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Impact Briefs
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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:


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NACDD Grantee Presentations at National Vision Summit

Posted By Carol McPhillips-Tangum, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Three NACDD grantee presentations at the Focus on Eye Health National Summit highlighted projects funded through NACDD and the CDC Vision Health Initiative. Held in June 2017 at the National Press Club in Washington DC, the meeting included presentations by Betsy Cagle of the Alabama Department of Public Health, Kay Wenzl of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services, and Marc Molea of the Ohio Department of Aging. They described the activities engaged in over two years to explain the public health burden of vision loss and eye disease; promote prevention of vision loss and access to eye care; implement promising interventions to improve eye health and/or improve quality of life for persons with vision impairment; and advance vision loss and eye health as public health priorities. The presentations also provided examples of the strategies implemented in state health agencies to improve vision and eye health. 

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NACDD Contributes to Journal Supplement on Cancer Prevention During Early Adulthood

Posted By Leslie Best, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine supplement, “Opportunities for Cancer Prevention During Early Adulthood” includes a paper summarizing highlights and themes from an expert meeting co-hosted by CDC and NACDD, titled “Cancer Prevention During Early Adulthood: Highlights From a Meeting of Experts.” Contributors to the paper and the meeting include NACDD consultants Leslie Best, Frank Bright and Randy Schwartz as well as meeting facilitator Bill Benson of Health Benefits ABCs. In 2015, CDC’s Division of Cancer Prevention and Control formed a partnership with NACDD to identify opportunities for cancer prevention during early adulthood, defined as persons roughly  18 to 44 years of age. One goal of the project was to convene a two-day in person meeting with an interdisciplinary group of invited experts and CDC staff to discuss opportunities for cancer prevention during early adulthood. The meeting, held in April 2016, covered topics such as alcohol use, circadian rhythm disruption, endocrine disrupting chemicals, life transitions, stress, health literacy, health communications, physical activity, mental illness and cancer prevention in the context of incarcerated populations. NACDD also presented the preliminary results of a literature review of 158 articles related to 15 cancer risk-related factors that are relevant during early adulthood. The collection of papers in the AJPM supplement expands upon the discussions that took place at the meeting.

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New York Demonstration Project Paves the Way for Access to National DPP

Posted By Trina Thompson, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

NACDD helped the New York State Department of Health plan and host a Stakeholder Engagement Meeting in 2016, resulting in an action plan that promotes implementation of coverage for the National Diabetes Prevention Program. New York-Presbyterian Hospital recently collaborated with Omada Health to launch a digital National DPP demonstration project for 100 hospital employees with prediabetes. Results of this demonstration will inform decision-making on adding the National DPP as a covered benefit for the hospital’s 23,000 employees. Other employers can learn  how to start an employee benefit coverage process by tapping into the new NACDD National DPP Coverage Toolkit

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Demonstrated Effectiveness of NACDD’s State-led Evidence-based Public Health Training Course

Posted By Carol Brownson, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

In 2010, NACDD helped to expand the national evidence-based public health (EBPH) training by funding a state-based, train-the-trainer course to build EBPH capacity within health departments in states where training takes place and to leverage local expertise to train partners and co-workers. The national EBPH course, offered multiple times since NACDD began funding it in 2000, shows positive benefits for participants. A survey of chronic disease practitioners who attended a state-led EBPH course shows encouraging results for this course delivery method, as follows:

• 88 percent of participants said they had acquired knowledge about a new subject

• 85 percent of participants saw applications for course knowledge in their work

• 79 percent of participants reported becoming a better leader who promotes evidence-based decision making

• 78 percent of participants agreed that the course improved their abilities to make scientifically informed decisions at work.

Consistent with other evaluations of EBPH training, the most commonly reported reasons for not using course content as much as intended included not having enough time, lack of trained peers, and inadequate funding. These results suggest that the train-the-trainer method is effective for broadly disseminating EBPH principles. It is less costly than the traditional method and allows for tailoring courses to local needs, making it a viable approach to dissemination and scale up of new public health practices.

For more on the findings, read the article, “Evaluating a Train-the-Trainer Approach for Improving Capacity for Evidence-based Decision Making in Public Health." 

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New Video on the Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities Project

Posted By Karma Harris, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

NACDD is proud to share a new video compiling highlights of the project efforts of 10 local communities participating in the NACDD Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities project. This national pilot project funded by the CDC Disability and Health Branch enables NACDD to partner with five state disability and health grantees, 10 local communities (two from each of the five states), the National Center for Health Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) and the Lakeshore Foundation to promote making healthy choices the easy choices with a principal focus on disability inclusion.

NACDD  is especially thankful for the NCHPAD videography team collaboration in development of the project video, led by Ingrid Pfau, Matt Henton, and Chase Tinnon. The video highlights just some of the great work being done by the local community grantees to make community changes that promote inclusion of people with disabilities so that all community members can better access and participate in healthy eating and physical activity. View the video here. For more information or to request help with integrating disability inclusion into your work, contact: Karma Harris or Jennie Hefelfinger.

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NACDD Commitment to Advance Applied Chronic Disease Epidemiology

Posted By Natasha M. McCoy, Wednesday, August 23, 2017

NACDD selected four newly-hired, junior-level chronic disease epidemiologists to receive one-on-one technical assistance and professional development from senior chronic disease epidemiologists as part of its 2017 mentee class for the National Mentorship Program in Applied Chronic Disease Epidemiology. The Program was developed by the CDC Division of Population Health and NACDD to advance applied chronic disease epidemiology capacity in state health departments. Program oversight is provided by program chair, Khosrow Heidari, South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control; Natasha McCoy, NACDD Senior Public Health Consultant for CDC Domain 1 (Epidemiology and Surveillance) and NACDD's executive leadership team. NACDD recruited mentors and coordinated the pairing process with mentees. The 2017 mentee class includes:

  • Asra Khalid, BS, MPH, Epidemiologist, Tennessee Department of Health
  • Nhan Nguyen, BS, MPH, Epidemiologist, Cook County Department of Public Health, Illinois
  • Ami Sedani, BS, MPH, Surveillance Coordinator, Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services
  • Allison Verbyla, BS, MPH, Public Health Analyst II, Vermont Department of Health, Division of Health Surveillance

The 2017 mentors are:

  • Dr. Agricola Odoi, University of Tennessee at Knoxville
  • Dr. Ann Pobutsky, University of Hawai’i at Manoa
  • Dr. Ghazala Perveen, Kansas Department of Health and Environment
  • Dr. Ericka Welsh, formerly with the Kansas Department of Health and Environment

 Mentees are required to focus mentorship on developing capacity in one or more pre-identified competency areas through a project developed jointly by the mentee, mentee supervisor and mentor. During the seven year span of the program, NACDD worked with more than fifty mentor-mentee pairs representing state and local health departments, universities and medical facilities. Former mentees have become senior chronic disease epidemiologists and chronic disease directors. Recruitment activities for the 2018 cohort are expected to begin in October 2017. For more information, contact Natasha McCoy at

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New NACDD Publication Highlighting Local Health Department and School Partnerships

Posted By Rachelle Chiang, Wednesday, July 19, 2017

NACDD released the new publication "Local Health Department and School District Partnerships: Working Together to Build Healthier Schools" this month. This publication highlights the exemplary partnerships of the Northern Kentucky Health Department and the Dakota County Public Health Department with local school districts and schools in their jurisdictions. These partnerships are strong examples of the important role that local health departments play in supporting schools that are implementing the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model. They show how schools can leverage support from community agencies to address components of the WSCC model and how local health departments can strategically engage with schools as a key community partner. 

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New Resources from the Addressing Health Disparities in Hypertension Control Fireside Chat

Posted By Julia Schneider, Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Helpful resources are now available from the February 2017 fireside chat on Addressing Health Disparities in Hypertension Control. NACDD worked with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to host the fireside chat about their development of cultural competency training for medical providers and their work with trained team leads, local clinical coordinators, and a physician champion to improve hypertension control. As part of an ASTHO project, NACDD highlighted DHEC’s work in a blog post on the effort to improve blood pressure control activities in clinical practices. An issue brief on addressing health disparity in hypertension control and a success story on the South Carolina work are also available on the NACDD CVH webpages.

In another aspect of the ASTHO blog series, national partners shared insights with ASTHO on the ways they address decision-making, policy opportunities, and skill-building related to the public health workforce. The responses shared by Marti Macchi, NACDD Senior Director of Programs, and the other partner organizations, are posted here.

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NACDD Celebrates Its Walkability Success

Posted By Karma Harris, Tuesday, July 18, 2017

For the past three years, with support from the CDC Division of Nutrition Physical Activity and Obesity, NACDD successfully led the Division’s Walkability Action Institute (WAI) project. The project involved planning and hosting a multi-day course with guided instruction and active learning on a variety of topics that collectively contribute to improved walkability through community and transportation design. The course name accurately reflects the course content which primed the attending interdisciplinary state and Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) teams to act by creating a team action plan and using it to pursue policy, system, and built environment (PSE) actions in their communities. When they completed the course, teams submitted their completed plans and stayed in touch with NACDD and their peer teams through progress reports and virtual community-of-practice activities.

Over three years , 240 public health practitioners and partners from 32 diverse, interdisciplinary teams participated in NACDD’s WAI. The latest data show that these teams have collectively accomplished 217 walkability improvement outcomes with 25 efforts in progress, resulting in improved walkability for approximately 13,689,385 people, The NACDD teams also leveraged a combined $13,843,000 for ongoing implementation of walkability projects, representing a favorable return on investment for the project. Table 1 (see below) shows the results for the initial two years of the project divided into two cohorts. Results for the Year 3 cohort will be made available when progress reports are administered.

Table 1: Outcomes Achieved by Project Cohorts as of June 2017


Year 1 Cohort:

(10 state teams and two intra-state regional teams) 

Year 2 Cohort:

(10 MPO regional teams) 
Total documented outcomes 170 47 217
New policy outcomes 20 3 23
New system outcomes 18  19 
New environmental outcomes 69  73 
New non-PSE outcomes  53  38  91 
New tools developed 
New resources developed
Additional outcomes in progress 10  15  25 
Total estimated number of persons reached  10,945,787  2,743,598  13,689,385 
Dollars leveraged  $11,506,500  $2,336,500  $13,689,385
Estimated cohort ROI  57:5:1  7:8:1   

NACDD appreciates the hard work and dedication of the WAI teams for making communities and states more active, walkable, and better-designed.

To learn more about NACDD’s walkability efforts or find out how to implement active community environments in your own community, please contact Karma Harris (

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NACDD Moves Ahead with Healthy Community Disability InclusionNACDD Moves Ahead with Healthy Community Disability Inclusion

Posted By Karma Harris and Jennie Hefelfinger, Tuesday, July 18, 2017

With funding support from the CDC Disability and Health Branch, NACDD  leads a national pilot project, Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities, with a focus on increasing physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco prevention and reduction, and accessibility improvements for people with disabilities. For the past 18 months, NACDD worked with five state partners — Iowa, Montana, New York, Ohio, and Oregon — and with two communities from each of these states to bring public health and disability and health advocates together for this one-of-kind project. The 10 community grantees from the five states are listed below:

  1.  Carroll County, Iowa
  2.  Sioux City, Iowa
  3.  Butte, Montana
  4.  Helena, Montana
  5.  Cattaraugus County, New York
  6.  Syracuse, New York
  7.  Adams County, Ohio
  8.  Marion County, Ohio
  9.  Benton County, Oregon
  10.  Umatilla County, Oregon

 Partners identified community coaches and state expert advisors who participated in project, assessment, and prioritization trainings with NACDD before beginning work with their local healthy community coalitions. Coalitions  conducted inclusive community assessments, developed community action plans, and implemented community changes to promote inclusion. Some examples are listed below.

  • Enabling community access to wheelchair charging stations in Umatilla County, Oregon; Sioux City, Iowa; and Adams County, Ohio
  • Implementing significant streetscape and infrastructure improvements as a result of new policies, community planning updates, or changes to the built environment, underway in Benton County, Oregon; Butte, Montana; Cattaraugus County, New York; and Syracuse, New York
  • Creating adapted exercise options in Carroll County, Iowa; Sioux City, Iowa; Adams County, Ohio; and Marion County, Ohio
  • Developing a fully-inclusive wayfinding and communication plan in Helena, Montana
  • Improving access to healthy foods in Syracuse, New York; Sioux City, Iowa; Adams County, Ohio; and Marion County, Ohio

 NACDD is grateful to the CDC Disability and Health Branch, Lakeshore Foundation, and the National Center for Health Physical Activity and Disability for ongoing project support and expertise. Stay tuned for grantee updates, final results, and information on ways states and communities can become more inclusive of people with disabilities. 

 For more information on the NACDD Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities effort, please contact Karma Harris ( or Jennie Hefelfinger (

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