National Business Group on Health Honors Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute, Geisinger and UnitedHealth Group for Advancing Health Equity and Reducing Disparities

WASHINGTON, DC, April 19, 2018 – The National Business Group on Health, a non-profit association of 420 large U.S. employers, today honored Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute, Geisinger, and UnitedHealth Group, for their ongoing commitment to promote health equity and reduce health care disparities in the workplace. The three companies were presented with “Innovation in Advancing Health Equity Awards” at the National Business Group on Health’s 2018 Business Health Agenda conference.

Brian Marcotte, president and CEO of the National Business Group on Health, commented, “We are thrilled to recognize Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute, Geisinger, and UnitedHealth Group for their support and dedication to advance health equity through workplace and community initiatives. They recognize by addressing health equity and disparities, they are improving the value, quality and effectiveness of the services their employees and the surrounding communities receive.”

The honored companies and the key components of their programs are:

Atrium Health’s Levine Cancer Institute

Atrium Health has several initiatives to reduce cancer health disparities and eliminate inequalities in care in medically underserved populations in North Carolina. Notable is the I CAN Cancer Ambassador Program that targets high- risk school children and parents by providing chronic disease and cancer prevention education. To date, this initiative has reached more than 1,000 students across several North Carolina counties. In addition, Atrium Health’s LUNG B.A.S.E.S. for Life mobile lung cancer program provides free lung cancer screenings, smoking cessation, and nurse navigation services to uninsured, high-risk individuals. This initiative has reached more than 130 uninsured individuals in five counties. Also noteworthy is Project Pink/Pink Plus, a mobile mammography program that provides free breast cancer screening services to uninsured women. Through this program, more than 900 uninsured women in five counties have been screened, resulting in identification of 23 breast cancer cases. Atrium Health also runs mammography education and screening programs for Latina women and a cancer prevention program for firefighters who have increased risk of disease due to smoke exposure.


Geisinger has moved beyond traditional medical care with programs designed to improve patients’ economic and housing stability, food security, education, transportation and environmental conditions. Geisinger’s Fresh Food Farmacy is an example of the innovative programs it has developed to address the social determinants of health. By providing fresh, healthy food and nutrition education to those most in need, Geisinger is combating high obesity rates, pre-diabetes and diabetes. The goal is to empower participants to manage their medical conditions through food-related behavioral change. In addition to providing enough healthy food for 10 meals a week to feed the entire family free of charge, Geisinger’s Fresh Food Farmacy also offers evidence-based diabetes management and a comprehensive suite of education, outreach services, nutritional consultations, case management, medication management, cooking expos and healthy recipes.

Geisinger is also conducting two pilot programs that will subsidize the cost of transportation options for clinical and non-clinical but health-related activities. These include obtaining counseling or other social services, getting to food banks, grocery stores, and pharmacies, and applying for government benefits. Geisinger also runs a community-wide program to quickly re-house homeless individuals, families, persons fleeing domestic violence, and youths.

UnitedHealth Group

UnitedHealth Group is capturing social determinants of health (SDOH) and other non-traditional data to integrate care and connect members with services. Their current initiatives focus on the Medicare population and integrating SDOH data for a more complete view of a member’s needs, to match members with government and community resources that improve care outcomes and provide whole person support. UnitedHealth Group is also working to make recommendations to the Centers for Medicare/Medicaid to expand the diagnostic code set (ICD-10) to include social determinants such as lack of transportation, food insecurity, and utility and telephone assistance. Also notable is their coordinating free community clinic partnership with local schools to utilize school buses during off hours to transport seniors to community centers, partnering to expand access to substance abuse treatment, and expanding child development programs for military families.

Contact: Ed Emerman