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UnitedHealthcare donates $250K to West Virginia University

CHARLESTON — UnitedHealthcare, a UnitedHealth Group company, is awarding a $250,000 Empowering Health grant to West Virginia University to expand access to care for uninsured individuals and underserved communities.

In total, UnitedHealthcare is donating $11.4 million through Empowering Health grants across 18 states and the District of Columbia. 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.

The Empowering Health grant will help expand a WVU research study providing and testing a suite of online tools — including interventions, gamified solutions and chatbots — to address depressive disorders in people without previously diagnosed conditions. The funding will be used to recruit underserved individuals to participate in the study.

“Social and economic factors have a profound impact on achieving and maintaining good health,” said Joe Ochipinti, CEO, UnitedHealthcare — Mid-Atlantic. “Through Empowering Health, we’re working with West Virginia University to provide West Virginians with greater access to essential resources in high-risk and high-need communities so they can live healthier lives.”

Good health encompasses more than simply visiting a doctor’s office. According to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, nearly 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. And for so many, the global pandemic has caused additional social and economic challenges that continue to affect healthy behaviors and exacerbate health disparities.

Since launching its Empowering Health commitment in 2018, UnitedHealthcare has now invested more than $40 million in Empowering Health grants reaching more than 6 million people through partnerships with community-based organizations in 29 states.

Additionally, UnitedHealth Group has invested more than $500 million in affordable housing communities since 2011, and partnered with food banks and meal-delivery services.

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