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J Health Care Poor Underserved. 2006 May;17(2 Suppl):78-87.

REACH-Meharry community-campus partnership: developing culturally competent health care providers.

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Department of Medical Education, Meharry Medical College, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.


An important national health care effort is elimination of racial and ethnic disparities in six specific conditions: infant mortality, cancer screening and management, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, human immunodeficiency virus infection, and child and adult immunizations. To address this concern, several health entities in Nashville, Tennessee responded to a grant initiative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) demonstration project. The resulting award is the Nashville REACH 2010 Project, charged to develop sustainable methods to reduce and, in time, eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in cardiovascular disease and diabetes in the North Nashville community, where mortality rates of these diseases are substantially higher than in other parts of the county. As one of its many interests, the project included potential health care providers to receive and disseminate messages about disease prevention and health education. The present paper describes the community-campus partnership between the Nashville REACH 2010 project and the post-baccalaureate program of Meharry Medical College, a partnership that enfolded Meharry's pre-professional health care students into the community-based participatory service research project to increase the awareness and sensitivity of future minority health care providers to issues in minority and poor, underserved populations and to increase potential providers' familiarity with the processes involved in community-based participatory research.

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