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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Arthritis Council

What is NACDD?

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) is a national public health association, founded in 1988 to link the chronic disease program directors of each state and U.S. territory to provide a national forum for chronic disease prevention and control efforts. Since its founding, NACDD has made impressive strides in mobilizing national efforts to reduce chronic diseases and the associated risk factors.

NACDD works to reduce the impact of chronic diseases on the American population by advocating for preventative policies and programs, encouraging knowledge sharing and developing partnerships for health promotion.

NACDD activities help support state efforts by:
  • Providing educational and training opportunities for our members;
  • Developing legislative analyses, materials, policy statements and other resources;
  • Educating policymakers about the importance of funding for state chronic disease prevention and control efforts;
  • Providing technical assistance and mentoring to state public health practitioners;
  • developing partnerships and collaboration with public health and scientific communities, health care providers, federal agencies, universities and the private sector to pursue common goals; and
  • Advocating for the use of epidemiological approaches in chronic disease services planning and chronic disease data.

NACDD’s Initiatives include: Arthritis, Breast & Cervical Cancer, Cardiovascular Health, Comprehensive Cancer, Diabetes, Health Equity, Healthy Aging, Osteoporosis, Pacific Chronic Disease, Program Integration, School Health, Tobacco Control Network, Vision & Eye Health, and Women’s Health - address the unique needs of specific chronic diseases to advance prevention and control efforts in those areas and professional development for chronic disease staff with common program interests.

Further information about NACDD and benefits of membership are available on this site.


Who Are We?

Arthritis Council General Membership includes any NACDD Member or Associate Member including those from state, territory, district, commonwealth or tribal public health organizations. At any given time approximately 12 states participate in the general members calls, which are held monthly. Arthritis Council membership is NOT limited to CDC or NACDD-funded states, but rather is open to everyone that fits into the description above in addition to associate members from various organizations.
In 2012, the CDC Arthritis Program funded twelve, 4-year grants, to state health department arthritis programs – Montana, South Carolina, Kansas, Utah, Kentucky, Missouri, California, Oregon, New York, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island with a mission to embed proven arthritis interventions into the landscape of existing delivery system partners within each of the states.

Link to CDC-funded state arthritis programs:

What is the History of the CDC and State Arthritis Programs?

CDC’s Arthritis Program, guided by recommendations in National Arthritis Action Plan: A Public Health Strategy (NAAP) [PDF–394K] , has been funding Arthritis Programs at state health departments since 1999. Previously, 36 state health departments received CDC arthritis funding during the period of 2003–2008. In spring 2007, CDC convened national experts to advise on future program directions. The panel made several important consensus recommendations, leading to major changes in the program. An important highlight of these recommendations was to strengthen state programs by providing states with sufficient funds to extend effective, evidence-based interventions to reach more to people with arthritis within funded states. CDC has followed up on this and other key recommendations. As a result of increased investment in funded states, CDC funded 12 states during the period of 2008–2011 with average funding of approximately $500,000 and continues to fund 12 states at similar levels.


What is NAAP?

The National Arthritis Action Plan, or NAAP, (1999) was the catalyst for federal public health action in the area of arthritis and related diseases. It represents a combined effort of nearly 90 organizations, including governmental agencies, voluntary organizations, academic institutions, community interest groups, professional associations, and others with an interest in arthritis prevention and control. Three major focal areas — surveillance, epidemiology, and prevention research; communication and education; and programs, policies, and systems — are proposed to stimulate and strengthen a national coordinated effort for reducing the occurrence of arthritis and its accompanying disability.

To read the Executive Summary of the NAAP visit:


What is the Charge of the State Arthritis Programs?

With the current funding is a new emphasis on embedding evidence-based arthritis interventions in existing delivery systems to exponentially expand access to and use of these interventions such as the Arthritis Foundation Life Programs for Better Living, the Chronic Disease Self Management Program, and EnhanceFitness to name a few.

For a complete listing of evidence-based arthritis interventions visit:

Funded states use CDC funding to strengthen partnerships with state Arthritis Foundation chapters and others, increase public awareness, improve their ability to monitor the burden of arthritis, coordinate activities, and increase the availability of interventions. The central aim is to improve the quality of life among persons affected by arthritis. A proven way that state arthritis programs and projects can increase public awareness of arthritis and proven interventions is through the use of media campaigns to promote health messages. These campaigns are capable of reaching large segments of the population. Currently, the CDC is promoting physical activity to relieve the pain and disability associated with arthritis.

Read about the physical activity health communications campaign here:

All states are strongly encouraged to collect arthritis surveillance at the state level. This is essential for assessing the burden of arthritis, describing how arthritis affects various subpopulations, monitoring trends over time, and decision making for targeting interventions, allocating resources, and shaping state health policy. The CDC requires that all funded states participate in the following two arthritis-specific surveillance activities, BRFSS monitoring and tracking the annual availability and delivery of evidence-based self-management programs (REACH), both of which are intended to provide general direction and consistency for arthritis surveillance. There are other data sources that may be helpful; however, the CDC cautions against following data leads if there isn’t a direct link to program activity and they are consistent with state arthritis plans.

Read about the CDC and states’ efforts to monitor the burden of arthritis.

As importantly is the notion of program integration. State arthritis programs are directed to develop and maintain governmental collaborations that support the goal of reducing the burden and impact of arthritis. Partnerships may include state department of health chronic disease programs, local health department chronic disease programs, and other state agencies involved with chronic diseases.


Who Are our Major Partners?

The state arthritis programs work hard to interface with their major delivery partners and other partners. We develop and nurture our relationships with partners to create a win-win situation for all at the local, state, and national levels. Partners will differ depending upon the state; however, you can expect close partnerships with the Arthritis Foundation (AF), National Council on Aging (NCOA), the OA Action Alliance, Stanford Patient Education Center, ProjectEnhance, and, of course, our sister chronic disease programs. The Arthritis Council regularly seeks out the advice and cooperation of its national partners through a variety of methods including joint activities, projects and shared information.


Why Should I Become a Member of the Arthritis Council?

  • Establish a sense of empowerment in the important work that you do within your state’s arthritis efforts
  • Participate in opportunities for networking through monthly calls, usually topic calls that present items of interest and commonalities to other chronic disease program/council work
  • Meet arthritis specific program integration, policy and advocacy, and other objectives are outlined in the current State Arthritis Program scope of work
  • Involvement in specific workgroups like the Arthritis Council’s Policy & Legislative workgroup or in NACDD committees like the Professional Development committee
  • Develop and enhance public health skills through competency building opportunities like the Chronic Disease Academy; NACDD General Member calls, and the Arthritis Grantee meeting;
  • Create and nurture personal connections with other state arthritis program personnel in the area of arthritis and other chronic diseases


How Does the Arthritis Council Connect with the CDC Arthritis Program?

The Arthritis Council communicates regularly with the CDC Arthritis Program by holding quarterly conference calls between a core group of CDC staff and the council’s Executive Committee. Prior to the call, we solicit comments and questions from the general membership to add to the quarterly agenda. The CDC Arthritis Program regularly provide updates for the council’s general member calls.


How can I Get Involved with the Arthritis Council?

We want your input and invite you to schedule a welcome call with a member of the Arthritis Council or contact Heather Murphy, the NACDD Arthritis Council consultant.


How do I Become Active on the Arthritis Council Listserv?

The Arthritis Council uses one Listserv to communicate with its membership. When you are on the Listserv you can except to receive notices about upcoming Arthritis Council general member calls and other relevant information. To get your name on the Listserv, please contact Heather Murphy at:

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National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
325 Swanton Way
Decatur, GA 30030
Phone (770) 458-7400
Hours of Operation: Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.



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