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National REACH program could be discontinued as soon as March 23

Please contact your Congress members and urge them to preserve the ONLY current federal source of community-based funding to address racial and ethnic health disparities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program has been zeroed out in spending bills currently under consideration in the House and Senate. This short-sighted move threatens the only current federal source of community-based funding to improving health and wellbeing that directly addresses the wide racial and ethnic health disparities that exist in the US. 



Since 1999, REACH grantees have worked to eliminate health disparities in infant mortality, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure (African-Americans are 40% more likely to have high blood pressure than their white peers), type II diabetes (Latinos are 66% more likely and African-Americans are 77% more likely than their white peers to be diagnosed with type II diabetes), breast and cervical cancer (Latino and African-American women are 41% and 44% more likely to develop cervical cancer than white women), and immunization, among others.

The 49 REACH grantees receive a total of $50.95 million to provide innovative programming that reduces chronic illnesses and encourages healthy lifestyles in underserved populations. They are located in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia. (For a full list of REACH grantees, see the CDC website.)

REACH grantees’ community-based approaches provide a unique opportunity to address the root causes of health disparities and ensure that healthy opportunities are available to everyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. And they’re working. According to surveys conducted by the CDC, REACH programs have improved health conditions in the communities they serve. For example, 

  • Smoking prevalence for Asian men in four REACH communities in California, Washington, and Massachusetts declined significantly. These decreases, ranging from 2.6% to 5.7%, were greater in REACH communities compared to the national decline.
  • A REACH awardee in Boston addressed health disparities in neighborhoods and schools most affected by asthma, decreasing asthma-related emergency-department visits by 68% and hospitalizations by 84%.
  • In South Carolina, a REACH program increased knowledge and awareness around type II diabetes self-management and prevention, resulting in a 44% reduction in amputations for African Americans.
  • A REACH awardee in New England engaged local Latino communities through community-based systems of care and education about cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions. Through these efforts, 71.9% of Latino patients with type II diabetes were able to bring their total cholesterol under 200mg/dL.

Funding for the REACH programs will be discontinued unless it is included in the FY 18 and FY 19 budget negotiations, which are currently underway. Please contact Congress TODAY.


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