Humana Foundation rolls out new strategy to tackle health equity

The Humana Foundation has unveiled a new strategy to address health equity.

The foundation, which is the insurer's philanthropic arm, is aiming to tackle equity by addressing "unjust and unnecessary barriers in health and healthcare." It will invest in evidence-based programs for seniors, veterans and school-age children as well as in community partners, according to an announcement.

The program will put a focus on helping people establish healthy emotional connections, key to a holistic vision for health, Humana said.

“Every day, people face a multitude of choices that can affect their health and quality of life,” said Tiffany Benjamin, CEO of the Humana Foundation, in the release. “In too many communities, these choices are limited by factors beyond their control. That is why we are expanding healthy choices for communities and eliminating social and structural barriers, so that more people can reach their full health potential.”

To kick-start this work, the foundation in October established a $7.5 million health equity fund that provides seed funding to companies that are building and scaling tools to address chronic conditions in underserved populations, Humana said.

The first recipients in the fund, according to the announcement, are the UNC Eshelman Institute for Innovation and the Community Farm Alliance. The Eshelman Insitute will use the funding to expand a program that pilots initiatives developed by Black students to improve community health.

The Kentucky-based Community Farm Alliance's funding award will go toward identifying gaps in the Food is Medicine program.

The foundation will also convene a senior council made up of people aged 65 and over as well as high school seniors who will assist in helping drive the equity work in its core markets.