National Disease Cluster Alliance
The National Disease Clusters Alliance (NDCA) was formed out of the urgent need to identify and respond to emerging disease cluster/abnormalities in communities. A “cluster” is an unexpectedly large number of cases of the same or similar diseases in a geographical area-and no uniform definition of a cluster exists. Surprisingly, no one agency is responsible for tracking or leading the response when a community raises a concern about a potential disease cluster. Dee Lewis, NDCA’s executive director along with founding member Floyd Sands joined forces after both had become frustrated with the lack of government response to the disease clusters in their respective hometowns of Sacramento, California and Fallon, Nevada. Dee Lewis organized a grassroots citizens group in 2002. Floyd Sands, whose daughter died of leukemia in 2001 in the Fallon Childhood Cancer Cluster, organized a cancer incidence survey in his community after the government failed to act. Born at the grassroots level, NDCA has focused on clusters throughout California and has now grown to include parent advocates of cancer patients, academia, agency, non-profit organizations, community activists, and scientists who all feel current response can and must be improved. As the only 501(c)(3) organization focusing exclusively on disease clusters, NDCA’s mission is to promote vibrant healthy communities and to prevent environmentally-related disease through empowering governments, communities and individuals concerned about disease clusters.