UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group company, is awarding $1 million in Empowering Health grants to six community-based organizations in Georgia 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 Georgia include:
- Voices for Georgia’s Children, statewide – $300,000 to expand the Free Your Feels mental health awareness campaign for children, teens and young adults, and pilot health managers in early care and education programs.
- Open Hand Atlanta/Barnes Healthcare, South Georgia – $220,000 to expand Cooking Matters for Healthcare Providers, providing medically tailored meals and nutrition intervention for at-risk individuals; and the Community Health Worker program, serving underserved and uninsured individuals with healthy lifestyle intervention and connections to social determinant of health resources.
- Pace Center for Girls, Macon – $160,000 to expand Reach Program Services, providing mental and behavioral health counseling to girls ages 11-17 and their families.
- Sowega Council on Aging, South Georgia – $150,000 to deploy social isolation solutions through the Senior Center Without Walls program.
- Partnership for Southern Equity, statewide – $95,000 to support the Just Health Academy by providing health equity trainings to health organizations, and personnel and technical assistance to implement embedded health equity practices.
- Atlanta Regional Commission, Atlanta – $75,000 to address social isolation of older adults living in affordable housing by providing socialization activities and behavioral health coaching.
“Social and economic factors have a profound impact on achieving and maintaining good health,” said Michael Minor, CEO for UnitedHealthcare’s Medicaid operations in Georgia. “Through our Empowering Health grants and local outreach efforts from UnitedHealthcare, we’re working with local organizations in the state to provide Georgia 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 Georgia this includes more than $9.2 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.