New Report Highlights Lifesaving Community Programs Funded by Prevention Fund

July 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. July 25, 2012 The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) released a report today showcasing federally funded community programs nationwide that are helping to save lives by preventing serious chronic diseases such as cancer.

The report, Staying Well: Real Stories from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, profiles lifesaving programs in 17 states and communities that benefit from the Prevention and Public Health Fund, created by Congress in 2010 as part of the Affordable Care Act. In the two years since then, the Prevention Fund has funded evidence-based programs that are increasing access to proven disease prevention measures in all 50 states and scores of communities across the country.

About half of all cancer deaths in the U.S. could be prevented if people avoided tobacco, maintained a healthy weight through diet and exercise and got recommended cancer screenings, said John R. Seffrin, PhD, CEO of ACS CAN, the advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society. This report shows how the Prevention Fund has been successful in focusing our nation 's communities on preventing disease before it occurs, and managing it before it becomes chronic, rather than waiting to treat people when they get sick.

The report showcases specific Prevention Fund grantees that are making a difference in the health of their communities with data-driven, collaborative and sustainable solutions, including:

  • The Pinellas County Health Department in Florida is helping residents fight the area 's obesity epidemic, particularly within high schools, by: allowing community members to use school gyms, improving the quality of food in school vending machines, establishing more and better school physical education activities and installing lights and signs to local parks and schools to make them more accessible to the community.
  • The Mid-South Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities (CEED) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham is working to close health care gaps in six states targeting regions struck by high cancer death rates, specifically within underserved African-American populations. Based on CEED 's research, a local coalition created solutions to improve access to breast and cervical cancer screenings for women in Alabama and the surrounding states. Within two years, the plan eliminated the racial health gap in several counties.
  • The Iowa Department of Health received funding to expand its successful Quitline program. The Quitline helps smokers quit by providing needed counseling and nicotine replacement therapy, a combination proven to be an effective way of kicking tobacco permanently. Smokers who use Quitlines are significantly more likely to stop smoking than those who don 't. In Iowa, about 24 percent of Quitline clients weren 't using tobacco seven months after completing their program, compared to 3 to 5 percent of smokers who didn 't use Iowa 's Quitline.

When you take the time to examine the incredible disease prevention work that 's being accomplished with help from the Prevention Fund, you find that it is impacting individual Americans across the country. And in each of these places, it is improving the health of whole communities, changing the way people spend their time, the food they eat and the daily decisions they make. It is a home run for the nation, said Chris Hansen, president of ACS CAN. We urge lawmakers to continue to invest in these lifesaving prevention programs.

By providing grants to local communities for programs that address very specific problems and have a positive impact on the citizens ' quality of life, the Prevention Fund is a transformative effort to refocus the nation on staying well.

ACS CAN, the nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy affiliate of the American Cancer Society, supports evidence-based policy and legislative solutions designed to eliminate cancer as a major health problem. ACS CAN works to encourage elected officials and candidates to make cancer a top national priority. ACS CAN gives ordinary people extraordinary power to fight cancer with the training and tools they need to make their voices heard. For more information, visit


Lauren Walens or Steven Weiss

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Phone: (202) 661-5763 or (202) 661-5711

Email: [email protected] or [email protected]

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