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Central Connecticut Health District, CT


Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD) serves a community of more than 90,000 in four contiguous towns: Berlin, Newington, Rocky Hill, and Wethersfield. It is best characterized as a rural/suburban health district with a growing population of residents over the age of 60.

The communities served by CCHD boast strong parks and recreation departments and facilities, including therapeutic recreation resources and significant natural resources. The towns offer elderly and disability services through a senior center in each town, staffed either by a full- or part-time town employee. CCHD also has one half-time health educator who coordinates programs with local town agencies and/or civic organizations.

The district focused primarily on chronic disease risk reduction and/or primary prevention activities for the general population because there are few resources to address health promotion among the increasing numbers of disabled individuals in the district.The combined rate of disability for adults age 21 or older in the district is 62.1 percent: 19 percent in Berlin, 14.1 percent in Newington, 15.2 percent in Rocky Hill, and 17.8 percent in Wethersfield. Disability percentages for those aged 65 or older are 41.5 percent in Berlin, 33.3 percent in Newington, 35.7 percent in Rocky Hill, and 31.1 percent in Wethersfield.

This information created the target population for this initiative.

Project Description

CCHD implemented a unique, replicable, district-wide health promotion initiative, Able to be Healthy, targeting adults age 21 or older. The program rests on three strategic pillars: (1) local community health workers; (2) implementation of an established personal data assessment tool; and (3) implementation and evaluation of a local capacity assessment and implementation of a recognized resource directory modified to meet local needs.

Project Goal

Able to Be Healthyis a community-based initiative that enables individuals with disabilities to learn strategies and access information that will empower them to maintain and improve their current health status.


  • Identification of common barriers to health promotion experienced by the target population;
  • Health promotion activities targeting reduction of secondary health conditions among disabled adults;
  • Improved health literacy among the disabled population; and
  • Comprehensive evaluation and modification of pilot intervention.

Project Activities

  • Advisory Committee — Create an Advisory Committee of members of local committees on disabilities, individuals with disabilities, area human and social service providers, and other pertinent collaborators to provide insight and guidance on aspects of the intervention.
  • Assess Barriers — Community health workers will conduct surveys (Web-based, person-to-person, telephone interview) to assess perceived barriers that individuals with disabilities experience with regard to health promotion and disease prevention.
  • Facility Assessment — Community health workers will conduct assessments of local area fitness facilities for barriers and assessed ways to remove those barriers.
  • Able to Be HealthyGuide — The Advisory Committee and community members will develop, design, and distribute the Able to Be Healthy Guide to residents of Berlin, Newington, Rocky Hill, and Wethersfield.
  • The guide will include the following:
    • National, state, and local fitness resources;
    • Adaptive resource lists;
    • Healthy shopping lists;
    • Easy to prepare, healthy meals;
    • Means of reducing secondary health conditions; and
    • Overview of area fitness facilities.

Technical Assistance Project:

NACCHO is currently offering technical assistance support to local health departments to improve their capacity to develop or enhance health promotion programs for people living with disabilities through coordination of existing health department and community services.

Central Connecticut Health District provided technical assistance to Charles County Health Department, MD.  For more information, please visit: Charles County.

For more information on Central Connecticut, please contact:
Hilary Norcia
Community Health Coordinator
Central Connecticut Health District
Tel: 860-665-8571
E-mail: HNorcia@NewingtonCT.Gov
Web Site:

Central Connecticut Health District's Health and Disability Demonstration Site Update:

The Central Connecticut Health District (CCHD)'s project Able to Be Healthy has made major progress. The Advisory Committee has met several times. One difficulty CCHD encountered is transporting disabled committee members to meetings in the district's four towns. It is working with area transportation to resolve that issue.

The CCHD has also begun a Web-based "Disability and Health Perceived Barriers Survey" to assess barriers experienced by individuals with disabilities.

Graduate students from the University of Connecticut Public Health program have joined the Able to Be Healthyteam by creating surveys for various age groups to determine CCHD demographics around disabilities.