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Strategic Help for Children with Obesity: A Success Story at Denver Health

Posted By Jessica Wallace, PA, Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Pediatric obesity is a challenging issue for all of us working in primary care. On the one hand, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) issued a Grade B recommendation that all children should be screened for obesity and then offered or referred to intensive behavioral interventions (defined as 25+ hours). On the other hand, quality community programs often come and go with fluctuations in grant funding, and gaps in community-clinical communication make it difficult to know if resources have been accessed. This is particularly challenging in low-income settings for many factors, but it is heavily related to disparities in resource allocation. 

 

Denver Health (DH) is a safety-net health care system that has been serving the underserved in Denver for more than 150 years. It also includes a network of nine Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). In 2018, DH FQHCs took care of more than 150,000 Denver residents. Our pediatric patients suffer disproportionately from unhealthy weight and its health impacts, despite the stereotype of Colorado as a healthy state. The question we at DH asked ourselves was: how do we best provide resources and programs to our 21,000 children who are overweight and obese while complying with USPSTF guidelines?

 

The answer, for us, was MEND. MEND stands for Mind, Exercise, Nutrition – Do It! and is an evidence-based program originally developed in the UK. MEND has been shown to be effective in a randomized-controlled trial, as well as in subsequent evaluations in communities in the U.S. Rather than developing our own program, we chose to implement MEND because our organization believes in building upon proven models.

 

In 2015, we secured seed grant funding to pilot MEND “in-house” at Denver Health clinics to reduce barriers to participation and increase its acceptance among our patients. We accepted referrals from all of our Primary Care Providers during well child checks, and MEND was offered on weekday evenings at convenient hours with trusted staff in their medical home. Families quickly fell in love with MEND, and we expanded to four of our FQHCs. Later when we found shockingly high rates of prediabetes, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and hypertension at very young ages, we also added a new layer of provider medical visits to the MEND curriculum to allow us to more appropriately treat the individual medical issues related to weight. This model has provided a path to sustainability as well as increased participation and patient satisfaction.

 

It also works! The Centers for Disease Control assisted in an evaluation in 2018 that showed that compared to a control group who did not participate, MEND participants showed statistically significant change in BMI trajectory over time, as well as systolic and diastolic blood pressure (publication review in process).  MEND is now a fully operationalized program and a regular part of how we provide care and support to our children and families struggling with unhealthy weight.

 

Jessica Wallace, PA, is a specialist in Primary Care and Family Medicine for Denver Health

 

Learn more about the MEND program: https://healthyweightpartnership.org/what-we-offer/

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NEI’s New Website Puts Eye Health Info at Your Fingertips

Posted By National Eye Institute, Monday, February 24, 2020

The National Eye Institute’s (NEI) new website makes it easier than ever to find the eye health information you can trust. The updated NEI site features easy-to-read information about chronic eye conditions and accessible resources that health directors can use to promote healthy vision.

 

NEI’s redesigned website is your one-stop-shop for clear, accessible eye health information. Take a look at NEI’s A to Z index of eye conditions and diseases. It includes information on chronic eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and dry eye.

 

NEI also has helpful resources for health educators, such as toolkits that you can use to teach people in your community about topics like:

You can also find materials that will help patients better understand their eye health in NEI’s outreach materials library. Topics covered that may be particularly helpful to chronic disease directors include:

You can filter outreach materials by health topic, language, audience, or type of material — and best of all, it’s free!

 

NEI also has toolkits you can use to reach out to groups that have a high risk of eye diseases — like Hispanic/Latino communities. NEI’s ¡Ojo con su vision! program provides culturally-appropriate materials about eye health for Spanish-speaking communities — including eye health tips, questions to ask the eye doctor, and information on specific eye diseases.

 

African Americans are also at a higher risk of developing some eye conditions. NEI’s Write the Vision program provides materials you can use to promote healthy vision in African American communities such as infographics, articles, slides, and fact sheets.

 

Take a moment to explore these resources on the new and improved NEI site — and use them to help the public learn how to keep their eyes healthy.

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AICR Survey Finds Gaps in Americans’ Knowledge of Major Cancer Risk Factors

Posted By American Institute for Cancer Research, Friday, February 21, 2020
Updated: Friday, February 14, 2020

Fewer than half of Americans recognize that drinking alcohol, diets high in red meat, diets low in vegetables, fruits and fiber and insufficient physical activity all have a clear link to cancer development, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research’s (AICR) ninth Cancer Risk Awareness Survey conducted in 2019. Awareness of other established cancer risk factors like obesity and processed meat is still low but has risen above 50% for the first time since AICR began the survey in 2001.

 

“There is an enormous opportunity to prevent future cancer cases,” said Dr. Nigel Brockton, Vice President of Research at AICR. “Many people believe that pesticides or air pollution are the major factors in cancer risk, but modifiable lifestyle factors play a bigger role. Diet, activity, body weight, and alcohol are the largest drivers of cancer risk and are under our control.”

 

The AICR survey finds that only 53% of Americans are aware that having overweight and obesity increases their cancer risk. The latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that over 70% of Americans have overweight or obesity. Overweight and obesity increase the risk of 12 types of cancer; six of these cancers have seen a rapid rise in diagnoses and are increasing with each successive younger age group. Aside from not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight is the most important way to protect against cancer.  

 

 

Awareness is also low for other common and vital cancer risk factors, like alcohol. Alcohol increases the risk of six types of cancer: mouth, pharynx, and larynx, esophageal, breast, liver, stomach, and colorectal. Fewer than half of Americans, however, know that drinking alcohol is a cancer risk factor. 

 

The 2019 Cancer Risk Awareness Survey offers important insights, and for Cancer Prevention Month this February, AICR has launched a new website and redesigned Cancer Health Check to urge Americans to check in with their health. 

 

Cancer Health Check combines AICR’s latest research and 10 Cancer Prevention Recommendations to create an online tool where people assess their lifestyle choices and learn how to live healthier lives. The tool prompts people to answer simple questions about their lifestyle habits. It gives instant feedback about how well they meet the evidence-based recommendations or how they might make changes to follow the recommendations more closely. 

 

To view the full results of the 2019 Cancer Risk Awareness Survey, click here. To take the Cancer Health Check, visit aicr.org/cancer-health-check/.

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Active People, Healthy Nation Launches with Briefing to Congress

Posted By Paige L. Rohe, MPH, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Earlier this month, health promotion and disease prevention experts from across the United States announced to Congress the launch of Active People, Healthy NationSM, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new initiative to help 27 million Americans become more physically active by 2027.

The nation’s capitol as the Active People, Healthy NationTM congressional briefing begins on Jan. 16, 2020, announcing new goals to improve physical activity for all Americans.

Led by CDC’s Division of Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Obesity, the Active People, Healthy Nation program offers evidence-based tools and resources to help individuals and communities get more physical activity to promote their well-being as well as reduce rising healthcare costs. 

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors is a proud national partner of Active People, Healthy Nation, alongside SmartGrowth USA, YMCA of the USA, America Walks, the League of American Bicyclists, and other national groups.

NACDD CEO John W. Robitscher and other senior staff attended the launch of the initiative on behalf of NACDD Members, who work in every U.S. state and territory to reduce the national burden of chronic disease.

“Physical activity rates are increasing,” says Dr. Ruth Petersen, Director of the DNPAO, “but Americans still do not get the recommended amount.”

Dr. Petersen shared additional CDC data that only one in five adults and one in four high school students are meeting the physical activity guidelines for aerobic and muscle strengthening activities. Yet research shows that many of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States can be linked to a lack of exercise, including diabetes, heart attack, and stroke, and even some cancers.

People with disabilities and communities of color, especially, are threatened by diseases of inactivity, often due to a lack of safe and accessible venues to participate in exercise.

But, as Dr. Petersen noted, changes to the built environment and a focus on equitable an inclusive access can help to address these and other health disparities.

“Physical activity saves lives,” Dr. Petersen urged the audience of congressional staffers, national partners, and public officials.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams shared with the group that he personally is at risk for diabetes and hypertension, but understands that even as Surgeon General, it can be a challenge to take care of his health.

“Knowledge is essential, but not sufficient to create change,” Dr. Adams noted. “The choices we make are dependent on the choices we have in front of us.”

John W. Robitscher, NACDD CEO, joined other national partners for a congressional briefing to announce the launch of Active People, Healthy NationSM, including the U.S. Surgeon General VADM Dr. Jerome Adams; CDC Director for the Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Dr. Ruth Petersen; as well as representatives from the YMCA of the USA, SmartGrowth USA, the League of American Bicyclists, and America Walks.

“You don’t have to have a gym membership to receive the benefits of physical activity,” Dr. Adams said. “It can be as easy as taking the stairs, or choosing the farthest parking space at the grocery store,” he said.

The website https://health.gov/moveyourway/ offers a variety of practical suggestions for individuals that can be adapted to any busy schedule or fitness or ability level.

John W. Robitscher, NACDD CEO, shares his views with U.S. Surgeon General VADM Dr. Jerome Adams on the importance of investing in state programs to help improve physical activity within communities. 

Dr. Petersen and Dr. Adams both encouraged the audience to spread the word about Active People, Healthy Nation and to help facilitate its broad adoption. Dr. Petersen, especially, noted the unique role State Health Department staff can play in Active People, Healthy Nation.

“State Health Departments are key partners in this effort,” she said. “They have the relationships not only across government areas, such as departments of transportation, but they also have deep connections within local communities and among healthcare providers,” she said.

To learn more about Active People, Healthy Nation, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/activepeoplehealthynation/index.html

To learn more about NACDD’s work building healthy communities, visit: https://www.chronicdisease.org/page/HealthyCommunitiesPrograms

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ASTHO Launches Updated Breast Cancer Disparities Online Toolkit

Posted By NACDD, Friday, October 25, 2019

ASTHO Launches Updated Breast Cancer Disparities Online Toolkit, Demonstrates How Public Health Agencies are Laboratories for Change Equipped to Address Breast Cancer Disparities

 

The relaunch of the Breast Cancer Disparities Online Toolkit provides a coordinated guide of recommendations to operationalize best practice interventions by mobilizing data resources more effectively to address disparities in breast cancer mortality. Public health agencies are the laboratories for community and state-level change. The updated toolkit structures the content informed by a multi-state learning collaborative across four phases: describing/understanding the burden of the problem, performing data collection, integrating a quality improvement model, and initiating and sustaining the effective implementation of evidence-based interventions. The toolkit outlines actionable methods to increase statewide capacity for effective data collection and analysis, coordinated stakeholder engagement, and sustainable implementation and evaluation. It is important to note that the phases outlined in the toolkit are not suggestions for a particularly chronological order to undergo this work because health systems across different communities are often at different stages of readiness. However, what the toolkit emphasizes is that this process is more cyclical in structure, ongoing and often involves revisiting some previously adopted policies and protocols to make necessary adjustments that will further increase early detection and screening, reduce the follow-up time between screening and diagnosis, and improve the quality of breast cancer treatment for all regardless of socioeconomic differences. Embedded throughout the toolkit are elements of health systems change, data-driven transformation and geospatial analysis. The purpose of the toolkit is to provide resources on identifying, measuring, and addressing breast cancer disparities, and is designed to provide state and local health departments, as well as other breast cancer stakeholders such as cancer registries, healthcare providers, and healthcare payers, with a comprehensive roadmap for how to work toward health equity by reducing disparities in breast cancer mortality. The ASTHO Breast Cancer Online Toolkit is made possible by collaborative partnership and funding support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division for Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) and the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD). Visit the online toolkit at http://www.astho.org/BreastCancer.aspx.

 

The toolkit includes:

  • A set of phases to operationalize best practice interventions and mobilize data resources to address health disparities in breast cancer mortality and advance health equity in local health departments,
  • Recommendations public health agencies can reference to advance their current practice toward addressing breast cancer mortality,
  • 15+ case studies from public health agencies that describe how they advanced systems change, stakeholders that supported the work, and lessons learned to advise others, and
  • 80+ resources from allied organizations and others who support the breast cancer care continuum.

Tags:  astho  breast cancer  cancer  disparities 

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The Power of Partnership: Working Together to Address Tobacco Use and Vaping Prevention

Posted By Ryan Lester, MPH, Bureau Director of Health Promotion at Kansas Department of Health & Environment, Friday, July 12, 2019
Updated: Wednesday, July 17, 2019

One of the great things about Kansas is that people are so willing to help their neighbors. Whether it’s loaning a cup of sugar to the neighbor next door, helping the family down the street following an injury, or coming together as a community to address disasters, Kansans come to the table to get the job done.

That sentiment certainly is echoed in our public health community in Kansas. We recognize that partnership-building and collaboration is vital to the success of all public health programs. We must engage our colleagues at state and local agencies, universities, those in the private sector and non-profits, as well as different citizen groups.

One example we have been privileged to be involved with is the Kansas Tobacco Use Prevention Program (TUPP), which is housed here at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). TUPP created an environment that builds from the strengths of partnerships across Kansas. This approach aligned partners with different priorities around the common purpose of tobacco use prevention. Every partner brings unique skillsets, abilities, perspectives, and priorities to the table. Subsequently, it laid the foundation to tackle the emerging vaping issue.

This spring, KDHE released the Kansas Vape-Free Schools Toolkit. This toolkit is a guide to help schools and school districts become tobacco-free and e-cigarette free. Our goal with this is to engage youth in advocating for tobacco-free schools. The toolkit includes model policies, resources for integrating e-cigarette and tobacco education into the school curriculum, resources to help youth and adults quit using tobacco products, and strategies for enforcement, including communication tools and signage.

During the toolkit’s development, staff identified and developed key partnerships in the Kansas Association of School Boards (KASB). These partnerships helped us to better understand what would be impactful and realistic for implementation in Kansas schools. Additionally, KASB makes policy recommendations for Kansas schools and many schools adopt their recommended policies. A joint KDHE and KASB tobacco policy was developed and is included in the toolkit.

With the backing of KASB leadership, our staff presented the toolkit to the board. This opened the door for staff to be invited to educate Kansas schools about e-cigarettes/vaping and to disseminate model policies across the state. This was a huge win for tobacco and vaping prevention in schools.

We also recognized from our partners that to reach youth, we need youth. Our tobacco program staff have built on existing partnerships with local public health departments, school districts, and throughout KDHE to build and promote Resist chapters. Resist is a youth-led, statewide movement created to combat Big Tobacco in Kansas. There currently are 28 Resist chapters in Kansas supporting tobacco and vaping prevention. Youth also participate in “Kick Butts Day” at the Kansas State Capitol where youth engage their legislative representatives to educate them about the dangers of tobacco use and prevention techniques.

During the past year, community advocates successfully worked with the Kansas legislature to expand coverage of Kansas Medicaid (KanCare) tobacco dependence services. In addition, work was done to define tobacco treatment specialists as “qualified providers” who can be reimbursed for providing tobacco dependence counseling. This was no small feat considering Kansas has currently not expanded Medicaid. This took engagement from elected officials, university partners, and nonprofits working with a unified voice to advocate for this needed expansion of Medicaid services.

Individuals covered by KanCare now are eligible to receive up to four rounds of any form of FDA-approved cessation medication each year—combination pharmacotherapy is included—with no pre-authorization, copays, or lifetime caps, as well as unlimited cessation counseling sessions. This replaces the previous limitation of one medication-assisted quit attempt per year and the limitation on counseling to pregnant women.

Many of the victories and successes have resulted from strategic partnerships and advocacy. Engaged and empowered partners lending expertise has resulted in impactful and meaningful systems-level improvements for our state around tobacco-use prevention. I am thankful that we have so many Kansans that are eager to help make positive changes!

Special thank you to:

  • Dr. Kimber Richter, University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Dr. Babalola Faseru, University of Kansas Medical Center
  • Rick Cagan, National Alliance on Mental Illness, (NAMI Kansas)
  • Kansas Health Foundation
  • Tobacco Free Kansas Coalition
  • The Community Health Promotion Team at KDHE
  • Kristi Pankratz, KDHE Communications

 

Tags:  KDHE  partnerships  Ryan Lester  tobacco prevention  vaping prevention 

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APHA Blog Covers NACDD Walkability Action Institute

Posted By Louise Dettman, Wednesday, May 23, 2018

APHA was pleased to take part in the fourth annual Step It Up!: Action Institute to Increase Walking and Walkability in Decatur, Georgia, last month. Also known as the Walkability Action Institute, or WAI, this multi-day course is designed to help interdisciplinary teams develop and implement Walkability Action Plans to benefit their regions over the long term.

Created and hosted by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, WAI invites nine regional teams from throughout the U.S. to take part each year.

Each team includes representatives from public health, transportation, planning, elected office and other sectors within a region. The teams are tasked with employing policy, systems and environmental changes to encourage and support physical activity in their region.

We know it is vital to form and sustain multi-sector partnerships since the decisions, policies and practices of many different sectors affect our health. With support from CDC, APHA collaborated with the Allegheny County WAI regional team to support its inter-agency focus on health equity.

The team included representatives from the Allegheny County Health Department, Allegheny County Economic Development Department, PA Walk Works, Southwestern PA Commission and Wilkinsburg Borough, as well as Jason Coates and me from APHA.

Throughout the course, our team gained greater insight into creating walkable regions that met the priorities set by the team. Through group discussion and work with national experts, such as Mark Fenton, Leslie Meehan and Charles Brown, we were able to factor in such important issues as racial equity to the Walkability Action Plan for Allegheny County.

This meant broadening the community engagement strategy for greater inclusion and focusing more attention on residents living in vulnerable communities. Hearing from the other WAI teams, it was clear that all of the regions face similar challenges, including affordable housing, health integration into transportation plans, universal design and more.

To further enhance the lessons of the course, we gained hands-on experience analyzing walkable environments through a walk audit and scavenger hunt. The outdoor forays to identify essential elements of bicycle and walking infrastructure — or lack thereof — reinforced the need for walkable environments to encourage and support active living.

The Allegheny County team included developing a walking audit train-the-trainer model as one of the strategies of its action plan. This model could be offered to all 130 municipalities in Allegheny County upon completion of a pilot program.

Health, census and transportation data would help identify the most vulnerable communities, for inclusion in the pilot program. This strategy would help build the capacity of municipalities and increase the adoption of systems-level policies to ensure that its communities are walkable and bikeable for all.

The WAI was a great experience for us and reinforced the value of working across sectors to advance walkable communities and health equity. The multi-day course allowed for time, discussion and integration of best practices among team members, supporting a vision of a safer, more inclusive and walkable environment for all.APHA was pleased to take part in the fourth annual Step It Up!: Action Institute to Increase Walking and Walkability in Decatur, Georgia, last month. Also known as the Walkability Action Institute, or WAI, this multi-day course is designed to help interdisciplinary teams develop and implement Walkability Action Plans to benefit their regions over the long term.

Created and hosted by the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, WAI invites nine regional teams from throughout the U.S. to take part each year.

Each team includes representatives from public health, transportation, planning, elected office and other sectors within a region. The teams are tasked with employing policy, systems and environmental changes to encourage and support physical activity in their region.

We know it is vital to form and sustain multi-sector partnerships since the decisions, policies and practices of many different sectors affect our health. With support from CDC, APHA collaborated with the Allegheny County WAI regional team to support its inter-agency focus on health equity.

The team included representatives from the Allegheny County Health Department, Allegheny County Economic Development Department, PA Walk Works, Southwestern PA Commission and Wilkinsburg Borough, as well as Jason Coates and me from APHA.

Throughout the course, our team gained greater insight into creating walkable regions that met the priorities set by the team. Through group discussion and work with national experts, such as Mark Fenton, Leslie Meehan and Charles Brown, we were able to factor in such important issues as racial equity to the Walkability Action Plan for Allegheny County.

This meant broadening the community engagement strategy for greater inclusion and focusing more attention on residents living in vulnerable communities. Hearing from the other WAI teams, it was clear that all of the regions face similar challenges, including affordable housing, health integration into transportation plans, universal design and more.

To further enhance the lessons of the course, we gained hands-on experience analyzing walkable environments through a walk audit and scavenger hunt. The outdoor forays to identify essential elements of bicycle and walking infrastructure — or lack thereof — reinforced the need for walkable environments to encourage and support active living.

The Allegheny County team included developing a walking audit train-the-trainer model as one of the strategies of its action plan. This model could be offered to all 130 municipalities in Allegheny County upon completion of a pilot program.

Health, census and transportation data would help identify the most vulnerable communities, for inclusion in the pilot program. This strategy would help build the capacity of municipalities and increase the adoption of systems-level policies to ensure that its communities are walkable and bikeable for all.

The WAI was a great experience for us and reinforced the value of working across sectors to advance walkable communities and health equity. The multi-day course allowed for time, discussion and integration of best practices among team members, supporting a vision of a safer, more inclusive and walkable environment for all.

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National Institutes of Health Launches Open Enrollment for "All of Us" Research Program

Posted By Margaret G. Ritchie, Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, May 2, 2018

On May 6, the All of Us Research Program will begin national enrollment, inviting people ages 18 and older, regardless of health status, to join this momentous effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds. Part of the National Institutes of Health, All of Us is expected to be the largest and most diverse longitudinal health research program ever developed.

 

Participants will be asked to share different types of health and lifestyle information, including through online surveys and electronic health records, which will continue to be collected over the course of the program. Those who join will have access to study information and data about themselves, with choices about how much or little they want to receive.

 

Data that are collected will be broadly accessible to researchers of all kinds, including citizen scientists, to support thousands of studies across a wide range of different health topics. By doing so, they are hoping to discover how to more precisely prevent and treat other health conditions. Knowledge gained from this research could help researchers improve health for generations to come.

 

Why All of Us is Important for Patients

 

Health care is often “one size fits all” and is not able to fully consider differences in individuals’ lifestyles, environments, or biological makeup. This is because we have limited data from past research studies about how those elements interact. The average patient is often prescribed drugs and treatments as if they are all the same. Learning more about the differences between individuals can help researchers develop tailored treatments and care for all people.

 

How All of Us Benefits Health Care Providers

 

Today there are too few conditions with evidence and options for individualized care. Historically, patients from underserved communities have been underrepresented, misrepresented or not included at all in clinical research, and our ability to care for diverse populations is diminished as a result. More data, discoveries, and tools can help providers give their patients customized care, especially for those communities that are disproportionately impacted by health issues.

 

Why Diversity Matters

Historically, many segments of the U.S. population have been left behind in medical research, including people of color, sexual/gender minorities, those with lower socioeconomic and educational status, rural communities, and other groups. The result is significant health disparities. The All of Us Research Program seeks to help fill in the gaps of information about those communities that previously have not been well represented.

How to Join the All of Us Research Program

The program is seeking one million or more people from all walks of life to participate in this historic endeavor. Those interested in joining the program can do so by visiting, www.JoinAllofUs.org. Enrollment is open to all eligible adults who live in the United States.

All of Us Events

To mark its May 6 launch date, the All of Us Research Program will host several community events around the country. Those interested can either view the events online or attend one of them in person at the following locations:

  • Birmingham, Alabama
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Kansas City, Missouri
  • Nashville, Tennessee
  • New York, New York
  • Pasco, Washington

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A New Challenge for State Health Departments

Posted By Jean O’Connor, JD, DrPH, FACHE, Thursday, October 19, 2017
It is an honor to serve as board president this year. NACDD has contributed so much to my professional growth and development over the past four years. I look forward to giving back and helping to raise awareness about the value that NACDD brings to its Members, partners, and the general public.
 

Each year for the past three years, NACDD’s President’s Challenge has empowered the board president to highlight and engage Members in a significant opportunity in our field.

Last year, Mehul Dalal, MD, MSc, MHS, chronic disease director of Connecticut, challenged us to think about how we can “Learn, Lead, and Thrive,” through improving our management practices and supporting professional development growth in our departments. Namvar Zohoori, MD, MPH, PhD, director of the Center for Health Advancement at the Arkansas Department of Health, led our first President’s Challenge in 2016, inviting us to examine health equity’s importance in underpinning all of our efforts to reduce the burden of chronic disease.

This year, I am pleased to invite you to find ways to share and to promote innovative population health improvement models. To do that, you will be asked to identify and recognize at least one innovative model for population health improvement and chronic disease prevention in your community.

While hospitals, payors, and health care providers consider a more limited definition of “population” by focusing on the panel of patients they serve, we tend to view outcomes on a more geographical or societal basis. However, our end goal of improved health is the same, and we are using many of the same techniques and approaches to improving population health to accomplish our objectives.

While lately, it seems that the public immediately thinks of hospitals and payors when they think of population health improvement, now in my fourth year on the Board, I know that so much of that leadership is quietly coming from chronic disease programs across the country. You are doing the heavy lifting to build partnerships and change policies with hospitals and healthcare providers, employers, education, housing, transportation, and communities to improve health outcomes—both clinical outcomes and outcomes driven by the social determinants of health.

We should embrace this chance to build collaboration with other programmatic areas in public health – such as immunization, injury, and environmental health – and provide a platform for chronic disease professionals to be leaders in this area as they connect with their peers.

There are many ways you can contribute to this challenge:
  • Submit your ideas and examples to be featured in our new podcast series, “Innovations in Population Health” to publications@chronicdisease.org
  • Contribute success stories on innovative models in population health to PublicHealthSuccess.org.
  • Engage in social media efforts to raise awareness of your activities in population health, using #pophealthworks
  • Follow NACDD’s social media channels (Facebook.org/chronicdiseasedirectors and Twitter.com/NACDDInfo) to hear more about professional development opportunities on this subject
  • Hold at least one partner meeting to discuss how you can replicate successful population health models in your community
Through this year’s Challenge, along with sharing knowledge about what is working with each other, we have the ability to tell our story and build recognition about the role of NACDD and chronic disease directors in population health improvement. I am honored to begin this journey with you. 

If you need a little inspiration on how to get started on building innovative partnerships in health, take a look at NACDD’s two new podcasts from this year’s invitational Chronic Disease Academy:

As always, I look forward to sharing our experiences and learning together. Thank you for all you do for the public’s health.
 
Jean O’Connor, JD, DrPH, FACHE
Board President 2017-2018
National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

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NACDD Releases Podcasts from 2017 Chronic Disease Academy Plenaries

Posted By Dr. Mehul Dalal, Thursday, October 19, 2017
Updated: Thursday, October 12, 2017

NACDD’s vision is to “lead and influence the ways  chronic  disease  prevention and control  shapes the  future  health  landscape.” Each year, the Chronic Disease Academy is a special opportunity for chronic disease directors and their staff to learn innovative new approaches and concepts in our field so they can take these practices back to the field with them. This year’s Academy particularly inspired, motivated, and educated me on ways we can communicate about the value of the work that we do in public health. I was pleased to see  so many other attendees also energized and invigorated by the experience.

 

For those who couldn’t attend the Academy, for the first time ever, we have made the plenaries available via podcast:

After you’ve listened to these powerful speakers, I challenge you to take the next, hard step and translate the themes and information they shared into your own practice. There is no doubt that translating new knowledge into practice requires initiative, leadership, and great communication. Beyond that, in our hyper-paced world, I often find the missing ingredient in knowledge translation is reflection. 

 

So, I encourage you to block out some time on your schedule and reflect on areas that piqued your interest during the Academy and consider how they might integrate, even in a small way, into your work practices. This is a small way to keep the learning alive and, importantly, make it stick. 

 

For me, Ian Galloway’s talk exemplified a topic where some reflection and discussion is a must.  The pay-for-success area is innovative. And should the example of hypertension in Canada that he shared pan out, the pay for success model  could potentially be disruptive in terms of how we do business. What if we really could construct agreements to sustainably pay for real health outcomes (instead of “deliverables”)? As stewards of public resources, why wouldn’t we?

 

Good learning experiences enhance both your skills and motivation, but perhaps great learning experiences also can destabilize us. Charles Brown’s talk  on social justice was poignant, not only because it was deeply personal, but because for many it revealed our own complacency, perhaps even complicity, in perpetuating unjust systems. The  discomfort in this knowledge is not easy to bear, though I suspect that many of us will do better to take the harder path and reflect on that discomfort rather than  to ignore it.

 

I hope you will take some time out to listen to these podcasts from our Chronic Disease Academy and share them with your colleagues. Shaping the future of the chronic disease prevention and health promotion starts with us and how we can improve upon and refine our work each day.

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