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Department:

City Services

April 10, 2017

Chicago Department of Public Health Launches New Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control

Kate McMahon hired as Director

Erica Duncan    Erica.Duncan@cityofchicago.org

CHICAGO - The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched the city’s first Office of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control. The new office will streamline current efforts and identify new opportunities to help prevent and improve management of chronic conditions and diseases such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, respiratory diseases and obesity, as these are among the most common, costly and preventable. These efforts include promoting healthy behaviors like eating healthy foods and getting regular physical activity; increasing breast, cervical and colorectal cancer screening; and improving asthma and diabetes self-management. Together these efforts empower residents to improve their own health and avoid disease progression, disability and premature death. Kate McMahon will lead this effort as CDPH’s first Director for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control.   
 
“By establishing this new office, we can both better coordinate our current efforts to combat chronic disease, and identify new, innovative ways to help our residents get and stay healthy.” said CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, M.D.  “I am confident that Kate will help CDPH make meaningful changes to improve health outcomes and advance health equity for all Chicagoans.”
 
McMahon brings nearly a decade of experience in designing and implementing public health initiatives to CDPH. Most recently, McMahon served as the Senior Director of Programs and Policy for Respiratory Health Association, overseeing tobacco control initiatives and other activities to improve chronic disease management.  In this capacity, she helped develop the chronic disease priorities for Healthy Chicago 2.0, CDPH’s citywide plan to improve health equity, as a community co-chair. McMahon holds a master degree in public health from DePaul University where she focused her studies on public health policy and addressing social determinants of health.
 
“I am excited to step into this new role and lead our chronic disease prevention efforts,” said McMahon. “At its core, chronic disease prevention and control is about helping people live longer, healthier lives. Public health can be especially impactful when we change policy, systems and the environment to improve health.”
 
The high burden of chronic disease requires a shift in practice from stand-alone programmatic efforts to a coordinated, multidisciplinary approach that focuses on the risk factors for developing chronic disease. Healthy Chicago 2.0’s focus on policy, systems and environmental changes has helped Chicago achieve national recognition. Earlier this year, Chicago was one of only five cities nationwide to be awarded a gold medal for its health policies, including recognition for innovative policies in three major areas related to chronic disease: Tobacco 21, Alcohol Sales Control and Clean Indoor Air policies.  This achievement shows that by investing in our neighborhoods, providing more opportunities for our children and working with communities that need the most help, we are not just improving the health of individuals, but we are improving the health of our entire city.