NACDD celebrates stellar state peer-to-peer support and sharing through the 2020 GEAR Group series on mid and upstream factors to chronic disease. Twenty-six states and one territory participated in a 2020 GEAR group. Generate, Educate, Activate, Respond (GEAR) Groups are one of NACDD’s peer-to-peer, case-based, action learning opportunities for state chronic disease practitioners. They are designed to build leadership capacity and facilitate peer support and sharing to catalyze improvements in public health practice.
The topics of the four 2020 GEAR Groups were Food Security, Building Active and Inclusive Communities, Early Care and Education, and Adverse Community Experiences – including the social, structural, systemic influencers of health. GEAR Groups, each with up to 12 states, explored these topics through case presentations, short didactic presentations from subject matter experts, and active discussions through four 90-minute video conferences.
NACDD facilitators were delighted by the candid sharing and open support between states, even as they navigated the new context of COVID-19. Resources, references, ideas, and lessons learned were shared during each weekly meeting, and state-to-state support continued between meetings through weekly networking challenges. One participant shared the following in a thank you email to fellow state participants: “The resources you have shared, the ‘aha’ moments, the SME presentations, and networking opportunities allow me to meet other people that can guide me in making better decisions for my grant, the communities I serve, and my personal development.”
Preliminary evaluation data from all four GEAR groups suggests participants learned a great deal from one another and have already shared resources with their colleagues, developed new partnerships, and initiated new approaches to their work based on what they learned. Additional evaluation efforts will explore the extent to which GEAR Groups inspired lasting changes to public health practice. Findings will be available within the next 12 months.