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Background of Healthiest Ames Initiative

Iowa Governor Terry Branstad has set a goal of making Iowa the healthiest state in the nation by the year 2016. Achieving this vision will require commitments by communities all over Iowa. Ames community health leaders have embraced this vision. 

The City of Ames is committed to helping to promote healthy lifestyles in our community. Healthiest Ames is a grassroots effort by individuals and organizations all over Ames that are working together to help achieve this vision. Our group was fueled initially by the drive to become a designated "Blue Zone" community but the spark has led to follow a different and more independent path to help advance the broader state wide goal of becoming the Healthiest State. Visit the other links on the page for a background on the programming and our vision for the future.

Healthiest Ames was formally launched on October 3rd, 2011 to coincide with the statewide Healthiest State Walk.

Executive Committee

John Shierholz, Co-Chair
Cheryl Langston, Co-Chair
Andrea Cardenas, Treasurer
Susan Gwiasda, Secretary

Stephanie Downs

Advisory Board


Cheryl Langston

​John Shierholz


City Representative

Andrea Cardenas

Susan Gwiasda


Faith Based Representative

Brent Thomas


Ames Schools Representatives

Gail Johnston

Ann D. Thompson


ISU Representatives

Stephanie Downs

Peter Martin

Brian Vanderheyden


Health Care Representative

Bonnie Beer

Neal Loes


Ex Officio

Mandy Ross

Steve Sullivan


Maureen Thomsen

Healthy Food Choices 

Andrea Cardenas, chair

Nicole Arnold

Erica Beirman

Ruth Litchfield

Lynn Maves

Ash Bruxvoort

Lisa Nolting

Amy Clark

Health Condition Awareness

Bonnie Beer

Neal Loes

Physical Activity

Stephanie Downs

Brent Thomas

Community Connectedness

Peter Martin

Ann Thompson

Andrea Cardenas

What happened to the Blue Zones Project? Click here for more information.

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