December 2014 National REACH Coalition Newsletter
"Advancing Racial and Ethnic Health Equity"

The National REACH Coalition mourns the loss of its co-founder and former Board Chair, Lark Galloway-Gilliam, who passed away on Monday December 1, 2014. Throughout her lifetime, Lark worked tirelessly to improve the lives of the most vulnerable among us.
As the Executive Director of the Community Health Councils (CHC) in Los Angeles, Lark was a staunch advocate for health equity and quality healthcare for racial and ethnic communities. In 2004 along with other REACH 2010 grantees, Lark envisioned and worked to establish the coalition that would become the NRC. She was its first Board Chair, providing the guidance, insight and leadership needed to position the organization as a national network working in communities across the country to overcome racial and ethnic health disparities.
Lark’s legacy is, and will continue to be, an inspiration to all of us. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, her CHC family, and all the people whose lives have been touched by her. 
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:
The Health Equity Leadership & Exchange Network (HELEN)
Support the National REACH Coalition's work to promote, develop, and implement innovative techniques aimed at the elimination of health disparities within communities of color. Contribute to our efforts by making a generous donation to the National REACH Coalition's Annual Fund.


During the holiday season, Support NRC's efforts as we advance racial and ethnic health equity into the new year. Donations are tax deductible.

December focuses global attention on 
Worlds AIDS Day

NRC Recognizes World AIDS Day

In this edition of the NRC Newsletter, we join organizations across the country and around the world in recognizing December 1, 2014 as World AIDS Day. Within communities throughout the United States the continued need for AIDS awareness and prevention efforts to stem the increasing rate of HIV infection remains vitally important. In the articles below we provide facts and resources that may help your organizations address HIV/AIDS in your communities. 

In support of this cause and to spread awareness throughout communities across the nation, NRC recognizes World AIDS Day.

NRC Participates in APHA Annual Meeting Panel on Three Years of Success Through Community Transformation


Donovan Lessard, NRC Program Evaluator participated in a presentation and panel discussion at the 142nd American Public Health Association Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans, Louisiana.  The panel, “Three Years of Success Through Community Transformation”, highlighted the lessons learned and successes of awardees of the Community Transformation Grant.  The awardees—including the American Lung Association, the YMCA, and the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA)—funded and provided technical assistance to community-based organizations around the United States to increase access to healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco control, and clinic-to-community best practices. Several commonalities emerged from the awardees presentations, including the necessity of cross-sector collaboration and community ownership in strategy development and implementation, and the benefits and challenges of establishing and sustaining partnerships. 
In particular, the American Lung Association’s Bill Blatt discussed their innovative work in establishing smoke-free environments in public housing complexes and mental health hospitals and clinics.  Mary Elliott of CADCA discussed the continued work of several of their coalitions on tobacco control around the United States and their national tobacco control media campaign.  Freddie Brown, of the YMCA, along with representatives from two of their funded communities, showcased the success of their diabetes prevention program in activating youth to eat healthier and move more. Finally, Donovan Lessard discussed how national organizations can better support community coalitions in achieving their goals through evaluation support and partnership development. 
The panel provided an important opportunity to discuss the accomplishments and continuing challenges of carrying out public health work at the community level.  The National REACH Coalition would like to thank the other panelists, as well as the Centers for Disease Control and the American Public Health Association for the opportunity to participate in this session. 

NRC Network Partners participate in  Poster Presentations at the National Health Disparities Grantee Conference


At the National Health Disparities Grantees' Conference themed, â€œTransdisciplinary Collaborations: Evolving Dimensions of US and Global Health Equity,” highlighted the the excellence and innovation in basic, translational, and clinical research from the programs supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD), and focused on early career investigators through training and professional development workshops, mentoring, and meet the expert sessions. Three NRC network partners presented posters highlighting their work in addressing health disparities in their communities.

Delmonte Jefferson, Executive Director of the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network (NAATPN) presented on local, regional and national efforts to reduce the use of tobacco within African American communities. The presentation summarized the history of the relationship between the tobacco industry and the Black Community from picking tobacco during slavery to the use of cigarettes, hookah, and electronic tobacco products today within the African American community. In the recent Surgeon General’s report, The Health Consequence of Smoking 50 Years of Progress, more than 480,000 people die each year from smoking related illnesses; 46,000 of those deaths are African Americans.
Charmaine Ruddock, Project Director of the Bronx Health REACH at the Institute for Family Health in New York, and NRC Board Chair, presented the findings of their research initiative, which used a bi-cultural faith based approach to address high rates of obesity among African Americans and Latinos in the South Bronx.  Their project included churches with more than 50 members, led by Pastors who participated in delivering health messages from the pulpit. Each church designated a coordinator to disseminate health literature and facilitate health activities among the congregation.  Through their initiative they found the following: engaging church leadership in planning, implementation and evaluation was critical to effective programming; increasing the capacity of churches, including the establishment of health ministries, led to effective implementation of health programming in communities; and presenting health promotion within a religious context was consistent with a community members beliefs, values, and cultural background and was a key factor in motivating behavioral change and the adoption of healthier lifestyles. 

Simona Kwon, DrPH, MPH, Assistant Professor at New York University School of Medicine presented on their initiative which focused on physical activity, fruit & vegetable intake and health related quality of life among older Chinese, Hispanics, and Blacks in New York City.  The study, which was done in collaboration with the New York University Prevention Research Center, NYC Center for the Study of Asian American Health in collaboration with Bronx Health REACH - NY CEED, Institute for Family Health, examined the significance of a healthy diet and physical active in older racial and ethnic minority populations. Their research highlighted the need to promote healthy living behaviors among aging racial and ethnic populations living in NYC. Their initiative also emphasized the importance of community driven system level policies in determining appropriate care and services for an aging racial/ethnic minority population.
ACA Enrollment Period Ends February 15th

The Open Enrollment period for the 2015 coverage through Health Insurance Exchange began on November 15, 2014 and runs through February 15, 2015.

If you are currently enrolled in a 2014 Marketplace plan, your benefit year ends December 31, 2014. To continue health coverage in 2015, you can renew your current health plan or choose a new plan through the Marketplace during the 2015 Open Enrollment period.

For more information regarding Important Marketplace deadlines, visit

HELEN members can access state Health Insurance Exchange and Medicaid Expansion information on

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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