NACCD Announces 2021 Impact Award Winners

(Sept. 22, 2021) —The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) is proud to announce the winners of this year’s esteemed Impact Awards, highlighted during the Association’s Annual Business Meeting that was held Sept. 21.

“The winners represent the best and brightest our profession has to offer,” said NACDD CEO John Robitscher, MPH. “We were very impressed with the quality of the nominations and with the wonderful work being done around the United States and its territories to support public health. I’m pleased to share that this year we were able to give more awards than we ever have in the history of our Association.”

The Impact Awards are nominated by NACDD Members and selected by a Committee of Board Members who evaluate the applications to identify the greatest impact on chronic disease prevention and control and health promotion.

This year’s Awards Committee was led by Jill Myers Geadelmann (chair), Teresa Aseret-Manygoats, and Dr. David Hoffman. 

“It was truly an honor to read through this year’s nominations and see the breadth of important and challenging work NACDD Members are doing, and the impact they are having in their communities,” said Myers Geadelmann, an At-Large Director on NACDD’s Board. “I appreciate the opportunity NACDD provides through these Impact Awards to highlight and pay tribute to the dedication of awardees and innovation in our field.” 

Impact Awardees must be an NACDD Member. (More information on NACDD Membership and the Impact Awards is available at


The 2021 Impact Awards Winners:

Community Impact

NACDD offers this award for both individuals and Chronic Disease Unit teams that have made significant impacts or achieved significant influence related to chronic disease prevention and control in a community.

  • Community Impact Award for an Individual: Susan (Sue) Millstein, Diabetes Program Manager at the New York State Department of Health. Millstein’s championing of public health and Medicaid’s relationship was critical to the advancement of the National Diabetes Prevention Program benefit in New York.
  • Community Impact Award for Chronic Disease Units (two winners):
    • The Division of Cancer Prevention & Control at the South Carolina Department of Health & Environmental Control, formed a Cancer Survivorship Project ECHO hub, the first of its kind established in South Carolina, which in addition to a pilot program, provided an avenue for increased patient navigation activities resulting in 242 navigations between August 2020 and March 2021.
  • The Oral Health Unit at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, whosework and leadership have led to systems change to design an oral health delivery system that is steeped in evidence and equity.


Chronic Disease Innovator

Awarded to a state, tribal, or territorial Chronic Disease Unit that demonstrates an innovative approach to reducing the burden of chronic disease prevention and control. This year we had two winners:

  • The Cancer Prevention and Control Team at the Arizona Department of Health Services,whose Data Modernization Project, implemented during the pandemic, drastically cut down wait-time and created a much more secure system of data transfer.
  • The Colorado Diabetes Program within the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, who has utilized a number of comprehensive and innovative approaches to increasing awareness of chronic diabetes prevention programs, creating access to, and securing coverage of programs. This includes activating their 211 system to serve as a class locater for diabetes prevention and management programs. They also launched a successful DSMES social media campaign in English and Spanish that links to the diabetes management page where people can search for programs in their area.


Health Equity Champion

Awarded to an individual and to a Chronic Disease Unit that has demonstrated progress in advancing health equity as a core value of their work and in addressing the social and economic factors that contribute to preventable health disparities, or who have applied health equity principles to improve public health practice.

  • Health Equity Champion Chronic Disease Unit Award: Center for Chronic Care and Disease Management within the Rhode Island Department of Health. The Center is recognized for their work on the Diabetes Health Equity Challenge and the development of the Rhode to Equity, a12-month learning and action collaborative to enhance the place-based initiatives’ ability to improve both health and social outcomes.
  • Health Equity Champion: Dr. Elizabeth (Lisa) McClain, Chief Wellness Officer Arkansas Colleges of Health Education,whose efforts to improve walkability, bicycling, and moveability during COVID-19 have helped to transform inequities in her community.

Rising Star Awards

Given to an individual staff member in a state, tribal, or territorial Chronic Disease Unit who is not a director and who has demonstrated exceptional leadership and innovation to promote health. This year’s winners are:

  • Amy Patel, the Overdose Prevention Program Lead at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Patel has worked tirelessly to increase staff’s knowledge about racial equity and injustices that exist and adversely affect chronic disease outcomes.
  • Nicole Smith, a Diabetes Program Consultant at the Ohio Department of Health. Smith has increasingly taken on more responsibilities, including managing multiple diabetes contracts for the state’s DP18-1815 cooperative agreement.

Mentor Award

Given to an outstanding chronic disease prevention and control professional who has guided, supported, and promoted the training and career development of other chronic disease prevention and control practitioners working in a State Health Department. Nominees should have a sustained record of mentoring over time, and nominators must be mentees of the nominee or colleagues who have personal knowledge of the nominee’s mentoring efforts.

  • Becky DiOrio, the Diabetes Program Manager at the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment. DiOrio is an organized mentor whose Learners appreciate her no-nonsense approach to sharing her experiences while encouraging them to do their best. In her first two years of mentoring, she took 10 Learners under her wing.

Lifetime Achievement Award

The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Pama Joyner, a former Chronic Disease Director within the Washington Department of Health. For more than 20 years Joyner has served the people of Washington with determination and innovation to reduce the burden of chronic disease both in her home state and nationally. Joyner also has held many roles within NACDD, including serving on the Board of Directors and on NACDD’s Leadership and Development Committee. As the public health workforce is stretched with the pandemic response and needs outpace resources, the foundation Joyner has helped build and her support of future leaders is vital.

ProVention Health Foundation Innovation Award

This special award that our ProVention Health Foundation offers to a critical partner in our field was presented to Cappa Health. Dr. Michael Tingey, Founder and Chief Medical Officer, and Ray Lyons, Chief Executive Officer, accepted the award. Cappa Health is a leader in digital therapeutics and a pioneer in providing the National Diabetes Prevention Program to those in greatest need. Its state-of-the-art, online delivery platform has helped State Health Departments, health systems, and community-based organizations serve those at risk for diabetes and hypertension across the nation. As one of CDC’s first, fully recognized virtual providers of the National DPP, they will soon be the first to provide it online in Spanish and for Native Americans. Their commitment to public health has always been to deliver paramount quality while ensuring affordability, accessibility, and equity. 

Learn more about our Impact Awards and past winners at

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