Best Corporate Steward Finalist: UnitedHealth Group
The "Shared Value" Category
Excerpts from the nomination
UnitedHealth Group’s mission is to help people live healthier lives. For the 75 million people we serve around the world, achieving this mission means improving their everyday well-being and quality of life, which is invaluable not only for individuals, families, and communities. We feel our social responsibility initiatives are critical to delivering on our mission, and we have created a rich portfolio that includes philanthropy, partnerships, volunteerism, and business innovations, all aimed at improving people’s health and wellness.
We see “doing well” as more than just “doing good,” and we approach social responsibility with a strong business discipline designed to drive meaningful results in the communities in which we live and work. We strive to maintain a high level of quality in creating and implementing our initiatives, each of which is informed by our deep understanding and years of experience on the front lines of health care. In order to ensure these efforts have the greatest possible results over the long term, we are committed to measuring the impact in the community and adapting quickly when a new or different approach is needed.
Our social responsibility initiatives are focused on making a difference in three key areas:
- Preventing and managing chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity;
- Strengthening tomorrow’s health care workforce to help build healthier communities; and
- Serving communities through volunteering.
Experts estimate that, by the end of this decade, diabetes will likely affect 15% of American adults, or roughly 39 million people, and take a substantial human and economic toll. To help turn the tide on the national epidemics of obesity, prediabetes, and diabetes, UnitedHealth Group created a range of programs including the Diabetes Prevention and Control Alliance (DPCA) for adults and JOIN for ME for kids, which are connecting millions of individuals and families to critical health information and resources.
In addition to chronic diseases, rising health care costs, limited health care dollars, and an aging population are causing increased strain on the nation’s health system. The country is also facing a national shortage of primary care physicians and nurses, just as millions are poised to enter the health system as a result of health reform. We have created a variety of programs and resources to address these issues and build a health care system that is better enabled to meet the complex health care needs of tomorrow. Examples include:
- Diverse Scholars, a program that provides scholarships to students from multicultural backgrounds to pursue careers in health care and has awarded nearly 1,000 scholarships and more than $5.3 million to students across the nation;
- Pharmacy is Right for Me, a national STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education campaign aimed at interesting middle and early high school students in careers in pharmacy; and
- The UnitedHealth Group Center for Nursing Advancement, established to help develop tomorrow’s nurse leaders and empower nurses to drive modernization and innovation in a new era of health care.
Our social responsibility priorities (described above) are closely aligned with our business imperatives and the skills of our people, both of which are driven by our mission to help people live healthier lives. This alignment involves:
- Empowering people to help themselves by connecting them to the right tools, resources and support (e.g., through program such as DPCA and JOIN for ME).
- Modernizing the health system to better serve communities and individuals and improve health care quality, affordability and accessibility (e.g., through program such as Diverse Scholars, Pharmacy is Right for Me, the Center for Nursing Advancement).
- Tapping into the skills and passions of our 99,000 employees to serve the communities in which we live and work through volunteerism and service. (In 2011 alone, nearly 90,000 UnitedHealth Group workers volunteered, contributing more than 381,000 hours of volunteer service, a six-fold increase since 2007.)
Together, our community programs, volunteerism, philanthropy and business innovations are helping to shift public focus from treatment to prevention and wellness, and helping to build a stronger, more agile healthcare workforce that is better prepared to meet the increasingly challenging health care needs of tomorrow.
Over the past five years, UnitedHealth Group has achieved consistent, strong growth in both revenues and membership, and is now the nation’s largest health and wellness company. UnitedHealth Group ranked number 22 on FORTUNE magazine’s 500 list in 2012. The company also earned the top overall ranking among insurance and managed care companies in the magazine’s “World’s Most Admired Companies” list in both 2012 and 2011.