Healthy By Design

Healthy By Design is an initiative marked by collaboration across all sectors of the community. Members intentionally and strategically influence the environment in which people live, work and play, with a focus on physical activity and nutrition.

Healthy By Design Mission:

To collaborate with partners across sectors of the community to promote and improve health.
Healthy By Design Vision:
Create a community that is healthy by design. Make the healthy choice the easy choice.
According to the CDC, healthy communities are those that are designed and built to improve the quality of life for all people who live, work, learn, play, and worship. This includes the ability for every person to make choices among a variety of healthy, available, accessible, and affordable options. For example, neighborhoods that have streets and sidewalks built with pedestrians and bicyclists in mind provide an opportunity for residents to get physical activity into their daily commuting routine. However, often times the communities in which we live do not make the healthy option the easy choice. For instance, fast food is quick, convenient, and affordable but lacks necessary nutrients and is packed with fat, sugar, and calories. Diets high in fat and sugar contribute to the alarming rise in chronic diseases associated with obesity and overweight. Lifestyle factors — from changing diets to sedentary jobs and leisure-time activities — play a role but the way we plan and design our community is directly correlated with food availability and opportunities for daily physical activity.
Healthy By Design Background:
In 2005-06, 2010-11, and again in 2013-14, Alliance member organizations — Billings Clinic, RiverStone Health, and St. Vincent Healthcare — conducted a comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) and, with participation from the community, identified various health priorities that warranted improvement. In response to the initial 2006 assessment, the Alliance created Healthy By Design to address community-wide issues relating to health. Formation of the Healthy By Design Coalition brought together a valuable network of human assets: professionals with expertise in infrastructure; engineering and planning; the largest medical hub in a 500-mile radius; and a strong network of non-profits and community action groups. Work continues today.
Recent Work:
The most recent community health needs assessment and the current community health improvement plan are available on the website, on the “about us” page. Driven by the community health needs assessment and improvement plan, current work is underway in the following areas: health equity, healthy weight, worksite wellness, event recognition and built environment.
Healthy By Design Healthy Weight Workgroup:

  • Focus on public usage of the 5-2-1-0 message, including providing materials to community, schools, and social and health service providers
  • Physician consultation on weight, including recording of BMI at primary care visits
  • Use of healthy weight plans, physical activity guides, nutrition guides (resources on website)
  • Promotion of motivational interviewing among clinical providers and other professionals

Healthy By Design Built Environment Workgroup:

  • Working on access issues, most recently worked with the City and community partners to pass a “Complete Streets” policy
  • Recently completed a “Complete Streets” Benchmark Report
  • Convening stakeholders to determine best collaboration model

Healthy By Design Healthy Equity Workgroup:

  • Gardeners’ Market addressing lack of access to fresh produce
  • Increasing leisure-time physical activity for women, while addressing barriers associated with gender, including appearance, caregiving, and safety
  • This includes a public class offering using a curriculum called Active Living Every Day

Healthy By Design Worksite Wellness Workgroup:

  • Provide free on-site worksite wellness assessments
  • Offer a number of resources and tools including nutrition guides, physical activity guides, catering guide and sample worksite wellness policies

Healthy By Design Recognition Program Workgroup:
The Recognition Program has four goals:

  1. To create a standard of excellence for events
  2. To encourage active living and healthy choices
  3. To educate event coordinators through expert guidance and recommendations
  4. To recognize events in Yellowstone County that promote healthy lifestyles

Event recognition includes:

  • Expert guidance and recommendations for planning your event
  • Event listing on the Healthy By Design website
  • Use of the Healthy By Design logo, banners, and educational materials at the event
  • Certificate of recognition
  • The satisfaction of making a positive impact on community health

For information please email: or visit