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A scene from the Humana Foundations many outreach events. Photo: @HumanaFdn.

Humana Foundation's Health Equity Innovation Fund offers $7.5 million to eliminate health barriers

The fund is focused on seniors, veterans, and school-age children.

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Humana Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Humana Inc., recently announced its Health Equity Innovation Fund to put $7.5 million against unnecessary barriers to healthcare.

Tiffany Benjamin, CEO of the Humana Foundation, noted:

Every day, people face a multitude of choices that can affect their health and quality of life.

Investing in community-focused partners and evidence-based programs that support seniors, veterans, and school-age children to live healthy and connected lives, the foundation will focus its efforts on creating healthy emotional connections as a vital part of a holistic approach to care and shape a healthier approach to nutrition to support lifelong health and wellness.

A strategic investment

The $7.5 million Health Equity Innovation Fund, launched in October 2022, provides seed funding for organizations testing and scaling solutions to address preventable chronic diseases in populations facing inequities.

Notable among the fund's inaugural recipients are the UNC Eshelman Institute for Innovation, within the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, and the Community Farm Alliance of Kentucky.

UNC's Eshelman Institute will expand a program that tests solutions put forward by Black college entrepreneurs to improve community health and nutrition. Funding for the Community Farm Alliance of Kentucky will identify gaps and best practices in its Food is Medicine program, so more communities can benefit from medically-adapted meals, nutrition education and counseling.

“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,” added Benjamin.

Nutritional Health

The Humana Foundation has committed more than $8 million to regional nutrition programs, including three-year grants for:

  • University of Louisville School of Medicine, for dietary interventions to improve the heart health of older, African American adults.
  • Dare to Care, to close gaps in access to nutritious food for seniors in Louisville.
  • FoodCorps, to support the expansion of the organization’s nutrition education and free school meals program to Kentucky in 2023, and in Louisiana and Texas in the years to come.
  • Sustainable Food Center, expanding nutritious cooking classes and related benefits for seniors and youth in Texas.

“Food insecurity is a major problem that correlates with healthcare disparities. Nutrition education and food quality issues plague our African American community, keeping heart disease as the leading killer of Americans. Our trials will help detect disease in those who are at risk and manage those already diagnosed using lifestyle changes, medication, enhanced access to cardiac care and advanced diagnostic imaging,” said Dr. Kim Allan Williams, Cardiologist and Department Chair of the University of Louisville School of Medicine.

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