Bringing Milk’s Message to Michigan Physicians - Cowsmo

Bringing Milk’s Message to Michigan Physicians

Dairy farmers are making office calls to Michigan health professionals to help them better understand dairy’s nutrition benefits.

As part of a new initiative, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) delivers dairy’s message to current and future healthcare professionals, including pediatricians, nurse practitioners, nurses and assistants. The project began in the Lansing and Ann Arbor areas last year and recently expanded to Grand Rapids, as well as OB-GYN and family practice physicians.

“We want our health professionals to understand milk is a wholesome, healthy part of a balanced diet, and dairy foods are something they should feel confident recommending to all of their patients,” says Melissa Gerharter, UDIM CEO. “Our goal is to help ensure physicians have up-to-date, evidence-based information to share with their patients.”

The program aims to help these trusted advisors share dairy nutrition knowledge with their patients while illustrating how dairy foods fill fundamental dietary needs. The outreach also helps dispel myths about dairy foods and share dairy’s sustainability story.

From the beginning of 2023 through May 2024, the UDIM team visited more than 193 pediatric offices and interacted with more than 1,200 healthcare professionals. The team also hosted 52 “lunch and learn” sessions and distributed more than 2,600 promotional kits with dairy education for patients.

The information includes key facts about how the 13 nutrients in dairy are essential for supporting children’s health and development.

For instance, “Iodine is a key nutrient for health and development in pregnancy and through the age of two years,” says Sandy Sellers, UDIM Health and Wellness Senior Manager. “And it’s a nutrient OBGYNs and pediatricians work with their patients to incorporate into diets. Dairy can serve this need well, but many health professionals didn’t realize the amount of iodine dairy can contribute to that recommendation until we shared that key information.”

UDIM is monitoring the program’s potential for future growth, seeking to replicate its success in other areas of the state.

“We’re seeing many ‘aha’ moments from the people we’re working with as they come to understand more about dairy, and that’s been extremely rewarding,” Sellers says. “The response to our visits and information has been overwhelmingly positive.”

If Michigan dairy farmers are talking with their doctor or their children’s doctor about dairy and would like to share information, they can order materials from the UDIM website to help guide these discussions. The free materials are also available for health professionals to order for their patients.

For more information about UDIM, visit

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