UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is awarding $2.5 million in Empowering Health grants to 10 community-based organizations in Texas 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 Texas include:
- Brighter Bites, San Antonio – $300,000 to expand an evidence-based nutrition program to San Antonio, serving areas with high rates of food insecurity and diet-related diseases by providing fresh produce and comprehensive nutrition education to children and families.
- Grant Halliburton Foundation, Dallas/Fort Worth – $300,000 to increase access to mental health services for Spanish-speaking individuals by expanding mental health programming and curriculum to more Title I schools in rural communities, hiring a bi-lingual outreach manager, and translating a mental health referral and resource website and all educational presentations to Spanish.
- North Texas Food Bank – $300,000 to provide access to fresh, healthy food and culturally appropriate nutrition education materials in more underserved communities through the mobile container pantry program.
- San Antonio Food Bank – $300,000 to launch the Farmacy-on-Wheels program to provide regular delivery of fresh, healthy food to federally qualified health center clients living in high-need areas.
- Texas Health Resources Foundation, Dallas/Fort Worth – $260,000 to expand the THRIVE program, which provides school-based resiliency training and mental health support for students in under-resourced schools, while also addressing food insecurity through an on-campus grocery store.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness Greater Houston – $250,000 to provide mental health programming and services, including support groups and culturally appropriate provider education, to communities throughout the Greater Houston area with a specific reach toward refugee and immigrant populations.
- Resource Center of Dallas, Inc., Dallas/Fort Worth – $250,000 to provide integrated mental health services and specialized clinicians trained to support the underserved LGBTQIA+ population.
- Houston Food Bank – $245,000 to implement an innovative new nutrition education program pairing traditional school-based food access programs with sports nutrition curriculum for student athletes at middle and high schools participating in the School Market Program.
- El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank – $200,000 to support ongoing hunger relief efforts due to the COVID-19 pandemic and implement culturally appropriate nutrition education programming.
- Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation, Houston and Austin – $95,000 to train Healthy Lifestyles Program mentors to teach kids ages 9-14 the importance of physical fitness, healthy nutritional habits and overall well-being through the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Austin Area and SpringSpirit of Houston.
“Social and economic factors have a profound impact on achieving and maintaining good health,” said Don Langer, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas. “Through our Empowering Health grants and local outreach efforts from UnitedHealthcare, we’re working with local organizations in the state to provide Texans 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 Texas this includes more than $22.7 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.
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