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Letter From Director

December 5, 2016

Dear Colleagues:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is pleased to release the 2015 edition of the CDC Winnable Battles Progress Report. CDC’s Winnable Battles are public health priorities with large-scale impact on health and known effective strategies to address them. CDC and many other public health organizations work together to address leading causes of death and disability for Americans through Winnable Battles and other initiatives. Together with our partners, we continue to make significant progress in reducing foodborne illnesses, tobacco use, motor vehicle-related injuries, teen pregnancies, healthcare-associated infections, and the health burden from poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and obesity.

Measurable Impact
Health has improved in some areas during the Winnable Battles timeframe (2010-2015). Approximately 15 percent of adults and less than 11 percent of youth currently smoke cigarettes-10 million fewer Americans than in 2009. Teen pregnancy rates have declined consistently and reached a historic low in 2015. Both of these Winnable Battles have reduced rates beyond their 2015 targets. By identifying priority strategies, defining clear targets, and working closely with our public health partners, we are improving health outcomes.

Winnable Battles reflect CDC’s commitment to partnering with state, tribal, territorial, and local governments and non-governmental organizations to prevent illness, injury, disability, and death. Public health leaders use the Winnable Battles framework-identifying high-burden conditions, setting priorities that have a large impact on health, implementing evidence-based strategies, and assessing progress regularly-to focus on their communities’ public health challenges.

The Winnable Battles process has served as a catalyst for states and tribes to engage stakeholders in improving public health. Thirty-two state teams of legislators and public health officials drafted action plans that guide programming and policy changes. These changes, in turn, increased awareness of the positive impact of identifying priorities, promoting accountability, and sustaining effort in public health work.

A Look Ahead
The current slate of Winnable Battles was chosen based on the magnitude of the health problems and the ability of CDC and our public health partners to make significant progress to improve outcomes. While much progress has been made, work remains to reduce the health burdens from these diseases and conditions. The progress and the lessons learned will continue to be applied to new public health challenges.

This CDC Winnable Battles Progress Report is both a recognition of accomplishments and a call to continue working with our partners on public health priorities to protect and improve the health of all Americans.


Signature: Thomas Frieden

Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH Director, CDC