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The REACH Center

The Research and Equity in Action for Child Health (REACH) Center at Saint Louis University's College for Public Health and Social Justice brings together researchers and community partners to work toward improving the health of children and their families.

The REACH Center serves as the academic backbone for community partnerships that advance maternal, child and family health, with particular attention to highly vulnerable families and social factors that affect health.

What the REACH Center Does

The REACH Center works with community members and organizations to achieve optimal health outcomes and to advance education, science, and practice through purposeful, strategic collaboration. The Center responds rapidly to community research and practice opportunities, and to community partners’ needs and interests.

If you are interested in partnering with the REACH Center, email Darcy Scharff, Director, or find our areas of expertise and further contact information below.

What Drives the REACH Center?

The Reach Center is part of Saint Louis University's College for Public Health and Social Justice, which offers expertise across many disciplines in order to amplify the bandwidth and impact of community groups in promoting the health of children.

We believe that true advancement in this critical area will come from a collision of research, practice and equity, and efforts to work patiently to build relationships with organizations and individuals.

How Do We Do This Work?

The REACH Center is directed by a collaborative leadership team that provides expertise in community engagement and outreach, training and workforce development, and analytics.

Meet the REACH Center Researchers


SLU will establish a repository of national and local maternal and child health survey results and administrative data to better inform decisions by community groups. SLU will consult, provide statistic training and evaluation services to affiliated organizations, helping them interpret data with a focus on how it impacts women and children. SLU also will collect data to identify learning opportunities for students, note active grant proposals and showcase collaborative publications.

Community Engagement and Outreach

Through REACH, faculty and students will become resources for established community organizations that are experienced in addressing problems that impact the health of women and children. Guided by what the groups see as the most pressing needs for women and children in the region, faculty and students will support and strengthen their efforts. They also will help groups collaborate more closely so they can quickly respond to opportunities for funding, research, practice and training.

Training and Workforce Development

SLU will identify community needs, provide training that addresses the unique challenges of working in maternal-child health, and strive to increase the diversity of professionals in the field. It will coordinate and lead training opportunities for SLU students and those affiliated with maternal and child health organizations to strengthen the skills of future and current leaders who are on the front line of solving complicated problems that undermine health.

 Current Research and Projects

  • Addressing food insecurity in pediatric populations
  • Developing, evaluating and disseminating bystander and social media programs to address child maltreatment
  • Disseminating parenting practices to promote positive parenting and address unintentional injury
  • Evaluating and strengthening home visitation and foster care models
  • Implementing and assessing hospital-based violence intervention programs
  • Implementing quality improvement programs for universal depression screening and integrated service delivery
  • Investigating factors related to pre-term births and other adverse pregnancy outcomes
  • Promoting healthy pregnancy and healthy infants with Centering Pregnancy and Centering Parenting
  • Strengthening partnerships between hospitals and social service agencies

Contact the REACH Center

For more information, contact Darcy Scharff, Ph.D., Director, at