United Way NCA Launches Thrive United 365 Health Initiative That Provides Equitable Access to Health Care Services and Resources

Mar 23, 2022

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield Grant Supports Thrive United 365 Health Expansion to Address Chronic Diseases That Impact Black and Brown Communities

WASHINGTON, DC (March 22, 2022) – United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA) today announces the launch of Thrive United 365 health initiative. The mission of Thrive United 365 is to provide equitable access to and distribution of health resources and improve people’s lives by addressing health conditions most affecting marginalized communities.

With a grant from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield (CareFirst), Thrive United 365 will expand on United Way NCA’s current health initiatives, Choose Healthy Life, its community-focused COVID-19 response aimed on reducing barriers to education, testing and vaccination. The expansion includes prevention and care management of chronic diseases, such as diabetes, that impact Black and Brown communities.

“In the District of Columbia, Black or African American residents have higher rates of diabetes at 17.7 percent than the overall District rate of 8.7 percent and more than 26 percent of the populations in this region live below the poverty line,” said Rosie Allen-Herring, President and CEO, United Way of the National Capital Area. “With the support of partners like CareFirst, Thrive United 365 can provide our region’s underserved community members who traditionally face barriers to health care with safe and trusted health resources, including prevention and care management. This work enables communities to be healthier in the short- and long-term.”

The CareFirst grant prioritized community impact organizations like United Way NCA who convene local health coalitions to promote economic inclusion, social responsibility and impact, educational opportunity, behavioral health, chronic conditions, and accessible, affordable, high-quality care, to address root causes of health disparities and diabetes in historically marginalized communities. These financial investments will strengthen organizational capacity, partnerships between communities and health systems, and support innovative interventions to address the existing work being done by local community health partners.

“As a community champion, CareFirst remains committed to addressing health inequities and factors that negatively impact health outcomes across our region,” said Stacia Cohen, Executive Vice President of Health Services at CareFirst. “By prioritizing preventative care interventions and removing barriers to affordable, accessible and quality care, we will decrease the severity of preventable chronic illness such as diabetes and prediabetes. CareFirst is proud to partner with United Way of the National Capital Area to meaningfully impact the health and wellness of historically underserved communities.”

To achieve this mission, United Way NCA is leveraging trust and relationships in the community to create health-resource access points with the lowest barriers possible. Currently, through Choose Healthy Life and the COVID-19 expansion work, United Way NCA is providing equitable access to and distribution of free COVID-19 tests, vaccines, and resources to all community members, collaborating with local churches and nonprofit partners. United Way NCA’s Thrive United 365 work will continue to focus on COVID-19 response and will expand to include chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension and overall health and wellness.

Specifically, to expand on its work to include diabetes and hypertension outreach, education and resources, United Way NCA is collaborating with the East of the River Family Strengthening Collaborative (ERFSC). ERFSC currently partners with universities in the region to assist with data collection and analysis, basic needs organizations to assist with healthy food distribution, medical providers to offer diabetes management and care, and fitness and wellness instructors for physical activity demonstrations at senior centers. ERFSC will provide community pop-up events that bring diabetes education and intervention directly to the senior client and their caregivers. The Care Coordinators on the team will make connections for seniors to obtain medical treatment and provide diabetes management care.

ERFSC will leverage its existing partnerships to strengthen the program by providing holistic care, including:

  • Services for diabetes intervention at senior wellness centers including the Living Well Program.
  • Intervention and treatment coordination through Case Managers / Social Workers.
  • Physical exercise and health promotion to the senior community to promote physical fitness and exercise.
  • Home care for seniors diagnosed with diabetes, including medical treatment and care coordination.
  • Diabetes education directly to the senior by a health care professional.
  • Nutrition and Healthy Food Options to provide supplemental healthy food options for seniors.

Additionally, United Way NCA is working with many of its trusted partners to support Thrive United 365, including Deloitte, HRSA, Peterson Companies, Quest, and United Way Worldwide. Partner organizations–community-based and private partners that are providing free COVID-19 vaccines to the community, include Five Medicine, Holy Cross Health, Mary’s Center, Neighborhood Health and U.S. Wellcare.

“As the region’s convener, collaborator, and catalyst, our goal is to create a more equitable society where everyone in our community has fair and equal access to health, education and economic opportunity,” added Allen-Herring. “Thrive United 365 is an example of corporate and community partners collaborating to practice equity and improve the lives of all in our region. We truly believe that when none are ignored, all will thrive.”

For more information about Thrive United 365, please visit: www.unitedwaynca.org/thrive-united-365.

About United Way of the National Capital Area

United Way of the National Capital Area works to improve the health, education and economic opportunity of every person in the National Capital community. United Way NCA has been improving lives by creating measurable impact in the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties for nearly 50 years. In 2020, United Way NCA was among 384 organizations across the United States to receive a generous transformational investment from novelist and venture philanthropist, MacKenzie Scott. For more information about United Way of the National Capital Area, visit UnitedWayNCA.org.