NACDD Board President Kaplan Launches National Challenge to Address Social Determinants of Health

NACDD Board President Dr. Gabriel Kaplan Launches National Challenge to Address the Social Determinants of Health


CONTACT: Paige Rohe,, 404-924-8295

ATLANTA (May 2, 2019) –  The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors’ Board President Dr. Gabriel Kaplan has officially launched his campaign to help public health better engage with the social determinants of health to promote equitable health outcomes.

During the first few months of his tenure as President of the Board of Directors, Dr. Kaplan has helped to guide and shape the Association’s work to include conversations and programming about the “upstream factors,” or the political, social, and economic causes for some communities’ increased risk for chronic illnesses like diabetes, cancer, or heart disease.

“It’s hard to persuade someone to stop smoking if their time horizon is limited to putting food on the table this week, paying the gas bill this month, or making sure they can find a safe place to sleep tomorrow,” said Dr. Kaplan.

In particular, in early April, Dr. Kaplan helped to lead the Association’s annual Chronic Disease Academy, the premier training opportunity for hundreds of staff in Chronic Disease Units in all 50 states and territories. As an opening and closing plenary speaker, Dr. Kaplan’s call to action to address the social determinants of health bookended the Academy and included a presentation available online at

Additionally, Dr. Kaplan’s article, “Socially Determined: A Call to Action,” on his campaign was selected to be the centerpiece of the Association’s special Insights magazine and was shared in hardcopy during the Academy and distributed electronically to thousands of public health professionals across the nation.

Later this summer, Dr. Kaplan also will release a series of professional learning podcasts entitled, “Socially Determined: Moving Public Health to 3.0,” sharing practical examples of how NACDD’s more than 7,000 Members in state, federal, nonprofit, and private chronic disease prevention fields can engage with a variety of non-traditional partners and industries to address the root causes of health disparities and chronic disease.

“We have seen a growing commitment by the workers in our field to addressing these root causes more consistently in their work, and our goal is to help them better understand how they can do this in their regular work activities,” said Dr. Kaplan.

Dr. Kaplan’s work is part of his Board President’s Challenge, a tradition established by previous NACDD Board presidents that helps the organization to focus Member competency in an emerging or innovative issue in chronic disease prevention. The President’s Challenges, including Dr. Kaplan’s, have proven to be highly influential in public health, often leading the way for other organizations to consider and take on the same themes or topics in their own work.

“Gabriel’s leadership during the past year has been instrumental in our organization and within our entire field,” said NACDD CEO John W. Robitscher, MPH. “We continue to be impressed by his dedication, his vision, and his hard work to lead us in these dynamic times for public health.”

“NACDD can serve as a national leader to the public health community on the ways that we can address the social determinants of health in our work,” Dr. Kaplan said. “The goal of my challenges is to help our Membership play these leadership roles in their communities.”


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. For more information, visit

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