For Immediate Release: For Questions, call Deb Varnak, HCLC, at 219-363-6923 or Dr. Tammy Gierke Button, Dunebrook, at 219-369-0317.

Jointly, the Boards of Directors of Healthy Communities of La Porte County and Dunebrook, Inc., both located in La Porte County, announce that as of January 1, 2024, Healthy Communities of La Porte County (HCLC) has begun the process of dissolution and Dunebrook, Inc. has become the lead agency for the Covering Kids & Families program for La Porte and Porter Counties.

The Covering Kids & Families program provides free, expert assistance with healthcare coverage and insurance. Indiana Department of Insurance Certified Navigators work with community members face-to-face or virtually. The program serves all community members, with a focus on children and families, which is an area of expertise for Dunebrook. Dunebrook’s, Executive Director, Dr. Tammy Gierke Button states, “We are excited about expanding our reach to assist those in need of health insurance and our newly named program director, Sarah Johnson MSW, brings a broad range of experience to the role.” Tom Powley, Dunebrook Board President, also states, “We have worked with Healthy Communities as a partner in the past and are proud to continue this important work for our community.”

Healthy Communities of La Porte County was founded in 1997 in a joint effort between La Porte Hospital and La Porte Hospital Foundation, to identify major health needs in the community and promote the health and well-being of the community through collaboration, education, advocacy, and policy development. Franciscan (then St. Anthony’s Hospital) joined the effort in 1998. One of HCLC’s greatest accomplishments was the formation of a sliding-fee dental clinic in La Porte, within the Community Health Center operated by La Porte Hospital. The clinic is still in place and being operated by HealthLinc in La Porte and Michigan City.

Most recently, HCLC served as the local lead agency for Covering Kids & Families and has worked to decrease tobacco use in La Porte County through the Indiana Department of Health’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation grant.

HCLC Board President, Julie Wadle, said, “We are proud of the long legacy of service provided by Healthy Communities and are confident that the Covering Kids & Families program will continue, and even grow, with Dunebrook.” Long-time HCLC board member, Maria Fruth, President of Health Foundation of La Porte, states, “Healthy Communities has made a significant impact on La Porte County since it was formed more than 25 years ago, and we have all benefited from its many projects and collaborations. As a past board member, I’m glad to see the work of providing access to healthcare continue under the capable leaders at Dunebrook, Inc.”

If you are in need of health insurance or want to learn more about the CKF program or any of Dunebrook’s offerings to support children and families, call Sarah Johnson at Dunebrook at 219-369- 0351 for more information or visit