On September 28, 2022 President Biden laid out his national strategy for ending hunger at The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health. The conference showcased the Biden-Harris Administration’s vision for ending hunger and reducing diet-related disease by 2030—all while closing disparities among the communities that are impacted most. Unite Us’ own Georgina Dukes, Senior Director of Social Care Advocacy, attended onsite to connect and participate in the critical conversation.
Reflecting on the event, Georgina shared, “We should all be more motivated than ever to transform the way we think about food and health. In order to end hunger in America, we must recognize the role of hunger with cultural sensitivity, or we all further the inequities that plague our communities. We owe it to our youth to make sure they never experience hunger again. Now is the time to all step up and do our part, and Unite Us is proud to continue leading by example, hand in hand with our partners!” As a vocal supporter of the importance of food security for students and families, her passion lights a spark within us all.
Empowering Organizations Through SDoH Technology
In various sessions throughout the conference, Unite Us was mentioned for the role our solution plays in breaking down silos that prevent community members from accessing vital resources such as nutritious food.
In one example, our partner Shavana Howard, Assistant Secretary of Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services shared, “Most people come to our state agency because they want food stamps or they want cash benefits, or they just need help. Oftentimes, what we’re able to give them is approval for food stamps or approval for cash assistance, but we can’t address the child care, we can’t address the housing crisis or challenges that they have, even connecting to schools. So we’ve worked with United Way and 2-1-1 to actually roll out the Unite Us Platform, where all of our staff will actually have access to address those other needs. So instead of saying ‘you can pick up the phone and call this place,’ they can actually send a referral directly to that ZIP code in which that individual lives, so that they actually can get the resources and support they need.”
As Shavana explained, it is critical to take the burden to find resources off of the community member and instead empower providers to securely communicate and track outcomes, proving when a person receives the help they need. Watch her full remarks here.
Another major theme at the conference was the need to reimburse community-based organizations for addressing SDoH needs, like food and nutrition. States like North Carolina and California were recognized as having proven that such efforts at scale can work. Unite Us is proud to be the technology backbone for North Carolina’s $550 million investment in reimbursing CBOs for these and similar services.
Recognition at the event was both unexpected and heartening, further emphasizing the trust and buy-in which Unite Us has earned from our cross-sector partners in 44 states. This is what happens when you create a tool that empowers community members to address disparities and meet the social needs of the underserved.
Our Continued Commitment to Nutrition and Health
Now, the Biden-Harris Administration has released a fact sheet of commitments supporting the five pillars of the conferences, which listed Unite Us as a participant. To support the “Integrate Nutrition and Health” pillar, Unite Us has joined the Sync for Social Needs coalition, a select group of leading health technology companies and health systems, including the Department of Veterans Affairs, to standardize the sharing of patient data on social determinants of health, including food insecurity.
Members commit to collectively evaluate and pilot the integration of specific social screening tools in electronic medical record systems. In addition, the leading healthcare standards-setting bodies will commit to working with participants to scale these approaches, further lowering the clinician burden to screen for social needs. The group will kick off a six-week discovery sprint, which will determine a design for an initial pilot through which screening data will be shared.
“As the nation’s leading cross-sector collaboration platform, we are excited to bring our expertise in demonstrating how the secure sharing of standardized social care data is being done at scale,” said Dan Brillman, CEO and Co-Founder of Unite Us. “We believe the true value of screening data is valuable when coupled with data-driven actions within communities that result in outcomes and improved health. We look forward to driving this initiative forward, leveraging work already being done with Unite Us across the country, and supporting the work needed to evolve the industry.”
Unite Us joins the member organizations committed to the initiative, which includes BayCare, Epic, Geisinger, Graphite Health, Higi, HL7 International, Meditech, National Committee for Quality Assurance, National Quality Forum, Oracle-Cerner, Riverside Health System, Rush University System for Health, Saffron Labs, Sanford Health, SCAN Health Plan, SSM Health, The Joint Commission, Tufts Medicine, and XanthosHealth.
In the months ahead, we look forward to sharing our expertise and participating in critical conversations with fellow members.
About Unite Us
Unite Us is a technology company that builds coordinated care networks of health and social service providers. With Unite Us, providers across sectors can send and receive secure electronic referrals, track every person’s total health journey and report on tangible outcomes across a full range of services in a centralized, cohesive and collaborative ecosystem. Unite Us’ dedicated team builds authentic, lasting partnerships with local organizations to ensure their networks have a solid foundation, launch successfully, and continue to grow and thrive. This HITRUST-certified social care infrastructure helps communities transform their ability to work together and measure impact at scale.