Maricopa County Department of Public Health Receives $1 Million Grant from United Health Foundation to Help Build Healthier Communities in Phoenix and Mesa

April 10, 2015
  • Grant will help expand the Preventive Health Collaborative to Mesa, addressing the health needs of children from birth to 5 years old with a focus on prevention

Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) was awarded a $1 million grant by United Health Foundation to support the Preventive Health Collaborative (PHC), which helps to ensure that all children from birth to five years of age, and their families, are living healthier lives. 

The grant will enable PHC to continue its work serving young children and their families in south Phoenix and expand its services to Mesa. In Mesa, PHC will bring together community partners to provide preventive health services to children, and address specific health areas such as prenatal and newborn services, access to care, oral health, nutrition, physical activity, developmental and mental health services, and injury prevention.

The grant is part of United Health Foundation’s “Helping Build Healthier Communities” program that provides critical resources to nonprofit, community-based organizations across the country to improve the health of communities.

“The goal of the PHC is to work collaboratively with our existing community partners and care providers that are serving families with kids ages birth to five years. By maximizing available resources and addressing gaps, we hope to make it easier for families to access the services they need,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa County Department of Public Health. “I speak for the entire public health system when I say thank you to United Health Foundation for its commitment to building a sustainable system and not just taking a Band-Aid approach to addressing these issues.”

The announcement was made April 10 during a community event at Head to Toe Therapies, a PHC partner in Phoenix. The event brought together Gov. Doug Ducey, MCDPH and PHC staff and partners, local health experts, community leaders and young patients to demonstrate the community’s collective commitment to serving children with health disparities, and illustrate how these community-based partnerships make a positive impact on the people they serve.

The funding comes at a critical time to address gaps in both prenatal and newborn care in Mesa. Nearly 3 percent of newborns in Mesa had fewer than five prenatal visits, and about 11 percent of children from birth to five years of age are uninsured in Mesa more than 4 percent higher than the national average. And only 60 percent of children ages 12-24 months completed the recommended series of vaccinations.1

In south Phoenix, there are more than 52,000 children under the age of six, and 35 percent of these children are living in poverty. In 2012, only 53 percent of children ages 19-35 months had received their vaccinations as scheduled.1

“We are grateful to United Health Foundation for providing this grant to the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, which will help improve the lives of those who rely on these services and programs,” said Governor Ducey. “This innovative partnership will enable MCDPH to expand its services and reach into underserved communities, ensuring a better, healthier quality of life for all Arizona families.”

“Maricopa County Department of Public Health’s work in the community is showing significant results and helping improve people’s health and quality of life, particularly in underserved areas,” said Joe Gaudio, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Arizona. “United Health Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support its efforts in bringing new, innovative approaches in care.”

The United Health Foundation grant will be administered by MCDPH over a three-year period. The PHC and its partners will improve collaboration and community capacity within the preventive health system through completing a comprehensive assessment of health care and information resources, establishing joint partnerships to address gaps, and increasing coordination among resources within the community.

1  First Things First, Needs Assessment 2012

About Maricopa County Department of Public Health
Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) is the 3rd largest health jurisdiction in the US serving almost 4 million people. The Department works to protect and promote the health and well-being of Maricopa County residents and visitors through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services as well as by utilizing policy, systems and environmental approaches. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do, please visit, like us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter @MaricopaHealth.

About United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health Foundation has committed more than $285 million to programs and communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at

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