Foster Prevention Among
Low-Income Populations

Reduce Their Risk
By Connecting to Resources

National Network Aimed at
Closing the Gap in Disparities
Through Partnerships, Innovation & Expertise

Via education, we boost awareness of cancer & tobacco-related disparities providing greater understanding among organizations and policymakers.

We promote greater capacity within regions by identifying, developing and connecting resources to stakeholders key to changing community norms.

Through partnerships and collaborations, we support the expansion of promising practices and models about prevention, treatment and survivorship.

What is SelfMade Health Network Our Name Rooted in History Philosophy Priority Focus Areas

What is SelfMade Health Network

Educate • Empower • Mobilize

Supported by: CDC-RFA-DP23-0015 [CDC’s National Networks Driving Action: Preventing Tobacco and Cancer-Related Health Disparities by Building Equitable Communities]

SelfMade Health Network (SMHN) is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) consortium of national organizations to advance the prevention of commercial tobacco use and cancer in populations experiencing tobacco- and cancer-related health disparities. The consortium is jointly funded by CDC’s Office on Smoking and Health and Division of Cancer Prevention and Control. With a specific focus on populations with low socio-economic characteristics, the work of SMHN is intended to enhance the capacity, quality and performance of state tobacco prevention and cancer control programs, data and information systems, practice and services, partnerships, and resources to advance best and promising practices to respond to unique needs of this population.

As a cross-sector network of dedicated professionals, organizations and communities of members, we aim to educate, empower and mobilize systems within communities nationwide to eliminate cancer and tobacco-related disparities among populations with low socio-economic characteristics.

Our diverse network members and partners represent employers, business groups, national and regional leaders-associations, faith-based organizations, non-profit organizations, health system organizations, state and county-level government agencies, individual researchers and professors from academic institutions, and advocates.

Each member plays a valuable role in connecting with our target audience and it is this through collaboration that we can create a healthier world around us. View our current member list.

Our Name Rooted in History

“Self Made” is a phrase popularized over 120 years ago by Frederick Douglass’ Self-Made Men speech, which stresses the capability to impact your destiny under your own power despite the situation you are in.icon9

As network members, we aim to be present to encourage, guide and support those that work in communities of change. Our network goals and objectives reflect this objective. Read more


The concept “SelfMade Health” originates from the understanding that in the presence of affordable, supportive and resource-friendly environments (e.g. physical, social), populations can accrue greater awareness, knowledge, understanding, self-efficacy and subsequently increased control of decisions about health risks and overall health.

In the presence of a sustained local infrastructure and corresponding evidence-based resources, decisions among vulnerable populations would be consistently applied throughout the entire continuum of health; beginning with prevention followed by use of early screening and routine treatment services as well as maintenance of low risk behaviors. This concept is also based on a historical perspective and belief that “a man, woman or teen can be the captain of his destiny.”

World Health Organization (WHO): "Health equity is achieved when everyone can attain their full potential for health & well-being. Health and health equity are determined by the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, play and age, as well as biological determinants." Reference:

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF): “Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. This requires removing obstacles to health such as poverty, and their consequences, including lack of access to good jobs, quality education and housing, safe environments, and health care.” Reference:

Priority Focus Areas

  • Health Equity (Federal, State, County, and Community Levels)
  • Community-Clinical Linkages
  • Strategic Planning (State, County, Multi-sector)
  • Health Systems Transformation
  • Specialized Technical Assistance and Training (State, County, Multi-sector)
  • Community Engagement
Healthy People 2030 National Objectives & Overarching Goals
  • Achieving health and well-being requires eliminating health disparities, achieving health equity, and attaining health literacy.
  • Attain healthy, thriving lives and well-being free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death.
  • Eliminate health disparities, achieve health equity, and attain health literacy to improve the health and well-being of all.
  • Create social, physical, and economic environments that promote attaining the full potential for health and well-being for all.
  • Promote healthy development, healthy behaviors, and well-being across all life stages.
  • Engage leadership, key constituents, and the public across multiple sectors to take action and design policies that improve the health and well-being of all. Reference:

World Health Organization (WHO): “Health equity is achieved when everyone can attain their full potential for health and well-being.”

Equity is defined as the absence of unfair, avoidable, or remediable differences among groups of people, whether those populations are defined by socioeconomic status (SES) characteristics, demographically, geographically (rural, metropolitan, medically underserved areas), or other dimensions of inequality (including disability status). Reference: