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Creighton gets $1 million to boost health awareness in minority communities

Oct 2, 2023
2 min Read
Sado Kosoko-Lasaki posing on Creighton campus.

Creighton’s Center for Promoting Health and Health Equity has received $1.02 million in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention funding to address public health. 

That amount funds the first year of a five-year cooperative agreement under which the center agrees to promote nutrition, physical activity, immunizations and breastfeeding support among Omaha’s Black and Latino communities.  

The Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health program, also known as REACH, is focused on areas familiar to Creighton. Sade Kosoko-Lasaki, MD, MBA’05, (pictured above) is the co-executive director of CPHHE along with John Stone, MD, PhD, and they have led many such projects.  

“We are part of the effort to build a healthy community,” Kosoko-Lasaki says. “REACH is about being sensitive to racial and ethnic cultures and meeting people where they are. That is a big part of what we do.” 

“Community health equity is CPHHE’s focus,” Stone emphasizes. “CPHHE’s community and academic partners are crucial in building the effective collaboration underlying this successful work toward community health improvement.”

The new funding was awarded under REACH aims to improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities among racial and ethnic populations deemed to be at highest risk. This is the second time Creighton has received REACH funding.  

Creighton is the only Nebraska awardee in the program, wherein the CDC funded 44 agencies across 28 states. Only 10 were universities.  

Funds will be awarded to Creighton University and flow through CPHHE. Those funds will then support CPHHE’s efforts with community partners, community health workers and project personnel, among others.  

Between 2014 and 2018, Creighton deployed $3 million in REACH funding to promote physical activity among Black communities. Approximately 56,000 Omaha community members received physical activity and cardiovascular health training, information on activities and encouraging messages. 

The new funding will expand REACH’s educational and health promotion to Latino communities, and Creighton hopes to double the number of those encounters, says Kosoko-Lasaki, founder and of Creighton’s Office of Health Sciences' Multicultural and Community Affairs as well as associate vice provost and professor of surgery in the School of Medicine. 

Over the past 24 years, Creighton has built trust in minority communities, Kosoko-Lasaki says. 

That’s why agencies continue to ask Creighton to collaborate with Omaha-area minority communities in advancing their health. The federal agencies include CDC, Department of Defense, Health Services Research Administration and the Douglas County Health Department. 

In this new REACH project, CPHHE and community collaborators will promote food and nutrition security by advocating food service and nutrition guidelines and expanding fruit and vegetable vouchers and produce prescriptions; promoting safe and accessible physical activity; providing continuity of care in breastfeeding support; and encouraging vaccinations against COVID-19, the flu and other common illnesses.

Vital to the success of the project will be Community Health Workers, who were key to the success of the previous REACH project as well as other CPHHE-funded projects. The workers will be vital implementers, and they will be recruited from among some 150 community health workers who were educated and trained through CPHHE programs.

CPHHE will also partner with in-house experts such as Creighton Provost Mardell Wilson, EdD, RDN, an expert in nutrition, as well as outside agencies in building its REACH program. Those partners include:

  • City Sprouts
  • Nebraska Center for Healthy Families
  • No More Empty Pots
  • Omaha Public Schools
  • One World Community Health Centers
  • The WellBeing Partners
  • Urban League of Nebraska in Omaha
  • Charles Drew Health Centers
  • Douglas County Health Department
  • Empowerment Network
  • North Omaha Neighborhood Association
  • South Omaha Neighborhood Association
  • Nicole White, PharmD, CDCES, NBC-HWC, DipACLM, and Kevin Fuji, PharmD, MA, Creighton University Department of Pharmacy Practice.
  • Lee Brown and Associates