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You are here: Home NACDD Initiatives Health Equity About the HEC

About the HEC

From the Chair

Welcome to the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) Health Equity Council (HEC)! The HEC came to life through the efforts of a small group of dedicated individuals that recognized the need for planning and direction to brenda_sherri.giffurther NACDD’s impact and influence around health equity issues. Spanning several years, the HEC grew from this original group of passionate public health leaders to a fully functional council with representatives from all NACDD groups, as well as many members from other organizations. Together, all HEC members hope to advance the overarching goal of achieving health equity through social justice.

The HEC is instrumental in encouraging the move from initiatives targeting health disparities to ones addressing health equity, through the lens of the social determinants of health. Research is proving that alleviating differences in health outcomes is more than rectifying the absence of health insurance or improving access to health services. The social determinants of health theory factors in the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work, play and age and the impact that these life events have on health. Some of the factors influencing the social determinants of health are income, education, socioeconomic status, gender or gender identity, race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, environment, discrimination and social policies.

Through dedicated work groups, the HEC strives to educate public health professionals in the areas of the social determinants of health, cultural competency, advocacy and promising practices. HEC membership is open to all interested individuals and invites partnerships with other groups within and outside of NACDD. Some of the council’s accomplishments include standardized definitions of health equity terms, a cultural competency assessment and a health equity skills assessment, cultural competency trainings and workshops, a directory of promising practices, model language for encouraging diversity and health equity and many productive partnerships with other health equity minded groups and organizations.

The HEC is a results-oriented group that productively uses the time that members dedicate to achieve progress toward health equity. Won’t you join us?


Sherri Paxon

Sherri Paxon, MSPH, MT(ASCP)BB



What We Do

The group has expanded from the initial five people to over seventy members representing over thirty-nine states. Members bring experience working to address health equity at the local, state, national and international levels. Participation is open to all NACDD members as well as individuals and organizations interested in achieving health equity. Since its inception in 2005, the council has worked to:

  • Provide a forum for managers and staff to share their resources and experience in an effort to achieve health equity through their public health practice.
  • Develop necessary training, resources, and partnerships help our members meet the challenges of their job.
  • Provide a national voice for state health departments to achieve health equity.
  • Increase professional skills for state program staff.


Strategic Map


To Learn More

For more information or to schedule a New Member Call, contact Gail Brandt at