NACDD Awards Funding to States and Communities for Building Resilient Inclusive Communities (BRIC)


CONTACT: Zunera Mirza,  

ATLANTA (January 27, 2021) – Today, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) announces it has awarded funding to 20 states to promote healthy living and reduce social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic through the Building Resilient Inclusive Communities (BRIC) program.

The BRIC program will help State Health Departments and community-based organizations improve safe access to physical activity, promote healthy eating by improving nutrition security, and reduce social isolation and loneliness. NACDD will collaborate with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, the Division of Population Health, and our National Technical Assistance Partnership.

“NACDD is excited about this important opportunity to work with these exceptional partners and states to make an impact on people’s lives, including their physical and mental health,” says John Robitscher, MPH, NACDD’s CEO.  “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we must continue to support resiliency with an inclusive approach to helping people.”

The program will also emphasize improving quality of life, reducing health inequities, and promoting social justice. “The disproportionate burden racial and ethnic populations have faced from the current pandemic illustrates the need for immediate action to improve nutrition, physical activity and social connectedness,” said Ruth Petersen, M.D., M.P.H., Director, CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity. “This collaboration between CDC, NACDD and health departments will help improve overall health as we work together to achieve health equity.”

NACDD’s Director of Community and Environmental Health, Jennie Hefelfinger, MS, will lead BRIC and provide support and technical assistance to the 20 state teams. BRIC will also work with states to tell their story of resiliency to prepare for future pandemics or natural disasters to promote inclusion, racial equity, and well-being in affected communities. For example, communities will promote opportunities to connect older adults who are socially isolated due to COVID-19. They will work with local food banks to promote increased access to healthy food and create design options to promote alternate commuting options.

NACDD’s National Technical Assistance Partnership experts will provide training on best practices and innovative approaches to overcoming the barriers COVID-19 imposes on healthy living. These partners include Leavitt Partners, LLC, Healthy Places by Design, Association of State Public Health Nutritionists, Dr. Odoms-Young (in collaboration with Feeding America and the University of Illinois/Chicago), Mental Health America, and Charles Brown with Equitable Cities. Each partner brings an abundance of expertise to support public health and state partners as they lead these efforts in their communities.

BRIC-funded states and organizations include:

  • Alaska Division of Public Health
  • Arkansas Department of Health
  • Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
  • Connecticut Department of Public Health
  • Hawaii Department of Health
  • Illinois Public Health Institute
  • Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services
  • Louisiana Department of Health
  • Minnesota Department of Health
  • Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services through an agreement with the Prevention Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis
  • Mississippi State Department of Health
  • North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • New York State Department of Health/Health Research, Inc.
  • Ohio Department of Health
  • Pennsylvania Department of Health
  • South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control
  • Texas Department of State Health Services through an agreement with Feeding Texas
  • Utah Department of Health
  • Washington State Department of Health
  • West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services

“We’ve seen examples of people doing amazing things to improve quality of life in their neighborhoods and towns,” said Dr. Susan Kansagra, MD, MBA, NACDD President and Section Chief for the Chronic Disease and Injury Section at the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services and one of the program grantees. “We know that through innovation, we can provide more opportunities for people to lead healthy lives while our nation recovers from this pandemic,” she said.

Read more about BRIC

For questions about BRIC, please email


The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors
Promoting Health. Preventing Disease. 

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) and its more than 7,000 Members seek to strengthen state-based leadership and expertise for chronic disease prevention and control in states and nationally. Established in 1988, in partnership with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NACDD is the only membership association of its kind to serve and represent every chronic disease division in all states and U.S. territories.

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