UnitedHealthcare Awarding $1 Million to Memphis-Area Nonprofits to Help Address Social Determinants of Health

May 13, 2019
steve wilson

Steve Wilson, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of Tennessee, helped announced $1 million in grants to seven Memphis-area nonprofit organizations to support a range of critical needs in Memphis and Shelby County (Photo: Troy Glasgow).

  • Seven organizations receiving grants through UnitedHealthcare’s Empowering Health program

  • Part of company’s nationwide efforts to redefine access to care through greater investments in social and environmental factors that contribute to people’s well-being

UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is awarding $1 million in grants to seven Memphis-area nonprofit organizations to expand their services that address key social determinants of health, and improve care access and patient outcomes.

The grants will support a range of critical needs in Memphis and Shelby County, including dental care, access to fresh and healthy food, addressing senior hunger and social isolation, and promoting youth health, education and physical activity.

UnitedHealthcare is working with the nonprofits as part of its Empowering Health program that focuses on redefining health access and addressing the social determinants of health through investments, innovation and volunteerism. Nearly 80 percent1 of what influences a person’s health relates to nonmedical issues, such as food, housing, transportation and the financial means to pay for basic daily needs. Yet the health care system today directs much of its financial resources to treating illnesses rather than addressing these underlying social needs – which ultimately creates the need for more medical care.

Grant recipients in the Memphis area include:

  • Mid-South Food Bank – $500,000 to support and expand its mobile food pantry and Healthy School Pantry programs that increase access to fresh and healthy foods.

  • Church Health – $90,000 to provide specialty dental care to low-income and uninsured residents.

  • Metropolitan Inter-Faith Association – $90,000 to expand access to home-delivered meals to seniors through MIFA Meals on Wheels.

  • Regional One Health – $90,000 to launch a food pantry at its outpatient clinic and provide food boxes to people who are uninsured or are enrolled in TennCare or Medicaid.

  • Shelby County Education Foundation – $90,000 to purchase hygiene and personal-care products for low-income children attending Shelby County public schools.

  • YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South – $90,000 to launch its “Y on the Fly” program, featuring two mobile units delivering critical resources to youth including healthy meals, physical activity and water-safety courses, a mobile library and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) enrichment programming to local youth.

  • Christ Community Health Services – $50,000 to provide preventive and restorative dental care to uninsured students, homeless individuals and expectant mothers.

“Thanks to UnitedHealthcare for bringing our community together as we look for new and innovative ways to improve the health of Memphis-area families and individuals,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland, who joined UnitedHealthcare, local officials and representatives from the seven nonprofits at the Greater Memphis Chamber today. “No single organization can do this alone. It takes strategic planning and teamwork as demonstrated by UnitedHealthcare’s leadership in partnering with our local organizations to address the social factors affecting our community’s health.”

UnitedHealthcare will help link the seven nonprofits to one another so they can better leverage their efforts, creating an interconnected system of clinical and social services capable of producing better outcomes for local residents.

According to the most recent County Health Rankings issued annually by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Shelby County ranked 90th among Tennessee’s 95 counties when examining social and economic factors such as income, education, employment, community safety and social-support services.

“Living a healthy life is about more than just a regular visit to the doctor’s office,” said Keith Payet, CEO of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Tennessee. “Through programs like Empowering Health, we are introducing innovative ways to integrate clinical and social services and make a real impact on people’s health and well-being, especially those who are uninsured or underserved.”

In addition to UnitedHealthcare’s support in Memphis, the company has launched similar community initiatives and public-private collaborations nationwide. It has invested more than $400 million in affordable-housing communities, partnered with food banks and meal-delivery services, and recently joined with the American Medical Association to standardize how social determinant data is collected and used to create more holistic care plans.

UnitedHealth Group employs 4,000 people in Tennessee and serves the health care needs of nearly 1.3 million people statewide.

1Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s County Health Rankings Model, 2014.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individualsemployers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.2 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at or follow @UHC on Twitter.