United Health Foundation Provides $125,000 Grant to Help Military Spouses Pursuing Health Care Careers

May 07, 2015
  • Grant to the National Military Family Association addresses growing need for health care professionals

  • Military Spouse Appreciation Day Friday, May 8

The National Military Family Association (NMFA), a nonprofit that works to strengthen and protect military families, received a $125,000 grant from United Health Foundation supporting military spouses who are pursuing health care careers.

This funding follows a 2014 United Health Foundation grant of $100,000 to NMFA to advance the careers and ease the financial burdens of military spouses specifically entering the mental health profession. After seeing the results of the initial grant, the scope of this funding was broadened to primary care to lend assistance to even more military spouses as they bring their unique skills to careers in health care.

There is a strong need in the United States for a greater number of health care providers who are sensitive to both the physical and mental health needs of the military community. A recent study sponsored by United Health Foundation in partnership with the Military Officers Association of America, and conducted by the RAND Corporation highlighted the importance of providing culturally competent, evidenced-based care to military service members and veterans. The study, “Ready to Serve: An Assessment of Community-Based Provider Capacity to Deliver Competent, Quality Care to Veterans and Their Families,” found that few community-based care providers met criteria for military cultural competency or used evidence-based approaches to treat health issues commonly seen among veterans.

 “United Health Foundation’s support helps level the playing field for spouses seeking careers despite the challenges of the military lifestyle, and spurs spouses into portable, high-demand fields that are essential to career continuity in our very mobile lifestyle,” said Joyce Raezer, executive director of NMFA. “We are very proud to announce this grant as we celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day on May 8th.”

“Military spouses often must make large sacrifices, and these scholarships support them in creating and developing their own career,” said John Mateczun, M.D., president, UnitedHealthcare Military & Veterans. “We recognize the increasing demand for qualified health care providers to meet the unique needs of the men and women who have served our country. United Health Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support NMFA and help foster a uniquely qualified and diverse health care work force to meet those needs.”

United Health Foundation scholarship recipient Erin Marden, a mental health counseling candidate, noted that the funds helped offset some hurdles of the military lifestyle.

“It’s a challenge for spouses to continue education or a career while dealing with moving, deployments and reintegration. We moved from one small town to an even smaller, more rural area. It took months to find a job in an otherwise high-demand field, and when I did, I had to complete additional training and certification since the state I moved from had different licensing requirements. This funding reduced the financial burden created by some of the requirements I needed to become a counselor.”

Marden expressed excitement about the ripple effect these scholarships, and NMFA and United Health Foundation’s support, have in the military and health care communities.

She added: “I’ve seen service members acquire disabilities, family members struggle to adjust, and children that can benefit from counseling during deployments and while adjusting to frequent moves and new schools. It’s fulfilling to be a part of the health care industry and the healing process. NMFA and United Health Foundation invested in me, and I’m doing my absolute best to pay it as far forward as I can.”

For more information on NMFA scholarships, visit: http://www.militaryfamily.org/spouses-scholarships/.

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 www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.

About the National Military Family Association
The National Military Family Association is the leading nonprofit dedicated to serving the families who stand behind the uniform. Since 1969, NMFA has worked to strengthen and protect millions of families through its advocacy and programs. They provide spouse scholarships, camps for military kids, and retreats for families reconnecting after deployment and for the families of the wounded, ill, or injured. NMFA serves the families of the currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Commissioned Corps of the USPHS and NOAA. To get involved or to learn more, visit www.MilitaryFamily.org.

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