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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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State Health Departments Selected for 2018 Advanced Thematic GIS Training

Posted By MaryCatherine Jones, Thursday, January 18, 2018

NACDD congratulates Georgia, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, New York, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wisconsin for their selection as participants in the 2018 Advanced Thematic GIS Training for State Health Departments: Using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to Address Blood Pressure Medication Adherence.

Two representatives of each health department’s Domain 3 medication adherence work will participate in a 10-day, intensive GIS training, including 2.5 days of in-person training at Rice University in Houston, TX in 2018. The training curriculum is tailored to meet the needs of state health departments working on blood pressure medication adherence and was piloted in April 2017.

GIS are computer-based systems that allow users to analyze and display geographically referenced data. Training participants will develop maps useful in highlighting and addressing the blood pressure medication adherence needs in their respective communities. These projects will address four key areas related to blood pressure medication adherence: 

1) Documenting existing geographic disparities in blood pressure medication adherence;
2) Identifying gaps in clinical, community, and public health services that are important for supporting blood pressure medication adherence;
3) Providing a basis for informing programs and policies related to blood pressure medication adherence; and
4) Enhancing existing partnerships and facilitating new partnerships among pharmacists, physicians, hospitals, public health clinics, community health workers, and other health systems and health care organizations. 

Learn more by visiting NACDD’s GIS webpage

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National Mentorship Program in Applied Chronic Disease Epidemiology Concludes 7th Year Supporting State and Local Epidemiologists

Posted By Natasha McCoy, Thursday, January 18, 2018

Thanks to generous funding from the CDC Division of Population Health, NACDD celebrates the conclusion of a seventh year advancing applied chronic disease epidemiology capacity among newly-hired and junior-level epidemiologists and evaluators working in state and local health departments.

2017 mentees and their project focus areas are as follows:

  • Asra Khalid, BS, MPH, Epidemiologist I, and Donald Perry, Epidemiologist, representing the Tennessee Department of Health: Assessing Association Between Built Environment and Obesity or Physical Inactivity

  • Nhan Nguyen, MPH, Epidemiologist, Cook County Department of Public Health, representing Illinois: Web Data Portal for a Local Health Department

  • Ami Sedani, MPH, Surveillance Coordinator, representing the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services: Using Maps to Inform Program Design and Evaluation

  • Allison Verbyla, MPH, Public Health Analyst II, representing the Vermont Department of Health, Division of Health Surveillance: Burden of Cancer in Vermont Communities 

The 2017 mentors included: Dr. Agricola Odoi, University of Tennessee at Knoxville; Dr. Ann Pobutsky, University of Hawai’i at Manoa; Dr. Ghazala Perveen and Dr. Ericka Welsh, representing the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. 

Mentees and mentors received travel support to the attend the 2017 NACDD Chronic Disease Academy in St. Louis, MO.

NACDD will complete selection of four new mentees and four mentors for the 2018 mentoring program cohort by Jan. 31. 

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NACDD Issue Brief: Massachusetts Health Systems Change to Control Hypertension

Posted By Susan Svencer, Thursday, January 18, 2018

During the June 2017 fireside chat, Massachusetts shared information on its approach to managing hypertension through health systems change. NACDD prepared an Issue Brief on this critical topic to provide additional context and information about the collaboration between the MA Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, including their capacity assessment process, data-driven technical assistance and quality improvement, and use of the data reporting and visualization system to deliver feedback to clinical sites. You can view other Issue Briefs on NACDD’s website.  

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Pharmacists are Valued Partners in Diabetes Prevention and Control

Posted By Trina Thompson, Thursday, January 18, 2018

State health departments are increasingly seizing the opportunity to work with pharmacists to prevent and control chronic diseases, including prediabetes and diabetes. In addition to conducting screening and making referrals, community pharmacists work in a unique space as healthcare providers, seeing and counseling patients directly and frequently in their own communities. The Connector, a quarterly newsletter produced by the diabetes practice area at NACDD, featured a story about partnering with community pharmacists in the November issue. The story covers the challenges of reimbursement for pharmacists and includes how health departments in Colorado, Missouri, and Wisconsin work with pharmacists in their states to expand diabetes self-management education and the National Diabetes Prevention Program. You also can learn more about CDC resources to engage pharmacists in The Connector newsletter. To receive The Connector, contact Susan Lopez-Payan

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Older Adults with Vision Impairment Report Greater Prevalence of Chronic Disease

Posted By Carol McPhillips Tangum, Thursday, January 18, 2018

NACDD partners at the CDC Vision Health Initiative recently conducted a study exploring the prevalence of chronic conditions among persons aged 65 years and older in the United States with and without vision impairment. Using data from the National Health Interview Survey, they examined 13 chronic conditions while controlling for factors such as age, race, education, smoking status, physical activity, and obesity. The researchers found that people with vision impairment were more likely than those without vision impairment to report having hypertension, heart disease, high cholesterol, stroke, arthritis, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer, weak or failing kidneys, diabetes, hepatitis, depression, or hearing impairment. In addition, older adults with chronic conditions were nearly three times as likely to report having fair or poor health as compared to older adults without vision impairment.

These results suggest that the topic of vision impairment and chronic conditions merits further attention to understand the disparity and magnitude of the problems, the pathways that prompt disparities, and potential strategies to improve overall health among those who experience both vision impairment and chronic conditions. NACDD is currently supporting three states (Alabama, Nebraska, and Ohio) to better understand the impact of vision impairment and to identify effective strategies for improving the lives of those with vision impairment. 

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NACDD and CDC Fireside Chat: The 2017 Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults

Posted By Susan Svencer, Thursday, January 18, 2018

In Dec. 2017, NACDD and CDC hosted a fireside chat on the 2017 Guideline for the Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Management of High Blood Pressure in Adults. This Fireside Chat featured Brent Egan, Vice President of Research at the Care Coordination Institute and Fleetwood Loustalot Lead for the Epidemiology, Surveillance and Health Service Team at CDC. The discussion focused on the four new categories for classifying blood pressure; changes to the prevalence of high blood pressure as a result of the new guidelines; treatment of high blood pressure with non-pharmacological and pharmacological interventions; revisions in blood pressure goals; and the use of self-measured blood pressure monitoring to manage patients with high blood pressure.

Dr. Egan addressed many questions received from states and partners. NACDD captured all of the questions and shared them with CDC to help inform future communication and events on this topic.

This recording, along with previous fireside chats, can be found on NACDD’s CVH Page

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NACDD’s Healthy Communities in the News

Posted By Margaret G. Ritchie, Monday, November 20, 2017
Updated: Monday, November 20, 2017

Cleveland MPO in Cleveland, Tennessee, Wins Award for Walkability Action Plan

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) congratulates the Cleveland, Tennessee, walkability team for winning the 2017 Outstanding Project/Program/Tool award in the Small Community category for Tennessee’s American Planning Association’s (APA) Transformation of Space awards in October. The Cleveland MPO created an interdisciplinary team, and was selected to receive travel assistance to attend NACDD’s 2017 Walkability Action Institute.

Due to the team’s participation in WAI, the team developed a comprehensive 10-year plan to bring their Connect Cleveland efforts into fruition. The Connect Cleveland Walkability Action Plan consists of the region’s plans to involve community member input, encourage people to walk more, and engage in active transportation to places within the community. The plan also addresses such key values as education; social justice; consumer preferences; environmental benefits; service to neighborhoods; expanding connectivity; and improving equity among people and places. The award was given based on originality and innovation; transferability; quality; effectiveness and results; comprehensiveness; public participation; and roles and responsibilities.

Please join us congratulating our Cleveland, Tennessee, walkability team for continuing to take “steps” in the right direction!

Olean in Cattaraugus County, New York, Receives Livable Communities Award!
Olean, located in Cattaraugus County, New York, received its fourth award within a year in late September. The Partners for Livable Western New York presented the Livable Communities Award to Olean for the city’s $8.85 million-dollar reconstruction project. Vehicle speeds were reduced through the installation of five roundabouts, angled parking, and bicycle lanes. The change has resulted in more mixed-use development, economic revitalization, and creating a more walkable community. 
The reconstruction project also included the addition of four, fully inclusive crosswalks, so community members with disabilities can safely navigate the crosswalks at the roundabout locations. The addition was due in part to the county’s involvement in a national pilot project titled, Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities. The county’s healthy community coalition worked with Olean’s elected and planning officials to design inclusive crosswalks. Kudos to Olean, New York, for adding the Livable Communities Award to its trophy case!
Power Wheelchair Charging Station Dedicated at the Ohio Statehouse in Columbus, Ohio!
On Nov. 16, the very first power wheelchair charging station was installed and dedicated at the Ohio Statehouse. This marks the second statehouse in the country to install a power wheelchair charging station behind Oregon’s leading efforts earlier this year. 
The power wheelchair charging station expands Adams County’s participation in the national Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities pilot project. Through the pilot project, NACDD is working with the CDC Disability and Health Branch, five states, and 10 local communities to implement inclusive healthy community changes in the community setting. The change specifically seeks to allow residents using power wheelchairs to be able to recharge their wheelchair batteries in community settings without worrying about the chair’s batteries dying, which adds a sense of belonging and security for residents who use power wheelchairs. 
Darrin Umbarger’s forward thinking in Pendleton, Oregon (also a participant in the national pilot project), shared his power wheelchair charging station invention with his fellow project participants. Now, residents who use power wheelchairs in multiple locations, communities, and states can now participate in active living opportunities alongside fellow residents. NACDD thanks the Adams County Health and Wellness Coalition for installing these stations throughout Adams County and for pursuing the first installation at the Ohio Statehouse!

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2018 NACDD Walkability Action Institute Request for Funding Assistance is Now Live

Posted By Margaret G. Ritchie, Monday, November 20, 2017
Updated: Monday, November 20, 2017

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), only 20 percent of American adults meet the minimum physical activity guidelines. The lack of regular physical activity can lead to the onset of many chronic diseases, some cancers, poor academic and job performance, and even early death. In many cases, place of living impacts health, including how a community’s built infrastructure and environment fosters access to: the opportunity to eat healthy food and be physically active; safe pedestrian transportation such as walking or biking. Community design can influence local community development and the economy. The problem areas, outlined above, were detailed in the 2015 release of the United States Surgeon General’s “Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities.” 

Since the release of the report, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) has implemented the Walkability Action Institute (WAI) through funds provided by the CDC Division of Nutrition Physical Activity and Obesity (DNPAO). During the last three years, states and communities have learned through WAI about methods of designing communities that yield healthier, more walkable, and active communities. For the fourth consecutive year, NACDD will manage a competitive request for funding assistance (RFA) process, where interested cross-disciplinary MPO-level (or other similar regional entities) teams can apply for travel assistance and selection to attend this year’s course.

  •  Applicants must commit to accomplish all project activities and deliverables as part of course participation;
  •  Applicants must establish an interdisciplinary team of four-to-six team members;
    • Four of these team members must represent the required fields of public health, planning, transportation, and elected officials and
    • Applicant teams may have up to two additional team members representative of other stakeholder disciplines. 

This year’s WAI course will be offered April 9-12, 2018, in Decatur (Atlanta), Georgia. Interested applicants can review all of this year’s details in the RFA and corresponding RFA documents uploaded to NACDD’s web site using this link: NACDD will select at least eight teams to attend this year’s course. Participants will enjoy hands-on outdoor learning activities, along with cutting edge presentations from some of the nation’s leading experts.

 This year’s RFA application period closes at 11:59 p.m. ET on Dec. 8, 2017. Please share this information with your partners and colleagues in every state.

 For more information or questions on the 2018 Walkability Action Institute, please contact Karma Harris at

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Dave Hoffman Receives Public Policy Award at the 15th Annual Meeting of the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

Posted By Julia Schneider, Monday, November 20, 2017

On Oct. 18, 2017, the 15th National Forum Annual Meeting featured an impressive line-up of panel discussions that supported the meeting’s Paths of Engagement theme. Presenters examined the current state of cardiovascular health in the U.S., and how to successfully advocate for prevention and population health in the current environment. These strategies included a discussion with the new U.S. Surgeon General VADM Jerome M. Adams, MD, MPH. Dr. Adams shared his agenda for prevention (recording available here) during the annual meeting.

David Hoffman, director for the Bureau of Community Integration and Alzheimer’s Disease, Division of Long Term Care, New York State Department of Health, received the prestigious National Forum Public Policy Award. The award recognizes an individual who has been effective in advancing policy change to help reduce heart disease and stroke burden on a national, state, and local levels. Dr. Stan Shanedling, from the Minnesota Department of Health; a member of the CVH Leadership team; and Julia Schneider, NACDD consultant on the CVH team were in attendance. NACDD’s CEO John Robitscher and John Patton, NACDD director of public affairs, were also in attendance. NACDD has been a member of the National Forum for the past 15 years, and has supported state health department staff involved in the development of the Public Health Action Plan for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.

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Community of Practice: Evidence-Based Childhood Weight Management Programs

Posted By Leslie Best, Monday, November 20, 2017

NACDD is collaborating with CDC to present a series of webinars to create a community of practice (COP) for peer-to-peer learning. The series will focus on successful examples within states on how they may support the use of evidence-based pediatric healthy weight programs (HWPs) in clinics, recreation centers, federally qualified health centers, and other venues. The webinars will be held monthly from January to June 2018. Topic examples for the upcoming series include: evidence-based HWPs, USTFPS guidelines, financing, partnership development, evaluation, monitoring, and dissemination. Chronic disease directors will be given the chance to assess the topics of greatest interest, and provide their recommendations for additional topics and speakers in a Nov. 29 survey. Individual input for webinar topic development is important to ensure all provided material is relevant. The webinars will be open to CDDs, staff working in the field of childhood obesity, and state and local partners. When the webinar topic schedule is finalized, we will issue additional information to CDDs to share with staff and partners.

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