Advancing Health Equity
The Big Picture
Health equity is achieved when every person, regardless of race, place or circumstance, has the opportunity to live their healthiest life. Today, however, there are still far too many barriers to good health, and those barriers are disproportionately experienced by people of color, historically marginalized groups and those with lower incomes.
For more than two decades, we have focused on addressing health disparities and delivering solutions to improve access, affordability, experience and health outcomes for everyone.
Investing $100 Million to Further Advance a Diverse Health Workforce
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black women are three times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related complications. Health disparities like this exist and are growing in some areas, yet research shows culturally competent care affects health outcomes. For example, a recent study shows that although Black newborns are three times as likely to die as white newborns, their mortality rate is cut in half when they had a Black physician according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Additionally, the failure to address culture, language and health literacy can result in diagnostic errors, missed screenings, and unexpected negative responses to medications.
To build on our efforts to eliminate health disparities, we have committed $100 million by 2033 to deepen and scale our efforts to help build a racially and ethnically diverse health workforce. Through philanthropic programs and partnerships, this funding — provided by the United Health Foundation — will create opportunities for 10,000 underrepresented current and future clinical professionals.
"We are committed to leading the way, along with our partner organizations, in deploying tools, talent and resources to actively break down barriers, broaden access to care and make it easier for people to live healthier."
Patricia L. Lewis | Chief Sustainability Officer, UnitedHealth Group
Dive Into the Data
New Report Reveals Urgent Need to Address Health Disparities
The United Health Foundation's inaugural America's Health Rankings Health Disparities Report reveals an urgent need to address maternal mortality, mental and behavioral health, and food insecurity in the U.S.
Our Areas of Focus
- Access to Care. By harnessing the capabilities of Optum and UnitedHealthcare, we are working with community partners and academic institutions to get people needed care; expanding access to services with digital capabilities; enhancing health literacy; and using artificial intelligence and data analytics to connect people to care.
- Health Workforce Diversity. We are helping build a health workforce reflective of the communities we serve through the Diverse Scholars Initiative; providing training in the health care technology and health informatics fields for diverse students; and developing a specialized health workforce to care for veterans and service members.
- Social Determinants. We are making meaningful investments to address affordable housing, food insecurity and social isolation; leveraging data to identify needs and deliver personalized care; using interactive digital tools to personalize care for underserved populations; and providing in-home assessments to determine patient needs.
- Maternal Health. We are improving maternal care by partnering with federally qualified health centers and increasing telehealth access; investing in the maternal health workforce; leveraging predictive analytics and care management programs to support at-risk mothers; and using data to identify disparities and implement targeted interventions.
Our Ongoing Journey
Our mission is to help people live healthier lives and help make the health system work better for everyone. With health equity as our guiding light, we believe a world like that is possible.
We are committed to partnering with like-minded organizations to transform our health system into one that ensures every person can receive the care they need when they need it. And, we are using our unique capabilities, significant reach, and the passion and expertise of our people to:
Help build a workforce reflective of the communities it serves.
Improve the health of historically marginalized communities.
Leverage data to uncover and combat health disparities.
Forging the Path to Health Equity
As part of the 2022 NCAA Women’s Final Four Leadership IX event series, UnitedHealth Group hosted a panel discussion on health equity with Dr. Margaret-Mary Wilson, chief medical officer, UnitedHealth Group; Dr. Anne Docimo, chief medical officer, UnitedHealthcare; and Tracy Malone, president, United Health Foundation. Participants highlighted the company’s efforts to address the social determinants of health, build healthier communities and deliver solutions that meet the unique needs of underserved populations.
“I’m excited about the direction we are headed and I’m really optimistic.”
- Dr. Margaret-Mary Wilson