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Evaluation of the City of Worcester REACH Project

Evaluation of the Worcester Division of Public Health REACH Project

How can we make Worcester a healthier place to live, work and play? How can we design changes that will be particularly useful for groups of people who have higher rates of chronic disease? Members of the Latino community in Worcester face many challenges to health. According to the US Census American Community Survey, approximately 21% of Worcester residents identify as Hispanic/Latino, 36% of whom live below poverty. As a group, the Latino community faces higher rates of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. 

The Worcester Division of Public Health REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) project is seeking to support current efforts in Worcester and work in collaboration with others to improve the health of the Latino community in Worcester. Worcester REACH is one of 31 projects that are funded by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal of the national REACH program is to promote health among groups of people who disproportionally suffer from increased barriers to living healthy lives. The Worcester REACH project is promoting improvements to local systems to make it easier for Latinos to be healthier.

Worcester REACH project is focused on physical activity, breastfeeding, clinical-community referrals, and nutrition such as increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables that people eat.

The UMass Chan Prevention Research Center is the independent evaluation partner for Worcester REACH. We are using multiple strategies to evaluate the project, such as surveys with Worcester Latino residents about the foods they eat and where they obtain their food. Other measures include pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables purchased and sold at farmers markets, improvements to city streets and sidewalks so that people can walk safely, breastfeeding support services, and referrals to community programs that promote health.

UMass Chan PRC team brings together expertise in qualitative and quantitative research evaluation methods. Stephenie C. Lemon, PhD is the Principal Investigator and Quantitative Lead, Milagros C. Rosal, PhD is the Co-Investigator and Qualitative Lead, Ms. Borg is the Evaluation Project Director, Ms. Valentine Goins is the Physical Activity Evaluation Lead, and Ms. Frisard is the Statistician.

UMass Chan PRC Investigator: Stephenie C. Lemon, PhD, Milagros C. Rosal, PhD
Funder: City of Worcester Division of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (PI: Anderson)
Dates: 2019-2021