Health is for everyone. Find out how Humana supports health equity from the ground up
July 2, 2020
Everyone deserves to lead their healthiest, happiest life and receive quality access to healthcare. While Americans’ access to quality healthcare improved overall from 2000 to 2017, racial and ethnic disparities persist.1 Certain populations like Blacks, Asians and Hispanics may face disproportionate levels of chronic disease, disability and decreased life expectancy.1 For example, racial and ethnic minorities are less likely to receive preventative health services and often receive lower-quality care.2 That’s why Humana strives to support multicultural populations across the country through a combination of grassroots efforts, philanthropy and strategic partnerships. Here are four stories that showcase Humana’s work with multicultural populations to reduce healthcare disparities and combat inequity.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that Black Americans, especially as they age, have higher rates of high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke than White Americans.3 In an effort to combat these health disparities on a local level, Humana teamed up with the Black Health Care Coalition of Kansas City (BHCCKC) in 2019. According to a recent article, “Barber shops and beauty salons aren’t just small businesses in the Black community; they are metaphorical street corners or town plazas.”4 Humana and BHCCKC leveraged barber shops and salons because of their unique function in the Black community as gathering spaces. The result? The Barbershop and Beauty Parlor Tour, which brought healthcare inside the shops and salons.5 This innovative program activated these familiar, community-oriented spaces with free health screenings for Parkinson’s, diabetes, hypertension and social determinants of health in addition to wellnesses classes on topics like exercise and health resources.5 This program helps deliver valuable healthcare to communities of color while providing greater access to healthcare within those communities. All it takes is a little creativity—and maybe some clippers, too.
In 2017, the Humana Foundation granted $100,000 to Florida’s Hispanic Unity of Florida (HUF) in an effort to reduce healthcare disparities and increase healthcare access through the Te Ayudo program.6 Te Ayudo translates to “I can help you.” Through the Te Ayudo program, HUF employees help low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals and families, particularly Hispanic populations, navigate a complex healthcare system. Since its inception in 2016, the program has helped hundreds of people like Mayeris Bermúdez, a single mother from Venezuela, overcome enrollment hurdles and get affordable access to healthcare.7 Making access to healthcare simpler for more people is what Humana strives to do.
In 2018, Humana announced a long-term strategic partnership with the University of Houston to create the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute (Humana Institute) through a 10-year, $15 million gift.8 The new college will train the healthcare leaders of tomorrow to focus on advancing population health, improving health outcomes and expanding the use of value-based care. Humana Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roy Beveridge said, “…we share a vision for…caring for individuals in underserved communities with the greatest health needs.”8
Because a majority of active physicians are White (56.2 percent) and male (64.1 percent)9, the need for a diverse workforce attuned to the needs of the community remains critical for healthcare equity. The University of Houston is a federally designated Hispanic- and Asian-American-Serving institution.8 The Medical College within the Humana Institute, for example, actively works to attract and retain students from diverse backgrounds including Black and Hispanic students.10 Humana recognizes the healthcare system could be improved to better serve everyone. And it starts by building a diverse talent pool with the skills and empathy to make a real difference for communities of color.
In the wake of Breonna Taylor’s death and the subsequent protests, Humana committed $11.5 million and 160,000 employee volunteer hours to help support Lousiville’s community health, create greater health equity and make the company’s hometown more inclusive and equitable for all.11 “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. “Caring for each other and respecting differences is who we are as a company, and we do not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind. At the core of our values is serving the communities in which we operate. The mission of our company has taken on particular significance in our hometown of Louisville that is reeling from the devastating loss of Breonna Taylor, protests and ensuing tragedies. This is a community that is already suffering the impact of COVID-19. There is a lot of work and healing to do to rebuild physically and emotionally.”11
Changing the healthcare industry for the better is no easy feat. But we’re up for the challenge because we believe in doing the right thing, even if it’s the hard thing. The color of someone’s skin shouldn’t dictate what kind of access they have to healthcare or the quality of the care they receive. We’re working to improve healthcare quality and equity from the ground up and the top down. That’s human care. At Humana, it’s our superpower. But we need your help. Are you ready?
Ready to help make a difference with Humana? Join us.