Patrick Cisler, 35
Lakeshore Nonprofit Alliance Community SPOKE
Patrick Cisler’s passion for increasing health equity at a systems level was put to the test during the COVID-19 vaccine rollout this year.
As executive director of Community SPOKE, a nonprofit that breaks down barriers between sectors to solve the region’s human services challenges, Cisler worked with the local health department and community to ensure the most vulnerable populations were getting vaccinated.
“In early January, when the local public health department began to administer vaccines based on the tiered priority guidelines, my organization was able to come alongside them and help guarantee that they were being as equitable as they could with what limited vaccine they had,” Cisler said. “To accomplish this, the health department would allocate a certain percentage of each week’s vaccine … and we would work through various nonprofits, churches and other grassroots connections to make sure that primarily BIPOC, individuals with language barriers and individuals with lack of technology methods were getting equal access to the limited vaccine supply. Thanks to our relational capital with so many of these grassroots partners, we were able to make these important connections.”
His efforts were rewarded when hundreds of vulnerable citizens each week got vaccinated.
Cisler also convened weekly calls with stakeholders and the health department to ensure vaccination clinics were operating safely and inclusively. The work continues to this day.
He also is a board director for Spectrum Health Zeeland Community Hospital, board chair of Ottawa Food, and a Leadership Council member of Housing Next and Holland/Zeeland Model Communities.