The Healthiest State Initiative today announced five working groups to address key priorities. They are:

  • Nutrition, chaired by Mariannette Miller-Meeks, director of the Iowa Department of Public Health.
  • Tobacco Use, chaired by David Vellinga, president and CEO of Mercy Medical Center-Des Moines.
  • Workplace Well-Being, chaired by Bill Leaver, president and CEO of Iowa Health System.
  • Dental Health, chaired by Suzanne Heckenlaible, vice president of public affairs for Delta Dental of Iowa.
  • Lifelong Learning, chaired by Ben Allen, president of the University of Northern Iowa.

The groups' chairs will constitute a Healthiest State cabinet to advise the Healthiest State Initiative board. The cabinet will be responsible for developing strategies for the initiative, which is chaired by Ric Jurgens, retired president and CEO of Hy-Vee Inc.

The Healthiest State Initiative is a privately led, publicly endorsed initiative aimed at improving the well-being of Iowans. The state currently ranks No. 16 in the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, the official measurement of the initiative.