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About DCH

Child on a swing

The Division of Community Health (DCH) strengthens efforts in towns, cities, counties, and tribal areas throughout the nation to help communities prevent disease and promote healthy living.

The goal of these community-level efforts is to make healthy living easier where people live, learn, work, and play.

We place a special focus on reaching people who are affected most by death, disability, and suffering from chronic diseases.

DCH Vision

Communities where all people can achieve optimal health.

DCH Mission

DCH serves as a national leader in advancing the science and practice of community health.

DCH Core Principles

Four core principles drive our community-level work:

  1. Maximize Public Health Impact
    Chronic diseases can lead to lifelong disability, lower quality of life, and early death. They also cost a lot for people affected by these diseases, for their families and communities, and for the nation as a whole. With limited resources available and more issues competing for those resources, we need to make the most of prevention efforts and reach the greatest number of people possible.

    To this end, DCH provides funding, training, and expert advice so communities can better plan and carry out proven programs and systems. DCH support also helps communities find ways to keep their efforts going for the long term.

  2. Advance Health Equity
    Many barriers can make it harder to live healthy. Some of these have to do with where a person lives, works, or goes to school and what kind of health systems are in place to deal with illness. Some are related to other social factors like job, income, and education level.

    We achieve health equity when we remove these barriers or find ways to overcome them so that every person has a chance to reach his or her full health potential.

    DCH-funded programs work toward health equity by making it easier to live healthy, particularly in communities affected most by chronic diseases. For example, our programs are creating more options for affordable, healthy foods in neighborhoods where these options were hard to find. Our programs are also working to keep tobacco smoke out of tribal housing.

  3. Use and Expand the Evidence Base
    The evidence base is the proof that shows how well programs work to improve health and achieve health equity. Communities that use proven strategies are more likely to meet their goals for making health easier, ensuring they use their resources on programs that count.

    As communities put new programs in place, we need to study and measure the results to see what worked and what didn’t. This builds the evidence base to guide future efforts. Sharing this evidence is very important so communities can learn from one another. DCH, its awardees, and its partners are putting together a guide to share what we have learned.

  4. Engage Community
    Engaging community means creating sustainable collaborations with partners to identify and address current and emerging public health issues. Sustaining strong partnerships creates shared ownership and commitment to achieving public health goals.

DCH Programs

DCH promotes lasting community action to improve health and achieve health equity through three current programs. Learn more about current and past programs by clicking the links below.

Through these programs, we join with communities, states and territories, tribes and tribal organizations, and federal and nongovernmental partners. These different organizations and individuals share our vision of a healthier America, through healthy communities.

More about DCH and Community Health

DCH is one of nine divisions within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (NCCDPHP). Explore our Web site to learn more about what we do, the communities we fund, and the benefits of community health.