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Ƶ Named Recipient of Univera Healthcare 2023 Health Equity Innovation Award

Nov 2, 2023

Ƶ Named Recipient of Univera Healthcare 2023 Health Equity Innovation Award

Nov 2, 2023

Univera Healthcare has named Ƶ a recipient of its 2023 Health Equity Innovation Awards and will provide the institution with $30,000 in funding to implement health equity training. The awards program aims to provide financial support to community programs that address racial and ethnic health disparities across the Western New York region.

Ƶ will utilize the funding to implement a professional development program designed to sensitize healthcare professionals to the nuances involved in working with people with diverse cultural and linguistic experiences. It will also highlight the critical importance of developing cultural competence and humility as a healthcare practitioner and delivering culturally responsive and sensitive services using a diversity, equity, and inclusion lens.

The program will be delivered through Ƶ’s Center for Interprofessional Learning and Simulation (CILS) in consultation with its Community Advisory Board and faculty, allowing simulations with actors portraying patients from diverse backgrounds to help healthcare educators develop authentic learning experiences. 

“By offering this training to students and community-based practitioners, our hope is that more patients will feel seen, heard, and understood by their healthcare provider,” said Dr. Diane R. Bessel, the project lead and chair of the social work and sociology department. “In turn, we believe that patients will feel more comfortable asking difficult questions, engaging directly in their health care, and making decisions that will support healthier and more secure lives.”  

Ƶ is one of seven nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations in Western New York recognized by Univera Healthcare as part of this year’s Health Equity Innovation Awards. Organizations were invited to apply for the 2023 Health Equity Innovation Awards to receive grants of up to $30,000 each to help fund initiatives, programs, and research that specifically target the root causes of health inequities, with a focus on addressing structural racism. Applicants were assessed based on clear, defined goals and measurable results for reducing health disparities and improving health equity.   

“At Univera Healthcare, our mission is to help people lead healthier, more secure lives through access to high-quality, affordable health care,” said Simone E. Edwards, DrPH, MPH, vice president of health equity and community investments. “We’re committed to community partnerships and using our resources to support initiatives that directly target health disparities, promote access to care, and address the underlying social determinants of health to help ensure everyone can reach their full potential.”

Ƶ plans to provide this training opportunity to undergraduate and graduate students participating in behavioral sciences, health promotions, nursing, physician assistant, physical therapy, public health, and social work programs, as appropriate. It will also be shared with community partners. The university plans to launch the health equity training program this fall.