Media Releases

Fall into Fitness with SilverSneakers and UP Health System - Portage

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HANCOCK, Mich. – UP Health System - Portage is now a participant in the SilverSneakars Fitness Program at its Fitness Center on Sharon Avenue in Houghton.  


The SilverSneakers Fitness program is an innovative health, exercise and wellness program helping older adults live healthy, active lifestyles. A SilverSneakers fitness membership includes:

  • Access to amenities such as state-of-the-art fitness equipment, private locker rooms, sauna’s, private showers, friendly and helpful staff and a fitness cinema.
  • Most importantly, memberships are available at little or no cost through many health plans.


“We have been working towards offering SilverSneakers at our facility for over a year,” said Angela Luskin, Health and Fitness Manager at the Fitness Center. “We couldn’t be happier to bring this great service to our community.”


Regular participation in SilverSneakers can help individuals build muscular strength, improve joint mobility and increase cardiovascular endurance, leading to improved healthy and great independence.


Many Medicare health plans, Medicare Supplement carriers or group retiree plans may include SilverSneakers as part of their benefit packages. Visit or call 1-888-423-4682 to verify eligibility. Individuals can also call the Fitness Center at 906-483-1149 for more information.


Portage Hosting 12th Annual Labor Day Bridge Walk

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HANCOCK, Mich. – Get up, get out and get walking on Monday, Sept. 7 for the 12th annual UP Health System – Portage Labor Day Bridge Walk. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m. at the Kestner Waterfront Park (Chutes and Ladders) in Houghton, with the five-mile walk beginning at 8:30 a.m.


“We hope everyone will come out an join us for a walk across our beautiful lift bridge on Labor Day,” said Angela Luskin, event coordinator. “The past couple years have been a lot of fun, and we’re hoping this year will be more of the same.”


The walk is free, and sponsored by the city of Hancock, city of Houghton, UP Health System - Portage, Michigan’s Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and the Pure Michigan FITness Series.


Walkers across the state are doing similar events, inspired by the annual Labor Day five-mile walk over the Mackinac Bridge.


“This is a fun event for the whole family,” said Luskin. “There’s no competitiveness to it, just a fun morning of walking with hundreds of others locally and thousands of others statewide.”


Preregistration is not required, but we ask participants to arrive early enough to register at the event. For more information, visit

UP Health System – Portage Hosting Diabetes Prevention Program

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HANCOCK, Mich. – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program is coming to UP Health System – Portage in September. Guided by a trained lifestyle coach, participants will learn the skills they need to make lasting changes such as losing a modest amount of weight, being more physically active, and managing stress.


People with prediabetes — higher-than-normal blood glucose (sugar) levels — are five to 15 times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those with normal blood glucose levels. In fact, many people with prediabetes will develop type 2 diabetes within three years if they do not take steps to prevent it.


“One in three American adults has prediabetes, so the need for prevention has never been greater,” said Kelly Aho, Program Coordinator and Clinical Education Coordinator at UP Health System – Portage. “The program offers a proven approach to preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes through modest lifestyle changes made with the support of a coach and one’s peers.


“Our Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program is the only CDC recognized program in the Upper Peninsula. The cost for the 16-week program is $80 per individual.”


Participants will learn how to eat healthy, add physical activity to their routine, manage stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can get in the way of healthy changes. The Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program group meets once a week for 16 weeks, then once a month for six months to maintain healthy lifestyle changes. The program’s group setting provides a supportive environment with people who are facing similar challenges and trying to make the same changes. Together participants celebrate their successes and find ways to overcome obstacles.


The Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program is based on research that showed that people with prediabetes who lost five to seven percent of their body weight (10 to 14 pounds for a 200-pound person) by making modest changes reduced their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent.


Nationwide implementation of the program could save the U.S. health care system $5.7 billion and prevent about 885,000 future cases of type 2 diabetes, a serious condition that can lead to health problems including heart attack; stroke; blindness; kidney failure; or loss of toes, feet, or legs.


“Small changes can add up to a big difference,” added Aho. “Working with a trained lifestyle coach who provides guidance, the participants of the Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program are making lasting changes together.”


People are more likely to have prediabetes and type 2 diabetes if they:

  • Are 45 years of age or older;
  • Are overweight;
  • Have a family history of type 2 diabetes;
  • Are physically active fewer than three times per week; or
  • Have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes during pregnancy or gave birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds.

For more information or to sign up to participate in the Diabetes Prevention Recognition Program, contact Kelly Aho at 906-483-1229. You can learn more about the program online at 

Local Cancer Support Groups Meet Monthly and Weekly

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HANCOCK, Mich. – The local Women Living with Cancer Support Group will have its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, August 26 in the conference center at UP Health System – Portage. The Men’s Cancer Support Group meets every Monday at 9:30 a.m. at the Kangas Café located in the Jutila Center in Hancock.


Dr. Katriina Hopper will be the featured speaker at the Women Living with Cancer Support Group meeting next week. As a geriatrician at UP Health System – Portage, Dr. Hopper specializes in the care of older adults, particularly those with multiple chronic illnesses.


Cancer can be one of the most stressful experiences anyone has to face. The support groups can help to cope with the emotional aspects of cancer by providing a place to share experiences and learn from others who are facing similar situations. The groups are for anyone living with a cancer, newly diagnosed, in treatment or a long-term survivor.


Benefits of a Support Group  

  • A chance to feel understood
  • A safe place to help manage the wider range of feelings, fears and sadness
  • An opportunity to laugh a little, too
  • A place to share or learn about resources and tips
  • An opportunity to learn from others who have been on this journey
  • A chance to share your experiences with those who have just begun their treatment and healing
  • An opportunity to receive information along the journey through speakers from medical personnel and other community resources

The Women Living with Cancer Support Group meetings are held on the last Wednesday of each month, alternating between and UP Health System – Portage and Aspirus Keweenaw. All meetings are from 7 – 8:30 p.m. Call Angie at 906-482-8221 or Anita at 906-482-9675 for more information.


Future Meeting Dates 

  • August 26, UP Health System - Portage Conference Center
  • September 30, Aspirus Keweenaw, 2nd Floor
  • October 28, UP Health System - Portage Conference Center
  • No Meeting in November
  • December 2, Holiday Celebration (Location - TBD)

The Men’s Cancer Support Group meets every Monday at 9:30 a.m. at the Kangas Café located in the Jutila Center in Hancock. The meetings are informal with no agenda. For more information on the Men’s Cancer Support Group please call Ed at 906-482-0010 or Ted at 906-482-5858.

UP Health System – Portage Adds Dr. Robinette to Emergency Department

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 /assets/0/75/2147483755/2147483937/8cf03b1d-ae93-4f95-a004-9f950c7aef36.jpgHANCOCK, Mich. – UP Health System – Portage is proud to welcome Tara Robinette, MD to its Emergency Department. Dr. Robinette is a board certified emergency medicine physician and began seeing patients on August 1, 2015. 

Dr. Robinette completed medical school at Michigan State University in 2011 and residency training at the University of Michigan/St. Joseph Mercy Emergency Medicine program in June 2015.

“I have completed rotations in the ED here at Portage during my residency and know that it is a great place to work,” Dr. Robinette said. “I enjoy the ED because you make a quick difference in a patient’s life and work in a fast-paced environment.”

Originally from Swartz Creek, Mich., Dr. Robinette received her bachelor’s degree in biology and pre-med from Michigan Technological University in 2007. She was also a student-athlete for the Huskies, running cross country and track.

Dr. Robinette enjoys traveling, running, hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing in her spare time. Her husband Darrell is also a Tech graduate.

“I first fell in love with this area while going to college at Michigan Tech and have always had the desire to move back after I completed my medical training,” Dr. Robinette said. “I enjoy the outdoor recreation, peacefulness, and small-town atmosphere that the Keweenaw Peninsula has to offer.”

Since 2007, the UP Health System – Portage Trauma Center has been verified as a Level 3 Trauma Center by the American College of Surgeons. UP Health System – Portage was the first in the state to earn this designation. As of 2012, UP Health System – Portage was one of just two verified Level 3 Trauma Centers in the state.

UPHS-Portage Café Partners with Niemela’s Market Gardens for Fresh Local Produce

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 niemela-produceHANCOCK, Mich. – UP Health System - Portage has started a partnership with Niemela’s Market Gardens who will supply fresh local produce for the hospital’s café. The first delivery was made on Friday (June 5).


Niemela’s Market Gardens is located in Pelkie and started growing for market in 2008. They focus on naturally growing a number of vegetables, without the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers or pesticides.


"We are happy to partner with UP Health System - Portage to provide fresh, local, naturally-grown vegetables for their patients, staff, and visitors,” said James Niemela. “We appreciate the opportunity to broaden our market and share our produce with more residents of the Copper Country.”


Niemela’s Market Gardens grows lettuce, carrots, beets, chard, kale, summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, green onions, escarole, endive, leeks, green onions, cabbage, broccoli, and more. The Niemela’s use tunnels to extend the short growing season here in the Upper Peninsula.


“We’re really excited to be teaming up with Niemela’s Market Gardens,” said Shannon Brodeur, the Director of Food Services at UP Health System - Portage. “It’s always great when you can invest back into our community, and our patients, employees, and visitors will appreciate the fact that some of our produce will be coming from a local farm that uses natural techniques.”


The café at UP Health System - Portage is open Monday thru Friday from 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. It offers a full menu for breakfast (7-10 a.m.), lunch (11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) and dinner (5-6:30 p.m.) along with a la carte and room service.

Portage to Host 7th Annual Health & Safety Fair

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 main-campusHANCOCK, Mich. -- UP Health System - Portage is hosting its seventh annual Health & Safety Fair on Saturday, June 6 from 9 a.m. to Noon at its main location in Hancock. The annual event is free to the public.



This year's Health & Safety Fair will bring many of the valuable offerings as in years past such as health screenings, giveaways, healthy snacks and much, much more.



This year's free screenings include total cholesterol, blood glucose, hemoglobin, bone density, heart rate, pulse oximetry, body fat percentage, waist circumference and vision. Some screenings may be limited and will be available on a first come, first served basis.



Back by popular demand is the car sear clinic, where parents work with experts to ensure their car seat is as safe as possible for their children.

Several departments from UP Health System along with organizations from the community will be at the event. This is a great opportunity to meet with medical staff and experts.


There is no preregistration for the event, and the entire community is invited. Call (906) 483-1153 for more information. 




500 Campus Drive
Hancock, MI 49930
(906) 483-1000


921 W. Sharon Avenue
Houghton, MI 49931
(906) 483-1777

Express Care 


945 Ninth Street
Lake Linden, MI 49945
(906) 483-1030


751 S. Seventh Street
Ontonagon, MI 49953
(906) 884-4120


600 MacInnes Drive
Houghton, MI 49931
(906) 483-1860

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