Buffalo, NY

Univera Healthcare awards grants to address maternal health disparities

Univera Healthcare announces the first round of recipients of Member and Community Health Improvement (MACHI) grants to address severe maternal morbidity (SMM) and related health equity issues in upstate New York. Among eight grant recipients from across Upstate are Gerard Place, and Jericho Road Community Health Center located in Buffalo. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines SMM as “unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short- or long-term consequences to a woman’s health.” As many as 60,000 Americans each year experience maternal morbidity, including 650 to 750 deaths, according to The Commonwealth Fund. They note these numbers are increasing, and many instances of SMM could have been avoided with improved maternal care before, during, and after childbirth. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows the maternal morbidity rate for non-Hispanic blacks as 2.9 times the rate for non-Hispanic whites. 

The Heath Plan sees the opportunity and responsibility to confront the nation’s crisis in maternal health disparities. With this first installment of award funding, community organizations will have greater capabilities to support safe pregnancies and childbirth, eliminate pregnancy-related health disparities, and improve health outcomes for new mothers and babies.

The Rochester-based health plan that includes Univera Healthcare in Western New York has dedicated $1 million to this first round of maternal health grants. Eight organizations from across Upstate are receiving funding.

  • Child & Family Resource Center Inc. in Rochester: Healthy Families project offers support services to expectant and new parents.
  • Contact Community Services in Syracuse: 24/7 telephonic hospital follow-up for perinatal and postpartum support.
  • Gerard Place in Buffalo: Education, advocacy, mentoring & clinical tracking of low-income moms by nurse educators.
  • Integrated Community Alternatives Network in Utica: Comprehensive prenatal and postpartum care, transitional housing, and a supportive peer community for young homeless women who are pregnant and/or parenting.
  • Jericho Road Community Health Center in Buffalo: Home visiting support services for refugee and low-income, at-risk pregnant women.
  • Mohawk Valley Health System in Utica: Centering Pregnancy program to reduce racial disparities in preterm births.
  • Mothers & Babies Perinatal Network in Binghamton: Home/virtual visits to support new parents with breastfeeding, safe sleep, medical appointments and transportation, insurance & food insecurity through the first year of life.
  • Mount Hope Family Center in Rochester: Home-based interventions for teen moms to address maternal mental health, parenting and child development, and trauma.

Earlier this year, Univera Healthcare invited organizations to apply for MACHI grants to fund programs to eliminate racial, health and geographical disparities. The health plan’s corporate giving follows all applicable laws and regulations and does not support funding organizations that conflict with its corporate mission, goals, policies, or products.

Peter Kates (716) 983-8765

Univera Healthcare is a nonprofit health plan that serves members across the eight counties of Western New York. With more than 500 Buffalo-based employees and a local leadership team, the company is committed to attracting and retaining a diverse workforce to foster innovation and better serve its members. It also encourages employees to engage in their communities by providing paid volunteer time off as one of many benefits. Univera is part of a Rochester-based health insurer that serves more than 1.5 million members across upstate New York. Its mission is to help people live healthier and more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care, and its products and services include cost-saving prescription drug discounts, wellness tracking tools and access to telemedicine. To learn more, visit UniveraHealthcare.com.


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