PRESS RELEASE: NACDD Applauds State Health Departments’ CDUs for Work During COVID-19 Response


CONTACT: Paige Rohe,, 404-924-8295

ATLANTA (March 20, 2020) – The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) applauds State Health Department Chronic Disease Units for their critical work in the public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A recent analysis from the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that four in 10 adult Americans are at greater risk for serious illness and death if they contract COVID-19 because they are older and/or have preexisting chronic diseases.

“These critical times are a stark reminder that we need to focus on being healthier and managing chronic conditions more effectively to reduce our risks around diseases like COVID-19,” said Dr. David Hoffman, NACDD Board Member.

Chronic diseases are the underlying causes of most death and disability in the United States, and many of these same conditions (cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes) are preventable or controllable. With funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors has worked with State and Territorial Chronic Disease Units for the past 30 years to improve state and territorial capacity to prevent and control diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as to improve cancer survivorship, among other program work.

“Chronic Disease Units are uniquely expert in their understanding of the chronic disease burden in their communities, and already many of them are making important contributions to the COVID-19 response,” said John W. Robitscher, MPH, CEO of the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors.

“As COVID-19 continues to impact the United States in unprecedented ways, we applaud our State and Territorial Health Departments for their commitment and dedication to protecting public health and safety,” he said.

Robitscher also noted that states and territories already have made significant progress against chronic disease burdens and these conditions’ social and economic causes, despite decades of funding reductions and inadequate budgets.

“While COVID-19 may usher in a new era of consideration to infectious disease control, this pandemic also reminds us that we must do more to support State and Territorial Health Departments in their efforts to prevent and control chronic diseases so that all Americans have the opportunity to live longer and healthier lives,” Robitscher said.


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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