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Leadership Development


NACDD’s Mission to improve the health of the public by “strengthening state-based leadership and expertise for chronic disease prevention and control” is realized through its capacity-building work in leadership, management, and promotion of evidence-based public health strategies.

NACDD Action on Leadership Development

NACDD’s Public Health Leadership and Practice Team facilitates peer-to-peer learning among Chronic Disease Directors by cultivating leader-to-leader dialogue among states and CDC and by enabling collective problem solving. NACDD’s annual Survey of States informs the development of leadership programming carried out through the Thought Leaders Round Table and Chronic Disease Directors Forum.

Check out our posters on our work in leadership development from the 2018 Program Success Showcase to learn more about our work in this critical area for workforce development.

Learn about NACDD’s Annual Survey of States

Learn about NACDD’s Leadership Development work

Evidence Based Public Health Training

Evidence based public health is "the development, implementation, and evaluation of effective programs and policies in public health through application of principles of scientific reasoning." The process involves integrating science-based interventions with community preferences to improve the health of populations. For more information on Evidence-based Public Health, see
Kohatsu, et al. Am J Prev Med 2004:27(5)
Brownson et al. Evidence-Based Public Health, 3rd Ed. (2017) Oxford University Press.

The EBPH Course in Chronic Disease Prevention

With support from NACDD and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis offers a 3.5-day course that focuses on nine specific content areas to improve public health practice (see Figure). These skills act as a framework for the course. The EBPH training addresses many of the core competencies for public health professionals adopted by various accrediting bodies. Through lectures, practice exercises, and case studies, the course takes a "hands-on" approach and emphasizes information that is readily available to busy practitioners.


St. Louis Training Course:

Twice a year, the course is offered at Washington University in St. Louis. NACDD provides travel funds for practitioner teams and interested individuals from state chronic disease prevention and health promotion units to attend. For more information about dates and applying, please contact Carol Brownson.

State-based Training Course:

NACDD also supports state-based trainings each year. States can apply to bring the training team on site (see 2019 application form). The goal is to build capacity within state public health agencies by training staff and future trainers who will replicate EBPH training within their states. To learn more about the state-based training and application process, please contact Carol Brownson.

For more detailed information about course replication using your state's team, see the State-Based Train-the-Trainer Course Planning Guide.

Learn more about the opportunities NACDD provides to improve capacity in evidence-based decision making through the EBPH Course.

The Chronic Disease Directors Forum

Engagement with the Chronic Disease Directors Forum is at an all-time high. This forum engages Chronic Disease Directors from 59 states and territories to share best practices, identify emerging issues, and network with peers.

  • First Thursday Webinars present an in-depth look at leadership and management theories along with practice-based examples.
  • Gear Up Journal Club participants learn through discussion of peer-reviewed literature on leadership and management topics.
  • Small group, in-person State Leadership Meetings help Members identify emerging issues and strengthen processes, organization, and workforce.
  • Regional Representatives Council meetings serve as an incubator for new ideas. Applying the Thought Leaders Round Table model, NACDD brings together diverse expertise and perspectives to examine emerging issues that intersect with chronic disease prevention practice and recommend opportunities for Chronic Disease Director and national partner action.


Learn about the Thought Leaders Round Table

Learn more about Chronic Disease Directors Forum.


STAR (STate Activation and Response) provides a quick cycle quality improvement approach to organizational development in State Health Departments through assessment of organizational capacity using measures of evidence-based attributes of organization and function. STAR states develop a six-month plan for achieving improved organizational capacity. Short-term results from six states participating in 2017 show improvements in organizational culture.

Learn more about the current STAR cohort.

Contact Tamara Engel to learn more about STAR.

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