Awards honor work to improve Social Drivers of Health in Virginia

Community Transformers Foundation (CTF) recognized the individuals and organizations working to improve social drivers of health (SDOH) in Virginia during its 5th Annual Awards Night Gala this month in Richmond. Award categories related to CTF’s mission to advance health and social equity in the areas of finance, education, food security, housing, social justice and health care. UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Virginia was the platinum-level sponsor for the awards ceremony and CTF’s golf fundraiser the day prior.

Transforming community by addressing SDOH

CTF is recognized as a community convener and builder. It’s dedicated to promoting collaborations that create sustainable programs to improve SDOH as well as empowering community members to be actively involved in this process.

SDOH are the conditions in the environments where people are born, live, learn, work and play that affect a wide range of health, functioning and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. This includes economic opportunity, housing, food security, social cohesion, environmental conditions and education.

Among the programs CTF supports are Meals Connect, a meal distribution program it started in 2022 with support from the United Way and a 40,000-pound food donation from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Virginia works with CTF to ensure the longevity of the program, including sending volunteers monthly to pack food. Since its beginning, Meals Connect has served 845 families, expanding from five partner sites in Central Virginia to ten. Two additional sites are scheduled to launch in the summer of 2023.

Ryan May, Tameeka Smith, Pamela Andrews, Donnie Oliver (Owner, Accounting Accuracy)

Other initiatives to address food insecurity include a new partnership with Feed More, a food bank in Central Virginia, to help transport food to families in need each week and a mobile food pantry that will begin serving families in 2023.  

Current CTF programs also include Health Connect, which provides health education, screenings and vaccinations to underserved populations; Tutor Connect, a program that assists children in grades K-8 who live in rural and underserved areas to learn reading and math; and Trans Connect, a service that provided transportation to nearly 7,000 families in 2022 and has served 782 families so far this year.

The Housing Connect and Finance Connect programs will launch in summer 2023 to assist families who need support building financial knowledge and credit as they work to obtain affordable housing. Inbounds, a youth sports program that focuses on critical thinking, team building, social skills, personal development and cultural arts exposure is planned for fall of 2023.

2023 award recipients

The following individuals and organizations were honored with Community Transformers awards for their role supporting communities in Central Virginia:

  • Education Transformer: Bernard Hairston
  • Finance Transformer: J.B. Bryan
  • Food Insecurity Transformer: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
  • Healthcare Transformer: Phyllis Bradley and Stephanie Spencer, Urban Baby Beginnings
  • Housing Transformer: For Kids
  • Lifetime Achievement:  Anita Price
  • Social Justice Transformer: Dr. J. Elisha Burke
  • Unsung Hero: James Edwards, Erna Gilliam-Robinson, Meena Shabnam Abedi (UHC Health & Social Services Coordinator)

UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Virginia is committed to bringing care beyond the clinic to address SDOH. Our funding support for CTF honors individuals and community organizations working to improve whole-person health in Virginia.  

Jerlissa McElroy, Pamela Andrews, Ryan May

Tracy Douglas (CEO, Virginia Community Healthcare Association), Lea Clemons-Little (Director of Nursing, The Laurels), Pamela Andrews, Tameeka Smith

Hear more about the work Community Transformers Foundation is doing to improve the health and well-being of the Richmond community.

Video: Awards honor work to improve social drivers of health in Virginia

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