Buffalo, NY

Univera Healthcare Announces Recipients of Health Equity Awards

The Rochester-based health insurer that includes Univera Healthcare in Western New York announced today the recipients of its 2021 Health Equity Awards. The awards represent $388,000 in financial support the nonprofit health insurer is providing to community programs that address racial and ethnic health disparities across upstate New York.

"Through these Health Equity Awards, our health plan is honoring its pledge to invest in organizations that strive for equitable treatment and the elimination of discrimination for all people so they may have an opportunity to live healthier and more secure lives,” said Univera Healthcare President Art Wingerter. “We believe we have a duty to lead by example and inspire positive change within our company, our industry, and broadly in the communities we serve. This work furthers our commitment to Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, & Access, which guides us in all we do.”

The 2021 Health Equity Awards will support nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations across 39 counties of upstate New York, including five organizations in Univera Healthcare’s Western New York service area. With more than 150 applicants, a comprehensive review process included input from individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences to assess each proposal. Grant recipients were selected based on clear, defined goals and measurable results for reducing health disparities and improving health equity.

“We are a nonprofit health insurer with more than 4,000 employees who call upstate New York their home, including more than 530 employees based here in Western New York,” said Wingerter. “Improving the health and quality of life in the communities we share with our members supports our mission. By funding these local initiatives, we will improve access to care and advance specific health outcomes and improve health equity.” 

In the WNY region, the organizations that are receiving funding for their health equity projects include: 

Family Justice Center 
The Family Justice Center will provide effective, culturally competent, and accessible assistance to domestic violence survivors on Buffalo’s East Side from a base of operations at Harvest House Ministries. Since 2019, we have worked with Dr. Noelle St. Vil at the University of Buffalo and focus groups of East Side residents to brainstorm more effective ways to address DV in their communities, and the suggestions given by these focus groups will form the basis of our policies at the site.

Grassroots Gardens WNY 
Grassroots Gardens WNY will increase access to free, fresh organic food by cultivating 10+ community gardens with city residents in Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Additionally, we will make modifications to several gardens to increase accessibility to them for people with disabilities and add play elements for family learning and engagement. 

The Chautauqua Center
The key component of quality health care outcomes for Spanish speaking patients is use of a qualified interpreter to facilitate communication. The Chautauqua Center will enhance Spanish language assistance for individuals who have limited English proficiency, at no cost, to reduce health disparities for our growing Spanish speaking patient population.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Buffalo Mental Health Access Program promotes the social and emotional well-being of members through early-intervention counseling and targeted activities. Through our certified and trained staff as well as partnerships with licensed contracted partners, the program provides a solid foundation of tools so all members can leverage and create opportunities to shift the course of their life’s trajectory and overcome cycles of inequity.

The National Witness Project, Inc. 
The National Witness Project, Inc. will partner with Univera Healthcare to close the gap in health disparities by conducting 20 community education programs designed to meet the specific cultural, educational, knowledge, and learning-style levels of African American women of Western New York, providing 20 outreach events through door-to-door outreach and education in highest need neighborhoods and provide navigate services to 200 underserved African American women for mammograms.

Olivia Linke, (716) 604-5414

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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