Community Services Programs

The Diabetes Control Program seeks to reduce the burden of diabetes in Tennessee by use of strategies that focus on community interventions, health communications, and health care systems changes. The Diabetes Advisory Council, composed of representatives from private health care, public health, non-profit agencies, and consumer groups, provides technical assistance. A significant accomplishment of the Council was the development of a diabetes medical record, which is being used by health care professionals and insurers throughout Tennessee and other states as a tool to assist in quality diabetes management. To request copies of the medical record or to obtain more information about the program, call (615) 741-0394. For more information about diabetes, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Diabetes Public Health Resource.

The Epilepsy Program assists persons suffering from epilepsy and other seizure disorders by providing financial support to the East Tennessee Epilepsy Foundation, the Middle Tennessee Epilepsy Foundation, the Greater Chattanooga Epilepsy Foundation, and the West Tennessee Epilepsy Foundation for educational and counseling activities. These activities are designed to educate persons with epilepsy and their families, professional and paraprofessional groups and the general public concerning the physical, psychosocial and vocational needs of the patient with a seizure disorder. For more information, call (615) 741-0390.

The function of the Safety and Injury Control Program is to develop and implement initiatives and services promoting injury prevention and safety. These endeavors include data collection and dissemination, providing accessibility to related resources and materials, technical assistance to county health departments and local coalitions, collaboration with public and private entities, and coordinating development and evaluation of specific targeted programs. These efforts are applied in order to promote good health safety for a high quality of life for Tennessee residents. For more information, call (615) 253-2551.

The mission of the Tennessee Tobacco Control Program is to improve the quality of life for all Tennesseans by preventing and reducing disease, disability, and death caused by tobacco use. The program provides the citizens of Tennessee with information, assistance and community interventions, for tobacco prevention. The program through both community based programs and statewide programs seeks to prevent people from beginning to use tobacco, encourage people to stop tobacco use, and protect people from exposure to environmental tobacco smoke. The Tennessee Tobacco Control program works collaboratively with the American Cancer Society, the American Lung Association, and the American Heart Association. For further information, call 615-253-2551.

The Sexual Assault Prevention Program seeks to reduce the incidence of rape and attempted rape through education of the public, training for law enforcement agencies, and hospitals and direct services to victim and their support systems. Currently, this program funds seven rape crisis centers which are designed to reduce the rate of rape and attempted rape in Tennessee by improving community awareness and education on the prevention of sexual assault and abuse. They offer training to professionals, court advocacy, accompaniment to medical exams, and face to face counseling. Each center has a 24-hour crisis hotline to provide crisis counseling. Support is also provided to the families and significant others of victims. (Click here to view/print a copy in PDF format of the Tennessee Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Resource Directory) 

The Rape Prevention Education Program in Tennessee provides education to middle and high school youth through the local health departments across the state. The seven rape crisis centers provide training to professionals and community education. This office expects to provide funding to agencies in rural areas of the state where services are needed. A resource center was established to provide educational materials and information on facts about sexual assault and ways to prevent rape to the general public. For further information, call (615) 253-2551.

The Tennessee Cardiovascular Health Program seeks to lessen the burden of cardiovascular disease and improve the cardiovascular health of Tennesseans through changes in policy and environment. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Tennessee. Thus, the CV Health program promotes heart healthy lifestyles and addresses individuals, targeted risk groups, and whole populations. The emphasis is on prevention with awareness as a primary focus. There is a coordinated effort between state, public, private and volunteer health agencies being developed. For more information, call (615) 741-0380 or visit the CDC's Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention.

The State Arthritis Program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by an establishment grant to lay the groundwork for developing a state arthritis plan to promote and implement the policy and systems changes recommended in the National Arthritis Action Plan. The Department of Health and the Arthritis Foundation, Tennessee Chapter are the lead partners in the development and dissemination of the Tennessee Arthritis Action Plan. The state arthritis program is charged with increasing public awareness about arthritis, developing and providing access to arthritis resources and preventive services, building community partnerships, and improving current surveillance systems. The Arthritis Foundation is the leading resource on arthritis prevention/education services with chapters located in: Knoxville, Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga. For more information, call (615) 253-5797. 

The mission of Community Systems is to broaden the involvement of communities in improving the health of their citizens through a systems approach. Programs within this division develop the community’s ability to assess the health needs and concerns, improve access to care, and enhance assets of their youth.

Community Development

The Tennessee Department of Health has implemented a process to assist Tennessee communities and local and regional health departments in fulfilling the mission of public health. If we are to improve the conditions that affect the health of all citizens, we must begin in local communities dealing with local conditions. The needs and problems of one community may be very different from other communities, even those in close proximity. A grassroots initiative has been implemented in Tennessee to examine communities, assess needs, and develop programs that will improve the quality of life for its citizens. Community Diagnosis, a community-based, community-owned process, is utilized to assess the health status of Tennesseans. All 95 counties in Tennessee have developed a health council, which is a broad-based group representative of the community in terms of geography, race, sex, age, profession and institutional factors. An initiating group identifies representatives from health care systems, government agencies, local civic organizations, industrial development organizations, small businesses, school systems, various health professions both physical and mental, mental retardation agencies, alcohol and drug programs and consumers to serve as members of the county council.

Each council reviews an extensive amount of data relating to their respective county. County-specific information about health status, health resources, economy, and demographics for each county is essential for understanding existing health problems in the community. The council may utilize additional data from sources within the county, such as community groups, courts, law enforcement, and schools. In addition, several councils have gathered additional primary data from focus groups, community forums, and public meetings.

At the conclusion of review of all data from the Community Diagnosis process, the council identifies key health issues. The group often attempts to collect any additional available data on these issues before they prioritize according to size, seriousness, and effectiveness of intervention. A final overall ranking is then achieved and issues are targeted for intervention strategies. The community priorities and the defined appropriate interventions are summarized in a Community Diagnosis Status Report. This document serves as a building block for future assessment and planning activities. The status reports and much of the information used in the community assessments are available for all community residents in Tennessee at the HIT (Health Information Tennessee) website.

Community Prevention Initiative for Children

The Community Prevention for Children (CPI) is a collaborative effort among the Tennessee Department of Health, regional health departments, and the regional and county health councils. The program targets children ages 0-12 and their families and is designed to prevent those children from becoming involved in self-destructive behaviors such as alcohol/drug abuse, violence, and teen pregnancy. The CPI is based on the "Communities That Care" approach to community involvement in prevention programming and the community is integrally involved in the process. Programs are designed to meet the identified community needs and represent a diverse set of approaches to working with children and families. Programs include after school and in-school programs, tutoring, mentoring, student assistance programs, parent education, case management, and information and referral services.

6th Floor, Cordell Hull Building
425 Fifth Avenue, North
Nashville, TN  37243-5210
615-741-0380 (telephone)
615-532-8478 (fax)