Social Justice Framework

NACDD Releases Transformative Social Justice Framework to Guide Public Health Practice

Atlanta, GA (Sept. 28, 2023) – The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) is pleased to announce the release of a new, groundbreaking Social Justice Framework, which was created to provide public health practitioners with a blueprint for embedding social justice into the work of chronic disease programs. In collaboration with partners, NACDD developed the Framework to guide the work of the Association alongside State and Territorial Health Departments and Members who seek to advance equity and social justice in public health.

“NACDD is working to build and bridge public health work in communities to welcome and affirm people to be their whole selves and ensure all communities have an opportunity for a healthy life, free from the burden of chronic disease,” says John W. Robitscher, NACDD’s Chief Executive Officer. “We seek to eliminate systems of oppression that marginalize individuals and communities based on social identity. We are also committed to upholding the pillars of this new Framework and supporting our partners by integrating these pillars into public health practice.”

The new Framework features five pillars that further expound on longtime U.S. Congressman and Civil Rights icon John Lewis’ definition of social justice by focusing on systems that devalue humanity, considering the legacy of injustices that remain, and fostering individual and communal action.

“The Framework helps us recognize and address unfairness and inequality. Its focus is on how people, policies, practices, curricula, and institutions who have historically been, or currently are, impacted by decision-making intended to oppress rather than working toward liberation,” adds Vivian Lasley-Bibbs, NACDD’s Health Equity Council Chair and Director of Disease Intervention Initiatives at the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health. “This is a value-added tool as it emphasizes taking responsibility for change and empowers us to work toward addressing the root causes driving social injustice and inequities.”

In creating the Social Justice Framework, NACDD incorporated the social-ecological model (SEM) to illustrate and guide integration with public health practice, as well as steps to operationalize the five pillars across all levels of the SEM. The SEM is helpful when examining various, multi-faceted health topics and developing complementary solutions across all levels of society.

“As a tool, the Framework recognizes that everyone has a role to play in achieving social justice,” adds Margaret Chaykin, incoming NACDD At Large Board Member and Cardiovascular Consultant at the Washington State Health Department. “The Framework will help to operationalize steps that ensure the community voice is centered through intersectional, interdisciplinary, and cross-sector collaboration.”

NACDD invites public health practitioners to read and utilize the framework to ensure all individuals have access to a just, fair, and healthy life. As an anti-racist organization, NACDD promotes social justice and well-being via resources, like the Social Justice Framework, so communities can build healthier futures.

To view NACDD’s new Social Justice Framework, please visit

For media inquiries, please contact: Jeremy Arieh, Senior Director, Communications & Member Services.

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