September 2015 National REACH Coalition Newsletter
"Advancing Racial and Ethnic Health Equity"

September is National 

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

NRC Recognizes Childhood Obesity Awareness


Childhood obesity continues to be a devastating health issue in the United States.  This rise in obesity rates has affected our youth at an alarming rate. Childhood obesity has increased more than four times among the ages of 6 to 11. More than 23 million children and teenagers in the United States ages 2 to 19 are obese or overweight, a statistic considered to be an epidemic.  An epidemic such as this puts nearly one third of America’s children at early risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke conditions which are usually associated with adulthood.  Even greater disparities exist among young Hispanics and African Americans.

Each year, during the month of September, communities around the country highlight this ongoing issue and the special efforts made to raise awareness. However, in many REACH communities this is an all year, all-out effort to reduce these rates.  For example, in New York, the Bronx Health REACH Coalition led by the Institute for Family Health has been working in school districts in the Bronx to increase PE/PA in schools.  In June, along with the Partnership for a Healthy New York led by New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and other school wellness advocates, they held a press conference to celebrate the launch of the  Active Design Toolkit for Schools. This is only one of many efforts in REACH communities across the county that recognize that every member of a community can play a role in positively impacting and reducing childhood obesity rates.  
NRC Mission:
To Increase the capacity of underserved racial and ethnic communities across the U.S. to achieve health equity.

About Us:
The National REACH Coalition (NRC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, located in Washington D.C., that is committed to the elimination of health disparities and the achievement of health equity among racial and ethnic minorities.

Please visit the NRC Website for more information.
This NRC Newsletter Edition Features Stories On:

Recognizing National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Health Equity in the News:
A Racial Gap in Attitudes Toward Hospice Care
Racial Injustice Is A Health Disparity
The Impact of Racism on Health

National Hispanic Heritage Month

NRC Joins ADA to Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Request for Publications

Join us during the month of September and take action for health equity with a generous donation to the National REACH Coalition Annual Fund.  Contribute to our dedicated efforts to promote, develop, and implement innovative health equity efforts in both urban and rural communities of color. 



A Racial Gap in Attitudes Toward Hospice Care 

A recent article in the New York times makes it clear that the racial gap in attitudes toward hospice care is in fact a health disparity.  For many years, African Americans have had negative attitudes towards hospice care, with only a third of African American Medicare beneficiaries enrolling in hospice care before death in comparison with half of white medicare beneficiaries. With proper education and resources, more African Americans now have a more positive perspective on hospice care are in favor of using it as opposed to more aggressive measures.

"At the root of the resistance, researchers and black physicians say, is a toxic distrust of a health care system that once displayed “No Negroes” signs at hospitals, performed involuntary sterilizations on black women and, in an infamous Tuskegee study, purposely left hundreds of black men untreated for syphilis.

“You have people who’ve had a difficult time getting access to care throughout their lifetimes” because of poverty, lack of health insurance or difficulty finding a medical provider, said Dr. Maisha Robinson, a neurologist and palliative medicine physician at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. “And then you have a physician who’s saying, ‘I think that we need to transition your mother, father, grandmother to comfort care or palliative care.’ People are skeptical of that.”

Federal policies surrounding hospice also arouse suspicion in black communities because Medicare currently requires patients to give up curative therapies to receive hospice benefits.

That trade-off strikes some black families, who believe they have long had to fight for quality medical care, as unfair, said Dr. Kimberly Johnson, a Duke University associate professor of medicine who has studied African-American attitudes about hospice...

“The people in our immediate circle now view hospice positively,” Mrs. Harris said. “I think our experience was powerful enough that it changed people’s attitudes.”

Mr. Harris, the pastor of Prince of Peace Temple Church of God in Christ,often evangelizes about hospice during his Sunday morning sermons, while Mrs. Harris has enlisted the wives of black pastors in Western New York, known as the First Ladies, to counter negative views about palliative care. At a recent meeting, the women discussed older church members who might benefit from hospice, and Mrs. Harris wanted to hear how parishioners in the women’s churches responded to some recent outreach.

“It really opened up people’s eyes to the negative stigma of it, feeling like, ‘I’m just putting my loved one away, and not caring for them,’ ” said Joyce Badger of Bethesda World Harvest International Church in Buffalo. “The power of knowledge that we’ve gained is really going to help our community.” "


Source: New York Times

Racial Injustice is a Health Disparity

These recently published articles in the media highlight how racial justice is part and parcel of the determinants of racial and ethnic health equity.
Yakima to host race and justice town hall
"Racial profiling in law enforcement and the judicial system will be the focus of a town hall event coming to Yakima in September that will later be broadcast statewide on public television..." Read more here.

Note to Hillary: Hearts and Minds Must Be Changed on Race
"A couple of weeks ago, Hillary Clinton showed she is a cynic when she told a group of Black Lives Matter activists in a videotaped meeting: "I don't believe you change hearts," adding "I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate..." Read more here.

Lawrence O'Donnell and BLM Activists Blast Ben Carson Op-Ed: Failed to Notice 'Systemic Racism and Oppression' 
Lawrence O’Donnell and MSNBC proved again Tuesday night that Republican presidential candidates will never receive a break on their network, even when they appear to be in agreement an issue. On his show The Last Word, the liberal host held a segment on Ben Carson’s USA Today op-ed in which the Republican presidential candidate acknowledged the issue of police brutality, and offered a new way of addressing the problem..." Read more here.

The Impact of Racism on Health

Over the course of the summer the leadership of American Public Health Association (APHA) hosted a webinar series that focused on the Impact of Racism on the health and well-being of the nation. After recent events around the country and in the media, it is apparent that stigma, inequalities and civil rights injustices remain in our society today. Webinar topics included Naming and Addressing Racism:  A Primer, No Safety, No Health: A Conversation About Race, Place and Preventing Violence, Unequal Treatment: Disparities in Access, Quality and Care, Racism: The Silent Partner in High School Dropout and Health Disparities. 
In alignment with the Impact of Racism on Health and APHA's webinar series, this piece on Uncomfortable truth speaks to the impact racism has on the well-being of this nation and the inequalities that still exist today. 

National Hispanic Heritage Month

During National Hispanic Heritage Month(September 15 to October 15) we recognize the contributions made and the important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate their heritage and culture. Most importantly, NRC recognizes the the contributions made by Hispanic health equity champions to reduce and eliminate health disparities.

NRC Joins
American Diabetes Association in Celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month

Diabetes is an urgent health problem in the Hispanic/Latino community; 12.8 percent of the Hispanic/Latino population in the U.S. live with diabetes. For Hispanic Heritage Month, the American Diabetes Association will focus on the importance of healthy eating. 

You can learn how to use the Plate Method to create a meal that is well balanced and can help manage blood glucose levels or help encourage someone you know with Diabetes to eat healthy. It is important to know that you can still enjoy traditional foods and eat healthy. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, try creating your own healthy plate at home, then share a photo on social media using #NationalREACH #CreateYourPlate!

Join in the celebration and learn more about how to prevent and manage Diabetes!


Help Build Resources for Health Equity

NRC's website provides a resource center that includes publications, articles and reports highlighting the outcomes and achievements of community led initiatives addressing racial and ethnic health disparities, developed and implemented by network partners.

You can help us continue to build the NRC Resource Center by sharing your publications, white papers, and journal articles to highlight your work.
Please feel free to submit any publication, article or report to, to be uploaded to the website.

Are you a HELEN Member?

The Health Equity Leadership Exchange Network (HELEN) is a collaborative effort between the National REACH Coalition, Morehouse School of Medicine and the National Collaborative for Health Equity.

HELEN is a national network designed to support and strengthen health equity leadership and the exchange of ideas and information relative to the advancement of health equity in laws, policies, and programs. The HELEN forum connects health equity champions, provide timely and essential data that informs strategies and approaches at the local, state, regional and national level.

HELEN utilizes social media, webinars, conferences, and events to empower individuals, organizations and communities that play a significant role in the development of health equity laws, policies and programs.
To learn more about the project and become a HELEN project member, please visit:   

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