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Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Status
The Health Challenge:
Despite great improvements in the overall health of the nation, a disproportionate number of Americans who are members of racial and ethnic minority groups lack access to or, for a host of reasons, fail to receive adequate preventive health services. As a result, African Americans, Alaska Natives, American Indians, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans and Pacific Islanders are more likely to have poor health and to die prematurely.
Healthy People 2010 - the nation's health objectives for the 21st century - has as one of its goals eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health. Under the guidance of the Department of Health and Human Services, several agencies are working together to plan and coordinate policy initiatives.
Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) 2010 serves as a cornerstone of CDC's efforts. Launched in 1999, REACH 2010 is a demonstration project through which CDC funds community coalitions to design and implement unique community-driven strategies to eliminate health disparities at the local level. Models deemed effective from these projects will be translated and shared with communities around the country. Projects focus on six priority areas, which are consistent with those identified by the Federal Initiative to Eliminate Health Disparities. These include: cardiovascular disease, immunizations, breast and cervical cancer screening and management, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and infant mortality.
This five-year project has two phases:
REACH 2010 was launched in fiscal year 1999 with $10 million in base funding, covering 32 projects. In fiscal year 2000, Congress appropriated $30 million to support REACH 2010. With this funding, CDC supported 38 community coalitions - 24 in the implementation phase and 14 in the planning phase. By September 2001, some 30 demonstration sites throughout the United States will be funded.
In fiscal year 2001, Congress appropriated $35 million to continue REACH 2010 projects and add a new emphasis on projects in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. Up to seven new capacity-building projects will be funded in these communities.
Examples of Community Projects
Working with its grant recipients and partners, CDC has developed an evaluation model to guide the collection of national data. CDC also has selected the University of South Carolina to develop evaluation guidance for REACH 2010 and other projects aimed at eliminating health disparities. To collect and analyze process and outcome evaluation measures, CDC has two evaluation contractors that assist the communities in warehousing and documenting evaluation findings from their projects, and conduct community-wide assessments in communities served by REACH 2010 projects.
Because racial and ethnic minority groups are expected to comprise an increasingly larger proportion of the U.S. population in coming years, the future health of America will be greatly influenced by our success in improving the health of these groups. Eliminating health disparities will require a national effort encompassing the public and private sectors, individuals and communities. A better understanding of the relationship between health status and different racial and ethnic minority backgrounds will enable communities to identify effective and culturally appropriate implementation strategies.
CDC will continue to spearhead the country's efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health by disseminating findings and carrying out the lessons learned from the REACH 2010 projects in communities across the country.
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CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national, and international organizations.
This page last updated May 14, 2002
United States Department of Health and Human Services