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UnitedHealthcare awarding $500K in grants to MS organizations

United Healthcare
Image courtesy of UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is awarding $500,000 in grants to four community-based organizations in Mississippi to expand access to care and address the social indicators of health for uninsured individuals as well as underserved communities.

In its entirety, UnitedHealthcare is donating $11 million in funds through its Empowering Health program across 11 states. The grants will assist individuals and families experiencing difficulties from food insecurity, social isolation, and behavioral health issues. The funds will also support local health promotion and health literacy efforts.

“Social and economic factors have a profound impact on achieving and maintaining good health,”  Dr. Michael Parnell, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Mississippi said. “Through our Empowering Health grants and local outreach efforts from UnitedHealthcare, we’re working with local organizations in the state to provide Mississippi 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 percent of what impacts a person’s health relates to non-medical issues, such as food, housing, transportation, and the financial means to pay for daily necessities.

In addition, 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.

Mississippi-based grant recipients include:

  • American Heart Association, Jackson and the Gulf Coast – $150,000 to address nutrition security by implementing food pantries through a collaboration with federally qualified health centers in central Mississippi and community partners on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
  • YMCA of Memphis and the Mid-South, Northwest Mississippi – $125,000 to expand the Y on the Fly program to bring health education and nutritious food directly to youth in their communities.
  • Mississippi Urban League, statewide – $125,000 to support the Seniors Travel Program, addressing social isolation in older adults across the state.
  • Mississippi State University Extension, North Mississippi – $100,000 to expand the Junior Master Wellness Volunteer Program, which equips youth for community service projects to increase the availability of health education materials in communities.

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 Washington D.C.

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