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Reach Out Program

  • Need: Diabetes is the most common health problem in the African American, Latino, and Native American populations of rural Lake County, California.
  • Intervention: A Promotores/Community Health Workers model is used to teach positive lifestyle habits to people of all ages in order to live healthier lives, specifically to manage or prevent Type 2 diabetes.
  • Results: Participants in the Reach Out Program have improved their habits relating to nutrition and physical activity, leading to healthier lives.


In order to provide prevention and management of Type 2 diabetes amongst the minority and low income populations of Lake County, California, the Reach Out Program was developed. Featured in the Winter 2013 issue of the Rural Monitor, the Reach out Program uses the Promotores/Community Health Workers (CHWs) model.

CHWs, who are local volunteers, have a keen understanding of the people and cultures in which they serve. Not only do they teach positive lifestyle habits to families and children, they provide activities, services, and referrals to help promote lifestyle behavior changes.

The executive director of the Sunrise Special Services Foundation, Annie Barnes, states that CHWs are “often more effective at improving community health than health professionals alone. It’s neighbors helping neighbors.”

The Reach Out Program was originally funded with a Rural Health Outreach grant from the Office of Rural Health Policy. When that funding ended in 2006, the Program continued by moving under the auspices of the Sunrise Special Services Foundation. It is through partnerships with schools, health systems, churches, community health agencies, tribal governments and other community organizations that the Reach Out Program has continued.

Services offered

  • Education on nutrition, medication, case management, and regular check-ups
  • Exercise classes including Zumba and other dance classes
  • Family walking groups
  • Weight loss/diabetes support group
  • Advocacy, social services, and referrals to healthcare providers for underserved families


Data collected by the Sunrise Special Services Foundation shows that participants in the Reach Out Program have improved their nutrition and physical activity habits.


One of the biggest barriers is financing. Because the Reach Out Program hasn't received any grants in quite a while, they don’t have the people power to write the grant applications in order to increase their funding and grow in the way that is needed.


The Promotores/Community Health Workers (CHWs) model is a good one to use in a rural area because CHWs are attuned to the culture and special needs of the area in which they serve. The fact that the Reach Out Program’s CHWs are volunteers rather than paid employees has helped with the sustainability of the program.

Contact Information

Annie Barnes, Executive Director
Sunrise Special Services Foundation
Reach Out Program

African Americans
American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Native Hawaiians
Community health workers
Hispanics and Latinos
Wellness, health promotion, and disease prevention

States served

Date added
June 11, 2007

Date updated or reviewed
January 20, 2017

Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.