Five community health centers selected in nationwide entrepreneurship competition

WASHINGTON – As part of a multi-year collaboration between Advocates for Community Health (ACH) and UnitedHealthcare, five community health centers are receiving $500,000 each to address complex problems affecting the overall wellness of the underserved communities where they provide care. The Community Health Entrepreneur Challenge, launched in April 2023, is the first collaboration between UnitedHealthcare and ACH and was crafted from a joint commitment to empower federally qualified health center (FQHC) leaders to drive change in their communities. Through the competition, ACH member health centers submitted concepts to target improved health outcomes, decrease health disparities, promote system change, and engage organizations across multiple sectors including public, private, government and community groups. Winners receive technical support and seed funding to implement and measure their innovation impact.

“Health centers have always been hubs of innovation that practice creative problem-solving, while also acting as economic engines in the underserved communities where they provide care,” said ACH CEO Amanda Pears Kelly. “The selection committee received a plethora of impressive proposals that all have the potential to change the future of health care delivery. We are proud to work with UnitedHealthcare to catalyze these five innovations and support ACH member health centers in improving patient access and care.”

“Healthy communities depend on FQHCs for essential care every day,” said Kate Paris, Vice President, UnitedHealthcare Community & State. “We’re honored to support these programs and learn from the innovations these local organizations bring to their communities. These creative ideas and actionable projects will help to drive greater access to health care services and better health outcomes for all.”

A selection committee of policy, health care, and social service thought leaders reviewed dozens of submissions and identified the five awardees. Awardees represent some of the nation’s largest FQHCs, with each organization serving more than 40,000 patients annually and employing over 300 full-time employees. The initiatives receiving funding will address the needs of underserved populations in a variety of rural and urban regions across the country. The five Community Health Entrepreneurship Challenge awardees and their initiatives are:

Columbia Basin Health Association (CBHA) located in Washington: In response to the lack of easy access to behavioral health services and the needs in their local school districts, CBHA is developing a HIPAA-compliant ChatBot that provides on-demand behavioral health care. Using a QR code, students will be able to schedule and attend behavioral telehealth appointments with CBHA providers using their personal mobile devices.

Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC) located in Massachusetts: The Lowell CHC Health Justice Learning Institute will serve as a community-based, practitioner-led, anti-racist experiential training facility for a broad range of health professionals, anchored by a family medicine residency program. The Institute builds on decades of intentional efforts by Lowell CHC to advance health justice and aims to transform the way health centers across the nation teach and prepare health care professionals.

Mariposa Community Health Center (Mariposa) located in Arizona: To improve patient care, Mariposa will implement machine learning and artificial intelligence through a predictive modeling approach that will enable the organization to make proactive, predictive decisions based on data science. Leveraging data in this manner will allow providers to make more informed clinical decisions, empower executive management to make data-based decisions on value-based contracts, achieve clinical quality goals, address health equity and bias, and improve patient outcomes.

Morris Heights Health Center (MHHC) located in New York: Age Well is a two-year pilot program that aims to improve the quality of life and health outcomes of MHHC’s 65+ population by increasing their access and connection to clinical and non-clinical services. Through patient-centric and comprehensive engagement and outreach strategies, this unique and replicable program aims to offer health centers a new approach to serving older populations.

Mountain Comprehensive Health Corporation (MCHC) located in Kentucky: MCHC’s RAISE program helps employees reach educational goals and advance their careers through apprenticeship pathways and advanced degree programs. By addressing barriers to continuing education and leveraging partnerships with local higher education institutions, RAISE is a crucial tool to improve employee satisfaction and retention, as well as patient satisfaction.

Grantees will receive $500,000 over two years to develop and implement their proposed concepts along with technical support in the areas of model/intervention design, evaluation, data analytics, policy analysis, and sustainability planning

Find more information about the Community Health Entrepreneurship Challenge here.

About Advocates for Community Health
Advocates for Community Health (ACH) is a membership organization for federally qualified health centers that strives to advance the delivery of health care to underserved populations and to achieve health equity for patients and communities in need. We are committed to working collaboratively to advance well-defined and forward-thinking policies at the national level. By leveraging the wisdom, agility, and innovation of our members, ACH brings bold leadership to drive change in the American healthcare system. To learn more about membership and partnership opportunities, visit or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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 1.6 million physicians and care professionals, and 8,000 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 or follow UnitedHealthcare on LinkedIn.

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