Chronic conditions such as heart disease, cancer, stroke, obesity, and arthritis represent the most common and costly health threats faced by the United States population.  In 2014, chronic conditions accounted for seven out of every ten deaths, with heart disease and cancer alone representing nearly half of all mortality events. Annually, physicians diagnose 54 million adults with arthritis and 23 percent of them report difficulty with activities of daily living (ADL). Additionally, diabetes continues to be the top cause of kidney failure, limb amputation, and blindness.
Nurse Practitioners as a Source of Health Information
Risk communications, such as flu shot recommendations, are an important part of public health care education.  Nurse practitioners (NPs) are the public’s best resource for information about immunizations and vaccines that can protect against many chronic illnesses. By delivering a professional critique of this information, NPs can ensure that patients have the correct information and give them confidence that they are tending to their health needs appropriately.
The CDC’s Chronic Disease Prevention System
The Centers for Disease Control’s Chronic Disease Prevention System provides leadership and technical direction to nurse practitioners and other health professionals.  The resource serves as a gateway to disseminate information collected by the CDC about chronic conditions and their associated risks. The center also leads research initiatives and translates the results for public consumption. Additionally, the CDC takes a proactive approach to public wellness education by publishing information available to all citizens. In the legislature, Chronic Disease Prevention System staff members advocate for the public’s interests during policy making sessions regarding health care.
The Community Guide
The Community Services Task Force, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), publishes The Guide to Community Preventative Services, also called The Community Guide.  The Community Guide serves as a credible resource that nurse practitioners use to share information with patients regarding preventative services, local health programs, and local community wellness policies. The guide also describes the positive impacts that the resources have on the community in addition to how much the services cost taxpayers. Other health professionals, such as state and municipal health agencies, clinicians, and boards of health, use the guide to review and share evidence-based information about wellness issues such as smoking cessation, motor vehicle safety, and healthy eating habits.
The Eight Dimensions of Wellness
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) publishes The Eight Dimensions of Wellness as a guide for taking daily actions that improve mental and physical well-being.  Nurse practitioners can use the guide to find out what the latest best practices are for promoting healthy lifestyles and how those habits improve other aspects of patients’ health. The Eight Dimensions of Wellness are:
The framework emphasizes how improving physical health can improve mental health and vice versa. Nurses can use this literature to encourage patients to pursue healthier living despite their current challenges and make healthy habits a part of their daily lives.
WISEWOMAN Program Evaluation Toolkit
The Centers for Disease Control developed the WISEWOMAN Program Evaluation Toolkit in collaboration with their Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (DHDSP) and ICF International.  The toolkit covers a wide range of subjects regarding women’s health. The toolkit conveniently organizes the WISEWOMAN framework into four logical steps:
1. Engage the audience
2. Describe the framework
3. Focus on the design of the initiative
4. Gather empirical evidence.
The DHDSP encourages nurse practitioners and other health professionals to adapt the resource to meet their own organizational objectives.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services established the Million Hearts initiative in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control.  The initiative started in 2012 in collaboration with 120 partners and twenty government agencies. The collaborative has made significant strides in reducing cardiovascular disease over the last decade.
Despite such initiatives, the United States population still faces many health threats. Obesity and diabetes, for example, could undo the good work completed by many devoted health professionals to improve population wellness over the last decade.
Nurse practitioners can steer patients toward information, such as those presented in this post, which will improve their physical and mental well-being.  These professionals serve as critical links between the public and information that could improve their quality of life.
Across the country, a national shortage of primary care providers has set the stage for RNs to advance. As more states certify nurse practitioners as primary care providers, you can pursue a new avenue of nursing to fill meaningful voids in today’s health systems. At Regis, you can earn an online post-master’s certificate to not just prepare for advancement in nursing, but to also expand services as a primary care provider.
 Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Chronic Disease Overview
 American Nurses Association
 Center for Disease Control and Prevention – CDC’s Chronic Disease Prevention System
 The Community Guide
 Center for Disease Control and Prevention – WISEWOMAN Program Evaluation Toolkit
 Million Hearts
 US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
 U.S. Preventive Services Task Force