UnitedHealthcare Awards $275,000 in Maternal Health Grants to Seven Community Organizations in Louisiana

June 07, 2021 | 5 min Read
  • Grants ranging from $10,000 to $85,000 will support programs that address:

    • •  Maternal health outcome disparities
    • •  Prenatal and postpartum education
    • •  Access to primary and preventive care services
    • •  Social determinants of health (food, transportation, housing)

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Louisiana has awarded $275,000 in maternal health grants to seven community organizations aimed at improving maternal health outcomes, reducing disparities, and expanding access to care.

“UnitedHealthcare is committed to addressing Louisiana’s maternal health crisis and is dedicated to removing barriers that contribute to maternal mortality and morbidity,” said Karl Lirette, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Louisiana. “We cannot do this alone and are grateful for the opportunity to support organizations that are improving the health of women and their babies.”

The seven grant recipients include:

  • Birthmark Doula Collective – Serving New Orleans; $85,000 to provide doula support for 100 pregnant women, lactation support for 200 families by the New Orleans Breastfeeding Center, and provider development.
  • Common Ground Community, Inc. – Serving Shreveport; $50,000 to enhance its Girls Group program, Mommy and Me classes, community resource center, and food program.
  • Family Road of Greater Baton Rouge – Serving Greater Baton Rouge; $50,000 to provide wraparound services to 50 expecting mothers, including prenatal classes, teen pregnancy/parenting programs, mommy and baby support groups, physical health screenings, and mental health counseling.
  • Foundation for LA/National Birth Equity Collaborative – Serving the state of Louisiana; $10,000 to provide birth equity training, connect women to resources, and support Black women-led community-based organizations.
  • Healthy Start New Orleans – Serving New Orleans; $50,000 to support education, counseling, supplies, transportation to appointments, and access to a care team including a doula, social worker, and case manager for 35 high-risk pregnant women.
  • Louisiana Center for Health Equity – Serving the state of Louisiana; $15,000 to support an office of women's health to provide education, leadership, and coordination on women's health issues.
  • Saul’s Light – Serving New Orleans; $15,000 to help families with nonmedical financial assistance, books to promote bonding and improved mental health outcomes, and bereavement support for individuals whose children are stillborn or die shortly after birth; and expand peer and group support programs to new hospitals.

"The New Orleans Health Department's Healthy Start Program is excited to embark on this partnership with UnitedHealthcare to improve health for mothers and families in our city," said Chantell Reed, MS-HCM, deputy director, New Orleans Health Department.

Infants born preterm or with low birth weight are at an increased risk for experiencing physical disabilities and developmental impairments throughout their lives. According to America’s Health Rankings, the rate of low birth weight infants has been on the rise in Louisiana with 10.8% of births now less than 5 pounds 8 ounces, leaving the state ranked 49 out of 50 states. Preterm birth rates have been increasing for five years, currently at 13.1% of current births, with the state’s Black women having a 55% higher rate than all other women. Additionally, the risk of pregnancy-related deaths for Black women is 3 to 4 times higher than those of white women in the United States.

"Common Ground Community, Inc. wishes to express its sincere appreciation for the very generous grant to support our programs which assist moms, babies, and teen girls in north Louisiana. We are excited to be partnering with the wonderful team at UnitedHealthcare in Louisiana," said Lisa Conly Cronin, CEO, Common Ground Community, Inc.

"We are so grateful for the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Louisiana team. This generous grant funding will go a long way in supporting the mission of Saul's Light and, more importantly, the NICU and bereaved families we serve," said Kimberly Novod, MPA, founder/executive director, Saul's Light.

These grants are part of several initiatives that UnitedHealthcare, along with its parent company UnitedHealth Group, have launched to address maternal health outcomes throughout the United States. Initiatives include over $5 million in recent philanthropic grants to support maternal health and $2.85 million in support to March of Dimes for a public-private partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services that aims to reduce the Black-white disparity gap and improve maternal health outcomes. In 2018, the United Health Foundation announced a three-year, $1.2 million grant to the Woman's Hospital in Baton Rouge to minimize the adverse effects of substance misuse during pregnancy.

UnitedHealthcare serves more than 970,000 people in Louisiana enrolled in employer-sponsored, individual, Medicare and Medicaid benefit plans, with a network of 147 hospitals, and nearly 25,000 physicians and other care providers statewide.

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 individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.3 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.