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NCD Training Modules

Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are responsible for nearly 40 million deaths each year which represents almost 75% of all deaths worldwide. This includes deaths caused by injuries from motor vehicle accidents, and chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic respiratory diseases. NCD deaths worldwide now exceed all communicable, maternal and perinatal nutrition-related deaths combined, and represent an emerging global health threat. The majority of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries where the number of people affected by NCDs is growing and health systems are often not equipped to respond effectively.

To strengthen NCD capacity globally, and to improve skills in NCD surveillance, prevention and control, CDC has developed a series of training materials which can be downloaded and adapted by public health practitioners, health educators and others. The NCD training materials are comprised of 24 modules, designed to:

  • increase capacity in noncommunicable disease epidemiology and program management;
  • provide a basic understanding of noncommunicable diseases;
  • complement Field Epidemiology Training Program projects and mentorship; and
  • increase capacity for disease surveillance, prevention, management and control.

These materials were developed with an emphasis on the capacity development needs in low- and middle -income countries. They may also be appropriate for audiences in high income countries, including the U.S. public health workforce. The modules were pilot tested in Jordan, China, Columbia, Kenya, Tanzania and Thailand.

The modules include a facilitator’s guide, participant’s guide, PowerPoint presentations, and exercises with case studies. The modules are divided into three categories:

  1. Introductory: Instructor-led training modules on NCD epidemiology, surveillance, prevention, and control
  2. Advanced: NCD-focused, self-paced training for those with basic epidemiology skills; builds upon skills taught in the introductory materials
  3. Management: NCD-focused, instructor lead and self-paced training for those who have the desire and necessary skills to learn chronic disease program management-related skills

For further information about noncommunicable diseases, please visit the CDC Center for Global Health’s website. If you have questions about the NCD materials, please email

Introductory: These modules are moderated by an instructor. At the end of this module, participants will be able to fulfill the learning objectives
Introduction to NCD Epidemiology PDF [3M]   PDF [2M] PDF [1M] Describe how you will use epidemiology to address a public health problem
Overview of NCDs and Related Risk Factors PDF [3M] PDF [3M] PDF [2M] Describe the burden of disease of the 4 main NCDs

Describe how risk factors affect the burden of NCDs

NCD Burden of Disease PDF [4M] PDF [2M] PDF [1M] Calculate incidence, prevalence and mortality

Apply definitions of DALY and QALY

Descriptive and Analytic Studies PDF [3M] PDF [2M] PDF [595K] Identify the following for an NCD problem
  • Type of study to conduct
  • Sampling methods to use
  • Measure of association to calculate for a particular study

Interpret the results of descriptive and analytic studies

Analysis and Interpretation of Surveillance Data PDF [2M] PDF [2M] PDF [1M] Describe data to collect based on the objective of a surveillance system

Identify how to present surveillance data

Interpret surveillance data, including trends and patterns

Prioritizing Public Health Problems PDF [2M] PDF [1M] PDF [1M] Identify the key stakeholders and partners with whom to prioritize public health problems

Identify the criteria for prioritizing public health problems

Reach consensus on the two highest priority NCDs on which to focus prevention and control efforts.

NCD Surveillance in Public Health PDF [3M] PDF [2M] PDF [2M] Identify whether a noncommunicable disease (NCD) surveillance system is active or passive

Draw a diagram of the flow of data through an NCD surveillance system

Identify possible sources of selection bias and information bias for an NCD surveillance system.

Data Sources for NCD Surveillance PDF [2M] PDF [1M] PDF [779K] Identify the strengths and limitations of surveillance data sources.

Select and explain the source of data to use.

NCD Prevention and Control PDF [1M] PDF [1M] PDF [909K] Describe action items for accomplishing at least three of the WHO objectives from the 2008-2013 Global Strategy Action Plan in your own country

Describe potential barriers to implementing the recommendations and how to overcome them

Selecting Interventions PDF [2M]

PDF [58K]

PDF [1M]

PDF [52K]

PDF [471K] Draw a causal diagram to describe a noncommunicable disease (NCD) or risk factor

Use the Community Guide to identify one evidence-based behavioral intervention and one policy, systems and environmental (PSE) intervention to address an NCD or risk factor

For one selected intervention:

  • Describe how at least one behavioral theory or model has been applied or used to develop the intervention
  • Describe how to adapt the intervention to local culture or
  • Describe at least two non-evidence based factors that may impact the intervention
Advanced: These are self-paced or guided modules, which build on the series of introductory NCD training materials. Many of these advanced modules have prerequisites. At the end of these modules, participants will be able to do fulfill the learning objectives.

Evaluating Surveillance Systems

Prerequisite courses:

  • NCD Data Sources
  • NCD Surveillance in Public Health
PDF [711K] Workbook
PDF [2M]
Activity Workbook
PDF [917K]Field Guide
PDF [181K]
Plan for evaluating a surveillance system in your country

Assess the attributes, conclusions and recommendations of a sample surveillance system evaluation

Complete the six steps to evaluating a surveillance system

Follow the Field Guidelines to write an evaluation report

Create a PowerPoint presentation

Developing a Protocol

Prerequisite courses:

  • NCD Data Sources
  • Prioritizing Public Health Problems
  • Managing Data (Adv)
PDF [453K] Workbook
PDF [815K]
Activity Workbook
PDF [273K]
Write a proposal that has the following sections:
  • background
  • justification for the study
  • research question or hypothesis
  • objectives of a study
  • proposed methods
  • expected benefit

Assess the quality of a sample protocol

List the information to include in a protocol for a noncommunicable disease (NCD) study you are proposing

Creating an Analysis Plan

Prerequisite courses:

  • NCD Burden of Disease
  • NCD Surveillance in Public Health
PDF [494K] Workbook
PDF [531K]
Activity Workbook
PDF [109K]
Participants will be able to create an analysis plan that includes the following:
  • Research question(s) and/or hypotheses
  • Dataset(s) to be used
  • Inclusion/exclusion criteria
  • Variables to be used in the main analysis
  • Statistical methods and software to be used
  • Table shells to prepare for:
    • Univariable analysis
    • Bivariable analysis
    • Calculating measures of association
    • Assessing for confounding and effect measure modification.
Managing Data PDF [523K] Workbook
PDF [706K]
Activity Workbook
PDF [88K]Questionnaire
PDF [74K]
Create a data dictionary that includes, at a minimum:
  • Variable names;
  • Variable descriptions or labels;
  • Variable types;
  • Response options and allowable values.

Clean the data

  • Identify errors, including duplications, missing data, miscodes, and outliers.
  • Use statistical software to identify and correct errors.
Analyzing and Interpreting Large Datasets PDF [448K] Workbook
PDF [3M]
Conduct and interpret descriptive analysis and analytic epidemiology

Summarize your findings

Prepare a report

Management: These are instructor lead and self-paced modules designed to develop chronic disease planning and management skills. At the end of these modules, participants will be able to do fulfill the learning objectives.
Using Economic Analysis** (Skills exercise; not full module) Skills Assessment
PDF [88K]
Skills Assessment
PDF [79K]
PDF [762K] Describe the types of economic analyses

List the components of a cost-benefit analysis (CBA)

Use results of CBAs to inform decisions about implementing public health interventions

Calculate the cost-effectiveness ratio and interpret the findings

Community Needs Assessment PDF [566K] Workbook
PDF [2M]
Field Guide
PDF [190K]Activity Workbook
PDF [225K]
Plan for a community needs assessment by
  • Identifying a community team
  • Describing the scope of the assessment
  • Listing the questions to ask
  • Selecting sites
  • Determining data collection methods or sources
  • Identifying key informants
  • Review and rate data collected from a community needs assessment
  • Summarize data by creating sector data grids
  • Develop and prioritize strategies for improvement
  • Create a community action plan that includes
    • Project period objective
    • Annual objective(s)
    • Activities needed to complete the objectives
    • Persons responsible for completing the activities
    • Estimated completion time
Using Science to Inform Policy PDF [539K] Workbook
PDF [754K]
Field Guide
PDF [223K]Case Study (Facilitator)
PDF [352K]
Scope and impact of the health issue

Costs (economic and morbidity/mortality) of the issue

Recommended policy to address the issue

Consequences of implementing the policy, including effectiveness, costs, savings

How the policy option(s) can be implemented

Barriers to implementing the policy and ways to overcome them

Program Planning PDF [194K] Workbook
PDF [375K]Case Study
Tobacco (Facilitator)
PDF [152K]

Case Study Tobacco (Participant)
PDF [133K]

Case Study Hypertension (Facilitator)
PDF [125K]

Case Study Hypertension (Participant)
PDF [132K]

Define a health problem

Plan a program to address the health problem

Evaluating Public Health Programs PDF [4M] PDF [3M] PDF [1M] Engaging stakeholders

Describing the program

Focusing the evaluation design

Gathering credible evidence

Justifying conclusions

Ensuring use and sharing lessons learned

Data Dissemination PDF [2M] PDF [973K] PDF [1M] Describe the communication message

Identify the target audience

Select the communication channel to use

Describe how the message will be marketed

Overview of Evaluating Surveillance Systems PDF [2M] PDF [2M] PDF [611K]

Field Guide
PDF [158K]

Using a sample evaluation report of a noncommunicable disease (NCD) surveillance system, identify how the components were described and evaluated
Evaluating Public Health Programs PDF [4M] PDF [3M] PDF [1M] At the end of the training, you will be able to follow CDC’s framework to evaluate a public health program