The Allegheny County Health Department is teaming up with local and national partners to address disparities in African-American communities. The REACH program, a CDC-funded initiative, aims to achieve health equity and prevent chronic diseases in the East End (East Hills, Garfield, Homewood, Larimer, Lincoln-Lemington-Belmar, Wilkinsburg), Hill District, Mon Valley (Clairton, North Versailles, Duquesne, McKeesport, North Braddock, Rankin) and the Northside. Through a diverse coalition, more than 25 partners will increase access to healthy foods and physical activities. Partners will also provide breastfeeding supports.
In addition to individual behavioral changes that improve personal and community health outcomes, there are also changes that must take place within systems, such as healthcare, grocery stores, farmers’ markets and transportation, to truly bring about equity and ensure that residents live well, regardless of their zip codes or race.
The REACH coalition has examined various local inequities, related to nutrition, physical activity, and access to care. Over the next five years, the coalition will focus efforts on healthy food policies; new or improved pedestrian, bike and transit routes; and, a pharmacist navigation and referral program.
Evaluator and Technical Consultant:
- University of Pittsburgh
- Allegheny County Economic Development Department
- Duquesne University School of Pharmacy
- Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
- Healthy Start, Inc.
- Just Harvest
- Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle
- Pittsburgh Food Policy Council
- Healthy Start
- The Food Trust
- UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
- + Dozens of Community Partners
REACH coalition members will work to increase the number of places offering healthier food in African-American communities through helping small businesses and corner stores buy healthy foods, creating nutrition guidelines for key organizations, increasing EBT/SNAP access at Farmers’ Markets and Farm Stands; and increasing breastfeeding support.
The REACH coalition will increase access to opportunities for physical activity for African-American residents of all ages. Plus the coalition will work to make communities more walking and biking friendly.
The REACH project is expanding the use of pharmacist navigators to increase referrals to, and access to community-based health programs. Community residents may participate in health screenings and preventive care programs offered by the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy and the YMCA, all at no cost. Additionally, the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank is educating healthcare providers on food insecurity.
The REACH initiative bridges the gap between government, schools, churches, nonprofits and community members. The ultimate goal is to invest resources and programming into African-Americans neighborhoods, to promote optimal health and living well.
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