Breanca Merritt, PhD

Chief Health Equity and ADA Officer
Indiana Office of Healthy Opportunities, Family and Social Services Administration


Breanca Merritt, Ph.D., is Chief Health Equity and ADA Officer for Indiana’s Family and Social Services Administration. In this role, she serves as director of FSSA’s Office of Healthy Opportunities (OHO). OHO aims to address social determinants of health for Hoosiers and designing and implementing socially equitable policies and programs. OHO’s four areas of focus include community engagement, policy and program design, workforce development, and accountability and evidence.

Prior to joining FSSA, she was the Founding Director of the Center for Research on Inclusion and Social Policy (CRISP) at the Indiana University Public Policy Institute and Clinical Assistant Professor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Before founding CRISP, she was a senior research analyst within the IU Public Policy Institute, served as a project manager for an NIH-funded grant at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, and as a research associate for the Project for Equity and Representation and Governance. A Louisiana native, Dr. Merritt has a Ph.D. in Health Promotion Sciences from the Hudson College of Public Health at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, her M.A. in political science from Texas A&M University, and a B.A. in journalism from the University of Oklahoma.