH at a time when we are building capacity for extended services to help our chronic care patients better manage their illness. Each is highly committed to our mission to provide medical and advocacy services in a Christ-like manger to meet community need. I look forward to their enriching our team through who they are and what thy will offer.”

Camacho assumes some of the responsibilities of Dominique Chew who has served as office manager, volunteer coordinator and immigrant resources coordinator for a little over a year. Chew is leaving the Center to pursuing graduate studies. The immigrant resources coordinator role is now being taken by Marbella Chavez who also is patient advocate and community health worker.

Chronic Care team treats diabetes and other conditions

Michelle Shelly, M.D., has joined the staff of the Center for Healing & Hope, completing a team that specializes in providing care for people with diabetes and other chronic conditions.

The Center for Healing & Hope has focused on urgent care clinics for people without insurance or funds to pay for care since 1999, relying on volunteer physicians and nurses. The goal has been to address immediate needs and refer patients to medical practices in the community for ongoing care.

However, it has been difficult to find local physicians who can take new patients, Bryan Mierau, executive director of the Center, explained. This is a significant concern for patients newly diagnosed with a condition like diabetes—patients who need consistent, regular care for monitoring their health and making lifestyle changes.

The Center has experienced a growing percentage of patients who return for management of chronic conditions. From 2015 to 2017, the percentage of visits for management of chronic conditions increased from 11 percent to 23 percent.

The Center’s volunteer medical providers screen all patients for diabetes and do further tests when factors in their health indicate it may be present. In 2017, 298 patients were tested; 71 were diagnosed as pre-diabetic and 36 were diagnosed with diabetes. The previous year’s statistics were similar: out of 309 tested, 71 were identified as pre-diabetic and 21 were diagnosed as diabetic.

These numbers reflect what is reported on a much wider scale for patients in minority groups. For example, the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, in its Healthy People 2020 initiative, points out that on average, “Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans are twice as likely to have the disease as non-Hispanic whites of similar age.” In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of the Latino people in the United States will develop diabetes, and that Latino people are 50 percent more likely to die from the disease than other white people are.

“Approximately 70 percent of our patients are Latino and almost all of our patients do not have insurance or a family doctor,” Mierau said. “This means we must make the need for care of these patients a priority in our mission of providing medical and advocacy services in our community.”

The Center began earlier this year to form a team who will work with patients newly diagnosed with diabetes. They have established an educational program to help these patients learn how to monitor their blood sugar levels and to make changes in diet and exercise. The Center received several grants to help fund this diabetic initiative, and staff is seeing early success in patients participating in routine monitoring and educational sessions.

Dr. Shelly brings to this team both a specialization in diabetes and a strong interest in providing services to people who are not able to afford medical care in other settings. “It’s critical to find ways to provide high quality care for people who don’t have insurance,” she said. “I’m a strong believer in preventive care. We use our resources much more wisely when we address conditions early, rather than waiting until they are serious and more expensive to treat.”

Having practiced as a physician in Goshen for 20 years, Dr. Shelly also brings to the Center’s work an understanding of barriers some patients in this community experience in seeking medical care. “I don’t think there is any other access point where a person without insurance and a primary care provider can walk in and get immediate care,” she said. She also affirms the Center’s faith-based approach to care for patients; “Seeing patients as a whole person and not just a physical body—caring for all needs, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual—is part of holistic care for me.”

Dr. Shelly joins an interdisciplinary team who collaborate to provide care for patients with chronic conditions. Gil Pérez, LPN, is the Center’s clinic manager and leader of the team. Barb Landes is a certified diabetic educator who meets with patients individually and in groups. Marbella Chavez, the Center’s patient advocate, is also a health care worker, keeping in regular contact with patients who have been newly diagnosed and patients with uncontrolled diabetes to encourage them to use the Center’s educational and medical services. This team constitutes a unified set of professionals who will work individually with patients each time they come to the Center, providing consistent care and counsel.

The Center will continue to rely on volunteers for regular clinic sessions, Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Friday mornings. Dr. Shelly may work in these clinics sessions as needed but will concentrate her work on the patients referred to her by the volunteer physicians and nurse practitioners. In addition, patients from her previous practice may come to the Center on Mondays and Wednesdays when she is available to meet with them.

About Dr. Michelle ShellyDr.  Michelle Shelly

Michelle Shelly, M.D., is a board certified family medicine physician. Managing diabetes is a special interest of hers and she has received certification in the provision of quality diabetes care by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

With an undergraduate degree in physical therapy, Shelly completed medical school at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center and family practice residency training at St. Francis Hospital in Beech Grove, Ind. In the northern Indiana area, she has worked with Maple City Health Care Center, Elkhart County Corrections Center and Goshen Physicians.

Dr. Shelly is fluent in Spanish and has experience in providing medical care in numerous impoverished settings outside of the U.S.

Evergreen Singers to present benefit concert

The Evergreen Singers will present a concert to benefit the Center for Healing & Hope on Sunday, August 12, at 3 pm at Plymouth United Church of Christ, 902 S. Main St., Goshen.

The choir will perform 12 pieces, including an African-American spiritual, several pieces composed by John Rutter, and several arranged by Alice Parker.

Evergreen Singers is a choir of people aged 50 and older from the area surrounding Goshen. Dan Steiner directs the choir.

All are invited to the concert in the Plymouth United Church of Christ sanctuary, 902 S. Main Street. There is no charge to attend the concert; a free-will offering will be taken to support the two avenues of ministry of the Center for Healing & Hope—medical clinics for uninsured people and advocacy programs for our immigrant neighbors.

For information contact the Center for Healing & Hope, 574-534-4744,

First Goshen Latino Business Expo planned

Goshen’s first Latino Business Expo, coordinated by the Center for Healing & Hope, is scheduled for Saturday, June 9, at Everence, 1110 North Main Street in Goshen, Ind.

At this Expo, Latino business owners and entrepreneurs will showcase their products and services with opportunities to network with each other and the wider community. The first session of the event, 3 pm to 5:30 pm, is devoted to Latino business people only, focusing on encouragement and counsel presented in Spanish. At 5:30 pm the event is open to everyone with the goal of providing opportunities for exploring how Latino businesses are contributing to the community. There is no charge to attend the Expo.

The keynote speaker will be Isaac Torres, owner of InterCambio Express. During the first session, he will tell his story of challenge and success in establishing a thriving business. Born in Mexico, Torres came to the US as an international student. A project in his MBA program led to the 1999 creation of the business that now encompasses more than 1,600 locations in 32 states and handles millions of dollars of transferred funds each year.

Other features of the Expo’s first session include a panel discussion with speakers from the Goshen Chamber of Commerce and local businesses, including Lippert Components. In addition, two special guests from the Mexican Consulate in Chicago will be present.

During the second session, beginning at 5:30 pm, everyone in the Elkhart and Goshen area is invited to join the Expo. Participants can browse exhibits, talk with businesses owners, explore opportunities for collaboration, and enjoy snacks from local Latino restaurants.

Bryan Mierau, executive director of the Center for Healing & Hope, said, “The Center for Healing & Hope has had the privilege of not only serving many in the Latino community, but more recently building

significant relationships with Elkhart County Latino businesses. As we work together we can increase our capacity to ensure access to community health for all. This business expo is being offered with that in mind.”

Sponsors of the event are the Goshen Chamber of Commerce, Goshen College, Everence and InterCambio Express. The planning committee for the event includes people in the Goshen and Elkhart area who are leaders in a variety of manufacturing, technology and education fields.

Fiesta Feast: Thank you!

We owe so many thanks for the strong support we received through Fiesta Feast for the work of the Center for Healing & Hope.

The event on Saturday, April 14, filled the College Mennonite Church fellowship hall with delicious aromas and tastes, laughter, conversation, and great music. Ten financial sponsors, several food providers, door prize contributors, musicians, 20 volunteers and more than 350 diners made this the most successful fund-raising event in the Center’s history. After all expenses are paid, we anticipate a total of more than $20,000 from Fiesta Feast for the mission of the Center for Healing & Hope.

We give special thanks to San Marcos Mexican Grill for preparing and providing the main meal, with a significant contribution from Miller Amish Country Poultry. Dutch Maid Bakery, Honey’s and Los Primos added the desserts and beverages. Sponsoring businesses gave generous support to add to the success: Elkhart Bedding, Everence, Gerig Surgical Associates, Elite Turn and Pest Management, Interra Credit Union, Yoder-Culp Funeral Home, The Papers, Stutzman Motor Sales, Miso Japan and Welch Packaging.

The event was festive and celebrated the way our community comes together to meet needs of our vulnerable neighbors. The couple who shared a story of a family helped by the Center for Healing & Hope said this clearly, “We want to thank Elkhart County HOPE and the Center for Healing & Hope for their two life-giving services: the HOPE network giving financial assistance for legal help and the clinic for giving medical help. We have felt like we are a team together with fellow church members, the Center for Healing & Hope and other community resources that attempt to be the hands and feel of Jesus.”








44 women benefit from Spring into Health

Forty-four women benefited from the Center for Healing & Hope’s Spring into Health event on Saturday, March 17.

For a fee of $60, these women received a complete exam that normally would have cost $380. Checks of blood pressure and cholesterol, a breast exam and PAP smear, and screening for diabetes when indicated were included, along with general health education.

A nurse takes a blood sample during the Spring into Health event.

All of the women who participated reported that they did not have insurance and four out of five did not have a primary care physician. Most of the patients were from Goshen and Elkhart, and all but one were Latino.

The event was possible because of strong support from volunteer medical professionals and students. Eight doctors and nurse practitioners conducted the exams. They were assisted by eight nurse practitioner students from Goshen College who got first-hand experience in doing some of the screenings and gathering health histories. Volunteer nurses assisted with medical tests, several volunteer interpreters assisted with communication, and several other volunteers helped with clerical tasks. Three Center for Healing & Hope staff members managed the overall effort. This level of support from volunteers made it possible for seven or eight women to receive complete exams during each hour of the event.

In order to keep the cost affordable to these women, four sponsors gave financial support: MHS Indiana, Fairhaven Obstetrics and Gynecology, Heart City Health, and Goshen Health (The Retreat). In addition, Radio Horizonte and La Raza assisted with promotion, and Sergio’s Café in Elkhart contributed the noon meal for volunteers. Get Fit Get Healthy donated lunch bags that were filled with items and information for the women.

Bryan Mierau, executive director, stated, “The combination of staff preparation, cheerful volunteer assistance and donor support came together in a delightful way to create a unique preventive health experience for each of the women who attended. We are grateful to all the volunteers and sponsors. who are helping to build a stronger and healthier community for all of us.”

The last time a special event for women’s health was held was in 2016, when the event was only a half day; 23 women received exams that year. In 2015, the number who received exams was 25. This year, when the event was expanded to both morning and afternoon, all appointment times were taken and there was a waiting list of more women who will be invited to come for exams during regular clinic sessions.