Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH)

The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) focuses on reducing non-communicable diseases among racial and ethnic groups in various communities. REACH project strives to make healthy choices easier by promoting healthy behaviors and chronic disease management.

In September 2020, the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (DFMCH) at the University of Hawai’i John A. Burns School of Medicine was awarded REACH funds to work with the United States Affiliated Pacific Islands (USAPI) on tobacco, physical activity, and community-clinical linkages policy, system, and environmental interventions. This 3-year REACH grant uses tailored community-based participatory approaches to identify and develop culturally appropriate strategies for addressing health disparities. This project strengthens the existing collaboration of the local coalitions, health departments, clinics, government agencies, community organizations, and other partners from various settings and disciplines to take action to address risk factors contributing to their chronic diseases.

The USAPI REACH project goals are to:

  1. Reduce tobacco use and exposure by implementing tobacco-free policies within worksites and traditional houses.
  2. Create activity-friendly routes to make it safe and convenient to increase access for walking, running, hiking, biking, etc.
  3. Promote and increase referral of individuals to available community health and preventive care programs through community health workers, health educators, pharmacists, and other health professionals.
JurisdictionTobaccoPhysical ActivityCommunity-Clinical Linkages
Voluntary smoke-free policies from 20ft to 25ft from entrances/exits, including awnings, at Micronesia Mall and Guam Premier Outlets, and signage to include e-cigarettes and smokeless tobaccoAdd painted crosswalks and lane markings, add more traffic signs, clear vegetation to improve safety and easy pathways at Tiyan entrance of Route 8 / Purple Heart Memorial HighwayBetween Northern Region Community Health Center and the Tobacco Free Guam Quitline and Community Nutrition Education Program
Republic of the Marshalls Islands
Expand smoke-free policies at Majuro Hospital/Ministry of Health and Human Services (MOHHS) and the Majuro AirportAdd traffic safety signs, repaint crosswalks, add speed humps and solar lights outside Marshall Islands High SchoolBetween MOHHS clinic and the Wellness Center’s 2 Weto community programs, who provide tobacco cessation, exercise classes, and cooking demonstration
Republic of Palau
Strengthen and enhance Ministry of Health and Human Services (MHHS) betel nut and tobacco-free policyRerouting of traffic and adding traffic safety signs and paint markings for a Go Slow Zone at Koror Elementary School-Refer MHHS employees through the Operation Strong Wellness Program
-Between Koror Community Health Center and gardening, exercise program, and tobacco cessation
FSM Kosrae State
Increase smoke-free policy from 20 ft to 25-30ft and ban betel nut use at government agenciesAdd painted crosswalks and delineators, add traffic signs in Utwe MunicipalityBetween Tafunsak and Utwe Community Health Centers and tobacco cessation and exercise programs
FSM Pohnpei State
Develop new or strengthen existing tobacco-free policies at municipal “nahs” (traditional houses) through resolutions-Repaint crosswalks and install traffic signs at schools
-Add distance markers and pedestrian safety measures at Dekehtik Causeway
Establish referral between Lukop and Pahlangas Community Health Centers, and Island Food Community of Pohnpei and Lien Alem (substance abuse counseling, exercise, and nutrition counseling)

Major intervention activities to reach goals include:

  • Conducting community assessments pre- and post-intervention.
  • Securing and continuing partnerships with local coalition groups, government agencies, health programs, and other stakeholders to develop and carry out action plans and sustain the project.
  • Conducting workshops and educational training for department staff, coalitions, and other stakeholders.
  • Disseminating monthly messages through the media (newspaper, radio, bulletins) and social media (Facebook) to increase knowledge and awareness and for the promotion of REACH interventions.
  • Creating linguistically and culturally appropriate signage.
  • Monitoring and evaluating the progress of the intervention activities and the effectiveness of the program at achieving its outcomes.

Current USAPI REACH staff:

  • Guam: Ms. Charise Mabute
  • RMI: Ms. Lise Johnson
  • Palau: Ms. Carla Ngirailemesang
  • Kosrae State, FSM: Ms. Jacoline Esau
  • Pohnpei State, FSM: TBD
UH REACH Staff group photo
UH REACH Staff group photo