Racial and Ethic Approach to Community Health
In September 2014, the Department of Family medicine and community health at the University of Hawaii, John A. Burns school of medicine was awarded the Racial and Ethnic Approach to Community Health grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to work with the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands, which includes American Samoa on tobacco and nutrition policy, system, and environment interventions. The REACH grant practices community appropriate strategies for addressing health disparities. This is a community based participatory approach that strengthens the existing collaboration of the local coalitions, health departments, and their partners from various settings and
disciplines to act on risk factors contributing to their chronic disease.
Due to the high rates on Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) in the pacific, the REACH project goals are:
1) To reduce use and exposure by increasing access to smoke-free environment.
2) To increase access to environment with healthy nutrition options.
The success of the REACH project is to improve the health of American Samoa by:
– Implementing locally tailored policy, system, and environment (PSE) interventions:
– Supporting the implementation, evaluation, and dissemination: and
– Reaching 75% of the population in American Samoa by September 2018.
The approach is to implement a policy change with the greatest amount of the population. With 98% of the population in American Samoa being Christian it was decided that the focus would be on religious organizations within the territories. In year 1-3 the Roman Catholic Church and the Congressional Christian Church of American Samoa signed commitments that would develop organizational policies which will:
– Increasing accessibility of healthy beverages such as water and coconut at church sponsored events
– Decrease the exposure of second hand smoke to church members by eliminating the use of cigarettes on church grounds.
CDC was able to add a 4th year to American Samoa grant and this year the Methodist church will sign their commitment on November 18, 2018.