UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH) company, is awarding $1 million in Empowering Health grants to six community-based organizations in Virginia 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 Virginia include:
- Carilion Clinic, Roanoke – $230,000 to introduce the Calm and Safe Classrooms counseling program, which provides solutions and support through LIFT, a community-based health partnership with Fallon Park Elementary, for students who struggle with managing emotions and behavior.
- Korean Community Service Center of Greater Washington, Northern Virginia – $200,000 to expand Project SHINE (Staying Healthy through Improved Nutrition and Exercise), which delivers culturally and linguistically appropriate diabetes management, chronic disease management, healthy living cohort classes and health promotion information.
- United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg – $200,000 to launch EveryDay Strong, a program that utilizes community partners and trained adults to improve the emotional health of youth and build resilience in ways that make kids feel safe, connected and confident.
- Capital Area Food Bank, Northern Virginia – $160,000 to incorporate medically tailored food options and information about chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, into the online ordering system for food pantry network partners.
- Central Virginia Health Services, Petersburg and Hopewell – $130,000 to hire a community health worker for school-based health centers at local high schools to improve community outreach and health navigation for students and community members.
- Fredericksburg Regional Food Bank – $80,000 to purchase refrigeration equipment for produce-forward programs, such as the Mobile Pantry and OrderAhead.
“Social and economic factors have a profound impact on achieving and maintaining good health,” said Tameeka Smith, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Virginia. “Through our Empowering Health grants and local outreach efforts from UnitedHealthcare, we’re working with local organizations in the state to provide Virginia residents 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 Virginia this includes more than $5 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.