NACDD Health Equity Council Launches ‘Race Toward Health’ Podcast Series, Webinars, and Peer-to-Peer Activities to Support National Minority Health Month


CONTACT: Zunera Mirza,

ATLANTA (Apr. 7, 2021) –  In celebration of National Minority Health Month, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) and its Health Equity Council announce several events aimed at improving NACDD Member capacity and understanding of how to advance anti-racism as a core component of achieving health equity in our chronic disease programming.  

First, NACDD, in partnership with the National Association of State Offices of Minority Health (NASOMH), announces the launch of a new professional development podcast series featuring national thought-leaders called: Race Toward Health.

Race Toward Health is available for free download on NACDD’s website,, and SoundCloud. The three-episode series examines a broad range of topics connected to achieving racial and health equity. Topics include the political determinants of health, how public health can serve as a convener of traditional and non-traditional partners to address the social determinants of health, and how race is a significant predictor of one’s lifespan and overall health attainment in the U.S. The inaugural episodes range between 13 and 50 minutes long and spotlight experts on the role of race in health research, program sustainability, and health equity. 

Episodes include: Race is the Greatest Predictor of Health featuring Thomas A. LaVeist, Ph.D. (Tulane SPH & Tropical Medicine); What is a ‘Racial Equity Culture’? featuring Kristine Andrews, Ph.D. (Child Trends); and The Political Determinants of Health, featuring Daniel E. Dawes, J.D. (Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine).

“We wanted to do a podcast series because we think COVID-19 exposed the long-ignored systemic and institutional barriers that for generations have disenfranchised people of color. This series provided an opportunity to speak about the historical context and the political determinants that have impacted our health. We as public health practitioners need to declare racism a public health crisis so we can work to address it and move toward health equity,” said Health Equity Council members. 

Additionally, the Health Equity Council will host a conversational webinar with Denise Octavia-Smith, MBA, CHW, PN, the Founding Executive Director of the National Association of Community Health Workers (NACHW), at 3 p.m. ET on Thurs., May 20, 2021

“Communities of color, especially Black people, may have a serious and justifiable distrust of the medical field. Authentic partnerships with community health workers can help facilitate trust that leads to seeking needed care,” said NACDD Equity Consultant Robyn Taylor, MBA. “Given that COVID-19 has greatly impacted Black and Latinx communities, it is important that people go to their doctor to make sure they are managing their chronic conditions well and to get vaccinated when they can,” Taylor said.

NACDD also is supporting two other notable learning opportunities to advance anti-racist programming within state and territorial health: 

  • Members are invited to join NACDD on Thurs., April 29 at 12 p.m.  ET for a webinar and panel discussion with author Richard Rothstein and NACDD Board President Dr. Susan Kansagra. Rothstein’s book, The Color of Law, argues that America’s cities are racially divided through de jure segregation– the laws and policy decisions passed by local, state, and federal governments actually promoted the discriminatory practices that continue to this day.   
  • Generate, Educate, Activate, Respond (GEAR) Groups are peer-to-peer, case-based, action-learning opportunities for all state chronic disease practitioners. Not Racist is Not Enough: Journey Toward Anti-Racism’ will be held on May. 4, 11, 18, and 25, 2021. This GEAR Group, led by Tiffany Pertillar, will explore the frameworks and application of anti-racism to chronic disease prevention and health promotion and elucidate the distinction between anti-racism and being “not racist.” Please contact Sana Hashim for more information. 

“Overt and implicit racism in America causes many people, especially Black and Latinx people, to become ill or die prematurely, especially during this pandemic,” said NACDD’s CEO John W. Robitscher, MPH. “It is critical that state and territorial health partner across disciplines and jurisdictions, like with community health workers, to build trust and authentic collaborations to save lives and build healthier futures for all.”  

Additional Resources:

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors has dedicated many years of work and activities to reducing health inequities and disparities through our Health Equity Council (established in the 1990s) as well as through the Association’s program portfolio work on diabetes, cancer, and other significant causes of disability and death in the United States.

These resources support State and Territorial Health Department staff interested in broadening their scope and consideration of how health for historically oppressed peoples of color can be improved through chronic disease programming.  

Please visit to find Race Toward Health episodes, view more information on the upcoming webinars, or learn more about NACDD’s work furthering health equity.

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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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