Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing Receives Grant from UnitedHealthcare to Improve Access to Healthy Food for Seniors

October 27, 2016
  • Grant supports community-based program that reduces hunger and social isolation among seniors
  • Virginia ranks 21st in the nation for senior hunger; in the last 12 months about 14 percent of adults age 60 and older have faced the threat of hunger

A UnitedHealthcare grant to the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing will help reduce hunger and social isolation among seniors by supporting the school's community-based care-coordination initiative, the Richmond Health and Wellness Program. 

The $25,000 grant to Virginia Commonwealth University School of Nursing will fund free weekly student-catered meals at three senior apartment communities to help reduce hunger.  Funding from this grant will also support educational efforts used to increase the variety and nutritional value of seniors' diets.

The grants are part of UnitedHealthcare's effort to identify and support organizations in Virginia that help seniors, disadvantaged individuals and people with disabilities live healthier lives. 

"This grant from UnitedHealthcare will help support our programs and services that provide healthy meals, nutrition education and other resources to improve the lives of seniors," said Pamela Parsons, Ph.D., GNP-BC, program director at VCU's Richmond Health and Wellness Program. "We have seen a tremendous response by the residents in learning more about healthy living and interacting with student volunteers who help serve meals and conduct health screenings."

Along with the weekly meals, the grant will also help VCU students identify seniors who may be eligible to enroll in a Meals on Wheels program or to participate in FeedMore's Commodities Supplemental Food Program. The Richmond Health and Wellness Program will also provide referrals to day programs and other resources from the local Area Agency on Aging.

"The meals program provides a great opportunity for seniors to socialize, meet new friends and learn about the importance of nutrition in their daily lives," said Greg Ford, resident services coordinator for Dominion Place. "With the support from UnitedHealthcare, this program is making a positive impact in the lives of so many seniors in our community."

The $25,000. At the announcement, UnitedHealthcare employees joined community leaders, Virginia Commonwealth University staff, professors and students in prepping and serving one of the weekly catered meals to participating residents.  

"UnitedHealthcare is grateful for the opportunity to support VCU and the Richmond Health and Wellness Program that is helping seniors in our community live healthier lives," said Timothy Spilker, regional CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community & State.

According to America's Health Rankings®, Virginia ranks 21st in the nation for senior hunger. In the last 12 months about 14 percent of adults age 60 and older have faced the threat of hunger.

UnitedHealthcare serves nearly 900,000 Virginians enrolled in employer-sponsored, individual, Medicare and Medicaid health plans with a network of 123 hospitals and more than 19,000 physicians and other care providers statewide. *

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 225 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Seventy-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU's 13 schools and one college. The VCU Health brand represents the health sciences schools of VCU, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit and

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, military service members, retirees and their families, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,000 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. * UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at or follow @myUHC on Twitter.

* According to data compiled Aug. 31, 2016. Source: UnitedHealthcare Internal Analysis