Organization Background

Healthy Shelby County
P.O. Box 1189
Shelbyville, Indiana  46176

Healthy Shelby County is a partnership of businesses, health organizations, schools, social service agencies, government, faith based groups, concerned citizens, and community organizations that are invested in improving the health of Shelby County.


In August and September of 2011, nearly 20 Shelby County partners met to complete the Centers for Disease Control’s National Public Health Performance Standards assessment. The “Local Public Health System Assessment” is a nationally recognized, evidence-based public health system evaluation tool. The assessment was facilitated by Purdue University. The evaluation process and its results provided participants with an understanding of how Shelby County’s healthcare and public health organizations relate to one another and how they provide essential public health and healthcare services to our community. The assessment focused on inter-agency communication, education and prevention, community partnerships, connection of people to needed services, and development of data-driven community strategies for addressing the health of Shelby County’s residents.

The consensus of the participants was that a public health consortium was needed to look at data and to develop strategies for a coordinated approach to the community’s health challenges. Other initial goals were to develop an electronic directory of community resources and to nurture public health leadership through the activity of the consortium.

In January 2012, the initial public health consortium convened and quickly organized around compiling essential community health resources in an accessible format. A partnership was forged with to create an electronic directory. The larger purpose of the public health consortium was envisioned and the stakeholders came to identify themselves as a health coalition – Healthy Shelby County. A logo was commissioned. Relationships evolved with healthy community coalitions in Bartholomew and Johnson County, with the Indiana State Department of Health Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, and with the Community Health Network’s Community Benefits Department. The Shelby County Health Department and Major Health Partners each made a financial investment in the new Healthy Shelby County.

As Healthy Shelby County was launched, a snapshot of the health of the county gave reason for concern. In 2011, nearly 35% of 5 year olds in the Major Pediatrics practice were obese. Over 40% were overweight and because of this, children were experiencing the chronic health problems that historically had been associated with older adults. The data from the businesses served by Major Health Partners confirmed what the 2012 County Health Rankings reported: 26% of the adult population smoked, 36% were obese, and 33% were physically inactive. In Indiana, Shelby County ranked 82nd in Health Behaviors – behaviors that largely either cause or contribute to chronic health problems. Added to this were the unprecedented health and wellness needs of our aging residents who were projected to be over one fifth of the county’s population by 2025. Shelby County was in the midst of a health crisis – one that was only going to worsen unless steps were taken to help healthy living be more available at every level to all of our citizens.

Healthy Shelby County has been awarded grants from the Blue River Community Foundation and the Shelby County Health Department, and a scholarship from the Shelby County Drug Free Coalition to support the development of the Healthy Shelby County initiative. The core participants in the first year of launching Healthy Shelby County included representatives from Major Health Partners, Shelby County Health Department, Community Aspiration, Gallahue Behavioral Health, Shelby Community Health Center, Shelby County Purdue Extension Service, Shelby Senior Services, Shelbyville Central Schools, and Shelbyville Today.


Making the healthy choice the easy choice where we live, learn, work and play in Shelby County.


The overarching goal of Healthy Shelby County is to educate, plan and implement collaborative, measurable strategies to improve the wellness of residents of the community of Shelby County. Strategies will address the environment, infrastructure, policies, and programming that promote prevention and wellness and that support management and reduction of chronic diseases.

The long-range goal is to create a cultural shift in Shelby County where healthy living is more the norm – a community-wide wellness approach that engages residents throughout the county as responsible partners in their own health and in the collective health of the community.

Guiding Principles

Collaboration/Link the Initiatives
    • Look for collaboration opportunities whenever possible
    • Look for linkages with other initiatives, recognized community leaders, institutions and disenfranchised members of our community
    • Align grassroots and community leaders in support and involvement
    • Build on what’s already in place vs. creating something new
    • Be efficient with resources
 Community Ownership
    • Solicit county-wide participation
    • Grassroots information/input
    • Need to thoroughly understand “values” that underlie health decisions and behaviors before taking actions
    • Communicate in “layman” terms
    • Don’t do “to” or “for” but enable, empower and do “with”
    • Focus on the individual
    • Develop and implement a communication plan
    • Share the credit
Inclusive/Broad Based
    • Keep the process open
    • Include all of the community’s residents. Be mindful of socio-economic, geographic, cultural and  the many other diverse aspects of Shelby County.
    • Focus on the needs of all ages and stages of the residents of the community
    • Council members represent all their constituencies when at the table
Benchmark and Measure Outcomes
    • Seek successful programs elsewhere to serve as models
    • Build a database – know more about health in the community
    • Measure success over time
    • Continually re-evaluate
Long Term Commitment/Timing
    • Embrace short term and long term goals and projects
    • Realize that what we’re doing takes time
    • “Seize the Day” – look at opportunities as they come up
    • Don’t make the process so complicated that you can’t get anything done
Continuous Learning
    • Continue learning – get better at the process
    • Learn from our failures, they are not fatal
    • Anticipate that residents will learn and experience unexpected/indirect benefits
Positive Motivation
    • Focus on positive motivation as opposed to negative
    • Celebrate successes

– adapted from Reach Healthy Communities, Bartholomew County

 Organizational Structure

Healthy Shelby County (HSC) operates under a loose structure, with administrative support provided by Major Health Partners (MHP). There are no membership requirements, dues, or defined role responsibilities. The HSC Coordinator is an employee of MHP. Major Health Partners is the fiscal agent for HSC. Action Teams are the implementation arm of the coalition. A broad cross-section of community members serve on an Advisory Council. These members are able to contribute to the organization and its mission, and represent Shelby County geographically.

Healthy Shelby County has a Coordinating Committee that provides financial oversight of any grant money, champions the mission, and lends guidance and support to the Action Teams’ targeted goals and objectives. They direct Healthy Shelby County in a manner that best enables HSC and the Action Teams to achieve their objectives. Administrative tasks (e.g., meeting summaries) of the Coordinating Committee and the Action Teams are shared cooperatively among members.

As Healthy Shelby County grows, its organizational structure, such as the possibility of becoming a 501c3, will be evaluated in terms of what will best support and promote the mission, vision, goals, and objectives of Healthy Shelby County.