The lasting effect of the pandemic is still straining underserved communities and magnifying health inequities across the country. Solving complex health and social challenges communities face requires bold leadership with a deep understanding of local context. Advocates for Community Health (ACH)—a member-led organization for federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) with a mission to meaningfully impact federal policy—is working with UnitedHealthcare Community & State to address these challenges and harness the insights, vision and innovation of ACH’s members and leadership. Together, we are launching a three-year plan to empower FQHC leaders to drive change in their communities.

The vision for the multi-year plan is rooted in equipping health center leaders with more collaborative, strategic, and developmental opportunities. FQHCs provide critical care to more than 30 million patients annually in underserved communities nationwide. These hyper-local health care hubs serve 1 in 5 Medicaid beneficiaries and are deeply rooted in their communities. For decades they have shown innovation and advocacy through their work, most recently during the public health emergency. But, we know there is much to be done to support, strengthen, and build on the momentum of health centers to continue caring for these complex and diverse populations. Fortunately, this collaborative approach fosters the engagement needed to reduce health disparities and drive community transformation.

UnitedHealthcare is investing $3.1 million to support the following elements of the plan:

Leadership Peer Learning Collaboratives

ACH and UnitedHealthcare recognize the importance of peer learning, specifically providing space and opportunity for health center leaders to share important practices, industry knowledge, and to network with one another. ACH will host a minimum of two peer learning collaboratives targeted to senior health center professionals based on their area of expertise, which can range from finance, to advocacy, to workforce, to human resources and beyond. UnitedHealthcare is supporting the capacity building at ACH necessary to support the development, implementation, and management of this initiative.

Community Health Entrepreneur Challenge

This competition and grant opportunity is designed to inspire new approaches for addressing complex problems that affect the overall wellness of local communities. There will be a review panel of government, health care, and social service thought leaders who will select five awardees. Concepts should be well developed and target improved health outcomes, health disparities, promote system change, and include multi-sector organizations. As a part of the grant, awardees will be given two years to develop and put into action their vision, leveraging a financial investment to support their vision and innovation. Grantees will also have technical support for model and intervention design and evaluation, data analytics, policy analysis and sustainability planning. Learn more.

Emerging Issue Virtual Sessions 

Throughout the course of the plan, there will be ongoing opportunities to discuss issues facing the FQHCs to ensure ongoing dialogue and to create a space of community and collaboration.

“This unique collaboration with UnitedHealthcare is an example of the type of impactful and innovative work ACH was designed for,” said ACH CEO Amanda Pears Kelly. “We are deeply grateful for the generous support UnitedHealthcare has provided and are thrilled to design this multi-year opportunity to support our ACH members, forward-thinking health centers that will further transform the communities they serve.”

For the next 36 months, the ACH and UnitedHealthcare collaboration is committed to supporting health center leaders and their professional development, improving capacity among FQHCs to pursue community-based innovations, and increasing practices that improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities. We know this work cannot be done alone and we are thrilled to be able to work together to invest in our health leaders and their communities.

“FQHCs are the center of care for many of our UnitedHealthcare members. Ensuring that FQHCs are driving high quality care, fostering innovation and building their workforce capacity means our members have improved access to care and health. Some of the most inspiring and effective leaders I have had the pleasure to know have come from health centers. The opportunity to come alongside ACH as they contribute to a strong future for health centers is an honor.” – Kate Paris, VP of Advocacy and Public Policy, UnitedHealthcare Community & State.

Next Article