Grants will support programs that reduce health care disparities and improve access to care for moms and babies, and persons struggling with addiction

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Michigan has awarded $75,000 in community grants to three organizations focused on improving maternal and infant health outcomes and combating addiction in Michigan.

“UnitedHealthcare is committed to addressing health disparities that exist in Michigan and is dedicated to removing barriers that contribute to poor maternal outcomes and addiction,” said Dennis Mouras, CEO, UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Michigan. “We are honored to support organizations that focus on improving the health of our communities by increasing access to essential care.”

The grant recipients include:

  • Birth Detroit – Serving Detroit; $30,000 to provide postpartum and doula support, transportation, and childbirth education to Birth Detroit families.
  • Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association – Serving Detroit: $30,000 to support a community-based doula training class that will provide increased opportunities for expecting mothers to access trained doulas in the metro Detroit area.
  • The Muskegon Health Project – Serving Muskegon; $15,000 to train community health workers and recovery coaches to support and provide connections to medical and community resources for patients who have received Medication Assisted Therapy by an emergency department or physician.

“Birth Detroit is grateful to UnitedHealthcare for its generous community planning grant. Birth Detroit believes that Black-led midwifery model care is part of the answer to maternal-infant health disparities in our communities,” said Leseliey Welch, MPH, MBA, co-founder and CEO of Birth Detroit. “We hope that this is just the beginning of our opportunities to partner with UnitedHealthcare to improve access to comprehensive, safe, quality, loving maternal health care."

“Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association is excited about continuing to grow our relationship with UnitedHealthcare,” said Black Mothers’ Breastfeeding Association Founding Executive Director Kiddada Green. “We believe that this partnership exemplifies the importance of cross-functional team building to reduce racial disparities in maternal infant health outcomes. Together, we recognize the value that community-based doulas bring to the birthing experience."

Infants born preterm or with low birth weight —less than 5 pounds 8 ounces— are at an increased risk for experiencing physical disabilities and developmental impairments throughout their lives. According to March of Dimes, the preterm birth rate of current births in Michigan, on average, remains 10.2% while the rate for Black mothers and babies is 62% higher than the rate among all other women. The preterm birth rate in Detroit remains much higher than the state average with 14.6% of current births.

According to America’s Health Rankings, Michigan continues to experience a high prevalence of frequent mental distress. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that reported overdose deaths in Michigan have increased by 11.5% from May 2020 to May 2021.

“We are pleased that UnitedHealthcare is providing us a grant so that we can assist patients in West Michigan who are in need of a recovery coach, outpatient treatment and wraparound services as they are on their journey to recover from addiction,” said Judy Kell, HUB, manager, The Muskegon Health Project.

These grants are part of several initiatives that UnitedHealthcare, along with its parent company UnitedHealth Group, have launched to address maternal health outcomes throughout the United States. Initiatives include more than $5 million in recent philanthropic grants to support maternal health and $2.85 million in support to March of Dimes for a public-private partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services that aims to reduce the Black-white disparity gap and improve maternal health outcomes.

UnitedHealthcare serves more than 820,000 people in Michigan enrolled in employer-sponsored, individual, Medicare and Medicaid benefit plans, with a network of 145 hospitals, and nearly 48,000 physicians and other care providers statewide.

About UnitedHealthcare

UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people live healthier lives and making the health system work better for everyone by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. In the United States, UnitedHealthcare offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers, and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 1.3 million physicians and care professionals, and 6,500 hospitals and other care facilities nationwide. The company also provides health benefits and delivers care to people through owned and operated health care facilities in South America. UnitedHealthcare is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified health care company. For more information, visit UnitedHealthcare at www.uhc.com or follow @UHC on Twitter.

Media Contact: Tony Marusic UnitedHealthcare (312) 363-7714 tony_marusic@uhc.com

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