UnitedHealthcare has awarded $1.95 million in grants to area organizations working to expand access to fresh produce and basic preventive health screenings.
The grants are aimed at addressing social determinants of health, which include food insecurity, a lack of access to health screenings, social isolation, financial instability and homelessness.
Grant recipients include:
- Feeding Wisconsin, the statewide association of the six Feeding America food banks, which works to increase access to fresh produce at local food banks and food pantries. The grant will allow Feeding Wisconsin to install new refrigerators at more than 50 Wisconsin food pantries across the state, fund training programs regarding handling fresh produce, and pilot programs to expand Wisconsin’s emergency food system to source and distribute fresh produce.
- DentaMed Healthcare, Children’s Health Alliance of Wisconsin and VisionQuest 20/20, which will work with school districts to offer dental screenings, dental-restorative procedures and vision screenings on-site or through new mobile clinics.
“For many people, it’s not just genetic code that plays a role in their health status; it’s a full range of social factors,” said Ellen Sexton, chief executive officer of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Wisconsin. “It’s difficult for people to improve their health, build primary-care relationships and address preventive health care needs if they can’t feed their families or don’t have stable housing. We understand the vital need for communities to address the social determinants of health that affect people’s health and quality of life.”
Hundreds of UnitedHealthcare employees will participate in a day of service at four Feeding Wisconsin food banks on July 25 to celebrate the initiatives.