NACDD is Gearing Up for its 4th Annual Walkability Action Institute

For the last three years, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) has been doing its part to support the US Surgeon General’s “Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities” through the implementation of a multi-day action Walkability Action Institute (WAI) for interdisciplinary state and regional teams. To create healthy and active states, regions, and communities, and multiple disciplines must work together toward active community design by combining individual resources and expertise.

Through a competitive funding process previously, NACDD provided travel assistance to 32 interdisciplinary teams representing public health, transportation, planning, and elected officials as required team members. In recent months, NACDD has selected nine additional interdisciplinary regional teams—totaling 41 teams—to participate in this year’s action institute project. These teams will participate in far more than just a course; they also have committed to participating in pre- and post-course webinars, development and implementation of team action plans, and progress reporting and community of practice activities following course participation.

With funding support provided by the CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO), NACDD will host this year’s course in the city of Decatur from April 9 – 12, 2018. The city of Decatur is a small town in the Atlanta area that has implemented some of the biggest built environment improvements during the last two decades to make active transportation through walking and biking a priority. Decatur’s real-life examples, coupled with visible infrastructure improvement projects in progress, make this location ideal for teaching others around the country about how important it is to make improvements to active transportation.

Participant teams will be guided through the four-day action institute by Lead Course Director Mark Fenton. Mr. Fenton is a national community and transportation design expert who assists NACDD and its Course Steering Committee with all content development for the course. Past participants view Mr. Fenton as “fun, enthusiastic, and inspiring!” NACDD is grateful for Mr. Fenton’s participation and leadership.

Additionally, a diverse course faculty team will help Mr. Fenton and NACDD throughout the four days in the form of expert presentations, large group facilitation, roundtable topic discussions, and team action planning assistance. The faculty team will serve as leaders in outdoor walk audit and scavenger hunt activities, which focus on aspects of the built environment that promote or hinder active transportation. Course participants will have full access to faculty members, and will be able to sign up for individual faculty consultations throughout the course. This year’s team includes the following experts:

  1. Phil Bors, Active Living By Design;
  2. Charles Brown, Edwards J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy Rutgers University
  3. Ian Lockwood, Toole Design Group;
  4. Leslie Meehan, Tennessee Department of Health;
  5. Hugh Morris, National Realtors Association;
  6. Amy Rauworth, National Center for Health, Physical Activity, and Disability/Lakeshore Foundation; and
  7. Ian Thomas, America Walks.

 NACDD extends its greatest appreciation the CDC DNPAO, members of the Course Steering Committee (Active Living By Design, America Walks, Mark Fenton, and CDC DNPAO), and members of the course faculty team for their efforts at making this year’s WAI the best yet!

 For more information on NACDD’s Walkability efforts, please contact Karma Harris at

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