We achieve our goals by:

Stay in the know - Read our updated Strategic Plan for 2023

The choices people make are driven by the choices they have.

The work of Health by Design is grounded in the Social Ecological Model (SEM), a theory-based framework used to understand public health and health behavior. The model recognizes that many factors, at multiple levels, interact to influence health outcomes.

Those factors are shaped by public policy; systems of power and oppression; community, institutional and neighborhood assets or barriers; friendships and familial relationships; and individual characteristics.

The model explains an increasingly understood reality: that our zip code is more important than our genetic code in determining how well and how long we live.

Learn more about Health by Design's work:


The Health by Design staff brings together stakeholders-including residents, agency and organizational representatives, elected officials and other community leaders-to create, implement and evaluate an aligned agenda. They provide coordination support and help leverage resources to build a strong organizational core that strengthens collective success. The staff is also supported by a team of contractors.

Kim Irwin
Executive Director

Megan Bolton
Operations Manager

Taylor Firestine
Walk & Bike Program Coordinator

Marjorie Hennessy
Program & Policy Manager 

Abby Highsmith
Administrative Assistant

DeJuan Washington
Walk & Bike Program Coordinator

Board of Directors

As the highest leadership body of Health by Design, the board is responsible for a variety of functions that further the organization’s mission and promote its sustainability and long-term success. Board members are also expected to play an active role on one or more committee or action team.

Amnah Anwar
Indiana Rural Health Association

Tiffany Etter

Veronica Onofrey (Treasurer) 

Danielle Patterson
American Heart Association

Dana Reed Wise
Marion County Public Health Department

Chelsy Winters, MS (Secretary)

David Wright
Gary Public Transportation Corporation

Your generous contributions help us achieve our vision of healthy, thriving people in equitable, vibrant communities.


Health by Design convenes committees and action teams to guide and accomplish its work. The Program and Policy and Governance Committees are formal standing committees of Health by Design. Action teams are comprised of community and organizational representatives who are convened on an as-needed basis to implement recommendations identified in the strategic plan or to engage in timely and/or substantive partner work. Action teams may be convened for any of the goal areas, typically for defined periods of time.

To get involved in a committee or action team, email info@hbdin.org or visit our Events page to view upcoming meetings.

Governance Committee
The Governance Committee assures that Health by Design’s operational, administrative and financial responsibilities are managed effectively, aligned with the strategic framework and executed to achieve organizational goals. This committee is comprised entirely of directors.

Program and Policy Committee
The Program and Policy Meeting is a monthly conversation between Health by Design staff and the network of allies working toward health equity, enhanced transportation, and active living improvements around the state. This meeting includes project updates from participants, networking, resource sharing, informal technical assistance, and policy discussion. Participants connect with and learn from each other and gather insight from communities across the state. This meeting is held the fourth Tuesday of each month, from 9-10:30 a.m. All are welcome to participate; a call-in option is available.

Health Equity Action Team
The Health Equity Action Team (HEAT) is advancing the strategies and tactics of the health equity goal: to build awareness, understanding, capacity and ability to address health equity. The action team meets the fourth Thursday of each month, from 1:30 – 3:00 p.m. All are welcome to participate by registering under our events calendar page. For more information about HEAT’s history and work, please see the Indiana Health Equity Action Team Overview one-pager under our Resources tab.

Full Coalition Meetings
The Coalition Meeting brings together health equity, transportation, and active living advocates and professionals from around the state for learning opportunities and relevant updates on the work occurring throughout Indiana. Each meeting features presentations from guest organizations on their programs and strategies for improving active living and transportation. Meetings often include breakout sessions for capacity building, networking, and idea exchange to leave participants with takeaways that can be applied to their own work. Participants range from the state level to direct service providers, and all are welcome to participate. This meeting is held virtually, once per quarter, to encourage participation from all corners of Indiana, so make sure to register! A call-in option is available.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) offers an analogy for Health by Design. DNA’s double helix – two interconnected strands, winding around each other like a twisted ladder – represents both the “what” and the “how” of our effort. The “what” is our day-to-day work; the “how” consists of the organizational context in which that work happens. Both strands are required to guide our growth, advancement and sustained excellence. Through both “what” (we do) and “how” (we do it), Health by Design strives to achieve our vision of healthy, thriving people in equitable, vibrant communities.