This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are used for visitor analysis, others are essential to making our site function properly and improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Click Accept to consent and dismiss this message or Deny to leave this website. Read our Privacy Statement for more.
Impact Briefs
Blog Home All Blogs
The Impact Brief is the official newsletter for the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors. It is distributed monthly to approximately 4,800 NACDD members, partners, and stakeholders. You can view NACDD's Impact Brief archive here:


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: Arthritis  capacity building  CNMI  CVH  Diabetes  Health Promotion  Healthy aging  heart disease  Louisiana  Medicaid  STAR  StEM  stroke  Walk with Ease 

May Impact Brief CEO Message

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 28, 2020

Connecting Body and Mind During Covid-19


Before COVID-19, many of you shared with us that some of the primary challenges you face in your work were providing clear and impactful communication, building trust, and developing effective collaboration models. Today, these skills are even more critical, yet developing them may be harder while also managing the many new stressors that the pandemic brings.


Yet, our world still is looking to public health for leadership during this time – and as a result, we are more attentive than ever to our work building and cultivating strong and innovative leaders.


For example, NACDD’s Public Health Leadership and Practice Team facilitates peer-to-peer learning and collective problem-solving through dialogue between Chronic Disease Directors and CDC.


In two leadership courses aligned with NACDD competencies, Foundations of Public Health Leadership and Strategic Leadership in State Public Health Agencies, participants say these trainings helped them to think critically about leadership issues. Since 2018, 78 emerging leaders have participated in the eight courses offered.


The six-month Chronic Disease Director & Emerging Leader Coaching Program pairs new Chronic Disease Directors / emerging leaders with experienced Chronic Disease Directors to receive practical advice, guidance, and support for further development of their leadership competencies.

Being a public health leader under any circumstances demands self-sacrifice. In recent weeks, we have heard from Members how it also can be isolating and emotionally exhausting. Healthcare in the U.S. is fragmented and often hard to navigate from the consumer and provider side, and mental health and addiction are often treated as separate conditions from physical health, making it challenging for people to get timely access to services. I believe when healthy community conditions, equitable coverage, and inclusive policies are in place, we will achieve the outcomes that improve mental health in this country. 


However, we want to hear from you, our Members, on how you are committed to staying the course, being there for your teams, and how NACDD can help you with aligning mental health with your chronic disease prevention and control programs.


We know what you are doing asks so much of you – and we hope you will ask us to help you when you need it personally or professionally. Until then, we remain immensely proud to be a part of your response to our changing environment.



I’d like to pass along what I have adopted as four things every leader should do:

(1) Facilitate connections between the organization and the outside world;

(2) Hold yourself and your teams accountable for deciding, "What business are we in? What is the deep community need we are uniquely positioned to fulfill?";

(3) Articulate and model a positive, inclusive, and healthy set of behaviors; and

(4) Reinforce the processes you are using to meet goals and deliverables.

This post has not been tagged.

PermalinkComments (0)

Be Part of NACDD's Inclusive Healthy Communities Webinar Series

Posted By Karma Harris, Thursday, May 28, 2020

Five years ago, NACDD received funding from the CDC Disability and Health Promotion Branch to launch a national pilot project to make healthy choices the easy choices for people in areas where they live, learn, work, play, pray, and receive care – with a principle focus on disability inclusion. Through this Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities project, NACDD funded the five state Disability and Health Programs of Iowa, Montana, New York, Ohio, and Oregon and two communities from each of those states to receive training, technical assistance, and resources to achieve new policies, systems, or environments (PSE) that increase access and opportunity for healthy living behaviors, such as healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco prevention and reduction, and general accessibility and inclusion improvements.


State and community grantees were guided through the phased Inclusive Healthy Communities Model by the NACDD Project Team to navigate the healthy community change process at the local level. Each community was paired with a State Expert Advisor, who provided state specific disability and health expertise to Community Coaches and coalitions throughout the entire project period. PSE strategies targeted the five community sectors of community-at-large (CAL), community institutions and organizations (CIO), schools, healthcare, and worksites. Today, these project participants combined to achieve a total of 524 PSE changes, reaching more than 4.5 million people, including more than 1.5 million people with disabilities.


This year, the NACDD Project Team is broadly sharing the successes and lessons learned from this project in hopes to inspire other states, communities, and national organizations to integrate a focus on inclusive healthy communities. To do this, NACDD and the project’s state and community participants are implementing a five-part webinar series to showcase the project model and successes to other states, communities, national partner organizations, and CDC groups. Please see the below details:

  • May 19: Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities – A Project Overview
  • May 20: Coalition/Partner Commitment and Inclusive Assessment/Training for Healthy Communities
  • May 27: Prioritizing Needs, Action Planning, and Implementing Inclusive Policy, System, and Environmental Changes at the Local Level
  • June 3, 1-2:45 p.m. Implementing and Evaluating Inclusive Policy, System, and Environmental Changes towards Healthy Living with A Focus on Disability Inclusion REGISTER
  • June 10, 1-2:45 p.m. Using Communication Strategies and Activities for Disseminating Project Successes and Resources REGISTER 

Please also check out the updated project webpages of NACDD ( and CDC (, where you can access step-by-step resources for implementing Inclusive Healthy Communities in your location!


For more information on how to integrate disability inclusion into your state or community efforts, please contact NACDD’s Project Lead Karma Harris at

This post has not been tagged.

PermalinkComments (0)

NACDD Adds Six New Teams to Its Walkability Network

Posted By Karma Harris, Thursday, May 28, 2020

NACDD, with funding support from the CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO), has added six new interdisciplinary teams to its walkability network in 2020. These teams were selected following a competitive nationwide application process to receive stipends that will support learning and development of team action plans comprised of policy, system, and environmental (PSE) approaches for improved walkability, community, and transportation design:

1)    Fort Smith, Arkansas

2)    Peoria Region, Illinois

3)    Kaysinger Basin Region, Missouri

4)    Greater Hickory, North Carolina

5)    Northeast Ohio

6)    Walla Walla Valley, Washington


Additionally, the following four CDC State Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) representatives will be taking place in this year’s project activities alongside the six selected teams:

1)    California Department of Public Health (Emily Piltch)

2)    Pennsylvania Department of Health (Justin Lehman)

3)    Texas Department of State Health Services (Tiffany Real)

4)    Utah Department of Health (Brett McIff)


The 6th Annual Walkability Action Institute (WAI) was originally scheduled for implementation in Decatur, Georgia, for the dates of April 13 – 16, 2020, but was indefinitely postponed due to the unexpected implications of the COVID-19 coronavirus. NACDD and CDC are working to ensure that the 2020 Cohort will still receive expert faculty instruction from some of the nation’s most renowned leaders in public health, planning, advocacy, development, disability inclusion, and transportation and community design.


The 2020 Cohort of teams now marks 57 total teams from 31 states who will have participated with NACDD and CDC across the six-year project period to make lasting PSE changes promoting environmental design, municipal policy structure, and systems improvements to improve active transportation for all users. To date, more than 600 related changes have reached more than 40,000,000 people across the nation! 


For more information on NACDD’s WAI efforts, please visit NACDD’s WAI project page or contact NACDD’s Project Lead, Karma Harris, at

This post has not been tagged.

PermalinkComments (0)

NACDD Celebrates State-to-State Support thorough 2020 GEAR Groups

Posted By Julie Dudley, Thursday, May 28, 2020

NACDD celebrates stellar state peer-to-peer support and sharing through the 2020 GEAR Group series on mid and upstream factors to chronic disease. Twenty-six states and one territory participated in a 2020 GEAR group. Generate, Educate, Activate, Respond (GEAR) Groups are one of NACDD’s peer-to-peer, case-based, action learning opportunities for state chronic disease practitioners. They are designed to build leadership capacity and facilitate peer support and sharing to catalyze improvements in public health practice.


The topics of the four 2020 GEAR Groups were Food Security, Building Active and Inclusive Communities, Early Care and Education, and Adverse Community Experiences - including the social, structural, systemic influencers of health. GEAR Groups, each with up to 12 states, explored these topics through case presentations, short didactic presentations from subject matter experts, and active discussions through four 90-minute video conferences.


NACDD facilitators were delighted by the candid sharing and open support between states, even as they navigated the new context of COVID-19. Resources, references, ideas, and lessons learned were shared during each weekly meeting, and state-to-state support continued between meetings through weekly networking challenges. One participant shared the following in a thank you email to fellow state participants: “The resources you have shared, the ‘aha’ moments, the SME presentations, and networking opportunities allow me to meet other people that can guide me in making better decisions for my grant, the communities I serve, and my personal development.”


Preliminary evaluation data from all four GEAR groups suggests participants learned a great deal from one another and have already shared resources with their colleagues, developed new partnerships, and initiated new approaches to their work based on what they learned. Additional evaluation efforts will explore the extent to which GEAR Groups inspired lasting changes to public health practice. Findings will be available within the next 12 months.

This post has not been tagged.

PermalinkComments (0)

NACDD continues work to advance arthritis public health approaches

Posted By Heather Murphy, Thursday, May 28, 2020

May is National Arthritis Awareness Month. Arthritis affects about 1 in 4 adults in the United States, or more than 54 million people. Arthritis is common among people with multiple chronic conditions. For example, among people with heart disease, diabetes, and obesity, the prevalence of arthritis was 49%, 47%, and 31%, respectively. Arthritis makes it more challenging to manage other conditions since people with arthritis are less likely to be physically active, and physical activity is an important management technique for chronic conditions.


“Arthritis,” which can also be framed as “musculoskeletal conditions,” is a top driver of employer medical costs. By implementing low cost, evidence-based, self-management programs like Walk With Ease, people with arthritis and other chronic conditions will experience increased balance and strength, reduced pain, and improved overall health. Leveraging Partnerships to Develop a Sustainable Approach to Increasing Adoption of Arthritis Appropriate, Evidence-Based Interventions with Employers is a “living” document that provides a step-by-step approach to engage employers as payers of Walk With Ease.


NACDD works with State Health Departments, national and regional partners, and community-based partners to continue working to advance arthritis public health approaches. Several success stories were recently added to the NACDD What’s Working in Chronic Disease Prevention and Control database that features the work of NACDD arthritis grantees. In addition, the NACDD General Member Webinar for March 2020 featured speakers from CDC, the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance, and Oregon Health Authority speaking on Chronic Pain, Arthritis, and the Opioid Crisis: A Public Health Perspective.


The National Public Health Agenda for Osteoarthritis: 2020 Update was recently released by CDC, the Osteoarthritis Action Alliance and the Arthritis Foundation. This 2020 Update provides an outline of strategies to address osteoarthritis and a blueprint for action. It encourages the involvement of a variety of stakeholders including healthcare providers, decision-makers, marketing specialists, insurers, researchers, and more.


And finally, the Arthritis Foundation's Live Yes! campaign features an online community, an INSIGHTS campaign that collects self-reported data, a virtual connect group, and more.


For more information on the efforts of the NACDD arthritis program, contact Heather Murphy at

This post has not been tagged.

PermalinkComments (0)

US Hispanics and COVID-19: Spanish-Language Outreach & Crisis Communications

Posted By Administration, Thursday, May 28, 2020

NACDD’s partner, Hispanic Communications Network (HCN) has created a white paper outlining the unique and unmet challenges Hispanic communities face amidst the COVID-19 outbreak and resulting economic upheaval.


With over 40 years of experience, HCN is the leading full-service, social change marketing agency delivering culturally driven – not translations driven – multimedia strategies to promote health equity and improve quality of life. Their content is produced by Latinos, for Latinos. As the largest U.S. producer and syndicator of Spanish-language public interest and educational content for traditional and digital media, organizations rely on HCN to positively impact issues that disproportionately affect Hispanics. Through its La Red Hispana multimedia networks, HCN currently reaches a measured audience of 8 million in urban, mid-sized and rural Hispanic markets weekly.


On page 7 of the white paper, you will find HCN’s recommendations for culturally appropriate communications solutions to address the scarcity of credible Spanish-language information and resources available to the public—especially for consumers who do not normally visit government portals. These recommendations are designed to enhance the ability of government agencies and nonprofits to fulfill their mission by connecting Spanish-speaking consumers and Hispanic stakeholders to their agency resources, initiatives, and programs.


You can access the white paper here:
US Hispanics and COVID-19: Spanish-Language Outreach & Crisis Communications


For more information, please contact: Alison Rodden, CEO at

This post has not been tagged.

PermalinkComments (0)

COVID-19 predictive model estimates hospital bed and ICU utilization over time

Posted By Bo Nemelka, Leavitt Partners, Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Leavitt Partners has developed a COVID-19 burden model to estimate hospital bed and ICU utilization over time due to COVID-19. This model has informed our thinking as we’ve engaged with other health care stakeholders and state governments to develop a color-coded guidance framework for businesses and the general public to observe during the spread of COVID-19. Our work in this space is ongoing, and we have been retained by stakeholders ranging from Governors to other national entities (providers, payers, and foundations) to provide this perspective. View the COVID-19 predictive model. 


Read Leavitt Partner’s recent white paper referencing state-by-state estimates on using the predictive model to flatten the curve of the pandemic.


For more information, including to set up a conversation with Leavitt Partners on how to use this model at the state level and in conversations with policymakers, please contact Alan Hanson.

This post has not been tagged.

PermalinkComments (0)

May is Lupus Awareness Month in the United States

Posted By Leslie Best, Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that can damage any part of the body. With autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune system cannot tell the difference between viruses, bacteria, and other germs and the body’s healthy cells, tissues, or organs. Because of this, the immune system attacks and destroys these healthy cells, tissues, or organs.[i]


Lupus is most common in women between the ages of 18-45, but it also can affect men. It is difficult to know how many people in the United States have lupus, because the symptoms are different for every person. It is estimated that 1.5 million Americans have lupus.[ii]  Other estimates range from 161,000 to 322,000 Americans with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).[iii]


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), is the most common type of lupus. SLE is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks its own tissues, causing widespread inflammation and tissue damage in the affected organs. It can affect the joints, skin, brain, lungs, kidneys, and blood vessels. There is no cure for lupus, but medical interventions and lifestyle changes can help to control it. The causes of SLE are unknown, but are believed to be linked to environmental, genetic, and hormonal factors.

Recent studies indicate that lupus incidence rates are almost three times higher in black women than white women and affect one in every 537 young African American women. Minority women tend to develop lupus at a younger age, experience more serious complications, and have higher mortality rates—up to three times the mortality rate of white women. [iv]


In 2015, NACDD led a cooperative effort with the CDC, the Lupus Foundation of American and other stakeholders that included public health professionals, lupus experts, clinicians and individuals living with the disease to develop the first-ever National Public Health Agenda for Lupus to help prioritize public health efforts to improve the care and quality of life for people living with lupus. The Agenda outlines a broad public health approach to lupus diagnosis, disease management, treatment, and research.


Since then, NACDD has collaborated with the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), the Lupus Foundation of America/Georgia Chapter, the Big Bend Rural Health Network, and the University of Alabama to implement a Lupus School Nurse Training and Education Program. A workgroup was formed (including the ACR, NACDD, pediatric rheumatology fellows and rheumatology fellowship program directors, a certified registered nurse practitioner, and representatives from LFA/GA and BBRHN) to develop the training format, to be accompanied by a Lupus Care Plan and the ACR’s Child to Adult Lupus Transition Plan. This year, the project is on track to reach more than 100 school nurses. 


For more information about lupus, please visit our Lupus Program page. Or visit our partners' pages, the American College of Rheumatology/The Lupus Initiative, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's information on lupus, and the Lupus Foundation of America.


[i] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention accessed March 18, 2020.

[ii]Lawrence, R.C., Felson, D.T., Helmick, C.G., Arnold, L.M., Choi, H., Deyo, R.A., et al, for the National Arthritis Data Workgroup. (2008). Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States: Part II. Arthritis Rheum; 58(1):26–35.

[iii]Helmick, C.G., Felson, D.T., Lawrence, R.C., Gabriel, S., Hirsch, R., Kwoh, C.K., et al, for the National Arthritis Data Workgroup. (2008). Estimates of the prevalence of arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the United States: Part IArthritis Rheum; 58(1):15–25.

[iv] Lim, S.S. et al, The Incidence and Prevalence of Systemic Lupus Erythematosus.  Arthritis & Rheumatology 2014,66:369

This post has not been tagged.

PermalinkComments (0)

An Improvement Science Application to Organizational Development in State Health Department Chronic Disease Units

Posted By Jeanne Alongi, MPH DrPH, Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Public health agencies at all levels have struggled to identify the optimum structure to support administrative and programmatic efficiencies that will maximize public health impact with the available resources.


In order to support state-level chronic disease prevention and health promotion practice, a national public sector public health practice organization developed an evidence and improvement science-based approach to organizational capacity building and improved effectiveness.


The resulting model is drawn from the current literature that includes aspects of organizational structure, function, and operations. Specifically, it examines the extent to which a State Health Department Chronic Disease Unit:

  • establishes strong working relationships with diverse partners;
  • is the unifying voice for the prevention and control of chronic disease;
  • employs a strategic and systematic approach to learning and professional development;
  • provides consistent administration and staff support necessary to maintain successful programs;  
  • provides a culture that supports life-long learning, balance, and a diverse workforce;
  • and promotes the use of evidence-based public health practice and decision-making.

Implementation of the model includes assessment of organizational capacity using measures of evidence-based attributes within the framework and provides a systematic approach to identify opportunities for increasing organizational capacity, facilitating development and implementation of a six-month plan for achieving improved organizational capacity, and supporting states during quality improvement cycle through peer learning opportunities and mentoring.


Seventeen states have applied the model in their chronic disease prevention practice units. Twelve-month follow-up evaluation results show organizational capacity improvement in conceptual model measures.

“In all my years of public health work, I have never been part of a process that has given my staff so much energy to continue to improve. STAR was a great return on investment for our team,” said Bruce Adkins, Director of the Office of Community Health Systems and Health Promotion at the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health.

This post has not been tagged.

PermalinkComments (0)

Impact Brief CEO Message: April

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, April 28, 2020

NACDD has never wavered in our commitment to the underserved, and now, more than ever, we are working hard to help state and territorial health prevent disproportionate morbidity and mortality from COVID-19 among communities of color.


Recently, in honor of National Minority Health Month, NACDD hosted a webinar featuring Dr. Renée Branch Canady, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Michigan Public Health Institute, on improving the fundamental social, systemic, and economic structures to decrease barriers and improve supports that allow people to achieve their full health potential. [Watch the recording].


More resources related to underserved communities and the social determinants of health are listed on our page in observance of National Minority Health Month.


The Association has dedicated many years of work and activities to reducing health inequities and disparities through our Health Equity Council (including A Tool to Address Racial Equity for Public Health Practitioners) and through our work on the Reaching People with Disabilities in Healthy Communities national project.


Through our program work, we also support the state and territorial response to those health issues that are most prevalent among threatened populations: diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular health.


Former NACDD Board President Gabriel Kaplan’s podcast series “Socially Determined: Moving Public Health to 3.0” shares practical examples of how Members can engage with a variety of non-traditional partners and industries to address the social factors influencing health disparities and communities’ chronic disease burden.


During these difficult times, we encourage you to remain steadfast in your active work supporting and partnering with those communities who have deserved greater consideration long before COVID-19. We have an important journey ahead. Let’s continue on the path to health and health equity together.

This post has not been tagged.

PermalinkComments (0)
Page 1 of 14
1  |  2  |  3  |  4  |  5  |  6  >   >>   >| 

National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
325 Swanton Way
Decatur, GA 30030
Hours of Operation: Mon. - Fri., 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.