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Why do we believe in Healthy Communities?

NACDD believes healthier communities yield healthier states with healthier people enjoying optimal quality of life. Public health experienced a paradigm shift in the last decade, moving away from traditional individual public health programs to a focus on jurisdictional, community, and population health approaches through policy, system, and environmental changes. This transition lent new efforts of focus by trying to impact a greater number of people.

Over the past five years (2007-2012), NACDD supported the concept of policy, system and environmental improvement strategies, with the goal of creating local communities where access to physical activity and healthy nutrition abounds and exposure to tobacco is limited. This work focused ultimately upon reducing chronic diseases, reducing overweight and obesity, and making healthier choices the easier choices where people live, learn, work, play, pray, and receive care.


What We Do


In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE) and the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), NACDD worked to implement Action Communities for Health Innovation and EnVironmental ChangE(ACHIEVE).

ACHIEVE’s national partnership provided funding, training and technical assistance to 149 communities in 44 states and one US territory to create local coalitions, conduct assessments and use that data to create comprehensive plans to implement improvements that address local needs around chronic disease prevention. These improvements included policy, system and environmental changes to increase access to physical activity, healthy nutrition and reduce exposure to tobacco. They spanned multi-sector groups such as worksites, schools, health care settings, community institutions and local governments.

NACDD funded 48 of these communities through ACHIEVE, and strengthened partnerships between its funded communities and respective state health departments in 31 states and one US territory. NACDDs funded communities collectively leveraged more than $54,746,800 in additional funding to continue their efforts and instituted 1,861 sustainable changes to improve the health of an estimated 5,000,000+people in multiple community settings.


In 2013, NACDD expanded upon its Healthy Community movement with its Healthy Opportunities through Prevention and Education (HOPE) project, a one-year project with financial support from CDC. The HOPE project aimed to continue working with, and provide technical assistance to, NACDDs existing Healthy Communities, train new communities nationwide on the five-phases Healthy Community philosophy, and communicate its Healthy Community experiences to interested members, national partners, and public health practitioners through the development of new tools, products, and publications.


For more information about ACHIEVE, please visit

Map of CDC/NACDD Healthy Communities

Contact Us

Jennie Hefelfinger, MS

Karma Edwards, MSPH