Category Archives: News

Evergreen Singers, Jennings Orchestra hold concert to benefit Center for Healing & Hope

The Evergreen Singers and the Jennings Orchestra, both musical groups for those age 50 and older, will present a concert to benefit the Center for Healing & Hope on Sunday, August 18, at 3 p.m. at the Plymouth United Church of Christ, 902 S. Main St., Goshen.

“The choir began doing this benefit concert in 2017,” said Evergreen Singers Co-Director Dan Steiner, “and we just felt it was a very worthy cause and a nice way to give back to the community.”

Steiner and Diane Hertzler co-direct the choir of about 30 singers, while Carla Shubert conducts the orchestra of about 12 performers. This year’s concert will feature a variety of hymns and a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s “Ave Verum.”

A free-will offering will be taken during the concert to support the Center’s medical care for uninsured people and advocacy programs for our immigrant neighbors.

2019 Indiana Latino Business Expo to highlight Latino businesses, opportunities

The 2019 Indiana Latino Business Expo will feature dozens of area Latino-owned businesses, including realty, design, catering, insurance, event décor, clothing and makeup companies, along with door prizes and giveaways. The annual event highlights Latino business owners and entrepreneurs, while providing an opportunity for all to network and find what area Latino businesses can offer them.

The Indiana Latino Business Expo (ILBE) is open to the public from 4 to 8 p.m. on June 12 at Ivy Tech Community College, 22531 C.R. 18, Goshen. A resource room for those looking to begin or advance a business will be open until 5 p.m. Boling Vision Center will also be providing free vision screenings at the event.

The ILBE is the only expo in the state that supports and connects Latino businesses to each other and to the broader community. The Indiana Latino Business Expo formed after the Center for Healing & Hope hosted a successful open house for Latino business owners in June 2017. In June 2018, the Center launched the first expo for Latino entrepreneurs that included a keynote session for Latino business owners, followed by a public expo of Goshen-area Latino-owned businesses.

The Center for Healing & Hope organizes ILBE as an extension of its focus on healthcare.

“We believe healthy families create healthy businesses and they contribute to a healthy community,” said Center for Healing & Hope Executive Director Bryan Mierau. “Come to ILBE to discover how we can work together to build a stronger, more vibrant community for all of us.”

The ILBE also provides some funding for the Center for Healing & Hope through sponsorships and vendor fees. One ILBE business, Journey RV of Goshen, is additionally supporting the Center for Healing & Hope by donating 30 percent of the sales in June to the Center’s work.

Find more information about the Indiana Latino Business Expo at To apply for exhibit space or to talk about sponsorship opportunities, contact Development Director Yolo Lopez DeMarco at or 574-534-4744 ext. 203.

Special thanks to the Community Foundation of Elkhart County, Beacon Health System, Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, R3 Design, Ivy Tech Community College, IOI Pay, Intercambio Express, Bethza Make Up Studio, Paragon Printing, La Raza, El Puente, MasterBrand Cabinets, Goshen College, the Goshen Chamber of Commerce, the Elkhart Chamber of Commerce, Everence and the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership for their support and partnership for the 2019 Indiana Latino Business Expo.

Dozens of uninsured women receive vital preventative care

Forty-one uninsured women received a complete physical for free Saturday, March 23, during the Center for Healing & Hope’s annual Spring into Health event.

These physicals included a Pap test and breast exam along with a blood pressure check, body mass index, health education and follow up. Retail value for the services ranges from $504 to $1,135, depending on the level of services needed. For women with an abnormal mammogram and abnormal pap test who receive additional diagnostic services, the value is well over $4,000.

“Prevention is just so important. It absolutely saves lives,” said Dr. Michelle Shelly, Center for Healing & Hope chronic care physician.

Cervical cancer had been the leading cancer to cause death for women, especially those of childbearing and peak parenting age, until the Pap test was developed, Shelly said. Pap testing identifies pre-cancerous changes that can be treated and cured. The test has dramatically reduced the number of deaths due to cervical cancer in most populations, but not for uninsured women who often cannot afford the simple screening test.

Recently, Dr. Shelly saw two patients at the Center for Healing & Hope who both had abnormal Pap tests. After further testing, one patient was diagnosed with cervical cancer, while the other is undergoing treatment to prevent her abnormal cells from progressing into cancer.

“The process to go from normal to cancer is about a 10-year process, so there are multiple opportunities to catch it with a Pap before it’s even cancer,” Dr. Shelly said. Without insurance or access to medical care, though, regular physical exams can be difficult. Spring into Health provides preventative care to those who may not have access otherwise.

Spring into Health is offered through partnerships with the Indiana Breast and Cervical Cancer program and the nurse practitioner program at Goshen College. In order to keep exam costs affordable, MHS, Fairhaven Obstetrics and Gynecology, Heart City Health and Goshen Health (The Retreat) have provided financial support.

“We appreciate the opportunity to offer these preventative services through the collaborative support of local partners that include our sponsors for this event, individual donors, the Goshen College nurse practitioner program and the Indiana Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention program,” said Bryan Mierau, executive director of the Center for Healing & Hope. Together, we make a positive difference for the women who attend our events, he added.

Celebrate 20 years of Center for Healing & Hope at Fiesta Feast

 The Center for Healing & Hope’s 2019 Fiesta Feast will celebrate 20 years of providing healthcare and support for the community while raising money to continue that work in the future.

Click the image above to purchase your tickets!

Fiesta Feast will be Saturday, April 13, from 5 to 7 p.m. at College Mennonite Church, 1900 S. Main St., Goshen. The event includes a Mexican meal provided and prepared by San Marcos Mexican Grill with desserts from Dutch Maid Bakery, along with door prizes, a live fundraising auction and fellowship with others who care about the health and wellbeing of our neighbors. This year’s Fiesta Feast will also feature a special program commemorating 20 years of the Center for Healing & Hope.

“This annual event has become both an opportunity to express appreciation to our community for another year of supporting our mission and a call for continued and new partnerships,” said Bryan Mierau, executive director of the Center for Healing & Hope. “Together we are contributing to a healthier community!”

The Center for Healing & Hope opened as the St. John’s Clinic in March 1999 as an outreach of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Goshen. Father Ricardo Medina, Dr. John Mann and parish nurse Terry Wedel ran the original urgent care clinic for the area’s medically underserved and were soon overwhelmed by the need. The clinic underwent a few name changes and multiple locations in the following years, but has been known as the Center for Healing & Hope since 2003 and located inside Plymouth United Church of Christ since 2012.

The Center is now offering more services than ever. In 2017, the Center embraced the mission of Elkhart County HOPE (Helping Our People Everywhere) and began providing resources and assistance for immigrants in the community, alongside its healthcare services. That December, the Center launched the Goshen Resident Identification card program. While intended for everyone, the cards are of particular help to people who are not able to get driver’s licenses or other forms of official identification, including immigrants, elderly, formerly incarcerated and homeless people. The Center has now distributed more than 1,000 of the ID cards. In 2018, the clinic also expanded to include a chronic care division to provide consistent, ongoing care for people with diabetes and other chronic conditions.

Since its formation, the Center has continued to thrive thanks to its dedicated volunteers and supportive donors, including local churches, companies and individuals. More than 100 people volunteered 3,280 hours in 2018 to help provide more than 1,800 patient visits and register more than 700 people for Goshen Resident ID cards.

Reflecting on the Center’s 20 years, Mierau said, “We honor past volunteers, donors, staff and the people who came to us for care.  While our programs evolve in response to current needs, our mission remains the same—to provide medical and advocacy services in a Christ-like manner to meet peoples’ needs in our community.” Every ticket purchased helps the Center for Healing & Hope continue to provide affordable healthcare and advocacy in the community. Tickets are available here and at the event, if still available, for $20 per adult, $10 for children ages 6 to 14 years old and free for children younger than 6. Tables are also available for $200.

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.