The Arkansas Chronic Disease Forum 

Arkansas Chronic Disease Forum 2015: 

Prevention, Policy & Practice in Action

More than 100 people from around the state convened for the 2015 Arkansas Chronic Disease Forum at the Benton Event Center on April 30th. The forum’s theme was “Prevention, Policy, and Practice in Action.” Director and State Health Officer, Dr. Nate Smith, served as the keynote speaker, introducing the group to the Arkansas’s Big Health Problems and How We Plan to Solve Them report.

Dr. Nate Smith

“This Forum provided an opportunity for diverse organizations and chronic disease coalitions to unite around common objectives to reduce chronic disease in Arkansas,” said forum organizer Becky Adams, Director of Partnership and Policy Support for the ADH Chronic Disease Prevention and Control (CDPC) Branch.

“We celebrated success toward the accomplishment of Arkansas’s coordinated chronic disease state plan, Healthy People 2020: Arkansas Chronic Disease Framework for Action. The Arkansas Chronic Disease Coordinating Council released the priority action plan that will guide activities for the next five years,” Adams added. 

From left, Bonnie Bradley,
Chris Madison and Joanne Bush.

The 2015 Trendsetter Awards were awarded by the Arkansas Chronic Disease Coordinating Council at the forum. There are three awards.

Organization: Presented to an organization in Arkansas which, through its policies, programs or other activities, has contributed significantly to the fight against chronic diseases in the state.

Individual: Presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the work of one of the Coalitions or other organizations represented in the Chronic Disease Coordinating Council.

Coalition: Presented to a Coalition for outstanding work in advancing the goals of the HP 2020: Arkansas Chronic Disease Framework for Action.

The City of Bryant was presented with the 2015 Trendsetter award for organizations in honor of the city’s commitment to policies that ensure the community grows in a healthy and prosperous manner. The award was accepted by Chris Madison, City Attorney for Bryant.

Mayor Joanne Bush of the City of Lake Village was presented the Trendsetter Award for individual achievement. Mayor Bush was honored for her work in making Lake Village a healthier place to live and for her commitment to actively participate in the healthy activities she promotes.

The coalition award was presented to the Arkansas Diabetes Advisory Council and accepted by Ms. Bonnie Bradley, Public Health Nutrition Consultant for ADH CDPC Branch. The Diabetes Advisory Council brings together a variety of public and private partners in order to better promote education, awareness, and quality of care and to reduce the burden of complications as the result of diabetes. 

Rea Pañares

Dr. Namvar Zohoori

Other key speakers at the forum included Rea Pañares with the Prevention Institute, who discussed the community-centered health homes model, and Dr. Namvar Zohoori, ADH Deputy Chief Science Officer, who provided an update on the Chronic Disease Framework for Action and our progress toward accomplishing the Healthy People 2020 goals.

From left, Jordianne Tritt, Deborah Ferguson, Helen Reid, Bruce Donaldson and Dr. Lindy Bollen Jr.   

Two panels discussed the intersection of community policy with health care practice, and Vanessa Nehus with Partners for Inclusive Communities discussed issues with health care access for Americans with disabilities.

The forum concluded with Dr. Appathurai Balamurugan and Barbara Kumpe, chair of the Arkansas Chronic Disease Coordinating Council, discussing issues on the horizon for chronic disease policy, systems, and environments in Arkansas.

Vanessa Nehus

Dr. Appathurai Balamurugan

Barbara Kumpe

Below you will find the speaker presentations for the day. For more information about the program, or to learn more about the Chronic Disease Coordinating Council, contact Becky Adams, 501-661-2334,, or visit

2015 Arkansas Chronic Disease Forum Presentations

Rea Pañares, MHS
Bridging Community Prevention and Health Care: The Community-Centered Health Homes Model

Namvar Zohoori, MD, MPH, PhD
Arkansas Chronic Disease Framework for Action: Update on an evolutionary process

Bruce Donaldson, CHC
Arkansas’ Insurance Marketplace – Accessing Care

Lindy Bollen, Jr., DDS
Prevention & Education Programs in Arkansas Dental Public Health

Casey R. Covington, PE, AICP
Jump Start Initiative – Central Arkansas

Barbara Kumpe
Prevention, Policy and Practice in Action: On the Horizon

About the Forum

Mission: To increase the quality and years of healthy life for all Arkansans, by reducing the burden of chronic disease through collaborative action and policy development aimed at education, prevention, treatment and advocacy. The Forum grew out of the Arkansas Department of Health's goal of integrating chronic disease programs. The process began in 2003 and included key stakeholders and partners from community organizations as well as staff from ADH programs. This effort led to a day-long Chronic Disease Forum in 2005. Work at the Forum resulted in a Chronic Disease State Plan entitled "Changing the Culture of Health in Arkansas: A Coordinated Approach to Health Promotion and Prevention of Chronic Diseases and Related Complications". The Plan detailed goals, objectives and strategies that were common to all the programs represented at the Forum. 

In 2008, another Chronic Disease Forum was held to review and identify accomplishments since 2005 and plan future strategies. More than 80 participants representing twenty-two different organizations attended. Participants at this Forum identified the top goals for revision of the chronic disease state plan and prioritized strategies for these goals. The goals were based on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Healthy People 2010 objectives. Healthy People 2010 is a statement of national health objectives designed to identify the most significant preventable threats to health and to establish national goals to reduce these threats.

As a result of the work of the 2008 Chronic Disease Forum, participants identified a number of goals:
  • Increase the proportion of Arkansans of all ages who have a healthy weight;
  • Increase the percentage of Arkansans of all ages who engage in regular physical activity;
  • Promote lifelong healthy eating habits for Arkansans of all ages;
  • Prevent the initiation of tobacco use among youth;
  • Promote tobacco cessation among Arkansans of all ages;
  • Improve access to screening and health care services for all chronic diseases in rural and underserved areas;
  • Educate and inform the public on health issues related to prevention and control of chronic diseases;
  • Develop and implement a legislative agenda to support the policy and fiscal needs of chronic disease activities;
  • Support professional education activities that promote high quality health care;
  • Support the development of communities that promote life-long physical activity, healthy nutrition and tobacco free environments;
  • Support universal design of communities to accommodate people with disabilities.

Since 2008 a coordinating group has been working to ensure that the goals are addressed and the strategies are implemented.  The group planned additional regional and state forums. 

The 2010 Forum was held at five regional summits across Arkansas and focused on the Healthy People 2020 framework. This will be used to plan strategies to reduce the incidence and impact of chronic diseases. An emphasis on public participation and community feedback added an element of inclusiveness that will benefit planning and program implementation.

Forum Background
2003-4 Initial talks and planning
2005 First Chronic Disease Forum
First Chronic Disease State Plan - "Changing the Culture of Health in Arkansas"
2008 Second Chronic Disease Forum
Prioritize Goals and Strategies
2009 Third Chronic Disease Forum
2010 Fourth Chronic Disease Forum (Held at five regional summits across Arkansas)
2011 5th Annual Chronic Disease Forum
Healthy People 2020 Arkansas Framework for Action unveiled
2012 Sixth Chronic Disease Forum
2013 Seventh Chronic Disease Forum
2015 Eighth Chronic Disease Forum

Update and Revise State Plan
Develop Management, Accountability and Evaluation Plan
Strengthen Integration and Collaboration