Humana Launches New ‘Community of Opportunity’ Initiative To Advance Health Equity in Louisville’s West End

Originally published at humananews.com. Humana ranked No. 25 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2020.

 

In 2015, Humana announced its Bold Goal, a population health strategy to improve the health of the people and communities Humana serves by making it easier for everyone to achieve their best health. Through community, clinical and business integration, Humana is expanding this effort by launching “Louisville Community of Opportunity” in its headquarters city. The initiative is focused on collaboration with new and existing partners to focus on health equity in Louisville’s West End.

Louisville Community of Opportunity aims to remove obstacles to quality health care by addressing social determinants of health, such as food security while increasing access to care and health care education. Humana has established a dedicated team of associates to work exclusively on the Community of Opportunity effort, by partnering and supporting Black-owned businesses and organizations that serve the Black community in Louisville. Some of the key Community of Opportunity partners include Simmons College of Kentucky and Kentucky State University, Kentucky’s only HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), Change Today, Change Tomorrow, an organization devoted to eradicating the barriers that impact the Black community in Education, Food Justice, and Public Health, which includes Black Market KY and the Parkland Neighborhood Food Mart, Volunteers of America and their community health worker initiative,  United Community, a community-wide initiative to deploy an innovative shared technology platform to initiate and close referrals across many organizations, and the AMPED Russell Tech Business Incubator, a small business incubator and technical assistance provider in Louisville’s Russell neighborhood, promoting economic growth, mobility, entrepreneurship, and independence.

“As the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation defines, we agree that ‘health equity’ is ensuring that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible,” said Keisha Smith, Associate Director, Population Health Strategy. “We have to address those health disparities or preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations. That’s our commitment and our passion. Joining with partners across sectors is a great opportunity to move further down that path.”

Louisville Community of Opportunity is a part of Humana’s larger efforts to address health equity and health disparities in our hometown and across the other communities that Humana serves. In its 60 year history, Humana has supported its corporate hometown through a variety of investments aiming to inspire health and well-being. 2020 in particular facilitated new opportunities to engage with the community to support social determinants of health.

In 2020, Humana and The Humana Foundation invested more than $23M in Louisville-area nonprofits and community organizations. In addition to financial investments, Louisville-area Humana associates volunteered more than 32,000 hours last year, supporting the community through board and committee service and other skills-based volunteerism.

In addition to the Community of Opportunity partners, Humana collaborates with several other key organizations in the Louisville area to help make our hometown more inclusive, equitable, and healthier for all. Significant investments in 2020 include $6.5 million to the Louisville Urban League’s Sports and Learning Complex$1M to Evolve502 to fund scholarships that make two years of tuition-free postsecondary education available for JCPS graduates, and other investments in initiatives and organizations such as the Future of Work, 21st Century Parks, OneWest, New Directions, Fund for the Arts, Actors Theatre, Dare to Care, New Roots, House of Ruth, Louisville Urban League, The Lee Initiative, and the Community Foundation of Louisville. Additionally, Humana opened the Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) 360° Student & Family Support Center at the Humana Waterside Building at 101 E. Main St. to provide services such as Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) 2.0 platform and log-in help, special education assessments/screenings, school choice assistance, translation assistance, and physicals, as well as social supports from the Louisville Metro Office of Resilience and Community Services.

“We are at a pivotal moment in our country’s history, and it will come down to the actions and commitments we make today that will position us for a better tomorrow,” said Bruce Broussard, President and CEO of Humana. “At the core of our values is serving the communities in which we operate, including in our hometown of Louisville.”

Each of these investments, as well as Humana’s recent naming of Dr. Nwando Olayiwola as Chief Health Equity Officer, is a part of Humana’s goal to promote and ensure that health equity is fully integrated into the design and development of Humana clinical programs, products, services and all member interactions and communications. This enables Humana to work collaboratively with the broader health care community to advance health equity in health care.

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