FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Stacey Evans, 404-924-8297
ATLANTA (Nov. 9, 2021) – The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) announces the launch of its Center for Advancing Healthy Communities (CAHC), which will work to foster healthy communities for all by advancing health equity and eliminating social barriers.
“Despite incredible advances in the health field, disparities across our country are profound. Access to healthy living opportunities should be available to everyone,” said John W. Robitscher, MPH, NACDD’s CEO. “Through this Center, we are committed to making public health programs in communities across states and territories more effective, more equitable, and more inclusive.”
Led by Jennie Hefelfinger, MS, the Center’s efforts will leverage best practices and evidence-based programming to impact food and nutrition security, physical activity and the built environment, tobacco cessation, obesity, social connectedness, chronic disease-related mental health, and equity/social justice. It will build upon successful NACDD-led projects such as Building Resilient Inclusive Communities, the Walkability Action Institutes, Worksite Wellness, and more.
At Center launch, programs and team members include:
- Center Director: Jennie Hefelfinger, MS
- Associate Director: Vishwarupa (Vish) Vasani, MPH
- Arthritis Portfolio: Heather Murphy; Lisa Erck, MS
- Building Resilient Inclusive Communities (BRIC) program: Mara Galic, MHSc, RD; Joann Donnelly, MA, BCC, CSM; Leah Rimkus, MPH, RD; and Crystal Doxie, MBA
- Healthy Military Communities: Catherine McCann, PhD, MSPH
- State Partnerships Improving Nutrition and Equity (SPINE) program: Patrilie Hernandez, MS and Charita James, MS, RD
- Worksite Wellness: Lisa Erck, MS and Laura DeStigter, MPH
- Walkability Action Institutes: Karma Harris, MSPH
“We want to make every community healthier and stronger. Over the years, we’ve learned that the best way to accomplish this is to work together; to listen, to share, to nurture, and to work collectively to maximize the impact of each program,” said Hefelfinger. “We are excited to launch this Center, which will coordinate programs that logically work together, provide thought leadership to our partners, and continue to advance the mission of NACDD.”
CAHC will provide technical assistance and training for program implementation while expanding capabilities and resources, promoting healthful policy and environmental change, and collaborating to foster mutually beneficial partnerships.
“Our team of public health professionals at NACDD has been implementing chronic disease prevention and health promotion programs for more than 30 years,” Robitscher said. “Not only do we know how to make the programs effective, but we know where the opportunities are to integrate programs, share best practices, and make public health more impactful.”