The Institute’s Charmaine Ruddock is Named Chair of the Board of Directors of the National REACH Coalition

Washington, DC (October 23, 2014) – Charmaine Ruddock, MS, project director for the Institute’s Bronx Health REACH program, has been elected chair of the Board of Directors of the National REACH Coalition (NRC). The NRC leads a network of community-based organizations committed to the achievement of health equity among ethnic and racial minorities. The NRC was founded in 2004 as a unified entity of grantees of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program. The NRC’s mission is to increase the capacity and social capital of underserved racial and ethnic communities across the U.S. to achieve health equity. The Institute’s Bronx Health REACH program is one of its founding members.

Ms. Ruddock has served as vice chair of the NRC board since 2012 and prior to that was the Board’s secretary. She will serve a two-year term as chair of the 15-member board of directors, each of whom represents different urban and rural communities from 10 states across the nation, as well as major ethnic and racial groups. As chair, Ms. Ruddock will play a prominent role in championing REACH as an effective community based model to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities with policy makers at the federal, state and local level and with key health equity advocates in the philanthropic sector. “It is my honor to support the goals of the National REACH Coalition,” said Ms. Ruddock. “In the coming years, we’ll be focused on disseminating the REACH model more widely to community groups and potential funders across the country.”

Community leaders and policymakers interested in joining the national effort to eliminate health disparities can become a member of the NRC and/or the Healthy Equity Leadership and Exchange Network (HELEN). HELEN is a collaboration of the NRC, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the National Collaborative for Health Equity. Funded by a grant from Aetna, HELEN is a national forum where health equity advocates can share information about current policy issues with direct impact on health equity.

The Institute’s REACH program, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention since 1999, promotes community-based efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in the south Bronx. It leads a coalition of community and faith-based organizations, health advocates and service providers that has grown from five to 70 members over the past 15 years. Its work focuses on promoting improved health for community residents through widespread system and policy changes that will increase opportunities for healthy eating, physical activity, disease prevention and self-management, and access to quality health care.