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REACH Program Impact

What to know

REACH is CDC’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program. Since 1999, it has shown that locally based, culturally tailored solutions can be effective. Such solutions can reverse health gaps in diverse US communities in urban, rural, and tribal areas.

USA map showing people of many ages, races, and ethnicities with REACH at bottom.

Impact across REACH communities

REACH recipients receive funding for a limited time. Here are some highlights from past REACH programs:

2014 to 2018

  • More than 2.9 million people had better access to healthy foods and beverages.
  • More than 322,000 people benefited from smokefree and tobacco-free interventions.
  • About 1.4 million people had more opportunities to be physically active.
  • Over 830,000 people had access to local chronic disease programs that are linked to clinics.

2009 to 2012

  • Smoking prevalence went down 7.5% among non-Hispanic Black people and 4.5% among Hispanic people. The decrease was an average of 2.5% a year.
  • Smoking prevalence for Asian men in four REACH communities went down significantly. Declines ranged from 2.6% to 5.7%. Declines were larger in REACH communities than in the overall United States.
  • The prevalence of obesity went down in REACH communities, but not in comparison populations.
  • In REACH communities that focused on heart disease or diabetes, the percentage of adults who reported eating five or more fruits and vegetables daily went up 3.9% among non-Hispanic Black people and 9.3% among Hispanic people.
  • The prevalence of healthy habits went up significantly among Hispanic people who said they had high blood pressure in six REACH communities. These healthy habits include:
    • Taking medication for high blood pressure.
    • Changing eating patterns.
    • Cutting down on salt.
    • Reducing alcohol.
  • Cholesterol screening went up in REACH communities, but went down or stayed the same among the same populations nationwide. These increases were:
    • 74% to 78% among African American people.
    • 58% to 71% among Hispanic people.
    • 53% to 72% among Asian people.

2001 to 2009

  • The percentage of Hispanic people who said they had high blood pressure and were taking medication for it increased from less than 50% to more than 66%.
  • Pneumonia vaccination rates went up from 50.5% to 60.5% in Black communities, from 46.0% to 58.5% in Hispanic communities, from 37.5% to 59.7% in Alaska Native and Pacific Islander communities, and from 67.3% to 78.7% in American Indian communities.

Community success

Here are some highlights of community successes among specific REACH programs:

2014 to 2018

REACH partners in DeKalb County, Georgia, increased access to healthy foods for about 242,000 African American people. They sold more than 1,000 units of fruits and vegetables each week and reported a 34% increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables among customers.

Creighton University REACH partnered with the Omaha Housing Authority in Nebraska to create safer places for physical activity for more than 330 residents of three neighborhoods where residents have lower incomes.

In Orange County, California, the REACH program increased access to smokefree environments for more than 100,000 Asian American residents. The program's efforts increased the number of commercial shopping plazas with voluntary smokefree policies.

Partners in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, developed the Produce Prescription Program for Hypertension to connect residents to healthy eating information and resources. More than 600 patients with lower incomes and high blood pressure gained better access to nutrition education and affordable produce.

The Toiyabe Indian Health Project increased healthy food production in community gardens. As a result, more than 3,000 American Indians in seven tribes and two tribal communities have more access to healthy foods.

In Los Angeles, California, the local Community Health Councils worked with the African Americans Building a Legacy of Health program. Together, they increased access to healthy and affordable food and beverages through efforts to change institutional practices and promote local investment. These efforts helped gain support from California's $200 million Fresh Food Financing Fund, which seeks to eliminate food deserts and address childhood obesity.

2009 to 2012

The Boston Children's Hospital Community Asthma Initiative in Massachusetts offered a 12-month case management program for children with asthma. After participating in the program, 79% fewer children with asthma, many from Hispanic and African American communities, had to be hospitalized because of their condition. In addition, 56% had fewer asthma-related emergency department visits and 42% had fewer missed school days.

The Greater Lawrence Family Health Center is in the Merrimack Valley of Massachusetts. It used community-based systems of care and education to help eliminate health disparities related to cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases and conditions among Latino communities across New England. As a result, 71.9% of Latino patients with diabetes were able to reduce their total cholesterol level below 200mg/dL.

The South Eastern African American Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities in Diabetes program operates in the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing. It worked to improve health care education delivery systems for African American people with diabetes. The program increased knowledge and awareness about diabetes self-management and prevention in South Carolina's Charleston and Georgetown counties. These efforts resulted in a 44% reduction in diabetes-related amputations for African American people.


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