The Wellmark Foundation, one of the largest health improvement-focused foundations in Iowa and South Dakota, has announced leadership transitions and the appointment of a new board member. Cory Harris, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s president and CEO-elect, has been named as the foundation’s board chairman. He will succeed John Forsyth, who will continue to serve as a member of the foundation’s board.

Mary Lawyer has been named as the foundation’s executive director, replacing Becky Wampler Bland, who retired in July. Lawyer joined Wellmark in 2015 as the director of community health improvement to lead the Healthy Hometown Powered by Wellmark initiative. Prior to Wellmark, she was a director with the Iowa Department of Economic Development and president of the Downtown Community Alliance. 

Additionally, Dr. Thomas Cink has joined the foundation as a board member. Cink is a retired radiologist and former clinical professor of radiology. He was a fellow of the American College of Chest Physicians and the American College of Radiology and has published a number of breast cancer research articles. 

The foundation has provided more than $52 million to Iowa and South Dakota organizations since it was formed in 1991. 

"It has been an honor to lead The Wellmark Foundation and bring our mission of improving the well-being of Iowans and South Dakotans to life," Forsyth said in a statement. "I am proud of the legacy we have built and will never tire of hearing how the projects we have funded are working to improve the long-term health of those in our communities. This transition is made even easier knowing Cory shares my passion in this area."