LOUISVILLE, Ky.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Humana Foundation, philanthropic arm of Humana Inc. (NYSE: HUM) for the past 41 years, today announced a new strategy to advance health equity by eliminating unjust and unnecessary barriers in health and healthcare. The Foundation will invest in community-centered partners and evidence-based programs that support seniors, veterans and school-aged children in living connected, healthy lives. In particular, efforts will focus on creating healthy emotional connections, as a vital part of a holistic approach to care and shaping a healthier approach to nutrition in order to support lifelong health and wellbeing.
“Every day, people face a multitude of choices that can affect their health and quality of life,” said Tiffany Benjamin, CEO of the Humana Foundation. “In too many communities, these choices are limited by factors beyond their control. That is why we are expanding healthy choices for communities and eliminating social and structural barriers, so that more people can reach their full health potential.”
To jumpstart this mission, the Foundation established in October a $7.5 million Health Equity Innovation Fund, which provides seed funding for organizations testing and scaling solutions to address preventable, chronic diseases in populations facing inequities. Today, the Foundation named its inaugural Fund recipients: the UNC Eshelman Institute for Innovation, within the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and the Community Farm Alliance. UNC’s Eshelman Institute will expand a program that pilots solutions brought forward by Black collegiate entrepreneurs to improve community health and nutrition. Funding for the Community Farm Alliance of Kentucky will identify gaps and best practices in the Food is Medicine program, so more communities can benefit from medically tailored meals and nutrition education and counseling.
Furthering its commitment to help both seniors and youth to live connected, healthy lives, the Humana Foundation is building on its $5.5 million investment in regional mental health services in October with new grants totaling over $8 million toward regional nutrition programs. This includes three-year grants to:
- University of Louisville School of Medicine, for dietary interventions to improve the heart health of older, African American adults;
- Dare to Care, to close gaps in access to nutritious food for seniors in Louisville;
- FoodCorps, to support the expansion of the organization’s nutrition education and free school meals program to Kentucky in 2023 and Louisiana and Texas in the years to come; and
- Sustainable Food Center, expanding nutritious cooking classes and related benefits for seniors and youth in Texas.
“Food insecurity is a major problem that correlates with healthcare disparities,” said Dr. Kim Allan Williams Sr., Cardiologist and Department Chair, University of Louisville School of Medicine. “Nutrition education and food quality issues plague our African American community, keeping heart disease as the leading killer of Americans. Our trials will help detect disease in those who are at risk and manage those already diagnosed using lifestyle changes, medication, enhanced access to cardiac care and advanced diagnostic imaging.”
To co-create more inclusive solutions, like these, the Foundation announced its intention to form the “Humana Foundation Senior Council” that will serve as a perpetual focus group and advisory board. The voluntary group will include 8-10 established and emerging community leaders – both seniors 65+ and current high school seniors – recruited from the Foundation’s partner network and Humana Inc.’s employee base. The Council will impact and amplify its health equity focus in target communities and will have input in creating unique experiences that bring the Foundation’s evolved strategy to life. Applications for the Humana Foundation Senior Council will open soon via the Foundation’s website.
To learn more about efforts underway to advance health equity and support people in living connected, healthy lives, visit humanafoundation.org. The refreshed website features the Foundation’s updated brand identity along with its evolved strategy.
About The Humana Foundation
The Humana Foundation was established in 1981 as the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc. and is focused on health equity, working to eliminate unjust, avoidable and unnecessary barriers in health and healthcare. The Foundation fosters evidence-based collaborations and investments that help people in underserved communities live connected, healthy lives. As a steward of good health, the Foundation creates healthy emotional connections for people and communities and is shaping a healthier approach to nutrition to support lifelong well-being. For more information, visit humanafoundation.org.
Humana Inc. and The Humana Foundation believe everyone should have access to the tools and support needed to have a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Our commitment to improving health outcomes for all – our members and patients, employees, the communities we serve, the healthcare system, and the environment - is the foundation of our Environment, Social, and Governance (ESG) impact platform.