UCare: UCare Foundation awards more than $2M to improve community health across Minnesota

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The UCare Foundation has awarded more than 25 grants throughout Minnesota for health improvement initiatives benefitting underserved populations. The grants fund programs addressing prevailing health disparities in the state; they also provide needed resources for counties and providers. The UCare foundation is a community-directed initiative of UCare focused on supporting innovative services, education, community outreach and research.

“We reached out to our community stakeholders to understand where UCare could have the greatest impact on closing gaps in care and improving social risk factors affecting the health of our members,” said Ghita Worcester, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief Marketing Officer. “The resulting grants exemplify how we work with counties, community organizations and providers to make a real difference in improving the health of our members and their communities.”

Snapshot of UCare-sponsored programs across Minnesota

Local needs
U Health & Learning Express mobile service in Carver County to provide holistic health care and learning opportunities for vulnerable residents where they live

Community Paramedic home visit programs with Fairview Health System and North Memorial Health addressing gaps in care for patients not served effectively through traditional primary care

Crisis Funding for Open Cities Health Center in St. Paul to enable this safety net clinic to continue providing needed services to UCare and community members in Ramsey County

Mental health

Postpartum depression support group in Duluth offering a safe, supporting space for pregnant and postpartum women to receive connection, education and referrals and enhanced peer recovery services for pregnant women using substances as part of Hennepin County’s Project Child

Promoting mental health and health equity in Dakota County through funding for school projects addressing substance use, physical activity, nutrition, suicide prevention and first aid training

Medication Assisted Treatment and mental health services to reduce opioid use and address underlying mental health conditions among underserved and inmate populations in Ramsey County, Scott County and the Washington County Jail

Mental health redesign at Allina Health to bolster suicide prevention, follow up and safety planning for patients admitted with suicidal urges

Health equity

Health equity training programs at Children’s Minnesota to educate employees about inclusive and equitable patient care and at Park Nicollet to assist staff with managing bias, identifying social risk factors of health and exercising cultural humility

Justice involved families initiative with Anoka County to reduce negative impacts for children of parents involved with the criminal justice system by offering parenting skills training and school-based support

Housing and wellbeing fund for homeless or at-risk individuals in St. Louis County to reduce barriers and support people in getting housing and support for mental health needs

Twin Cities Mobile Market, a Wilder Foundation program bringing affordable fresh and healthy foods to Twin Cities neighborhoods where there is a scarcity of grocery stores

Immigrant health

Somali Circles of Health & Wellbeing program in Minneapolis and Rochester to support Somali women’s and families’ whole health through customized resources and education around cooking, exercise, nutrition and accessing health care

Bridge funding to Portico Healthnet to support capacity to offer culturally-competent health care enrollment services in response to community needs

Somali Community Resettlement program in Olmsted County support to improve the overall health of seniors, adults and children with culturally appropriate care

Aging

Lutheran Social Service Senior Companion Services providing companionship to UCare Medicare members, and funding to assess impact of the program on member loneliness, health and independence

Thriving Minds and Healthy Aging initiative in Carlton County to increase community awareness, empower individuals living with dementia and support caregivers

About UCare

UCare is an independent, nonprofit health plan providing health care and administrative services to more than 440,000 members throughout Minnesota and parts of western Wisconsin. UCare partners with health care providers, counties, and community organizations to create and deliver Medicare, Medicaid and Individual & Family health plans.

The health plan addresses health care disparities and care access issues through a broad array of community initiatives. UCare has received Top Workplaces honors from the Star Tribune for ten consecutive years since the rankings began in 2010.