Advancing Health Equity Through Social Determinants of Health

August 2021
Small mixed race group of people working in charitable foundation


UnitedHealth Group's meaningful community investments are helping advance health equity by addressing social determinants of health that influence 80% of health outcomes.


Care Beyond the Doctor’s Office

Ricel Urias, a nurse practitioner at Optum, went to see a member for her annual HouseCalls assessment and noticed she needed help outside of her routine screenings.

Upon arrival, Urias noticed the heater was on despite the hot weather. The member told her she didn’t know how to work the air conditioning setting, so Urias helped her switch the heater off to cool down the house. She also discovered the member hadn’t eaten breakfast, so she helped her prepare a meal with the few items in her refrigerator and clean up dishes afterward.

Concerned about the absence of help, Urias called the member’s primary care physician and scheduled a follow-up on the member’s behalf. She called the member’s son, who agreed to take his mother to her appointment. Urias didn’t stop there. She reached out to the support line to ensure the member had a caregiver and, after that, stopped at the nearby grocery store to fill her empty refrigerator. The member cried with happiness and thanked Urias from the bottom of her heart.

Urias is a perfect example of how we strive each day to go above and beyond traditional care to address social determinants of health.

“Every time I help a member in need I feel grateful for being part of this wonderful company that really impacts people’s lives."

Expanding Access to Stable Housing

UnitedHealth Group has helped create 12,000 housing units since 2011, including more than 4,600 for seniors, veterans, individuals with disabilities and those struggling with homelessness. 

Hear Dr. Rhonda Randall, executive vice president and chief medical officer for UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual, explain how expanding access to housing, healthy food, transportation, education and mental health services can improve health outcomes.

Addressing Food Insecurity

Food insecurity – which leads to higher risk of obesity and chronic disease – disproportionately affects American Indian/Alaska Native households and those headed by an adult without a high school education. Through community partnerships UnitedHealth Group is helping to advance health equity by providing underserved populations with access to nutritious food.

We distributed 
100M+ meals 
to those in need since the beginning of the pandemic.


Northside Achievement Zone

Hear how our partnership with Northside Achievement Zone has impacted one North Minneapolis mom, Jasmine.


Our partnerships have helped address the needs of
6M+ people
since 2018.


Connecting People to Social Services

UnitedHealthcare’s Empowering Health grants are helping to expand access to care through partnerships with local communities in 29 states. Grants are aimed at addressing social determinants of health for uninsured individuals and underserved communities.

Go Deeper

America’s Health Rankings Health Disparities Report

AHR’s Health Disparities Report identified wide and growing disparities in household food insecurity, most notably for American Indian/Alaska Natives who experienced a 39% rate increase between 2003-2007 and 2015-2019.


Advancing Health Equity

For more than two decades we’ve led efforts to identify, monitor and address health disparities – working with community organizations and national partners – to help advance health equity. Our team members are dedicated to addressing health disparities and closing gaps in care for the most vulnerable populations.

America’s Health Rankings Senior Report

According to the United Health Foundation’s 10-year analysis in the America’s Health Rankings 2022 Senior Report, older Americans faced a decade of increased mental health challenges and drug deaths.

Health Literacy Key to Better Health Outcomes

UnitedHealth Group research found improving health literacy levels could lead to 1 million fewer hospital visits among Medicare members and save the program $25.4 billion annually.