PRESS RELEASE

Capuano Works to Find Additional Funding for REACH Program
Program Targets the Elimination of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care


June 24, 2005

Congressman Mike Capuano secured the support of Chairman Ralph Regula (R-OH) and Ranking Member David Obey (D-WI) of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies to work with him to increase funding for the REACH 2010 Program by $5 million. The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program is one of our nation's most essential tools in the fight to eliminate racial health disparities.

The purpose of the REACH program is to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in six critical areas: Infant Mortality; Breast and Cervical Cancer; Cardiovascular Diseases; Diabetes; HIV Infections/AIDS; and Child and Adult Immunizations. Studies from respected groups such as the Institute of Medicine have shown that minorities suffer treatment disparities and a higher mortality rate in these and other crucial areas. In addition, minorities are far less likely to have health insurance coverage than whites.

"The REACH program provides critical funding to community groups and health care professionals to fight these disparities on the ground in cities and towns throughout the nation. Adequate funding is critical to the success of the program," stated Congressman Mike Capuano.

Congressman Capuano's effort is necessary because the REACH program is losing $5 million in funding for fiscal year 2006. Although the program is level-funded in this year's budget, it had received an additional $5 million in each of the last six years from the NIH National Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD). Unfortunately, because the funding agreement expired, the NCMHD funding is no longer available for the REACH program.

If the NCMHD funding is not replaced, the REACH Program may not be able to meet its obligation to existing grant recipients. Many of the community groups that administer REACH programs are in the midst of multi-year agreements and their efforts to reduce our nation's racial health disparities will be severely undercut with this loss of funding.

In Boston alone, two highly successful programs, the REACH Boston 2010 Breast and Cervical Cancer program and the Center for Community Health Education and Research (CCHER) Haitian REACH 2010 HIV Coalition have been told to expect funding cuts if CDC is not provided supplemental funding.

"I look forward to working with Chairman Regula and Ranking Member Obey to secure additional funding for this important program as the Appropriations process moves forward," said Rep. Capuano.

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Contact: Alison M. Mills (617) 621-6208