UnitedHealthcare Provides Nearly $170K to the University of Mississippi Medical Center to Support Children’s Health

March 16, 2022 | 2 min Read
  • Funding focused on sickle cell disease education/treatment and behavioral health support

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Mississippi has provided $169,500 in funding to the University of Mississippi Medical Center to support children, their families, and the provider community with local professional sickle cell disease expertise and behavioral health support and services.

"Providing equitable access to care and health education resources to Mississippians is a core part of the UnitedHealthcare mission," said J. Michael Parnell, chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Mississippi. "The University of Mississippi Medical Center has the clinical knowledge to address some of our state’s biggest needs and we are honored to help bring this knowledge to high-risk and high-need communities.”

The new funding will go to:

  • University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Center for the Advancement of Youth (CAY) —  $84,000 to provide pediatric behavioral health resources for children, their families, and the professionals who care for these children.
  • University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics, Division of Hematology — $85,500 to support rural medical education and treatment of sickle cell disease in the Mississippi Delta.

CAY is using the funding to create a pilot project to determine the effectiveness of Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes (ECHO) programs that improve the developmental, behavioral and mental health of Mississippians 21 years of age and younger.

“The goal of our CAY-ECHO program is to increase behavioral health and psychiatric care availability in rural areas by sharing our knowledge with providers in the region,” said Dr. Courtney Walker, assistant professor of child development, University of Mississippi Medical Center.

“What is so exciting about this program is that, instead of just seeing patients, I get to teach family medicine residents how to care for people with sickle cell disease so they can do this throughout the region for many years to come. The impact is exponential,” said Dr. Melissa McNaull, professor of hematology, University of Mississippi Medical Center. McNaull is offering a clinic for sickle cell patients in Greenville through the grant.

These donations are part of several initiatives that UnitedHealthcare, along with its parent company UnitedHealth Group, have launched to address health equity in the United States, including a $1 million investment to support organizations in Mississippi. The company is also investing in programs and partnerships focused on food, housing, transportation, health literacy, behavioral health and social isolation, including more than $500 million invested in affordable housing in underserved areas and $100 million to fight the pandemic and support vulnerable minority populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

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 1.5 million physicians and care professionals, and 7,000 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.

About Children’s of Mississippi

Children’s of Mississippi, part of the University of Mississippi Medical Center, encompasses all the pediatric services available at UMMC and at clinical sites throughout Mississippi. At the heart of these services is the state’s only hospital devoted exclusively to the care and treatment of sick and injured children. The Children’s of Mississippi network brings specialized clinical care for children to communities across the state, making it easier for families to get the treatment they need closer to home.

About the University of Mississippi Medical Center

UMMC is the state’s only academic medical center. Its education, research and health care missions share the objectives of improving the health of the state’s population and eliminating health disparities. Located in Jackson, UMMC encompasses seven health science schools, including medicine, nursing, health related professions, dentistry, pharmacy, graduate studies and population health. The Medical Center’s health care enterprise includes the state’s only Level I trauma center, only children’s hospital, and only organ and bone marrow transplant program. The Medical Center also is home to a Telehealth Center of Excellence, one of two in the nation.