Walk for Wellness Expo


Healthy Kingsport is a non-profit organization dedicated to creating a community that actively embraces healthy living by promoting wellness, enhancing infrastructure, and influencing policy. Our work is accomplished by virtue of the Collective Impact Model–a best practice for solving complex, pressing social issues. This model is designed around a backbone organization (Healthy Kingsport) which serves as the convener of many organizations working toward a common agenda with shared measurements, mutually reinforcing activities, and continuous communication.

Specifically, Healthy Kingsport and its many, diverse sponsors and partners are working to promote better nutrition, physical activity, and tobacco cessation in our community. Today, in Sullivan County, 72.9% of adults are overweight or obese, our community is below average when it comes to physical activity, and 26% of adults use tobacco. These percentages reflect cultural norms that are higher than the national average and are a cause of great concern for our families, friends, and neighbors.

How did Healthy Kingsport begin?

Healthy Kingsport began several years ago with a group of committed community members who saw the urgency associated with the adverse health trends in our community. The trends showed our community was moving in the wrong direction when it came to obesity, physical activity, and tobacco use. So, the group dedicated themselves to changing our community’s direction. The group, led by the Greater Kingsport Family YMCA, applied for a Pioneering Healthier Communities grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that aimed to promote policy, systems, and environmental changes to prevent obesity.

Upon being awarded the grant in 2010, several folks representing different organizations traveled to Washington D.C. to attend a training seminar. The seminar spurred the folks to create a community action plan around health and wellness in Greater Kingsport. In 2011, this group and the action plan formed the foundation for Healthy Kingsport.

Meet Our Staff

Desteny Ferguson

Position:  Healthy Kingsport Director

Job responsibilities:  Provide support and guidance, under the leadership of the Executive Director, to a broad scale of public and private partnerships to foster the development of policies, strengthen systems and influence environmental changes that support the adoption of healthy lifestyles among residents in the Greater Kingsport area.

Why I do what I do:  I do what I do because it’s an outlet to help others. I love communicating with people in the community in a positive way and I want to use my new role to get people out and active!

Favorite quotes: “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
“I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.” -Philippians 4:13

Our Advisory Council

Dwight Owens
Council Chair

Paul Montgomery
Kingsport Aldermen

Greg Allen    

Detra Cleven
Bank of Tennessee

Jennifer Adler
Roan Scholar Leadership Program

Gary Mayes   
Sullivan County Health Department

Todd Norris
Ballad Health

Rick Thomson  
Times News

Our Sponsors

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