HSI elects new board president

posted on Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa, elected Board President

The Healthiest State Initiative has announced leadership changes among its Board of Directors. Jeff Russell, president and CEO of Delta Dental of Iowa, was elected Board President. Russell previously served as Board Vice President in 2018 after joining the board in 2017.


Jeff Russell, addresses a crowd in Cedar Rapids during the 2018 Healthiest State Annual Walk. Russell has been elected as the new Board President of the Healthiest State Initiative.

Past Board President Laura Jackson, executive vice president of Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, will remain on the board as Board Vice President. Ric Jurgens, retired chairman and CEO of Hy-Vee, Inc., was elected to another term as Board Vice President & Treasurer. Jami Haberl, executive director of the Healthiest State Initiative, serves as Board Secretary.

Other members of the Healthiest State Initiative Board of Directors include:

Jay Byers – Chief Executive Officer, Greater Des Moines Partnership
Doug Jeske – President, Meyocks
Sheila Laing – Executive Vice President/Chief Administrative Officer, Hy-Vee, Inc.
Kevin Vermeer – President and Chief Executive Officer, UnityPoint Health
Jeff Pomeranz – City Administrator, City of Cedar Rapids 
Georgia Van Gundy – Executive Director, Iowa Business Council 


“Making Iowa the healthiest state in the country is a big task and one we must achieve together,” said Russell. “Every Iowa citizen, business, school and government can play a part by acting on the three main goals of the Healthiest State Initiative – Eat Well, Move More and Feel Better.”

Russell has led Delta Dental of Iowa since 2013. Prior to that, he held leadership positions at Affiliates Management Company, The Members Group and TMG Financial Services. He is also involved with several other boards and committees, including the Global Insurance Accelerator, the Federation of Iowa Insurers, the Young Presidents’ Organization – Iowa Chapter, and the Rotary Club of Des Moines A.M. Foundation.  Russell has a bachelor of arts degree from Drake University.

 Learn more about the Healthiest State Initiative, its mission, vision and leadership here.