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REACH

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Research, Education, and Community Health Coalition (REACH) of Galveston County is a 501(c)3 non-profit that was first established in 2014 by Preventive Medicine and Community Health (PMCH) faculty Dr. Sharon Croisant and former PMCH faculty Christine Arcari. REACH aims to facilitate collaborative research and service efforts between Galveston County-area community leaders and policymakers with UTMB scientists. 

Are Galveston youth at high risk for depression and suicide?
Are there working groups who can assist recovering drug and alcohol abusers?

Questions like these are formed by members of REACH, and the group collaboratively answers them and publicizes information to bridge the gap between research efforts at UTMB and the community. Simultaneously, the group aims to understand our communities' needs. REACH engages more than 20 UTMB centers and institutes and nearly 40 community organizations, creating a vast network of members who represent a wide array of interests.

REACH operates through a number of mechanisms, including our offer-and-ask process (see below), our workgroups, and through our information sharing network.  Current workgroups include standing and ad hoc groups.  Standing workgroups include our executive committee, our by-laws and membership committee, our comprehensive community health needs assessment committee (see below), and our newly forming health policy committee.  Example ad hoc workgroups include groups focusing on children’s health, mental health, and other key issues determined by the group.

Membership includes clinicians, researchers, policy makers, public health agencies, social service providers, educators, cultural and faith-based organizations, and many more. By bringing together members from diverse backgrounds, REACH is eliminating redundancies in research, education, and community health initiatives, thus leveraging time, funding, and efforts by all groups involved. Members of REACH are very enthusiastic about multi-directional communication and actively participate in research.


Neil Treble
Chair
Family Engagement Specialist

Texas City Independent School District

Past-Chair
John Prochaska, DrPH, MPH
Asst. Professor – Preventive Medicine & Community Health
University of Texas Medical Branch

Chair-Elect
Emma Tumilty, PhD
Fellow – Institute for Translational Research
University of Texas Medical Branch

Secretary
Bernadette McKinney, JD, PhD
Assistant Professor – Institute for Medical Humanities
University of Texas Medical Branch

REACH Partnerships

REACH Members

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Comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment

To assist the REACH coalition with determining what areas it would like to focus on moving forward, Dr. John Prochaska, from UTMB’s Department of Preventive Medicine & Community Health, conducted a randomized household survey of Galveston County residents to sample their primary health interests. The pilot survey, known as the Comprehensive Community Health Needs Assessment, consisted of various questions, ranging from residents’ health, factors linked to health (including social networks and social support, diet and physical activity, transportation, etc.), and their perceptions of their neighborhoods and communities.  We are continuing to conduct this assessment longitudinally, and are currently in the planning and design phase for our second round of data collection.  This will allow REACH and its members to monitor the health and health-related priorities within our targeted communities and determine next steps for promoting health in our neighborhoods.

Network Analysis

REACH is a network of partnering agencies, centers, and individuals, in which members openly communicate to assist with promoting research. The collaborators benefit from being part of the coalition, as it enhances each groups’ capacity to accomplish their shared objectives. In an effort to measure REACH's effectiveness in creating relationships among partner organizations in terms of joint meeting, planning, proposal development, and resource sharing, the team created a social network analysis tool. By utilizing this tool, a relationship or trend can be seen over time. This allows the group to better understand the health and resource needs of our communities, and it facilitates the maintenance of current relationships and assists with creating new relationships.

Offer and Ask

As a part of REACH, we engage in a best practice termed “Offer and Ask,” through which staff collect and share information about what -- skills, expertise, resources, partnerships -- each community organization or UTMB institutional entity may have to "offer" REACH or its individual members, as well as what they seek to learn from or "ask" the group or a member. By collecting and sharing this information on a continual basis, we are able to build relationships, increase access between and among members, and broker formal partnerships between the academic community and our community stakeholders. For example, UTMB's PMCH Master of Public Health program (MPH) pairs MPH students with community groups to complete their 160-contact-hour service learning experiences. Through this opportunity, students are afforded the chance to acquire knowledge, skills, and values needed to succeed in careers that bridge medicine and public health while performing valuable services for the community.

Submit an "Offer" or an "Ask"

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