Dec 2013/Jan 2014 National REACH Coalition Newsletter,
Issue 4

"Advancing Racial and Ethnic Health Equity"
Nelson Mandela's Legacy 
With the loss of Nelson Mandela in early December, many around the world mourn one of the most prominent figures of public and political life in the 20th century. Nelson Mandela's global vision reinforced the importance of equity for all. His passion for social justice has touched lives, not only in South Africa, but around the world.  He will be remembered as one of the most influential global leaders of our time. 

"I have fought against white domination and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the idea of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and equal opportunity."
-Nelson Mandela


The National REACH Coalition joined organizations around the world in observance of  World AIDS Day on December 1.

For the past 25 years, World AIDS Day has commemorated the lives of more than 35 million people who have died from the disease worldwide. Here in the United States, World AIDS Day continues to raise awareness of an epidemic that has affected more than 1.1 million Americans over the past 32 years.


                    Quick Facts                  

  • In recent years, the number of diagnoses of the HIV infection among Asians has increased while the number of diagnoses among Native Hawaiians/other Pacific Islanders has decreased. 
  • Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM),1 particularly young black/African American MSM, are most seriously affected by HIV.
  • Hispanics/Latinos represented 16% of the population but accounted for 21% of new HIV infections in 2012
  • By race, blacks/African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV.


              What's Your Status?

The HIV Testing Sites & Care Services Locator is a first-of-its-kind, location-based search tool that allows you to search for testing services, housing, health centers and other service providers.



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:

  It's Never Too Late To Support the NRC
During this holiday season, we ask you to consider making a donation to the NRC in support of our mission to advance racial and ethnic health equity. 

We would like to thank all of our supporters who have already generously donated funds during this time, and encourage those who have yet made a donation to consider doing so today. Join us in building a healthier future for all communities of color across the U.S.

            Thank You and Happy Holidays from our NRC Family to yours!                  
 Tips To a Healthier and Happier New Year

                             5 Healthy Tips to Carry Us Into 2014

Whatever your situation, there are steps you can take to improve your health. Here
are a few useful tips from the
Net Doctor for a safe and healthy new year.

1) Stop smoking 
Addiction to tobacco is both physical and psychological. Quitting smoking is one of the most difficult and common resolutions every year. There are useful tips and resources from The American Lung Association to help adult and teen smokers quit for good and have a healthier new year.          
2) Maintain a Healthy Weight
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight is important for your overall health, and can prevent and control certain diseases and conditions. The National Health Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) offers key recommendations for achieving a healthy weight.
3) Drink Less
When you're out, choose more diluted alcoholic drinks, such as white wine spritzers. The first step is to look at how much you drink and compare that amount to the recommended daily guidelines. The Mayo Clinic shares additional health benefits from moderate alcohol consumption.


4) Stay Fit and Active
Physical activity not only contributes to your overall health, but it also increases mental clarity throughout the day. Choose something that you enjoy for fun. Why not try walking, running, Zumba or aerobics? The National Institute of Health (NIH), offers techniques to perform strength exercises and maintain an active lifestyle.
5) Get more sleep  
Eight hours of sleep per night is essential to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning, including weekends.The National Sleep Foundation offers tips to good sleep hygiene and the best sleep practices.                                                                                  
NRC's New CTG Grantees

Introduction to the New 2013-2014 CTG Sub-Awardees

The NRC was one of 3 national networks to receive a 5–year Acceleration Award through the CDC's Community Transformation Grant (CTG) program in 2011. The NRC-CTG program will continue to support, disseminate, and amplify the evidence-based strategies for health improvement in African-American/ Black, Hispanic/Latino, Asian, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaskan Native populations. Through a competitive application process, the NRC distributes funds to successful applicants and has chosen its new cohort of 2013-2014 CTG sub-awardees. We look forward to a year of work dedicated to improving the health and wellness of racial and ethnic communities.

         Congratulations to the new NRC-CTG Sub-Awardees:
·       American Samoa Community Cancer Coalition: Cancer was found to be the second leading cause of death in American Samoa, according to a 2004 National Cancer Institute (NCI) assessment.  The American Samoa Community Cancer Coalition was initially formed to reduce the incidence of cancer morbidity and mortality on the island. The CTG funding will provide an opportunity to expand the coalition's mission to improve healthy living among the residents of American Samoa. Media campaigns will promote healthy eating habits and stress the importance of yearly preventive health screenings for local residents.

·       Healthy Heritage Movement: The Healthy Heritage Movement is an organization designed to decrease the disproportionate number of African Americans affected by diet-related chronic diseases and food security issues in Riverside, California. The CTG program will increase awareness about the importance of proper nutrition; and offer healthier alternatives through trainings, interactive workshops and healthcare screenings for local residents.
   Healthy Heritage's recent community event increased public awareness on the importance of healthcare screening in the African American community.
·       National Kidney Foundation of MI: The NKFMI will work in Northeast Detroit with African American youth to increase healthy eating and physical activities through an evidence-based intervention called, NAP SACC (Nutrition and Physical Activity Self-Assessment for Child Care).The overall goal for NAP SACC is to improve the nutritional quality of food served, staff-child interactions, and center nutrition and physical activity policies.

National Kidney Foundation of Michigan is working to increase physical activity with the local Detroit residents.

·       Oakland County Health Division: The Oakland County Health Division identifies real public health issues affecting the community and addresses needs with cost effective services. In order to reduce the devastating effects of obesity and chronic disease within the City of Pontiac, Michigan; Oakland County Health Division (OCHD) in partnership with the Healthy Pontiac, We Can! Coalition (HP,WC!),  developed three interventions to increase access to local healthy eating and physical activity opportunities for local residents. The CTG program will allow the division to focus on promoting and encouraging healthy behaviors; and increase accessibility of health services for African Americans and Hispanics residing in Pontiac, Michigan.  

·       South County YMCASouth County YMCA-Florida, serves Hispanic/Latinos in the Bonita Springs area who suffer from a high burden of disease and health disparities. Diabetes disproportionately affects the Hispanic population, and tends to strike Hispanics at younger ages than the non-Hispanic white population. 
 The CTG program will help increase healthy eating and physical activity environments within local child care centers, and improve nutritional offerings for youth. 
South County's YMCA works with childcare centers to implement strategies and policies necessary to increase the amount of physical activity offered to youth.
·       Spirit of Hidalgo: The Spirit of Hidalgo community aims to improve food access among Hispanic/Latinos in Hidalgo County, New Mexico, by instituting health food procurement guidelines.  The CTG program will create a farmer’s markets in the local area, and bring opportunities for future partnerships with local growers and businesses in the Hidalgo County area.  The healthy produce will jumpstart a healthy food movement in the area, and expand local business growth at the same time.
Spirit of Hidalgo is eager to introduce healthier food options to their community members.
·       Treasure Valley YMCA: This YMCA’s goals include improving healthy eating and physical activity environments for Hispanics/Latinos in Canyon County, Idaho. The CTG initiative will contribute to the implementation of the Y’s Healthy Eating & Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards in preschools and after-school programs in the area. The YMCA will help nurture childcare development by providing a safe place for them to learn foundational skills and nutritional value.

 CTG Action Institute Event Welcomes New Sub-Awardees

In early December, the NRC joined its National Network partners, the Y-USA and ALA, to host the 2013 CTG Action Institute event in Dallas, TX.  Attendees developed a shared vision for the program, and networked with peer leaders from other communities to share experiences and lessons learned from past initiatives.

The event, which is designed to expand the awardees’ collective thinking regarding vision, priorities, and next steps, included notable speakers and presenters, such as Dr. Eric Walsh, Pasadena's Public Health Officer; and Heather Hodge, Director of Chronic Disease Prevention Programs with YMCA of the USA. 

CTG sub-recipients from the Spirit of Hidalgo (Hidalgo County, NM) discussed useful resources and tools during the Action Institute event.

Members of the Community Leadership Team for 
South County YMCA (Bonita Springs, FL), all met to attend an informative session at the Action Institute event.

Closing the Healthcare Gap

A need still exists for programs committed to the elimination of Health Disparities

In response to the racial and ethnic health disparity within the United States, the NRC supports local communities in the development and implementation of interventions that address health disparities within communities of color. NRC continues the work begun by REACH communities in 1999, and supports programs and initiatives primarily involved with community-base interventions across the U.S.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, compelling evidence indicate that race and ethnicity correlate with persistent, and often increasing, health disparities among U.S. populations and demands national attention.

The demographic changes that are anticipated over the next decade magnify the importance of addressing health disparities. Groups currently experiencing poorer health status are expected to grow as a proportion of the total U.S. population; therefore, the future health of America as a whole will be influenced substantially by our success in improving the health within communities of color. A national focus on health disparities is particularly important as major changes unfold in the way in which health care is delivered and financed.

Eliminating health disparities will require new knowledge about the determinants of disease, causes of health disparities, and effective interventions for prevention and treatment. It will also require improving access to the benefits of society, including quality preventive and treatment services, as well as innovative ways of working in partnership with health care systems, State and local governments, tribal governments, academia, national and community-based organizations, and communities.

The 2011 Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies (JCPES) report, In The Nation's Interest: Equity in Access to Health Care, updated the nation's progress in "reducing barriers" experienced by minority groups in obtaining equitable access to health care.

The study's key negative findings include:
  • A large number of low-income Americans (persons with incomes below 200 percent of poverty) do not get routine care during the year, with Hispanics and African Americans the "least likely to get such care." In addition, low-income persons, regardless of race, spend more out-of-pocket income (7-11 percent) on medical expenses than higher income Americans (1-2 percent);
  • "Disparities in health coverage are both geographic- and race-specific." Hispanics in the southern United States are nearly three times as likely to be uninsured as their northeastern counterparts (55 percent versus 19 percent), and African Americans in the South are 1.5 times as likely to be uninsured as their counterparts in the northeast (37 percent versus 25 percent)
“It is clear that more needs to be done to address the gaps and to better
assist Americans disproportionately impacted by the burden of poor health,” said Chesley Richards, M.D., M.P.H., Director of CDC’s Office of Public Health Scientific Services.

NRC Partners with the National African
American Tobacco Prevention Network

The NRC is pleased to announce its partnership with the NAATPN, one of eight CDC-funded networks that engages national and statewide partners by providing technical assistance in tobacco control and prevention activities. 

 In its role, NAATPN maintains and strengthens its national network by: 

· educating and sharing information about tobacco's history, facts, and prevalence

· assessing the impact of tobacco and cancer disparities in African American populations

· identifying gaps in data, interventions and/or research involving African Americans and tobacco use and cancer health disparities

Since its inception, NAATPN has facilitated and implemented numerous tobacco control activities that are based on the recommendations of CDC's Best Practices for Tobacco Control Programs and the Guide to Community Preventive Services. The NRC looks forward to a successful partnership, and achieving progress regarding tobacco control within the African American communities.


Year in Review


2013 Accomplishments
In September 2012, the NRC was awarded a 5-year grant, which was distributed through sub-awards to 15 community-based organizations engaged in developing strategies to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities. Due to recent CDC operating budget cuts, the REACH 2012 programs was reduced and eliminated.  Three remarkable REACH sub-awardees will end their program initiatives by January 2014.  Although the projects were short-lived, the work speaks volumes on the impact a community-led effort can make to address racial and ethnic health disparities. Despite the setback, the NRC will continue to pursue opportunities to build community partnerships, and remains committed to supporting and promoting local efforts to achieve health equity.
  • Center for Community Health, Education, and Research, Dorchester, MA
    Center for Community Health, Education, & Research worked with its leadership team to improve the Haitian communities' awareness and knowledge of healthy eating and physical activity. CCHER offered 6 training sessions on healthy eating and physical activity over a two-week period.  
    In addition to these trainings, CCHER continues to produce a weekly Saturday television show to the entire local community covering the topics of healthy eating and physical activity.  CCHER also offered cooking classes to community residents and is hosting a healthy recipe contest for the creation of a culturally-tailored cookbook with healthy traditional Haitian food options.                                              




  • Korean Community Services, New York, NY
    Korean Community Services aimed to improve the nutritional value in culturally-traditional foods by educating New York's Asian populations about healthy sodium consumption, and working with restaurants to reduce sodium content in their menu options. 
    Collaborations with local physicians, nurses, and restaurant owners has allowed KCS to successfully engage New York Asian populations on improving their nutritional intake.

  • To Our Children’s Future with Health, Pennsylvania, PA
    To Our Children’s Future With Health Inc. worked to improve access to physical activity in the West Philadelphia community. Through community-based awareness efforts, TOCFWH reached an estimated 5,000 residents in local housing developments. Information provided included physical-activity opportunities available in the neighborhood.  TOCFWH plans to continue raising awareness for residents on active living options, including a community walk, which is currently in the planning stages.  

2013 Accomplishments
In September, NRC's first cohort of CTG sub-recipients ended their program year. The 2012-2013 sub-awardees created positive social change in their local communities by  implementing initiatives that went above and beyond their original goals and objectives. Below, we highlight the impressive work these organizations accomplished during the 18-month contract period and congratulate them for a job well done.
  • Asian Pacific American Community Network, Minneapolis MN
    APA CommNet’s Bi-cultural Healthy Living program successfully secured partnerships with three community schools in North Minneapolis that now provide after-school physical activity and cultural exercises along with other social and health related classes for over 2,200 Asian American and Pacific Islander youth and their families.  Prior to this initiative, there were no culturally sensitive physical activity efforts catering to the Asian American/Pacific Islander communities in Minneapolis.  The Bi-Cultural Healthy Living Program incorporated Hmong cultural dance, martial arts and Tai Chi in schools facilities. In addition, APA CommNet’s multi-sector partnership facilitated conversations about community safety issues with the law enforcement agencies and the Asian American community.  As a result, Asian Americans in Minneapolis have access to safe and culturally appropriate methods to be physically active.       
  • Caffee, Caffee and Associates, Hattiesburg, MS
    Caffee, Caffee, and Associates Public Health Foundation, a community-based organization, successfully implemented a tobacco control program in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where 63% of African Americans are considered at-risk to health repercussions of exposure to secondhand smoke and tobacco use.  Due to CCA’s partnerships, 15 local and 92 churches across Mississippi declared their grounds tobacco-free, and committed to make healthy food and beverage choices available to their congregants. CCA’s prevention efforts also resulted in four universities/college campuses becoming a tobacco-free environment. CCA also provided educational outreach in churches, farmers-markets, and community events.  Overall, CCA helped over 150,000 residents access healthy smoke-free environments within their local community.  
    Caffee, Caffee and Associates is committed to tobacco-free environments for Mississippi residents.
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, Sault Ste. Marie, MI
    Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan’s “Ondamoonzhe Vai” Nursing a Child Project worked with the 12 tribes across Michigan that did not have a breast-feeding worksite policy in place.  Their initiative was based on research, which found that breastfeeding is an obesity prevention strategy.  ITCM developed a culturally tailored Breastfeeding Worksite Policy that provided a safe and comfortable space for nursing mothers. ITCM’s initiative impacted over 150,000 Native Americans in various worksites such as casinos, businesses, and tribal worksites. 

  • Mariposa Community Health Center, Nogales, AZ
    Mariposa Community Health Center brought healthy and affordable food options to an estimated 2000 Hispanics/Latinos in the Nogales, Arizona area. Through a weekly Mercado (farmer's market), the local businesses, farmers and growers became engaged in what is now one of the most successful health food initiatives in the area. 

    The weekly Farmer's Market (Mercado) brought healthy food options to community members in the Nogales, Arizona area.
  • Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
    MUSC instituted Chronic Disease wellness polices that increased access to healthcare for African Americans in rural Georgetown, South Carolina, where 1 in 5 live in poverty.  MUSC worked with 9 health provider offices to train lay community leaders to provide hypertension and diabetes education and screenings. As a result, approximately 100,000 residents were offered free health screenings and/or educational resources regarding the detriments of high-blood pressure in community settings such as churches, community centers, and homes of the community residents. 

  • New Hampshire Multi-Cultural Health Coalition, Manchester, NH
    New Hampshire Minority Health Coalition increased chronic disease prevention efforts to over 2,000 African American and Latinos in Manchester and Nashua, NH.  The coalition increased public awareness about chronic disease self-management programs for communities of color. Their approach included training community health workers on the appropriate strategies and techniques available to engage community members in creating healthier lifestyles.

                                   Chefs from the Muckleshoot Tribal Community                                            
  • Northwest Indian College, Bellingham, WA
    Northwest Indian College increased education and access to healthy traditional foods by instituting 7 food procurement policies in 7 tribal kitchens. The kitchens served an estimated 3,500 Muckleshoot Indians within the Auburn, Washington area and incorporated culturally-relevant foods that were essential for healthy eating habits.

  • University of Alabama at Birmingham
    University of Alabama at Birmingham, successfully gathered community members together to increase access to physical activity environments for over 19,000 residents.  The UAB brought a multi-generational approach to their initiative, which served seniors, working adults and youth throughout the community.  The UAB instituted worksite initiatives in 6 workplaces across Birmingham and Bessemer, Alabama.  Successful partnerships with local schools, police departments and government offices allowed this initiative to be a great success.
The UAB made sure physical activity remained a priority for residents in the state of Alabama.


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