UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is awarding $1.5 million in Empowering Health grants to seven community-based organizations in California to expand access to care and address the social determinants of health for uninsured individuals and underserved communities.
In total, UnitedHealthcare is donating $11 million in grants through its Empowering Health program across 11 states. The grants will assist individuals and families experiencing challenges from food insecurity, social isolation and behavioral health issues, and support local health promotion and health literacy efforts.
Grant recipients in California include:
- Global Communities, San Diego County – $320,000 to increase the availability, diversity and sustainability of breastfeeding services in San Diego. The project will strengthen the prenatal workforce by identifying and training individuals from underrepresented communities to provide lactation support, and increase access to breastfeeding education, support and classes.
- YMCA of San Diego County – $320,000 to address gaps in health literacy and provide access to healthy living lifestyle programs and services by implementing the Community Connections model at the Copley-Price Family YMCA and Jackie Robinson Family YMCA locations.
- Mama’s Kitchen, San Diego County – $300,000 to expand the home-delivered meal service program, which provides medically tailored meals for low-income individuals recently discharged from the hospital with a primary diagnosis of HIV, cancer, congestive heart failure or Type 2 diabetes.
- Central California Food Bank, Central Valley – $200,000 to purchase a refrigerated vehicle for the mobile pantry program to distribute nutritious food in rural communities.
- Mental Health America of Los Angeles – $150,000 to reach high school- and college-age youth through the Project Resilience program, to educate students and school faculty about mental health and connect them to mental health services, including a mental health hotline for students.
- United Cambodian Community, Long Beach – $120,000 to support the organization’s Community Wellness Program, which implements culturally appropriate and community-driven mental health and social isolation solutions for the underserved Cambodian community.
- Bakersfield Senior Center, Central Valley – $90,000 to purchase a refrigerated vehicle for the healthy food program to distribute home-delivered meals to socially isolated older adults who may not have access to transportation.
“Social and economic factors have a profound impact on achieving and maintaining good health,” said Beth Soberg, CEO, UnitedHealthcare of California. “Through our Empowering Health grants and local outreach efforts from UnitedHealthcare, we’re working with local organizations in the state to provide Californians with an interconnected system of clinical and social services that can produce better health outcomes and make the health system work better for everyone.”
According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, approximately 80% 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. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused additional social and economic challenges that continue to affect healthy behaviors and exacerbate health disparities.
More than a third of members screened by UnitedHealthcare for social-related needs experience at least one social determinant of health. UnitedHealthcare leverages the company’s data to identify health disparities according to race, ethnicity, gender, geography and education level.
Since launching its Empowering Health commitment in 2018, UnitedHealthcare has now invested more than $51 million in Empowering Health grants reaching more than 8 million people through partnerships with community-based organizations in 30 states and the District of Columbia.
UnitedHealth Group, including UnitedHealthcare and Optum, and its affiliated companies, is dedicated to advancing health equity and building healthier communities by supporting programs to improve access to care and address key determinants of health. In California this includes more than $22.3 million in contributions from 2019-2021 representing its businesses, foundations and employees.
Additionally, UnitedHealth Group has invested more than $800 million in affordable housing communities since 2011, partnered with food banks and meal-delivery services, and in 2019 joined with the American Medical Association to standardize how social determinants of health data is collected and used to create more holistic care plans. In June, the United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group, made a $100 million commitment over 10 years to advance health equity, furthering its efforts to eliminate health disparities. This was the largest single philanthropic commitment ever made by the United Health Foundation.
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 more than 6,700 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 www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.