Culture of Health: City of Fishers adds new position to promote community wellness


As the first City of Fishers Culture of Health Ambassador, Ginny Zimmerman is blazing her own trail to promote wellness among Fishers residents.

It’s a role that suits her well, with a strong interest in physical activity from a young age. Zimmerman said she started with gymnastics as a kid, along with other youth sports. That interest in physical activity has stayed with her into adulthood.

“I’m a very hyperactive person, so I have to move, otherwise that energy stays inside and it bounces around — it’s not great,” she said. “So, I’ve always been kind of a physically active person. And I have three young children of my own — all boys who are also physically active — and had spent some time as a gymnastics instructor at the YMCA.”

Zimmerman also is a people-person and loves the public-service aspect of her new job, as well as inventing what that job entails.

“The Culture of Health Ambassador role, because it’s brand new, I really like being the person that comes up with the ideas and who says, ‘OK, that didn’t work; we’re not tied to it. Let’s move on and find a new idea or a new way that we can do this,’” she said. “I don’t mind when someone comes to me and says, ‘Hey, that was a terrible idea.’ I can agree and say, ‘Yeah, it was. How can we make it better?’ I’m not fixed on trying to do the same thing over and over again.”

While new to the position, Zimmerman is not new to the City of Fishers. She’s had several roles in the city’s parks department and most recently worked with the marketing team, primarily handling social media. She knew the new position was in the works, thought it sounded like a good fit and, when it became a reality, applied. Now, she plays a key role toward helping residents of the growing community thrive.

“We have tons of residents here,” she said. “We have people who are younger families, we have people who are just out of college and we have people who are coming back to support families or that are kind of in that retired age group. So, how do we keep those families here? And how do we keep them healthy?

Zimmerman said her focus is on how to prevent chronic disease through physical fitness and nutrition — and promoting mental health — in a way that’s positive, inclusive and accessible.

It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight.

“The way that I picture this role is, nothing happens quickly in a year,” she said. “So, it’s short changes over a long period of time.”

Some things can happen relatively soon, though, including promoting what the city already has to offer so residents know their options. The Nickel Plate Trail is one example — a paved, relatively flat, vehicle-free path that’s perfect for walking, running and biking. Zimmerman said the city’s parks also offer plenty of opportunities to be active outdoors, and the Parks Department regularly hosts concerts, festivals, the summer farmers markets and other events.

“The other thing is partnering with other companies, organizations and nonprofits in the community who are already doing that work and who have been doing that work, and highlighting those stories, as well,” she said. “So, trying to give kind of a holistic approach and providing more preventative measures to health so that we don’t have as many people that are in medical need or that are coming upon late diagnoses.”

Physical activity and good nutrition can improve mental health, she added, noting that the city offers a free, online mental health service with articles, resources and tips for people who are looking for information about ways to improve their mental health. For more, visit

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Ginny Zimmerman is the City of Fishers’ Culture of Health Ambassador, a new role that promotes health and wellness for Fishers residents. (Photo by Leila Kheiry)

Gearing up for the Geist Half Marathon

Ginny Zimmerman’s first big project as the City of Fishers Culture of Health Ambassador is coordinating the Geist Half Marathon, set for Sept. 14.

She said registration launched in December and so far is going well.

“We recruited some ambassadors for that project, and my goal with that was to really highlight folks that live outside of Fishers and bring more people to the city instead of it being that hyperlocal race,” she said. “And then, also bringing people from different backgrounds — making sure that we’re representing everyone.”

Race ambassadors help promote the event through their stories. Zimmerman said it’s interesting to hear what inspired different people to start running.

“There’s a couple of folks who came upon walking and running and joined groups in order to avoid addiction or were in the middle of recovery,” she said. “There’s a woman on our ambassador team who was on the verge of being diagnosed with diabetes and decided to get moving and has been able to control that through diet, exercise and some medication on the side.”

The city took over the Geist Half Marathon in 2023, moving the event from spring to fall to avoid conflicting with other big races.

The Geist Half Marathon offers a 10K and 5K option, as well as virtual races. For more, visit