Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health
REACH is a national program administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities. REACH celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2019.
Through REACH, recipients plan and carry out local, culturally appropriate programs to address a wide range of health issues among African Americans, American Indians, Hispanics/Latinos, Asian Americans, Alaska Natives, and Pacific Islanders.
Why is ending health gaps important?
A core principle of public health is that every person should be able to reach his or her full health potential. CDC seeks to remove barriers to health linked to race or ethnicity, education, income, location, or other social factors.
Health gaps remain widespread among racial and ethnic minority groups.
- In 2015-2016, Hispanic (47.0%) and non-Hispanic black (46.8%) adults had a higher prevalence of obesity than non-Hispanic white adults (37.9%).
- In 2011-2014, the prevalence of diabetes pdf icon[PDF-176KB] was 18.0% in non-Hispanic black adults, 16.8% in Hispanic adults, and 9.6% in non-Hispanic white adults.
How are REACH projects funded?
REACH gives funds to state and local health departments, tribes, universities, and community-based organizations. Recipients use these funds to build strong partnerships to guide and support the program’s work. Along with funding, CDC provides expert support to REACH recipients.
Lessie Williams is the first recipient of the REACH Lark Galloway-Gilliam Award for Advancing Health Equity. Williams retired in July 2020 after 20 years with Highland Haven, a non-profit organization in Portland, Oregon. For the last five years, she served as Executive Director.
The award is named in memory of Lark Galloway-Gilliam, the founding executive director of California’s Community Health Councils, Inc.
CDC funds 31 recipients to reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic populations with the highest burden of chronic disease such as hypertension, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Recipients work through culturally tailored interventions to address preventable risk behaviors, including tobacco use, poor nutrition, and physical inactivity.
Racial and ethnic health gaps are complex. They are affected by factors related to individuals, communities, society, culture, and the environment. To address these factors, REACH partners bring together members of the community to plan and carry out many different strategies to address many different health issues and provide impact to local communities.
Since 1999, REACH recipients have used community-based, participatory approaches to identify, develop, and disseminate effective strategies for addressing health disparities.
- Health Equity Toolkit
- Practitioner’s Guide for Advancing Health Equity
- Promoting Health Equity—A Resource to Help Communities Address Social Determinants of Health pdf icon[PDF-xxKB]
- The Power to Reduce Health Disparities: Voices from REACH Communities pdf icon[PDF-6.2 MB]
- REACHing Across the Divide: Finding Solutions to Health Disparities pdf icon[PDF-2.4MB]
- Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Black and Minority Health (Heckler Report, 1985, 241 pages) pdf icon[PDF-35.4MB]external icon
- Community Health Online Resource Center (search using the term “disparities”)
- Minority Population Profilesexternal icon, including insurance coverage and health status
- Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Data, Trends, and Maps (choose race/ethnicity in the “view by” field)
- Chronic Disease Indicators (choose race/ethnicity in the “view by” field)