Trinity Health Ann Arbor renames perinatal wellness center after late nurse

Anonymous donor gives additional $250,000 to fund

Photo by Gigin Krishnan on Unsplash (Unsplash)

ANN ARBOR – A generous donation of $250,000 has led to the renaming of a wellness center aimed at supporting new mothers and their newborns at Trinity Health Ann Arbor.

The Witting Perinatal Wellness Center was renamed to honor the 33-year nursing career of Lavone “Shorty” Witting by her friend the late Dr. Nina I. McClelland.

The wellness center offers services to mothers and babies who lacked access to healthcare during the first 3 months after birth. Services include follow-up visits, behavioral care and breast-feeding consultations.

“Our family is incredibly proud of Nina and Shorty and everything they did throughout their lives to help others and to improve the world around them,” said McClelland’s cousin Mary Jo Gibson in a release.

A well-known scientist, McClelland was a Trinity Health Ann Arbor board chair, development council executive committee member, donor, NSF Ann Arbor CEO and president, and dean at The University of Toledo.

Gibson shared that Witting devoted her career to caring for infants and toddlers. She and McClelland met at children’s vaccination clinics at the Toledo Health Department.

“When off duty, Shorty rendered medical care to families whose children were in need of emergency assistance, including me on several cases. Nina’s generous support was truly inspired by the way Shorty always went above and beyond the call of duty, and through the new Perinatal Wellness Center in her name, Shorty’s legacy of caring for others will continue,” Gibson said.

In addition to McClelland’s legacy donation, an anonymous donor gave $250,000 in order to establish the Perinatal Wellness Support Fund so as to develop programs for specialized caregivers.

The center underwent renovations supported by a further $40,000 in funding from the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital Medical Auxiliary endowment.

Around 4,000 babies are born at the Ann Arbor hospital system every year. The Witting Perinatal Wellness Center offers perinatal resources and a safety net for patients who might miss post-partum visits. The center has had more than 1,500 post-natal visits by patients since it opened in February 2022.

“By investing in a perinatal wellness center for our community, specifically our underserved patients, our donors are helping families access the care they need so that they can develop a strong foundation for lifelong health,” said Trinity Health Ann Arbor and Trinity Health Livingston president Alonzo Lewis. “We are so grateful to Dr. McClelland and our donors, both for their generosity and continued commitment to helping improve the lives of those we serve.”

Improving access to perinatal care aligns with top priorities cited by community members who participated in Trinity Health Ann Arbor’s 2021 Community Health Needs Assessment.

“We value our families and know the importance of a healthy pregnancy and postpartum period for moms and babies,” said Trinity Health Ann Arbor and Trinity Health Livingston OB/GYN Department chair Dr. Bryan Popp. “By offering mental health and breast feeding services to our patients, we can start families with a solid foundation.”

About the Author:

Sarah has worked for WDIV since June 2018. She covers community events, good eats and small businesses in Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in Applied Linguistics from Grand Valley State University.