Media Releases

Portage Health Fitness Center adds online booking

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The Portage Health Fitness Center is now offering online booking for group fitness classes and personal training sessions via computer or iOS device.

Portage Health Fitness Center Online Booking“We’re always looking for ways to add efficiency and control,” said Angela Luskin, community health coordinator at Portage Health. “We tested this system all summer, and we’ve found that many of our clients love its ease of use.” 

The new fall group fitness schedule is available for online booking. An Android app is also in development and should be available soon.

“We’re working to make this as easy as possible,” Luskin said. “Our staff is educated on the platform, and available to help.”

A full instructional on how to use the device is available at, or by talking to the staff at the fitness center. For those without Internet access, an iPad is available for registration at the fitness center.

Fall group fitness class schedule finalized

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The Portage Health Fitness Center has finalized its fall group fitness class schedule. The fall session will begin Tuesday, Sept. 3, and includes nine group classes.

Of the nine classes, two are new:

  • HIIT 30: HIIT stands for high intensity interval training, 30 stands for 30 minutes.
  • FUNctional Fitness: Enjoy fitness and friends for this fun, socially interactive class designed to maintain and improve daily active-living skills.

Popular courses such as indoor cycling, core crunch, Pilates and more will continue to be offered. A full list of classes, times and prices can be found at

2013 Bridge Walk scheduled for Sept. 2

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The 10th annual Portage Health Labor Day Bridge Walk is scheduled for Sept. 2, 2013 at 9 a.m. beginning at the Kestner Waterfront Park (Chutes and Ladders Park) in Houghton.

Labor Day Bridge WalkThe five-mile walk is free to participants of all ages, with registration at 8:45 a.m. No RSVP is required.

“We love doing this event,” organizer Angela Luskin said. “It’s a great way to get out and moving on a holiday weekend. The non-competitive environment means everyone is having fun, and enjoying the beautiful views our bridge offers.”

Participants will start walking east from the park, over the Portage Lake Lift Bridge, west along the Hancock waterfront before eventually turning around to once again cross the bridge. Once across the bridge, participants will head east to Michigan Tech’s campus, and finish by going west along the same route back to Kestner Waterfront Park.

The annual event coincides with the Mackinac Bridge Walk, which is heading into its 56th year of having a free walk across the Mighty Mac.

“The Bridge Walk over the Mighty Mac is one of Michigan’s finest events,” Luskin said. “We love bringing a little bit of that to the people of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, while also celebrating our 50-plus-year-old bridge that connects our community.”

The walk is sponsored by Portage Health, the cities of Hancock and Houghton, Michigan Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Farm Bureau Insurance. Learn more by visiting, or calling (906) 483-1153.

Grants available through the Portage Community Health Endowment Fund

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The Keweenaw Community Foundation would like to inform interested organizations of a grant available through the Portage Community Health Endowment Fund. These funds will be granted according to the guidelines established by the Keweenaw Community Foundation Grant Committee. The total amount available for grants from the Portage Community Health Endowment Fund is $27,000.

Keweenaw Community FoundationGrants must support health initiatives for any or all ages in Portage Health’s service areas of Houghton and Keweenaw counties. Grants will be made to organizations, programs previously demonstrating successful outcomes, to new, innovative organizations, or programs with clear potential for positive outcomes.

Grant applications are due at the Keweenaw Community Foundation (236 Quincy Street; Hancock, MI 49930) no later than noon on Friday, September 27, 2013. Grant decisions and disbursements are to be completed by late October/early November 2013. Details of grant requirements are included in the grant application, which is available on the KCF website (PDF). To apply for this grant opportunity, please download and complete the grant application.

Any questions regarding the KCF, the Portage Community Health Endowment Fund or the current grant opportunity should be directed to Patricia Lins, or (906) 482-9673.

Pittillo leading highly affective free cooking classes

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When Portage Health focuses on “improving the health of our community,” it may seem like that focus is mostly about healthcare. However, making a difference in someone’s life comes in many different ways.

Cooking Matters 2For instance, this summer/fall, Portage Health is heavily involved in a cooking program called “Cooking Matters.” This might not be the mostly publicly known about course, but for participants, it will make a huge difference in their diet.

“A lot of these things I thought I knew, but I’ve learned so much,” participant Beverly Jukkala of L’Anse said. “This is so in depth, it’s really benefited me.”

Instead of reaching for a frozen TV dinner, Jukkala is now finding affordable foods to cook at home. The course focuses on education of healthy eating, and hands-on cooking experience meant to help adults in our community gain the skills they need to cook at home.

“We teach a wide variety of cooking skills, and we really dive into it,” said Mark Pittillo, director of nutrition services at Portage Health. “This isn’t a snippet of healthy eating, this is a way to make real change in these people’s daily life.”

The idea revolves around the fact that people are too disconnected and inexperienced to cook at home like they did years ago.

“Everyone knows fresh fruits and veggies are good for you, but not everyone knows how to turn those into delicious food they’ll eat at home on a regular basis,” added Jennifer Szubielak, director of senior meals, which hosts the class at their location on Water Street in Hancock. “This hands-on experience means a lot.”

Programs like this statewide help thousands each year, and the statistics are incredible. Participants eat 67 percent more vegetables, 47 percent more lean meats and 68 percent more whole grains. This is just the tip of the iceberg of impressive stats about the programs.

Locally this is the second year of the six-session class. Classes will continue through September, with Portage Health and the Michigan State University Extension offices in Hancock and Ontonagon partnering to offer the classes.

Learn more about the effectiveness of the class by reading this report, which was put together by Gleaners Community Food Bank.

Portage Health welcomes Dr. Todd Anderson to University Center

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Houghton native providing family medicine care beginning in August


Portage Health is pleased to announce that Dr. Todd Anderson has joined its team of family medicine providers.

Dr. Todd AndersonDr. Anderson is board certified in osteopathic family medicine, and will be providing a full spectrum of family medicine care at the newly renovated and expanded Portage Health University Center clinic.

“Immediate access to family medicine providers is vital,” said Jim Bogan, president/CEO at Portage Health. “Dr. Anderson is highly qualified, well-educated and passionate about providing quality care in our community.”

Dr. Anderson earned Summa Cum Laude during his undergraduate studies at Michigan Tech, earned his doctorate of osteopathic medicine at Des Moines University and completed his residency at Western Michigan University. He is the son of longtime Portage Health family medicine provider Dr. William Anderson.

“Getting back to the Copper Country is something I’ve always been interested in,” Dr. Anderson said. “I am eager to begin creating trusting relationships with my patients.”

Dr. Anderson is currently accepting new patients of all ages. Call (906) 483-1860 to make an appointment. Visit to learn more about Dr. Anderson.

Portage Health signs definitive agreement with Lifepoint Hospitals

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Proposed joint venture will bring Western Upper Peninsula hospital $60 million in capital investments and $40 million to fund a new community foundation 

Hancock, Michigan (August 6, 2013) – The Portage Health Board of Directors has signed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture with LifePoint Hospitals®. The agreement, which includes $60 million in capital investments over the next 10 years by the new joint venture, would allow Portage Health to expand and enhance its services to better meet the healthcare needs of its communities. 

“We are delighted to take the next step in our potential joint venture with LifePoint,” said Steve Zutter, chairman of the Portage Health board. “As we have explored this partnership, our board has become even more excited about the benefits that becoming part of LifePoint will bring our communities. This joint venture offers Portage Health opportunities not only to expand and enhance the care we provide, but transform healthcare provided throughout the region.” 

Under the terms of the definitive agreement, Portage Health and LifePoint would jointly own and operate Portage Health and its affiliated assets. LifePoint would own 80 percent of the joint venture, while Portage Health would have a 20 percent ownership stake. In addition to the $60 million in capital investments by the joint venture, approximately $40 million would be used to create a locally governed charitable foundation to fund organizations that support crucial community needs. 

“LifePoint is very pleased to have reached this important milestone in our proposed partnership with Portage Health,” said LifePoint Hospital’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer William F. Carpenter III. “We have enjoyed working with the Portage Health team and learning more about the hospital and the important role it plays in the U.P. We are excited at the prospect of becoming part of this community and working with Portage Health to find ways to make the Western Upper Peninsula healthier.” 

As part of the agreement, governance of Portage Health would be equally shared between Portage Health and LifePoint to ensure that the community has an active and ongoing voice in the strategic direction of the hospital. An eight-member governing board with equal representation from Portage Health and LifePoint would be established. 

“This joint venture has exciting potential for Portage Health, our physicians, employees and patients,” said Jim Bogan, Portage Health President and CEO. “LifePoint has a strong track record of partnering with hospitals across the nation to improve healthcare in their communities. Through this joint venture, we have great opportunities not only to make Portage Health an even better place to work and receive quality care, but to strengthen and shape the future of healthcare in the Western Upper Peninsula.”

The definitive agreement is subject to review by the Attorney General of Michigan before being finalized. Additional information will be placed online at as it becomes available.

About Portage Health

Portage Health’s mission is to improve the health of the community by providing high quality, safe and compassionate healthcare. Portage Health owns and operates a 36-bed acute-care hospital and a 60-bed skilled nursing unit and related healthcare services in Hancock-Houghton, Michigan, along with nine other locations throughout the Keweenaw Peninsula, each offering a variety of services provided by a full spectrum of healthcare professionals. More information about Portage Health can be found at

About LifePoint Hospitals

LifePoint Hospitals® is a leading hospital company focused on providing quality healthcare services close to home. Through its subsidiaries, LifePoint operates 57 hospital campuses in 20 states. With a mission of “Making Communities Healthier®,” LifePoint is the sole community hospital provider in the majority of the communities it serves. More information about the Company, which is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, can be found on its website, All references to “LifePoint,” "LifePoint Hospitals," or the “Company” used in this release refer to LifePoint Hospitals, Inc. or its affiliates.


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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