April 2014 National REACH Coalition Newsletter

"Advancing Racial and Ethnic Health Equity"
National Minority Health Month
Prevention is Power: Taking Action for Health Equity

This April, the National REACH Coalition joins the Office of Minority Health (OMH) in observing
 National Minority Health Month, an initiative created to raise awareness about the health needs of African Americans, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and other ethnic minority groups. This year's theme, Prevention is Power: Taking Action for Health Equity, emphasizes the critical role of prevention in reducing minority health disparities.

In 2011, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a strategic effort aimed at reducing health disparities. Today, OMH is leading the charge to put into practice the HHS Disparities Action Plan, at all levels of the office and within communities where they work. 
The HHS Action Plan promotes integrated approaches, evidence-based programs and best practices to reduce health disparities. It builds on the strong foundation of the Affordable Care Act and is aligned with programs and initiatives such as Healthy People 2020, the First Lady's Let's Move initiative, and the President's National HIV/AIDS Strategy. 

Download the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities and learn more about the specific goals and actions HHS is taking to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. 

Click here to find an overview of the OMH programs and initiatives, and learn how they align with each of the five goals of the HHS Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.

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.

This NRC Newsletter Edition Features Stories On:

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

Different Perspectives on Tackling Racial Health Disparities
This past year, minority health advocates used various public forums to share their perspectives on racial health disparities.  Below are a selection of articles that raise awareness of the continued need and importance of racial and ethnic health equity.
“Eliminating health disparities is not just about clinical intervention, we also have to look at changing the environment, and that has to do with everything from crumbling infrastructure, housing, transportation, and access to healthy foods.”

-Mildred Thompson, Director of the PolicyLink Center for Health Equity and Place.
Source: USA Today
“Race is not a biological category that naturally produces health disparities because of genetic differences.  Race is a political category because of the impact of social inequality on people’s health.”

-Chicago’s Social Justice Advocate Dorothy Robert  
Source: Diamondback Online
“The 2014 Racial Disparity in Breast Cancer Mortality Study has made it evident that a large racial disparity for breast cancer mortality exists in the United States.”
“While the size of that disparity varies, it exists in virtually every one of the cities analyzed – and it appears to be growing. Public and private institutions in these cities need to join together to address these disparities. The burden cannot be left only to the ‘safety net’ hospitals and health centers.” 

-Marc Hurlbert, Executive Director of the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade
Source: East Bay Express
Obama Administration: ‘Affordable Care Act’ Can Help Minorities Overcome Health Disparities
This article was written by journalist, Lynette Holloway, and retrieved from NewsOne
Consider these well-known statistics: About 18.8 percent of African-Americans under the age of 65 do not have health insurance, minorities who live and work in low socioeconomic circumstances are at an increased risk for mortality, and Blacks have a higher death rate than Whites for treatable diseases such as diabetes, coronary heart disease and stroke, according to federal statistics.

And disparities in the national homicide rate by age, race and ethnicity are evident in the daily headlines, especially among Black males in urban areas, according to the Health Disparities and Inequities report released in 2011 by the Centers for Disease Control, the most recent figures available.

The Obama administration hopes to address at least some of these issues through the Affordable Care Act, which is being rolled out in increments. And with April serving as National Minority Health MonthKathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, seized the moment to reflect on eliminating health disparities.

In a prepared statement released by the White House, Sebelius bolstered the CDC’s grim statistics, saying that while the nation has made significant progress in reducing health disparities over the last 50 years, historically minorities have been less likely to receive preventive care, and more likely to suffer from serious illnesses. She also pointed out that minorities have been less likely to have access to quality health care and insurance coverage.

“Because of the Affordable Care Act, the landmark legislation signed by President Obama, we are making strides in advancing quality, affordable health coverage regardless of race or ethnicity,” she said in the statement. “The health care law addresses the needs of minority populations and other underserved groups by investing in prevention, supporting improvements in primary care and Medicare, and making health care coverage affordable and accessible for all Americans."
Hilary O. Shelton, director of the NAACP’s Washington Bureau and senior vice president for advocacy and policy, said the group has worked closely with Sebelius to help stamp out disparities and inequities in health care.

“It’s important that we don’t address health care with too broad of a brush,” he told NewsOne. “It has to be done surgically–no pun intended–because of disparities and inequities in minority health care. We do know that staying healthy relates to a variety of factors, including affordable health care, the environment and education. We really hope to educate people about the importance of preventive care.”
New NRC Website Resources Available
Visit the National REACH Coalition's Access to Healthcare webpage today to learn about the new health insurance options currently available in your state. The website includes each state's decision on the Health Insurance Exchange (HIE) and Medicaid Expansion, under the Affordable Care Act. We encourage you to check the webpage regularly as the information will be updated periodically.

NRC's CTG Communities 

 The 2014 CTG Technical Assistance Workshop a great success for the new cohort
The National REACH Coalition hosted its Technical Assistance (TA) Workshop on March 11-13, in Culver City, CA. This year’s workshop theme: Building Successful and Sustainable Community Initiatives, offered key tips and strategies necessary to sustain and bring success to their community-based initiatives.  
The National REACH Coalition staff and 2013-2014 CTG cohort
The National REACH Coalition wants to thank its plenary speakers shown below, for participating and sharing their expertise with our workshop participants: 

Lark Galloway-Gilliam, MPA, President of the National REACH Coalition's Board of Directors, shared the history of the racial and ethnic health equity movement and its contribution to the establishment of the National REACH Coalition.

Daniel Dawes, JD, Executive Director for Government Relations, Policy and External Affairs for Morehouse School of Medicine, gave insight on appropriate ways to leverage the Affordable Care Act, and obtain cost-effective healthcare options, particularly within minority populations.                                                   
Charlie Alfero, MA, Executive Director of the Hidalgo Medial Services (HMS) - Center for Health Innovation (CHI), shared effective strategies and tools for participants to consider when making the business case for health equity and community-based initiatives.

Courtney Lang, JD, Principal and Founder of Langco & Partners, presented key steps needed to tailor a community-based initiative and maximize its chances of media coverage and increased visibility.

Chris Cathcart, President and Founder of OneDiaspora Group, energized audience members with a motivational presentation that included key concepts for community-based organizations to keep in mind for public awareness and positive social change.

Peer Learning session with NRC-CTG Program Manager, Apeksha Iyer
The three-day workshop included sessions that covered an array of topics, including: strategies for gathering data, and measuring program effectiveness within local communities; further development of implementation plans, and creating both strategic and peer relationships with those who share similar goals dedicated to health equity.
We also would like to thank the workshop's breakout session presenters and facilitators, which Included: Cathy Edgerly, Program Manager of the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan; Brenda Bell Caffee, Founder and CEO of Caffee, Caffee and Associates Public Health Foundation; Martha Moore-Monroy, Program Director for REACH Pima County Cervical Cancer Prevention Partnership, University of Arizona; Alisha Herrick, Program Specialist for Hidalgo Medical Services - Center for Health Innovation;  Susan Wilger, Program Director for Hidalgo Medical Services - Center for Health Innovation; Lauren Marciszyn, Technical Advisor for YMCA USA; Marlene Gomez, Advocacy Manager for the American Lung Association; Neelam Sharma, Executive Director at Community Services Unlimited; and D. Malcolm Carson, General Council and Policy Director at Community Health Council.  

One-on-one consultations with content-based experts offered
participants technical assistance to develop new skills and strengthen their community projects.

Courtney Lang, consults with the Spirit of Hidalgo's Christine Ortiz and Beth Cox.

Healthy Heritage's Jenniemarie Ramirez, and Oakland County Division's Jennifer Lucarelli, both attended a breakout session on building effective and sustainable coalitions.

Attendees left the workshop feeling empowered and filled with progressive ideas and resources for their community initiatives. Below are a few comments they shared on the workshop's evaluation survey:
-“Sessions were excellent and speakers/presenters were knowledgeable. Extremely helpful. A well planned and executed conference.”

-“I really enjoyed the entire meeting--I've got so many new ideas and inspirations to take back with me.”

 -"Thank you for all that each of you do for everyone."
The National REACH Coalition's Board and staff also wants to thank all of the volunteers who gave their time to support the workshop and make it such a success.  Our dedicated volunteers were employees from the South Los Angeles Health Projects and the Community Health Councils, and included: Sondrina Bullitt, Crystal Boateng, Audrey Cameron, Maribel Renteria, Ine Collins, Yoli Torres and Keshara Shaw.
NRC's REACH Communities

Brooklyn Perinatal Network joins Minority Health Panel discussion on Time Warner Cable segment
Brooklyn Perinatal Network’s (BPN) REACH 2012 project, addressed high obesity and infant mortality rates, along with the limited access to healthy foods, in Brownsville and East New York

Ngozi Moses, the Brooklyn Perinatal Network's Executive Director, was recently invited to be a panelist on "Inside City Hall", a news segment featured on Time Warner Cable NY1. The panel discussion focused on high abortion rates found within the African American community in New York City.

  Click here to view the story by Time Warner reporter, Erin Billups.
The National REACH Coalition is moving to a monthly newsletter distribution beginning May 6, 2014.  We remain committed to providing you timely and relevant information on the current state of racial and ethnic health equity throughout the U.S. and within your local communities.

Do you have an idea for a future article or is there a specific topic/issue you'd like us to cover?  Please feel free to e-mail us at info@reachcoalition.org and let us know. We want to hear from you!

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