Advocacy & Health Policy: Preventing Chronic Disease through Community Partnerships for Healthy Mothers and Children

“Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes account for 70% of all deaths in the US each year and reductions in quality of life for almost 10% of all Americans.”  – National WIC Association

As physicians, we must encourage our patients to lead a healthy lifestyle. In many communities, unhealthy behaviors are reinforced by environmental conditions and lack of access to healthy foods. In collaboration with the National WIC Association (NWA), ACOG will assist 32 local WIC agencies to create community-driven plans to reduce and prevent chronic diseases in high-risk communities. This project, titled Community Partnerships for Healthy Mothers and Children (CPHMC,) is a three-year cooperative agreement funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Division of Community Health (DCH).

The project will focus on high-risk communities in Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and at least two Indian Tribal Organizations. CPHMC focuses on strengthening the framework of each community in order to help implement population-based strategies to better the health of the community. Within each community, CPHMC will improve access to healthy foods and enhance access to prevention and chronic disease management services as a way to ultimately better the quality of life for individuals. NWA is funding and supporting two cohorts of local WIC agencies in select target states to work with community partners to build and enhance community partnerships, perform community needs assessments, and develop and implement strategies to achieve community health goals.   Community gardens, breastfeeding initiatives to normalize breastfeeding, the creation of effective community clinical linkages throughout their community, and healthy restaurant initiatives to increase access to healthy food have been established in New Jersey, Texas, Virginia, Maryland, New Mexico, Kansas, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, and Louisiana. Several other objectives included referral tools to help connect these communities with food access points, as well as primary care. 

ACOG has provided support and technical assistance for each agency and has also taken the lead on recruiting members to serve as the physician advisor on the leadership team. Cohort 2 of the project will implement similar activities in other target states, which include Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, Wisconsin, New York, and Virginia. By the end of the three-year project, NWA and ACOG hope to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. Increased collaboration between national and community partners
  2. Increased community capacity to implement policy, systems, and environmental improvements
  3. Increased messages on the importance of policy, systems, and environmental improvements
  4. Increased access to environments with healthy food or beverage options in local communities
  5. Increased opportunities for chronic disease prevention and care through community and clinical linkages in local communities. 

Learn More About CPHMC

For more information about this project, please contact ACOG’s Program Manager, Anna-Maria Roaché at

CPHMC website:

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188
Mailing Address: PO Box 96920, Washington, DC 20024-9998