Mission: Activating community-led solutions to create sustainable change in policies, places, and population health.

Vision: Vibrant Ohio communities where everyone has access to healthy food and opportunities for active living.

Health Equity Statement: Health equity is achieved when all people in a community have access to affordable, inclusive, and quality infrastructure and services that, despite historical and contemporary injustices, allows them to reach their full health potential.

To learn more about the Creating Healthy Communities initiative and its statewide impact, please click here.

Creating Healthy Communities Principles

Sustainable and Equitable Investments: CHC invests in policies, projects, places, and people to create and sustain equitable, inclusive opportunities for healthy eating and active living.

Self-Awareness and Empathy: Everyone involved in CHC prepares to engage in the work by strengthening self-awareness and empathy.

Community-Led Solutions: Community members experiencing health inequities or social marginalization partner with CHC to amplify their collective power and lead solutions for their community.

Organizational Partnership: Organizations partner with CHC to align with and direct resources toward community members’ vision and priorities.

Coordinator Responsibility: CHC Coordinators approach their relationship and the work with humility, transparency, dependability, and respect for others.

Creating Healthy Communities Success Stories

Learn how we’ve increased access to food through the WIC program at the new Center Street Market. Read our success story here!

Coalition Evaluation Results

Learn more about the coalition and those who represent the community involved in it – click here!

Food Access Action Plan

Learn more about strategies and activities our Food Access Action Team has identified to increase our local food system to a more accessible and equitable one! Read the plan here!


Get Involved!

If you are interested in getting involved with Creating Healthy Communities, or for more information on the CHC programs, please contact Cory Pierce at 740-692-9182 or by email at cpierce@marionpublichealth.org

Marion Food Pantry Map

Our Food Access Action Team has developed a map showcasing the area’s food pantries. Check it out and for more information, please click on the link!

Marion County Resource Guide

Coalition Partners

  • Marion Family YMCA
  • Marion County Commissioners
  • Elgin Local Schools
  • Tri-Rivers Career Center
  • Marion City Schools
  • River Valley Local Schools
  • Pleasant Local Schools
  • Ridgedale Local Schools
  • City of Marion
  • Marion Technical College
  • The Ohio State University Marion
  • Whirlpool
  • Center St Community Clinic
  • Regional Planning
  • Village of New Bloomington
  • Marion County Park District
  • Marion Matters
  • Marion Visitors Bureau
  • Marion Area Chamber
  • Downtown Marion, Inc.
  • Marion County Board of DD
  • United Way of Marion County
  • Ohio Health – Marion General Hospital
  • OSU Extension
  • Boys & Girls Club
  • Marion Twp Trustee Road Superintendent
  • Job & Family Services
  • Marion City Parks
  • City Council
  • Christ Missionary Baptist Church
  • Marion City Police
  • Village of Prospect
  • Marion Senior Center
  • Logos Christian Ministries
  • Marion County Council on Aging
  • Caledonia Farmer’s Market
  • Buckeye Community Schools
  • Local Residents

2024 Marion County Creating Healthy Communities Objectives

Healthy Eating

  • Mobile Senior Produce Distribution – Local seniors will see an increase of fresh produce availability and accessibility at four low-income senior-living communities in Marion. Seniors will be able to access fresh and nutritious produce without having to leave their communities

Active Living

  • Park & Playground – in Marion County, CHC will work to increase the number of adults/youth that have access to places for physical activity through the enhancement of a neighborhood park
  • Bike & Pedestrian Infrastructure – Downtown residents will see an increase in access to physical activity opportunities as a result of bike and pedestrian infrastructure improvements

Community & Coalition Development

  • Activating Community Partners & Residents – The Marion County Coalition will activate and empower local residents and partners to address the needs of our community by working collaboratively to create lasting community change
  • Health Equity – The local coalition will increase education and awareness surrounding health disparities and inequities in our community and focus on evidence based interventions that reach those most disproportionately impacted
  • Livability – Together we are building community pride! We are working to create a safer, healthier, and more inclusive community where residents have access to the resources they need to thrive and prosper

Past Projects


Brownstone Terrace Walking Path


Through a two-year process, a walking path was installed at Brownstone Terrace, a low-income senior-living community. Path amenities such as benches have additionally been installed, with plans for adding lighting in the future.

Farm to Institution


In 2023, CHC was able to partner with River Valley Local Schools in the funding of an on-site microfarm at the high school campus. This microfarm has allowed for fresh produce grown on location to be served in classrooms and cafeterias throughout the school district.


Grandview Estates Playground


From 2020 – 2022, CHC helped establish a new park and playground at Grandview Estates to promote active living and exercise for children. In addition to playground equipment, a shelter was also installed for community events.



Center Street Market & WIC


In 2022, CHC was able to help advocate for and facilitate the acceptance of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) at the newly opened Center Street Market. Recipients of WIC are able to use their benefits at the market to purchase fruits, vegetables, baby food, formula, an


Buckeye Food Alliance at OSUM


Working in conjunction with Buckeye Food Alliance of OSUM, CHC was able to help establish new food guidelines in their pantry. These guidelines implemented a color-coded system to help patrons prioritize and select healthier food options. Additionally, funding allowed for the pantry to purchase new refrigerators and freezers to store more healthier food options.

Produce Prescriptions


In 2021, CHC established a partnership with the Center Street Community Health Center and the newly opened Center Street Market to establish a Produce Prescriptions program. This program identified a group of individuals living with diabetes in order to prescribe regular fruit and vegetable offerings to them. Resulting from this program, several participants saw a reduction in weight and blood sugar levels, as well as gained significant nutrition education that was supplemented in addition to their prescriptions.


CHC Coalition


In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began, and health department staff were reassigned from their regular duties. Despite this shifting of roles, the CHC coalition was able to continue work throughout the year without a coordinator directing them. The coalition proved imperative to the work of CHC while the health department navigated through pandemic response. 

Downtown Marion


CHC was able to work with Downtown Marion to increase the number of youth and adults who have access to places for physical activity through the increase in worksite active commute support improvements. These improvements included the installation of bike racks and wayfinding signage. 


Village of Morral Park and Playground


In 2019, CHC was able to work with the village of Morral to help revamp their park. This included the replacement of mulch around park equipment. Additionally, a tobacco-free policy was adopted to ensure that the youth and adults utilizing the park can enjoy doing so without having to worry about the dangers of secondhand tobacco use.

Marion Senior Center


The Marion Senior Center was identified as an area in need of improvements for access to physical activity for our senior population. As a result, a new sidewalk and pickleball court was constructed at the location for local residents to utilize and reach their physical activity goals.


Downtown Farmer’s Market


Through partnership with the Downtown Marion Farmer’s Market, a collaborative food access challenge was addressed through the acceptance of Produce Perks at the market. This program provided a dollar-for-dollar match for SNAP recipients at the market. In the 2018 market season, over $900 worth of Produce Perks incentive dollars were redeemed for fresh market offerings.

Active Transportation Support


In 2018, CHC was able to support active commutes throughout Marion. The Downtown Farmer’s Market was relocated to allow for better access by walking, as well as the implementation of wayfinding signage. Additionally, a professional development bike ride was held for our local leaders to better understand what bicyclists encounter during rides in Marion.


YMCA Trail


CHC was able to partner with the local YMCA to construct a new walking path at the facility. An open-use agreement was established so that when the trail was completed, it would be open for all residents to use. Marion residents now had another safe physical activity resource regardless of if they were a member of the Y or not.

Tallgrass Trail Accessibility


Oftentimes in public health strategies, people with disabilities are overlooked. This underrepresentation can lead to poorer health outcomes. Through Community Health Inclusion Index assessments and a partnership with the local Tallgrass Trail, it was realized that accessing the trail due to a lack of sidewalks connecting the parking lot to the trail was a barrier. As a result, improvements were made to the parking lot, as well as the installation of new sidewalks. Additionally, an adaptive bike share program is currently being established.


Mobile Produce Pantry


As identified by our 2015 Community Health Assessment, 76% of adults and 85% of youth reported eating fewer than the recommended 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day. In response to this, CHC and partners worked to establish a new means to improve access to fresh produce. As a result, the mobile produce pantry was developed which delivered produce to locations where families could pick up boxes filled with fruits and vegetables.

Tobacco-Free Policies


Throughout 2016, CHC worked with several different community partners to establish tobacco-free policies for schools, worksites, and public spaces. Three policies were implemented at Marion Technical College, Lincoln Park and Aquatic Center, and Whirlpool.

Page last updated: March 5, 2024