While Congress struggles with the passage of the 2011 budget, President Obama’s 2012 budget calls for the elimination of the national Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) US program. Cutting this program would undermine existing efforts to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities and reneges on the nation’s commitment to invest in community-based solutions to eliminate racial and ethnic health inequalities.
The REACH initiative was created in 1999 in an effort to uniquely and effectively address the health disparities that afflict communities of color. Since its inception, REACH efforts have positively influenced a number of health outcomes including increasing vaccination rates among people of color and reducing infant mortality and risk factors associated with the incidence of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. California has seven REACH grantees: Community Health Councils, Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, Public Health Institute, University of California Los Angeles, Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Special Service for Groups, and YMCA of the Santa Clara Valley.
The National Health Equity Coalition is coordinating efforts to preserve the REACH program in the FY2012 budget at least at the current funding level ($39.8 million) as a stand-alone program under the CDC or as a stand-alone program within the Prevention Trust Fund of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Please visit the National Health Equity Coalition for the sign-on letter and postcard to support the preservation of REACH US program funding.