The Arkansas Chronic Disease Forum 

Arkansas Chronic Disease Forum 2017

Save the Date: April 20-21, 2017

This conference will focus on strengthening partnerships and integration of clinical care and population health through improvements in a coordinated quality health care system in Arkansas with a special emphasis on cardiovascular disease.

Benton Event Center
17322 I-30
Benton, AR 72019

To register, click here.

For more information contact Trena Mitchell
at 501-404-2351 or

AR Chronic Disease Communication Kit
Save The Date flyer
Sponsorship packet
Exhibitor packet
Commercial exhibitor packet
Scholarship request form


Arkansas Chronic Disease Forum 2016

Creating a Culture of Health

The Arkansas Chronic Disease Coordinating Council (ACDCC) and the Arkansas Tobacco Control Coalition held the 9th Annual Chronic Disease Forum, focused on “Creating a Culture of Health."
The Forum brought together nearly 200 individuals from businesses, government and community organizations on April 28-29 at the Benton Event Center to examine and forge strategy for building healthy communities.

Dr. Gregory Bledsoe, Arkansas Surgeon General, kicked off the Forum with a keynote overview of the Healthy Active Arkansas plan.

Dr. Alonzo Plough, of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation followed with a keynote discussion of the culture of health and the importance understanding equity and improved well-being. His presentation slides can be viewed here.

Karla Sneegas, of the Office on Smoking and Health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the third keynote speaker on the first day,  highlighted opportunities to reduce tobacco smoking across all demographics with emphasis on reducing high-use sectors.

"This Forum lived up to its billing as a must-see event for health-care movers and shakers, professionals and government officials seeking to improve the health of Arkansans.” said ACDCC Chair, Vanessa Nehus.

“We expanded the gathering to two days and once again succeeded in our goals,” said Nehus who is Principal Investigator for the Arkansas Disability and Health Program, Partners for Inclusive Communities, University of Arkansas.

“We brought in more than three dozen speakers, including leaders in health care at the state and national levels. We offered five keynote speeches, 17 workshops and a town hall meeting at the end to wrap up our message and give attendees a mission for improving Arkansans’ prospects for surviving chronic diseases,” Nehus said.

The Chronic Disease Coordinating Council presented three Trendsetter Awards at the Forum:

• The coalition Tremendous Opportunities for Union County Health (TOUCH)
received the Coalition Award, which was accepted by Jill Weinischke.

• The Tri-State Family YMCA of Rogers, Arkansas, received the 2016 Trendsetter
Award for Organizations in honor of its commitment to policies that ensure the community grows in a healthy and prosperous manner. The award was accepted by Ashton Canton.

• Joy Rockenbach, the founding co-chair of the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity
Prevention which was established in 2007, received the Trendsetter Award for Individual Achievement. Ms. Rockenbach was honored for more than 20 years of work in public health and chronic disease prevention. She presently works with the Arkansas Department of Education and the Arkansas Department of Health as the State Act 1220 Coordinator.

• Dr. Appathurai Balamurugan, Medical Director and State Chronic Disease Director, ADH Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Branch and Associate Director for Science, ADH Center for Health Advancement, presented a keynote speech on Friday, “Chronic Disease Framework for Action: A Systems Approach.”

Dr. Joe Thompson, Director of the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, wrapped up the Forum with a town-hall discussion with the audience and Bryant Mayor Jill Dabbs who talked briefly on “Bryant: A Growing Healthy Community,” J.Dabbs.pdf and Conway Mayor Tab Townsell who addressed “The City of Conway’s Pursuit of Healthy Opportunities.” 

The two-day conference featured six concurrent sessions where attendees had a chance to choose from several talks on helping Arkansans address chronic diseases and improve their health.



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



Forum AgendaForum Agenda