HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign for the Mid-Atlantic

Helping Municipal Leaders Create Healthy, Prosperous Communities

The Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities & Towns Campaign provides free training and technical assistance to municipal leaders to adopt policies that make it easier for residents to eat better and move more.

The HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign is an initiative of The Institute for Public Health Innovation in partnership with the Maryland Municipal League and the Virginia Municipal League. 


The HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign pairs the unique power of local government with the public health expertise of the Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI). The Institute for Public Health Innovation (IPHI) is a unique non-profit resource that builds partnerships across sectors and cultivates innovative solutions to improve health and well-being for all people and communities throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia.  To learn more, visit www.institutephi.org

 - Meet our Staff - 

Sydney Daigle 


As a Program Manager for IPHI, Sydney oversees implementation and outreach for the HEAL Cities & Town Campaign and the Prince George’s County Food Equity Council (FEC). Sydney works with the Campaign’s Program Associate to recruit new municipalities in addition to supporting current HEAL Cities and Towns while they adopt, implement, and promote HEAL policies and practices. For the past four years, Sydney has worked with the FEC, a local independent food policy council of twenty-two diverse members. FEC advances county and state-level food and agriculture policies to promote public health, environmental sustainability, and sound economic development in the local food system. 

Sydney is passionate about strengthening local food systems and improving under-served communities' access to healthy foods.  She has over six years of professional experience working on systems-level public health interventions and local food and farm advocacy. Prior to working with IPHI, she served as the South Carolina Department of Education's Farm to School & Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program Coordinator and as the Sustainability Coordinator at St. Francis Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina. She has worked successfully with diverse audiences ranging from school cafeteria staff to policy makers to affect change at the institutional, county, and state-levels.

Sydney is active in her local civic association and sits on multiple advisory committees. In Prince George’s County, she serves as a team leader for Prince George’s County's Collaborative for Health Equity, Healthy and Safe Food Truck Committee, and Health Department Health Action Coalition’s HEAL Workgroup. In her free time, she enjoys reading fiction, cooking (but mostly eating) Southern food, and doting on her two rescue dogs, Django and Zora.  Sydney can be reached at sdaigle@institutephi.org or 202-747=3512. 

mike royster, MD, MPH, FACPM

susan headshot

Dr. Mike Royster joined IPHI as Sr. Vice President in January 2013 and plays an integral role in the organizational, programmatic and operational development of IPHI.  He provides overarching direction and management support for several of IPHI’s largest initiatives, and is leading the cultivation of new relationships and initiatives across the region. 

Prior to joining IPHI, Dr. Royster was the Director of the Virginia Department of Health, Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (OMHHE). In this position, he oversaw Virginia’s state offices of minority health, rural health, and primary care. OMHHE advanced health equity by developing data tools, such as the Health Opportunity Index, to assess health inequities; improving access to quality health care and providers; developing and promoting community-based participatory initiatives; enhancing the capacity of VDH and its partners to promote health equity; and facilitating strategies to target the social determinants of health.  Dr. Royster also served as the Director of the Crater Health District headquartered in Petersburg, Virginia, overseeing public health programs and services for 5 counties and 3 cities with a combined population of 150,000.  Dr. Royster completed his undergraduate training at the University of Virginia, medical training at Duke University School of Medicine, and a residency in Public Health and General Preventive Medicine at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where he also obtained a Master’s degree in Public Health. In addition, he completed the two-year W.K. Kellogg Health Scholars Program at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, where he developed an initiative to address the health of African American men in Raleigh, North Carolina. Dr. Royster can be reached at mroyster@institutephi.org or 804-313-8880.


Julia groenfeldT, MA

As a Program and Communications Associate at IPHI, Julia supports implementation and outreach for the HEAL Cities & Town Campaign. Prior to joining IPHI, Julia worked on grant writing, communications, and program development at food access nonfits in Worcester, MA and Washington, DC. Julia previously worked at Nuestro Huerto, a small community-based urban farm in Worcester, MA where she was instrumental in leading garden-based educational programs for youth. While working as the Nuestro Huerto Garden Education Coordinator, Julia spearheaded fundraising and program development while writing and implementing curriculum as a component to her graduate thesis “Garden-Based Learning in Worcester, Massachusetts: Addressing Science and Health Curriculum Gaps through Summer Youth Programing.” During Julia’s graduate education, she held research positions at Clark University’s department of International Development Community and Environment as well as the Worcester Community Action Council, an umbrella agency for social service and economic development organizations in Worcester. Julia provided research and analysis on food-sector workforce development for a city-wide development grant in collaboration with the city’s Food Hub pilot project. While completing her undergraduate education, Julia was an Intern at DC Greens in Washington, DC. There she worked on communications and outreach for school garden programing in DC public schools and provided logistical support for food access and farmer’s market programs in the DC area. Julia earned her B.A. in International Development and Social Change and her M.A. in Community Development and Planning from Clark University. Julia can be reached at Jgroenfeldt@institutephi.org or 202-747-3455. 

Cidney Robinson - Intern


As the Research and Communications Intern at IPHI, Cidney joined the HEAL Campaign to support communications and data monitoring on healthy eatign and active living policy implementation. Prior to her internship, Cidney developed communications, marketing, and data visualization tools to leverage the role of School-Based Health Centers in Illinois. She has also worked with various nonprofits and Federally Qualified Health Centers to update outreach, strategic planning & partnerships to keep communities healthy no matter their zip code. Cidney holds a Bachelor of Science in Health Systems Management from Loyola University Chicago and is currently a graduate student on the path to pursue her MPH in Global Environmental Health at George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health.