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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 2020 Public Health Showcase to learn more about our work in this critical area for workforce development.

Learn about NACDD’s 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

NACDD convenes Chronic Disease Directors through the Chronic Disease Directors Forum to share best practices, identify emerging issues, and encourage/support peer networking through multiple learning opportunities. 

The Regional Representatives Committee is a formal committee of the NACDD Board of Directors comprised of designated representatives of all 10 National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP) regions. The Committee meets regularly to discuss current priorities and trends in chronic disease, providing guidance on the direction of NACDD's programs and learning opportunities for Chronic Disease Director and emerging leader members.

The annual Survey of States monitors organizational capacity for chronic disease prevention practice; leadership and practice development needs; and emerging chronic disease prevention and health promotion issues and their impact on state-level public health practice. The survey findings inform the development of leadership programming carried out through the Chronic Disease Directors Forum and other peer-to-peer trainings and meetings.

Chronic Disease Forum offerings include:

  • Chronic Disease Directors Forum Webinar Series (formerly First Thursday Webinars): Monthly webinars that feature speaker presentations on timely public health, leadership, and management topics, including discussion and opportunity for question and answer with speakers.
  • Regional Network Video Meetings: Quarterly video conferences of each NCCDPHP region to advance state-to-state peer networking and leadership and management learning through a dynamic discussion of topics identified by the Regional Representatives Committee, CDC, or NACDD.
  • Chronic Disease Prevention Leadership Meetings: Small group, in-person leadership meetings to identify emerging issues and strengthen processes, organization, and workforce.
  • Thought Leader Round Table Meetings: In-person meetings of state and national chronic disease prevention and health promotion practitioners that elicit a scan across the field of practice and inform the development of recommendations on priority topics.
  • Online Cohort Courses and Virtual Leadership Programs: Virtual training and support designed to build chronic disease competencies and promote the leadership and management capacity of Chronic Disease Directors and emerging leaders.
  • Additional leadership and learning opportunities for Chronic Disease Directors and emerging leaders. Example offerings are the following and more: 
    • GEAR UP Journal Club in which participants engage in discussion of peer-reviewed literature on leadership and management topics.
    • On-Demand Learning Series self-directed trainings to increase knowledge and application of the concepts and skills identified in the management and leadership domains of the chronic disease competencies.
    • Leadership Literature Library and Collection of Case Stories that align with organizational capacity development best practices, share various strategies and practical approaches to organizational development, and can help support improved operational capacity.  


For more information, contact:


STAR is a rapid cycle organizational development process for improving effectiveness and efficiency in state health department chronic disease prevention and health promotion practices.

STAR assesses organizational capacity using evidence-based measures of organization and function, works with units to identify opportunities for increasing organizational capacity, and facilitates development of a short-term (100 days to six months) action plan for achieving improvements.  STAR's Framework includes six components, called spokes: (1) Partnerships and Relationships; (2) Workforce Development; (3) Leadership; (4) Management and Administration; (5) Organizational Climate and Culture; and (6) Evidence-Based Public Health Practice. 

Importantly, the STAR process is an opportunity for Chronic Disease Directors to create a shared understanding of organizational capacity with their team and kick-start a collaborative process for ongoing organizational capacity development to advance health equity through chronic disease prevention and control.

NACDD supports up to six STAR participants per year. Eighteen states / territories, including the U.S. territories of Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, and affiliated Pacific islands, fully participated in the STAR process between 2016 - 2019. 

View the STAR Poster featured at a 2019 conference


Learn more about STAR and view state participation.

For more information, contact 

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