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Bureau of Health Promotion and Risk Reduction

The mission of the BHPRR is to support community partners in implementing evidence-based prevention strategies, using current data and research for chronic disease, injury, and violence to foster healthy and resilient communities across the Commonwealth of PA.

The divisions under the BHPRR include: Division of Cancer Prevention and Control, Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control, and Division of Violence Prevention.

Division of Cancer Prevention and Control

The mission of the Division of Cancer Prevention and Control (DCPC) is to provide statewide leadership and coordination of cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and quality of life services and resources. DCPC, in partnership with the cancer and chronic disease community, promotes cancer education, awareness and services through policy, systems, and environmental changes to provide a better quality of life by reducing the effects of cancer. Initiatives to address this goal include:

  • Providing low-cost breast and cervical cancer screening and diagnostic services to low-income, uninsured, and underserved women through the PA-BCCEDP;
  • Implementing population-based approaches to improve systems that increase high-quality breast and cervical cancer screening;
  • Implementing evidence-based interventions in health systems;
  • Connecting women in the community to screening services;
  • Informing policies that increase access to cancer screening;
  • Designing and implementing strategic and sustainable Pennsylvania Cancer Control Plan to prevent and control cancer;
  • Emphasizing primary prevention of cancer by:
    • Promoting and providing vaccines that prevent cancer such as HPV;
    • Supporting environmental approaches that make health choices easier where Pennsylvanian's live, play and work; and
    • Empowering and educating people to make health lifestyle choices related to tobacco use, nutrition, physical activity, and sun safety.
  • Promoting early detection and treatment of cancer by:
    • Providing education and community outreach to encourage screenings;
    • Supporting patient navigators and community health workers who help remove barriers to accessing cancer information, services, and treatment; and
    • Working within health systems to implement evidence-based strategies to improve quality of services.
  • Supporting cancer survivors and caregivers by using:
    • Surveillance to routinely assess the needs of cancer survivors
    • Education programs to help survivors, caregivers and providers make informed decisions
    • Patient navigation systems to optimize treatment and care and
    • Policies and systems change to improve access to palliative care and other cancer resources and services.

Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity

The Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity (DNPA), in collaboration with state and community partners, implements evidence-based and informed strategies to improve nutrition and physical activity while also reducing the burden of chronic diseases and related risk factors.  DNPA supports a variety of initiatives focused on access to healthy food and safe and accessible physical activity in early care and education, schools, health systems and communities.  DNPA programs also address the prevention and control of chronic diseases, including asthma, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.  In addition, DNPA manages the statewide organ donation program.  DNPA strategies include:

  • Implementing the State Physical Activity and Nutrition Program:
    • Partnering with the Tuscarora Intermediate Unit (TIU-11) to implement the Pennsylvania Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care (PA NAPSACC) mini-grant program with a cohort of 100 early childhood education (ECE) programs annually;
    • Implementing high-impact obesity prevention standards into statewide ECE systems and system supports by partnering with Keystone Kids Go;
    • Partnering with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania to implement the Good Food, Healthy Hospitals program with the goal of transforming the hospital food environment by encouraging hospitals to adopt food service standards.  Participating hospitals and health systems pledge to increase the availability of healthy foods across five different food domains: purchased foods and beverages, cafeteria meals, patient meals, catering, and vending;
    • Collaborating with the Erie County Department of Health to implement food service guidelines in community settings;
    • Partnering with the Pennsylvania Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (PA AAP) to implement the Breastfeeding Education, Support, and Training Plus (BEST Plus) program.  BEST Plus is designed to improve the quality of care for breastfeeding during the postpartum period and beyond by helping providers in pediatric, OB-GYN and family practices improve knowledge of breastfeeding and delivery of evidence-based care; and
    • Providing WalkWorks funding and technical assistance to communities to develop plans or policies that better connect active modes of transportation to everyday destinations in partnership with the Pennsylvania Downtown Center.
  • Partnering with a school wellness consultant and Slippery Rock University to implement school-based wellness programming with health and physical education departments in three school districts annually;
  • Increasing access to healthy food and beverage options in food pantries through the Pennsylvania Healthy Pantry Initiative in partnership with Feeding Pennsylvania;
  • Scaling and sustaining the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) in Pennsylvania by increasing awareness of prediabetes and the National DPP, improving coverage for the lifestyle change program among public and private payers and employers, increasing screening and testing for prediabetes, and referring adults at risk for type 2 diabetes to the lifestyle change program;
  • Improving access to, participation in, and health benefit coverage for diabetes self-management education and support (DSMES) services to help people with diabetes reduce the onset and severity of diabetes complications, improve quality of life, and lower health care costs;
  • Partnering with Cedar Crest College to raise awareness of type 1 diabetes and prevent, through education and outreach, diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening complication of the auto-immune system;
  • Partnering with Pennsylvania Pharmacist's Association and Pennsylvania Pharmacist's Care Network to provide hypertension and cholesterol monitoring and self-management services through in-pharmacy care and provider practice collaboration;
  • Improving health outcomes for individuals with high cholesterol or hypertension by promoting disease identification and management through the adoption and use of electronic health records, health information technology, and provider-level evidence-based quality measurement systems; facilitating the use of self-measured blood pressure monitoring; and implementing systems for referrals to community programs and resources;
  • Administering the statewide Asthma Control Program by conducting asthma surveillance, facilitating the Pennsylvania Asthma Partnership, and creating communication projects to support and educate those with asthma, their caregivers, asthma program partners, and the public;
  • Reducing the impact of asthma and improving the quality of life of individuals and families by implementing the six evidence-based EXHALE strategies in areas with high rates of asthma;
  • Providing the Organ Donation Program by partnering with the state's two organ procurement organizations the Center for Organ Recovery & Education (CORE) and the Gift of Life (GOL) Donor Program to increase organ and tissue donor education and registration; and
  • Promoting organ and tissue donor awareness through the Donate Life PA website, a collaborative initiative between GOL, CORE, and the PA Departments of Health and Transportation.

Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control

The mission of the Division of Tobacco Prevention and Control (DTPC) is to develop, implement, and support strategic and culturally appropriate efforts to reduce tobacco product use and exposure to secondhand smoke in Pennsylvania to enhance the quality of life for all residents. Through statewide leadership and collaboration with community partners, DTPC strives to create a Pennsylvania free of tobacco-related death and disease through innovation, utilization of resources, and promotion of smoke-free environments and tobacco-free lifestyles. The DTPC follows guidance set forth from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)'s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs to administer a statewide comprehensive tobacco control program by achieving the following goals:  

  • Prevent initiation of tobacco use among youth and young adults;
  • Promote tobacco use cessation among adults and youth;
  • Eliminate exposure to secondhand smoke; and
  • Identify and eliminate tobacco-related disparities.

Successful implementation of a Strategic Plan for a Comprehensive Tobacco Control Program in Pennsylvania provides the framework to help protect Pennsylvanians from the adverse health impacts of tobacco, reduce non-smokers' exposure to secondhand smoke, and better assist current smokers to successfully quit using tobacco.  Working with decision makers and elected officials is critical to protecting Pennsylvanians from the harmful impacts of tobacco use. Comprehensive and evidence-based programs and practices are considered when working with decision makers to address the following public policies:

  • Comprehensive Clean Indoor Air Legislation: Remove exemptions from the Pennsylvania Clean Indoor Air Act (CIAA), extending full protection from the effects of secondhand smoke to all Pennsylvania workers. Remove preemption from CIAA, enabling any locality to adopt and enforce indoor air regulations that set higher standards than the existing state law to include electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS);
  • E-cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products: Recognize the potential health risks of electronic and other tobacco products and focus on tobacco-free and nicotine-free policies and regulations rather than solely smoke-free policies and regulations;
  • Insurance Coverage for Tobacco Cessation: Adopt legislative or regulatory standards for comprehensive smoking cessation treatment coverage by insurance companies and Medicaid programs in Pennsylvania;
  • Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) Funding: Allocate funding for comprehensive tobacco control at the levels recommended by the CDC to meet the needs of Pennsylvanians;
  • Tax Non-Cigarette Tobacco Products: Create tax parity, with cigarettes, on all other tobacco products, including cigars, to prevent youth from initiating or switching use due to an uneven tax regime; and
  • The DTPC focuses efforts on cessation, health communications, health equity, partnerships, program infrastructure and youth engagement through various programs including but not limited to:
    • PA Free Quitline, a free phone and online cessation resource to help individuals quit tobacco use through coaching and Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT);
    • Tobacco Retail Compliance, which monitors tobacco retail outlets in Pennsylvania to ensure they do not sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 21;
    • Clean Indoor Air Act, which educates the public about the dangers of secondhand smoke, encourages smoke-free environments and monitors businesses to ensure adherence to the Act; and
    • Young Lungs at Play, an initiative to create tobacco-free outdoor spaces for children and their families to play without being exposed to secondhand smoke.

Division of Violence Prevention

The mission of the Division of Violence Prevention (DVP) is to provide proven and effective strategies to improve health outcomes and support vulnerable populations from birth through adulthood. DVP implements evidence based and best practice risk reduction strategies to address cardiovascular health, health literacy, oral health, and violence and injury prevention.  Initiatives to address these goals include:  

  • The Pennsylvania Well Integrated Screening and Evaluation (PA-WISE) Program is Pennsylvania's implementation of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Well Integrated Screening and Evaluation for WOMen Across the Nation (WISEWOMAN) Program. The goal of PA-WISE is to engage women in lifestyle programs and to measure the changes that these lifestyle programs have on Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) markers and behaviors.  The program focuses on improving the cardiovascular health of eligible low-income, underinsured or uninsured, women ages 40-64 by offering Healthy Behavior Support Services and CVD screening services, as needed.  
    • The PA-WISE program strives to:  
      • Provide low-income, underinsured, or uninsured women with the knowledge, skills, and opportunities to improve their diet, physical activity level, and other life habits to prevent, delay, or control cardiovascular and other chronic diseases;
      • Reduce or eliminate health disparities by serving those most in need; and
      • Assist clinical providers in improving team-based care strategies, improving quality of health care services provided to low-income underserved communities, and increase partnerships between clinical providers and community resources.   

  • The Health Literacy Program is a statewide initiative that strives to improve health literacy to address disparate outcomes in chronic disease. This goal is accomplished through two main activities: 
    • Provider education: Three train the trainer modules are offered to health care providers to learn about the importance of health literacy, effective communication techniques and written materials development; and
    • Peer activation: A patient education program designed to promote communication between health care consumers and their providers.  
  • The Safe and Healthy Communities Program partners with County/Municipal Health Departments to implement policy, environmental, and systems changes to make their communities healthier and safer places to live, work, and play.  Each local health Department implements a variety of evidence-based interventions, community outreach, education, and health initiatives for infants, children and adults depending on their local data and needs.   
  • The Oral Health Program strives to reinforce the concept that you cannot be truly healthy without good oral health by focusing on the following areas. 
    • Prevention of oral disease through the stressing of proper personal and community preventive behavior and actions:  
    1. Community water fluoridation 
    2. School-based and school linked-sealant programs for low-income children 
    3. Routine oral cancer screenings 
    4. Proper oral hygiene behavior by parents and children 
    • Assessment of oral health status of the Pennsylvania population; and
    • Promotion of a competent oral health workforce to provide oral health services to the underserved and vulnerable populations. 
  • The Violence and Injury Prevention Section administers programs to prevent deaths and disability from intentional and unintentional injury across the lifespan. The current statewide priorities are adverse childhood experiences, falls prevention initiatives, motor vehicle safety, and suicide prevention.  The section also includes: 
    • Sexual Violence Prevention Program, provides sexual violence prevention and education programming throughout Pennsylvania;
    • National Violent Death Reporting System, collects and disseminates accurate, timely, and comprehensive surveillance data of all violent deaths in the selected target areas using the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines;
    • Safe Kids Pennsylvania seeks to reduce unintentional injuries and death to children by concerted community action, including promoting public awareness of unintentional childhood injury prevention programs and facilitating public awareness of, and appreciation for, the safety measures necessary to protect children; and  
    • Maintenance of the Violence Dashboard which is an interactive tool designed to display aggregated statistics for hospital discharge reasons and causes of deaths in Pennsylvania.  

Bureau Reports

  • Chronic Disease Burden Report: The Chronic Disease Burden Report describes the trends of several major chronic diseases, the relevant modifiable behaviors and conditions, and the use of preventive health screenings in Pennsylvania. The purpose of this report is to facilitate a comprehensive approach to chronic disease control and prevention in Pennsylvania and provide information to stakeholders on Pennsylvania's chronic disease burden. This report can also be used to identify unmet needs and assist in cost-effective program planning.
  • 2021 Dental Workforce Report: This report describes the workforce of licensed dentists and dental hygienists in Pennsylvania, based on the 2021 dentist survey and dental hygienist survey. This report contains information regarding demographics, dental education, board certification, specialty, work settings, work hours, accepted health insurance, and career satisfaction among dentists and dental hygienists who work primarily in Pennsylvania.