Sparrow Eaton Hospital caregiver named statewide Community Star for work on rural health

Posted at 12:40 PM, Dec 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-04 12:40:48-05

A Sparrow Eaton Hospital caregiver has been recognized by a national rural health organization as Michigan’s Community Star for her work on improving the health of rural communities.

Kalli Dempsey, of Charlotte, was the lone statewide honoree of the National Organization of State Offices of Rural Health. Dempsey works as the Neighborhood Coordinator for the Eaton Community Health StreetHeart program, part of a collaboration with Sparrow Eaton, where she is a community health worker. Dempsey has been a Sparrow caregiver for about three years.

Today, Thursday, Nov. 18, marks National Rural Health Day, an annual day of celebration that shines a light on those who serve the vital health needs of the estimated 57 million people living in rural America. Dempsey’s contributions to rural health are being shared in the official book of Community Stars, which can be found at

The book notes, “Michigan’s 2021 Community Star is a person so selfless and special that words used to describe her commitment to vulnerable populations might fall short…”

Dempsey said she’s honored at the recognition.

“I am so humbled that the incredible work we are doing collaboratively here in Eaton County is being recognized to represent the entire state of Michigan,” she said. “I hope that can set the example of what it means to think outside the box, work together creatively, and promote a broader definition of health

“I have had the honor of spending the past 15 years advocating for our most vulnerable populations, amplifying their voices and experiences in a way that can shed light on what it is like to live in this community and how we can continue to work towards a county where all families can thrive.”

Dempsey was nominated by Barbara Fulton, executive director of Eaton Community Health, a local nonprofit. The nomination said, in part, “Kalli is definitely a STAR. She is known as a connector in the community, linking people and services, organizations and resources, and individuals and opportunities. She is part of a team doing innovative work locally, linking the Eaton Community Health programs for residents to programs for human service organizations and programs for health care in the community.”

As the region’s only community-based, community-owned, community-led health system, Sparrow prides itself on its hometown care and on serving all of the needs of populations in Mid-Michigan. Our mission is to improve the health of the people in our communities by providing quality, compassionate care to everyone, every time.