MARCH 2007 NEWSLETTER
STEPS PROGRAM OFFICE
Posted March 13, 2007
Topics in this newsletter:
Dr. Alyssa Easton....... New Director of the Steps
Dr. Alyssa Easton, formerly the Acting Director of the
Steps Program, accepted the position of Director,
effective January 26, 2007. Below is a copy of the announcement made by
Wayne H. Giles, MD, MS, Director of CDC's Division of Adult and Community
It gives me great pleasure to announce that Dr. Alyssa Easton has
accepted the position of Director of the Steps Program.
Alyssa received her PhD in health education from the University of
Toledo in 1996 and an MPH in epidemiology from the University of
Alabama-Birmingham in 1997. She joined CDC in 1997 as an Epidemic
Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer. Prior to joining the Steps Program in
October 2004 as Deputy Director, she was an Epidemiologist and Team Lead of
Surveillance and Specific Populations in the Office on Smoking and Health,
Epidemiology Branch. As Team Lead of Surveillance and Specific Populations,
she worked to advance science and public health practice as it related to
tobacco use among specific populations. Priority activities included the
development of adult tobacco surveys and sampling methodologies for American
Indians and Alaska Natives. She was also a contributing author of the 2001
Surgeon General’s Report on Women and Smoking and the U.S. principal
investigator for the 1999 Budapest Student Health Behavior Survey. In 2004,
Alyssa received the CDC Honor Award for "Outstanding Performance in
Contributions to Internal Minority Health Programs, Research and
Surveillance” and for "Outstanding Performance in Silo Busters:
Collaborative Success” in recognition of her work on smoking and specific
She has a true passion for community-based work and a great vision for
the Steps program. In addition, her training in health education and
epidemiology provides her a unique understanding of the needs of communities
and the importance of evidence-based interventions which will clearly serve
the Steps program well. Please join me in welcoming Alyssa to her new role within the Division.
2007 Steps Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) Workshop
and Action Institute.......
June 4–6, Seattle, Washington
Steps grantees and partners are invited to attend
the 2007 Steps Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP) Workshop and Action
Institute which will take place from June 4 through June 6 in Seattle,
Washington. The 2007 Workshop and Institute will focus on training in the
areas of "Environmental, Policy, & Systems Change" and "Sustainability" for
the communities funded by the Steps Program. Additional details for the CAP Workshop/Action Institute will be posted on the Steps Web site
over the next few weeks at
registration will also be available. Stay tuned!
There is a call for abstracts based on the two training areas noted
above. Abstract Guidelines and Submission Instructions will be posted on the
Steps Web site by April 2, 2007. The deadline for submission will be April
20, 2007. The format will include posters, as well as some formal
Please note that the 2007 CDC/DHPE National Conference on Health
Promotion & Health Education and SOPHE’s 2007 Midyear Scientific
Conference will also be held in Seattle for the 3 days (June 7–9)
immediately following the Steps CAP Workshop/Action Institute.
2007 Steps Program At A Glance Report....... Now
Steps Program: Preventing
Chronic Diseases Through Local Community Action, a 2007 At A Glance
Report, is now available at the following link:
This 4-page report presents an overview of the Steps
Program and highlights key principles & strategies, community interventions,
and Program successes in creating and sustaining change in communities
across the country.
Success Stories 2007....... A New Section on the Steps Web Site
A selection of one-page individual stories about
Steps community successes in addressing obesity, diabetes, and asthma by
encouraging people to be more physically active, eat a healthy diet, and
stop using tobacco is now available on the Steps Web site. Also included is
a two-page selection of success stories highlighting the types of promising
and long-lasting changes that are occurring in Steps communities. See
"Success Stories 2007" at
The first two rounds, consisting of 12 community success stories, have
been posted on the Steps Web site. The success stories highlight effective
interventions taking place in Steps-funded communities across the country.
Stories will not only be posted on the Steps Web site but will also be used
in a variety of CDC publications. Additional success stories will be posted
as they are finalized. Visit the Steps Web site often to view this ongoing
series of stories.
MMWR Data on Selected Steps Communities....... Just Published
"Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—Selected Steps
In Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) Surveillance Summaries
Volume 56, No. SS-2
February 23, 2007
The Steps Program is pleased to announce the release of
the MMWR Surveillance Summary entitled “Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—Selected
Steps Communities, 2005.” This article highlights the priority health-risk
behaviors and general health status among adolescents and young adults in 15 Steps
communities across the country. The majority of communities represent small
cities or rural areas, although four are located in urban areas.
Each community used a modified version of the Youth Risk Behavior
Surveillance System (YRBSS) core questionnaire that monitors physical
activity, dietary behaviors, and tobacco use and the prevalence of
overweight, diabetes, and asthma.
In general, the findings indicate that the youth risk behaviors found in
Steps communities were comparable to national YRBSS data, which show that a
substantial proportion of high school students engage in behaviors that
place them at risk for chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and
asthma. Two exceptions related to Steps included current cigarette use,
which was reported by 17% of young people in Steps communities and 22%
of those nationwide, and attending physical education classes daily, which
was reported by 26% of young people in Steps communities and 33% of those nationwide.
Across Steps communities, youth risk behaviors and practices varied
widely. For example, the percentage of students who
- Attended physical education classes daily ranged from 5% to 46%.
- Met currently recommended levels of physical activity ranged from
19% to 43%.
- Reported lifetime cigarette use ranged from 39% to 65% and reported
current cigarette use ranged from 9% to 26%.
- Reported eating fruits and vegetables five or more times a day
ranged from 15% to 20%.
- Had an asthma episode or attack during the 12 months preceding the
survey ranged from 28% to 52%.
Local-level data help to highlight these variations that reflect, in
part, the difference in school environments, state and local laws, the
demographic make-up of the population, and social and behavioral norms.
YRBSS data are instrumental in responding to these varying public health
issues and assessing behavior changes over time.
Steps Communities "In the News"....... New York State
On February 26, Steps to a HealthierNY published a
four-page special report (as a pull-out insert) in New York’s Legislative
Gazette entitled "Steps to a HealthierNY: The Healthy Communities Program
Preventing Chronic Disease in New York State." The report
highlights Steps to a HealthierNY's success in "implementing an innovative
chronic disease prevention program that employs an integrated
community-based approach to increasing physical activity, healthy eating and
smoking cessation, thereby reducing the burden of diabetes, obesity, and
asthma." A copy of the report is available at
This publication, its purpose, and the thought process that went into
developing it were the subject of the last "Communications, Policy, and
Partnerships" call to Steps grantees on Wednesday, February 28. This
David Hoffman and Cindy Jaconski of the New York State Department of Health,
both of whom spearheaded this publication. The Legislative Gazette, a weekly
newspaper, is widely read by New York State policymakers.
Steps Communities "In the News"....... Alabama's River Region
Steps to a HealthierAL–River Region made national
news in late February after they lined up Ruben Studdard, season-two "American Idol"
champ, to speak to elementary and junior high school students in Montgomery.
He told students
about the importance of being physically active and eating healthy foods at
a young age and continuing those positive behaviors throughout life. Steps
to a HealthierAL–River Region is working directly with the Scale Back
Alabama campaign to raise awareness about these issues.
According to MTV News Staff on www.mtv.com: After losing nearly 100
pounds, "American Idol" season-two champ Ruben Studdard is teaching kids in
his home state of Alabama — which ranks near the top of the nation's obesity
index — the importance of keeping fit. "I don't want y'all to get to college
and stop working out and forget all the things you have to do to be
healthy," Studdard, spokesman for the Scale Back Alabama weight-loss
campaign, told students at Montgomery's Capitol Heights Junior High School.
"I want y'all to continue working out for the rest of your life so you don't
have to start all over like Ruben Studdard, trying to get yourself back into
Source: USA TODAY, "Celebrities
Photo Gallery," 2/21/07: Season 2 Idol champ Ruben Studdard greets
fans at Capitol Heights Junior High School in Montgomery, Alabama on
Tuesday, February 20, 2007. Studdard spent the day promoting his favorite
cause, inspiring his fellow Alabamians to shape up. –Rob Carr,
Conferences of Interest........ For Steps Grantees and Partners
April 30–May 3, 2007.....Atlanta, Georgia
2007 CDC Diabetes Conference, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control
June 4–6, 2007.....Seattle, Washington
2007 Steps Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP)
Workshop and Action Institute, sponsored by CDC's Steps Program
June 7–9, 2007.....Seattle, Washington
2007 CDC/DHPE National Conference on Health Promotion & Health Education and
SOPHE’s 2007 Midyear Scientific Conference, sponsored by the Directors of
Health Promotion and Education (DHPE), the CDC, and the Society for Public
Health Education (SOPHE)
June 24–26, 2007.....Atlanta, Georgia
2007 Joint Conference of the American Association of Health Education (AAHE)
and the National Association of Health Education Centers (NAHEC)
http://www.nahec.org/ * (conference
details not yet posted – see Web site for update)
June 24–27, 2007.....Toronto, Canada
International Conference on Physical Activity & Obesity in Children
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Page last reviewed: May 2, 2008
Page last modified: April 23, 2007
Content source: Division of Adult and
Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion