United Health Foundation Partners with Native American Connections to Increase Health Care Access

April 24, 2024
  • The three-year, $2 million grant partnership will provide integrated behavioral health and primary care for Native Americans and underserved individuals and families living in Phoenix, Arizona

The 2023 America’s Health Rankings® Mental and Behavioral Health Brief revealed American Indian/Alaska Native adults and youth face persistent disparities in mental and behavioral health with little improvement over time. This is consistent with findings of previous America’s Health Rankings reports, which found that American Indian/Alaska Native populations experienced disproportionately higher and increasing rates of drug death and teen suicide compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

As we recognize National Minority Health Month, our new partnership with Native American Connections (NAC) — a non-profit organization that has been providing services to Native Americans in metropolitan Phoenix since 1972 — is one example of how the United Health Foundation is working to help address health disparities experienced by Native Americans.

By the numbers

According to data from the Indian Health Service (IHS), American Indian/Alaska Native individuals born today have the lowest life expectancy compared to all other racial groups in the U.S.

5.5 years

lower average life expectancy for American Indian/Alaska Native individuals

What’s happening now

The United Health Foundation recently announced a three-year, $2 million grant partnership with Native American Connections to establish the Mobile Health Initiative, which will bring integrated behavioral health and primary care services directly to individuals living in NACs’ properties throughout the Greater Phoenix Metropolitan area. NACs’ 24 properties include housing for homeless individuals, veterans and seniors; affordable housing for families; and outpatient behavioral health centers and residential treatment centers.

Yes, and: To announce and celebrate the partnership, an in-person event attended by United Health Foundation leadership, Native American Connections leadership, staff and residents, and community stakeholders took place on April 23, 2024, at NACs’ Encanto Pointe Property in Phoenix, AZ. The event showcased the first mobile health unit made possible through the grant partnership.


“Native American Connections is focused on instituting best practices in integrated care by building a culture of collaboration within the organization and utilizing a cooperative approach to care delivery. Through the generous support of the United Health Foundation, we are taking our first step towards expanding access to integrated care for those who need it most. With the new Mobile Health Initiative, we are breaking down barriers and bridging gaps, ensuring that every person receives the comprehensive care they deserve.”

Trula Breuninger | President and CEO, Native American Connections


“I applaud the partnership between Native American Connections and the United Health Foundation. This Mobile Health Initiative will greatly benefit our Phoenix community by addressing critical health care needs and directly connecting individuals with behavioral health care. Together, we are working toward a healthier and more resilient Arizona, where everyone has the opportunity to thrive and receive the care they deserve.”

Katie Hobbs | Arizona Governor


“We are honored to partner with Native American Connections to support the development of their Mobile Health Initiative. This partnership underscores our unwavering commitment to advancing health equity and closing gaps in care. By working together, we are making a difference in the lives of the communities we serve, and we are excited to see the impact this Mobile Health Initiative will have on improving health outcomes.”

Anne Yau | President, United Health Foundation

The bottom line

This grant partnership is just one of the ways UnitedHealth Group is working to advance health equity and access to care.

Our $3 million grant to Valle del Sol Community Health also provided mobile units to help improve access to integrated health care in underserved communities. Through that grant, more than 750 students in the Latino community are currently receiving health services, such as immunizations, health screenings and behavioral health treatment.

Learn more