Together we can help our communities thrive
We're helping to create a healthier world. One insight, one connection, one person at a time.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to live their healthiest life
We believe creating opportunities for healthier living is our calling — not our “duty” as a corporation. It’s because we care. Deeply. Genuinely.
To us, social responsibility is about human beings who commit to serving other human beings. Simple. And it's at the very core of all we do.
Key areas of focus in moving toward a healthier world:
- Advance diversity in health care leadership.
- Apply data and expertise toward ending disparities and bias.
- Deliver equitable care, experiences and outcomes.
- Build equity commitments into business goals.
- Foster a culture of changemakers who innovate and collaborate.
Revealing a world of inequality during a global pandemic
Longtime health and social imbalances have surfaced more than ever during the pandemic.
Our goal? To serve communities who face many of the harshest impacts of COVID-19. The underserved communities need better access to high-quality care. At the same time, we're also tackling the centuries-old causes of health inequity in our society.
We’re working with community resources to make sure these populations have the health care, social services, financial support and education to protect against the virus.
Bringing wellness to communities:
- Working with community partners to deliver free, fresh food to vulnerable people.
- Making phone calls to our highest-risk members to support their needs during COVID-19.
- Giving free access to our mental health mobile app and 24/7 emotional support phone line.
- Expanding help for members who are isolated from society. This includes access to medicines, supplies, food, care and support programs.
- Offering a symptom checker to help our highest-risk members decide on next steps for diagnosis or treatment.
- Pinpointing communities with inadequate resources. Offering infection testing, masks and sanitizers to help stem the spread of COVID-19.
Driving progress toward a more equitable health system
Addressing health equity
As a health care organization, and us as a healthcare organization, and I would assume others as well, there really four foundational elements that allow us to address those kinds of long standing historical, institutional racism and bias type realities. One is the analytics to identify where health disparities exist at a population level. So it's not just a health measure or metric, but it's at a population level. And you have to do very intentional analytics to understand where they exist. Two is bringing diversity of thought to your workforce, and those that are working on solutions, programs and services, whether it's through training, hiring, promotion, bringing a very intentional diversity of thought into what it is you do. Three is the programs and services that you offer, making sure that they're culturally tailored in a way, that stands the greatest opportunity to influence health behavior in a positive way. And last but not least, for those of us involved, directly or indirectly, in healthcare, it's working with providers on the front line, to make sure that they have the resources and support that they need, so that they can deliver the most culturally competent care possible, what that looks like when you put all that together, especially in this environment, where COVID and a whole bunch of those other things you mentioned, Charles, have really shone a light on disparities that we all know have existed for a while. But they have brought a light to it and created not just an urgency to talk and continue discussion about it. But to act on it, and urgently do something about it. We think about three things, the proliferation of telemedicine, huge, and that drives a deeper type of access into communities that we're talking about. Two, we at United, Optum have a diverse Scholars Program, that diverse Scholars Program is that one of those wheels and engines that we use to bring more diversity of thought into the healthcare workforce. And then we talked about partnerships earlier, leveraging opportunities to bring community based services, mobile vans in the like, into communities of need to address there's very specific needs at a ground level.
We have an important role as individuals and as an organization in advancing health equity and working to build a culture of inclusivity and diversity. We achieve this by identifying health disparities, closing gaps in care for vulnerable populations and creating a more equitable society for the people we serve.
To advance this effort, we are working across Optum and UnitedHealth Group to:
- Address long-standing historical, institutional racism and bias type realities by engaging in population-level analytics, partnering with providers to ensure the most culturally competent care can be made possible and driving access to telemedicine across diverse communities in need.
- Act on opportunities to shine a light on health disparities by bringing diversity of thought into the workforce and creating programs such as the Diverse Scholars Initiative, which is reflective of our society at large.
Click on the link below to learn more about how Optum is helping make health equity a reality for all people.
Taking a holistic approach for a better world
It’s also important to address the other, but no less essential, challenges of social responsibility. Here are a few ways we took on those challenges in 2019. The results? Our social responsibility programs have impacted one million lives:
- We removed 2 million pounds of carbon from the atmosphere by reducing OptumRx packaging and diverted more than 30 tons of waste from landfills in partnership with Job One, a nonprofit that works with individuals of all abilities.
- In 2019, Optum technology teams offered STEM education and support programs to ~ 6,800 students in over 100 schools, with a focus on supporting girls and Black and Latino students.
- In addition, technology teams built open-source platforms to support pharmacy deliveries in Sierra Leone and capacity-building projects in care settings across South America and Africa.
- We developed an LGBTQ health task force to enhance high-quality care and support for this population.
Preparing for future health crises
Optum is proud to be a founding member of The Trinity Challenge, a global effort that emphasizes the use of data and advanced analytics to protect our world against future health emergencies.
The Trinity Challenge is led by a coalition of respected organizations and influential leaders from across the business, academic and social sectors. It is a call to action for the world’s best and brightest minds to contribute ideas and innovations, with £10M in awards for the best Challenge Teams.
Teams are asked to create solutions that focus on:
- Identification: We need to know where outbreaks are likely to occur and why, and to identify interventions to reduce risk.
- Response: We need to know what actions are effective — and their societal and economic costs — to reduce transmission and spread.
- Recovery: We need to know how to address the disproportionate health and economic impact of outbreaks and pandemics.
In the news
Optum, Wider Circle and Helping Hands Community partner to deliver free, fresh food to vulnerable people during COVID-19 pandemic
Collaboration will help more than 60,000 Optum patients in Los Angeles County combat food insecurity.
Optum Commits $1 Million in Pro Bono Services to Address Local Health and Wellness Needs in Partnership with John Muir Health
Efforts will support critical community services that improve people's health and wellness