The United Health Foundation, the philanthropic foundation of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), is partnering with Touro University Nevada (Touro) to improve access to high-quality prenatal care for underserved and homeless women in southern Nevada. The three-year, $2.6 million partnership will help reduce maternal health disparities and increase the state’s OB-GYN and family medicine physician workforce.
According to America’s Health Rankings’ latest Health of Women and Children Data 2020 Update, Nevada ranks 37th for women receiving adequate prenatal care. Nevada also has a comparatively low number of women’s health providers, ranking 46th. Infant mortality has risen 14% in the past four years in Nevada to match the national rate, the most recent data show.
“Nevada clearly needs more providers who specialize in women’s health to help expand access to prenatal care in underserved communities and address the racial and ethnic disparities in maternal care,” said Dr. Laurine Tibaldi, chief medical officer, Health Plan of Nevada, a UnitedHealth Group company. “Our partnership with Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine will help fill that gap and prepare a new generation of health care providers who are better able to recognize and treat the distinct health needs of expectant mothers.”
As part of the new partnership, Touro, Nevada’s only school of osteopathic medicine, will bring free prenatal screening and care to approximately 1,700 underserved women in Nevada using Touro’s Mobile Healthcare Clinic equipped with hand-held ultrasound devices and staffed by Touro physicians, nurses and medical students. Funding will also support medical student training, including the development of new medical school curriculum to provide hands-on prenatal care education to all first-year medical students.
“We are grateful to the United Health Foundation for its partnership and generous support of this important initiative,” said Dr. Wolfgang Gilliar, DO, FAAPMR and dean, College of Osteopathic Medicine, Touro University Nevada. “Together, we will better meet the critical health care needs of expectant mothers, reduce maternal health disparities and improve access to prenatal care in southern Nevada.”
UnitedHealth Group and the United Health Foundation have made significant philanthropic and community investments in Nevada in recent years, including a $3 million grant to develop an innovative training program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas to better prepare medical students for careers in primary care and a $1 million contribution to Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada to support food security and housing programs.
UnitedHealth Group is committed to improving the health of mothers and newborns, raising awareness for improved maternal health, and reducing the occurrence of avoidable maternal and infant morbidity and mortality. UnitedHealthcare’s Healthy Pregnancy and Maternity Support programs provide resources and services to help expectant mothers get the most out of their benefits, make informed decisions, and promote dialogue with care providers. The company is also actively addressing disparities in maternal health outcomes by providing coursework in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morehouse School of Medicine, and the March of Dimes.