2018 GEAR Groups

What is GEAR? Generate, Educate, Activate and Respond Groups are professional and leadership development communities of practice that provide learning opportunities on various cross-cutting topics and expands opportunities for networking with other public health professionals at state health departments.


2018 GEAR Group Theme: ‘Accelerating Population Health’

The 2018 NACDD GEAR Group participants will engage in peer-to-peer learning and sharing opportunities to examine innovative models that align population health improvement with chronic disease prevention and health promotion efforts carried out by state health departments. Understanding access to high quality health care services and the conditions in which people live, learn, work and play contribute to the health of individuals and communities. GEAR Group participants will discuss and gain a deeper understanding of population health by examining definitions and examples, within and outside of the health care sector, that address the social, cultural, economic and environmental determinants of health. Groups will share and discuss strategies used by state chronic disease and health promotion leaders to enhance population health in collaboration with multiple sectorial partners. Participants will also reflect on promising practices and discuss how their learning can be applied with a goal to positively impact health outcomes across populations within and beyond their state.

Five GEAR Groups representing the unique perspectives of the CDC’s Four Domains and heath equity will explore this year’s theme, Accelerating Population Health. Each GEAR Group will cover the following topics through six participatory web conferences: Population Health Connections; Social Determinants of Health; Population Health in Action; Engaging Communities and Patients; Collective Accountability at the State Level; and Implications for Action. Specific information about each of the 2018 GEAR Groups is provided below.

GEAR Group Share and learn through the lens of Increase understanding of:
1 Epidemiology and surveillance
  • public health’s role in ensuring state-level adoption of applied chronic disease epidemiology, data-driven decision-making practices and appropriate evaluation to address health promotion, chronic disease prevention, disparities, social determinants of health (SDoH) and health equity
2 Environmental approaches
  • how changes in policies and physical surroundings that make the healthy choice the easy choice are a foundation to effective population health strategies
  • best practices for engaging community and economic development partners in population health efforts
3 Health systems
  • how public health can support health systems in reforming the delivery of care to prevent and better manage chronic diseases
4 Community-clinical linkages
  • what state chronic disease programs do to connect community programs to clinical services that help people prevent and manage their chronic diseases
5 Population Health Equity
  • innovative models that align population health improvement and health equity with state level chronic disease prevention and health promotion efforts, while also exploring the benefits and challenges of engaging and promoting private-sector leadership in population health efforts

Sharing of 2018 GEAR Group Participant Learning

GEAR Groups will work together outside of the six participatory web conferences to develop a plan or product for sharing their learning with other state public health practitioners. Participants will lead this effort, with support and guidance by NACDD GEAR Group Leads.


  • Product to share the learning: This product or activity will result in the distribution of lessons learned by each GEAR Group to help others build knowledge and or capacity around population health. The format is flexible and can be determined by each group. Examples include a webinar, an issue brief, white paper, success story, presentation, case study, or infographic. These products must be completed by September 15, 2018.
  • Talking points: Each group will prepare a set of talking points for sharing with other states either virtually or in person. These talking points will highlight the high-level lessons learned about population health as it relates to each group’s domain and health equity.


2017-2018 Timeline


  • Week of January 22: selected applicants are notified via email; provided request for acceptance
  • February 5, 2-3:30p ET: required GEAR Group orientation call
  • Week of February 12: GEAR Groups begin
  • Week of July 9: GEAR Groups conclude


About NACDD GEAR Groups

GEAR Groups are part of a professional development and leadership program at NACDD that provide learning opportunities on various crosscutting topics and expand opportunities for networking with other public health professionals at state health departments. Specific objectives are to:


  • Enhance leadership skills within the public health workforce
  • Facilitate networking and the sharing of ideas across states
  • Inspire innovation within each domain and health equity
  • Accelerate the diffusion of innovation within each domain and health equity
  • Recognize and celebrate contributions of all levels of the public health workforce

NACDD convened five GEAR Groups in 2016 and five in 2017. Each group consisted of no more than 9 to 11 participants per group. Call topics were developed by NACDD members and are aligned with the CDC’s Four Domains and health equity. NACDD Board’s strategic priorities — leadership and management skills in state public health, partnering with health care and explaining data, evidence and value, are also highlighted through cross cutting topics each year. Information about previous GEAR group topic areas and products from previous years can be found here.


Structure / Methodology

NACDD GEAR Groups differ from communities of practice as GEAR Groups serve as incubators for the diffusion of innovative approaches to chronic disease prevention and management. Participants learn from one another while developing a plan to advance the field of public health in their own state and nationally. NACDD strives to create groups where each participant represents a different state. All levels of chronic disease expertise are represented: entry level, mid-career and senior level directors or administrators. Each GEAR Group will complete six participatory web conferences exploring the annual theme. GEAR Group meetings are not educational webinars, but rather facilitated conversations among participants requiring preparation and full participation by each participant and during each call. GEAR Group participants will be asked to rotate the role of call facilitator and/or note taker during one of the six sessions.


Benefits of Participation

Individuals who participate can expect to:


  • Gain access to subject matter experts
  • Strengthen skills with quality improvement tools
  • Establish or strengthen network of peers in other states
  • Enhance public health practice and leadership skills


State Health Departments with staff who participate may benefit in the following ways:

  • Improved public health practices in their state health department
  • Increased employee efficiency, in terms of time and cost in retrieving information on best practices
  • Engagement in moving forward the national dialogue in this effort
  • Enhanced reputation as a contributor in building new capacity for this work, and
  • Alignment of chronic disease work with public health accreditation standards.


Time Requirement

The total time commitment for participation in these groups will be determined by each GEAR Group, but will average approximately three hours per month over the six-month period. GEAR Groups will complete six one-hour web conferences per month beginning in February 2018. Time will also be needed for each participant to review articles and research examples of innovative practice, prepare for the calls and complete tasks related to the group’s product. Facilitators and note takers are asked to meet with the NACDD GEAR Group Lead via conference call prior to the web conference they will be facilitating/note taking.


GEAR Group Participant Expectations


  1. Prepare for and participate fully in all six web conferences. (Indicate on your application that you have placed a ‘hold’ on the dates/times of the GEAR Groups you are applying for.)
  2. Serve as a facilitator and a note-taker in at least one of the six web conferences. (Facilitators and note takers will participate in a one-hour prep call in advance of the call they will facilitate / take notes)
  3. Be willing to listen, learn, and share experiences within the topic construct.
  4. Assist the group in developing a product and summarized talking points that will be disseminated nationally to states and community partners.
  5. Facilitate building relationships and trust among the group.
  6. Facilitate deeper problem-solving on the topic.
  7. Allow ideas to be vetted by other members.
  8. Complete delegated work between calls.
  9. Be prepared for each discussion.
  10. Complete the GEAR Group evaluations.


NACDD GEAR Group Lead Role


  • Coordinate logistics for each GEAR Group.
  • Meet with GEAR Group facilitators and note takers before each web conference to assist with developing the agenda and discussion questions.
  • Connect members to best practices related to the topic area as needed.
  • Provide support and guidance on GEAR Group plans or products for sharing their learning.
  • Ensure all GEAR Group participants complete pre- and post-evaluation questionnaire.


2018 GEAR Group Web Conference Schedule


GEAR Group 1: Epidemiology and Evaluation Second Mondays 2:00-3:00p ET
February 12 March 12 April 9
May 14 June 11 July 9
GEAR Group 2: Environmental Approaches Second Mondays 3:30-4:30p ET
February 12 March 12 April 9
May 14 June 11 July 9
GEAR Group 3: Health Systems Second Tuesdays 3:30-4:30p ET
February 13 March 12 April 9
May 8 June 12 July 10
GEAR Group 4: Community-Clinical Linkages Second Tuesdays 2:00-3:00p ET
February 13 March 13 April 10
May 8 June 12 July 10
GEAR Group 5: Health Equity Second Wednesdays 2:00-3:00p ET
February 14 March 14 April 11
May 9 June 13 July 11



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