Institute’s Bronx Health REACH Program featured in two New York City Publications

The Institute’s Bronx Health REACH program, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), was featured in two New York City publications. Made up of a coalition of community based organizations, health centers, faith-based institutions and others, REACH works to address health care inequity in underserved areas, and the underlying factors that impact fitness and wellness. In “Fighting Obesity in Highbridge,” published by The Uptown Chronicle, Sigrid Aarons, REACH’s schools project coordinator, explains why the coalition provides policy and education coordination for schools and businesses in the area. “It’s a multi-faceted issue. The schools aren’t the [only] problem…most unhealthy eating takes place in bodegas and fast food restaurants near the schools.” Diana Johnson, a health educator with the program, also notes that, “Compared to other boroughs, the South Bronx has a lot more fast food restaurants and bodegas. There is a large disparity there.”

In another article, written by REACH project director Charmaine Ruddock, the focus is on medical care disparities faced disproportionally by African American and Hispanic patients in New York City. In her article “Top Hospitals Offer Separate and Unequal Care,” Ms. Ruddock describes how private hospitals currently separate patients based upon their method of payment. People with private insurance go into one system—with coordinated care in faculty practices—while those on Medicaid or uninsured are seen in outpatient clinics. “Because African-Americans and Hispanics in New York City are more than twice as likely as whites to be publicly insured or uninsured, patient steering by insurance status disproportionately hurts people of color.”

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Bronx Health REACH was formed in 1999 to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes in diabetes and heart disease in African American and Latino communities in the southwest Bronx. Since then, the Bronx Health REACH coalition, led by the Institute for Family Health, has grown to include over 70 community-based organizations, health care providers, faith-based institutions, housing, and social service agencies. In 2007, Bronx Health REACH was recognized as a Center of Excellence in the Elimination of Disparities by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and began providing Legacy Project grants to other ommunity coalitions working to eliminate disparities in healthcare. Building on the progress made over the last decade, Bronx Health REACH will continue to work with community members, coalition members, partners, and funders to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes once and for all.