From the CEO – October 2020 Impact Brief

NACDD Among Atlanta’s 75 Largest Nonprofits; Board President’s Challenge Aligns With Association’s Commitment to Advance Racial Equity

As NACDD moves into our new fiscal year, which began Oct. 1, we are excited about the Association’s continued growth and new opportunities to support our Mission.

At a time when many Chronic Disease Units are experiencing significant challenges in meeting their community’s needs during the pandemic, NACDD has risen to its Members’ call for help, implementing new programs that support and reinforce prevention and health promotion messaging for populations most threatened by COVID-19 (people with heart disease, diabetes, and asthma, among other conditions). 

In addition to several programs that NACDD leads to help address COVID-19’s impact on chronic disease populations, NACDD also is expanding our staff to support projects that must continue during the pandemic, such as WISEWOMAN, the National Hypertension Control Roundtable, and surveillance and informatics epidemiology.

The Association’s growth also is reflected in recent accolades from The Atlanta Business Chronicle. NACDD was ranked No. 34 on the publication’s “Atlanta’s 75 Largest Nonprofit Organizations” list, up from No. 43 on last year’s list. The rankings are based on 2019 gross revenue; NACDD’s 2019 revenue was more than $25 million as reported in its Annual Report. We are honored to be recognized alongside other major national and international organizations, including the American Cancer Society and CARE USA, and I am proud of our talented subject matter experts and staff who contribute to our accomplishments.

Our success is also thanks to excellent leadership and support from NACDD’s Board of Directors. Our new Board President, Dr. Susan Kansagra, began her term Oct. 1 by aligning her President’s Challenge with the Association’s commitment to advance racial equity. The President’s Challenge is a project that the Board President develops to focus Member competency in an emerging or innovative issue in chronic disease prevention. 

In our Annual Business Meeting, Dr. Kansagra reflected on data from the Commonwealth Fund’s 2020 Scorecard on State Health System Performance, which found that in every state in the U.S., Black people are more likely to die early from treatable conditions than white people. The ongoing pandemic has further entrenched these disparities, as Black, American Indian, and Latino people are more likely to be sickened, hospitalized, or die from COVID-19.

“While we talk about health equity a lot, we really want to acknowledge that racial equity is a core part of that,” Dr. Kansagra said. 

The President’s Challenge elevates racial equity as a core component of chronic disease work, including using data to connect racial inequities to chronic disease outcomes, integrating upstream factors (including racial justice) into professional development opportunities, and applying lessons learned from the work NACDD is doing to become a model anti-racist organization.

Already, several areas of NACDD program work have covered and are covering racial justice and public health, including: GEAR Groups (small learning group opportunities), a Health Equity Council podcast series, Member webinars, and an upcoming Thought Leader Roundtable series. In addition, NACDD has offerednine mini-grants of $25,000 to states that have participated in a pilot project to address systemic racism in their State Health Departments. The funding is to implement either of NACDD’s nationally recognized tools, Moving to Institutional Equity: A Tool to Address Racial Equity for Public Health Practitioners or the Health Equity at Work Assessment.

In addition to advancing racial equity as a focus of our organization for the upcoming years, our 2021-2023 Strategic Map also prioritizes building on established success with congressional advocacy and expanding capacity for chronic disease leaders to prepare for and respond to emerging health threats.

“We know that with any public health threat that what we do to support a healthy and resilient population is ultimately what impacts outcomes,” Dr. Kansagra said at the Annual Business Meeting. “NACDD has really helped to drive home that message, reminding our policymakers and our leaders of the linkage between chronic disease and this emerging public health threat. … I really appreciate the opportunity that we have going forward to make a collective impact in this area.”

We’re proud to be an organization that has supported its Members for more than 30 years, and I’m thankful that we can continue to build upon our capacities to support a Membership of chronic disease professionals that needs us now more than ever.

John W. Robitscher, MPH
Chief Executive Officer

Read more from the October 2020 issue of Impact Brief below.

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