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UPMC Health Plan's In Your Community e-Newsletter

UPMC Health Plan is committed to improving the health and well-being of the communities we serve. We’re here to connect you with the community-based programs and organizations we support, highlight public health activities in all the regions we serve, and demonstrate our commitment to addressing social determinants of health.

Spring/Summer 2021 e-Newsletter

Video series: Cooking with 412 Food Rescue, supported by UPMC Health Plan

cooking with 412 Food Rescue woman next to UPMC Health Plan sign

Photo credit: 412 Food Rescue

In this new series of educational videos, Greg Austin—a chef from the Good Food Project and 412 Food Rescue—and Ellen Sobota—a health coach and dietician at UPMC Health Plan—go over the basics of food safety, grocery shopping on a budget, and using fresh produce to cook nutritious meals. These videos are being rolled out to community organizations that work with low-income families and senior citizens in western Pennsylvania. Even if you aren’t a part of one of these groups, these educations videos are available to you. Follow along with the instructors, download recipe cards and nutrition information, and learn to cook healthy meals that the whole family will love. With recipes like peanut butter soba noodles, beef and kale stew, and chicken salad, you’re sure to find something that will please even the most discerning palate!

Supporting the United Way of Berks County COVID-19 Response Fund

UPMC Health Plan joined more than 300 individual donors, foundations, and corporations supporting the United Way of Berks County to establish the Berks COVID-19 Response Fund. Our $10,000 donation was pooled with others to enable 50 grants to 41 nonprofit organizations in the region to help meet the population's needs—such as food security, housing, and utility relief—in this trying time. By the end of 2020, the United Way of Berks County assisted more than 190,000 people through the Berks COVID-19 Response Fund.

Good Health, Better World

"Social determinants of health" is the focus of the first season of the Good Health, Better World podcast with PostIndustrial media. This eight-episode series convenes community leaders and UPMC Health Plan experts in conversation about how we can move forward together in addressing the social needs of our communities. Father Paul Abernathy from the Neighborhood Resilience Project was featured in Episode 1, which aired in early December.

Listen to the Good Health, Better World podcast.

Invite the music of the Erie Philharmonic into your home

Miss hearing live music and seeing musicians perform in-person? Try the Erie Philharmonic’s “In Your Home” concert series. Each video in this set of free, full-length performances features a different theme and style from a region of the world. UPMC Health Plan is pleased to support the Erie Philharmonic to help deliver the joy of music to all—despite social distancing!

Enjoy the Performance

Community Spotlight: Brethren Housing Association

Brethren Housing bedroom Brethren Housing living room

Rooms in a home utilized by families in Brethren Housing Association’s Transitions program

A home is more than just a building. It is a place of safety, peace, and refuge. Unhoused families or those in situations where stable housing is out of reach are more likely to have trouble obtaining the medical care and support services necessary to maintain a good quality of life. Therefore, they are more likely to have poor health outcomes.

At Brethren Housing Association (BHA) in Harrisburg, PA, the Transitions housing program focuses on helping unhoused mothers and families find stables living situations. The concept is simple: Once a mother knows where she and her children will sleep at night, she can focus on setting goals for the future and make strides toward achieving those goals. BHA provides stable housing and wrap-around services to unhoused families while they work toward regaining stability. Transitions is successful because participants set their own goals, while BHA offers life-skills coaching, referrals to community resources, and other accountability and guidance methods. BHA also offers a weekly youth program to foster resilience, financial literacy, and renter’s education to prepare families for permanent housing.

UPMC Health Plan strongly supports the work of BHA. We recently awarded funding to help BHA renovate its 22 apartments in Harrisburg. With this funding, the BHA addressed maintenance issues—such as interior painting, brick repointing, roof replacement, and getting the electrical lines up to code—to improve the accommodations it provides to participants. In addition, a group of UPMC Health Plan employees located in central Pennsylvania regularly contributes time and resources to BHA’s Adopt an Apartment initiative, which furnishes apartments for families in the Transitions program. These employees work with BHA to personalize the apartments and make them feel like “home” for incoming families. After graduation from the Transitions program, families can take the furniture with them to their new permanent housing—eliminating the expense of furnishing their new home. Since 2018, UPMC Health Plan employees have furnished more than 10 of BHA’s apartments.

"I must say, the moment I put my foot in the door, I felt the love, joy, peace, and blessings! I started to cry tears of joy and happiness, a feeling I have not had in so long. I felt like you all knew me because everything is all me, down to the colors and even the butterfly!" —Participant in the BHA Transitions program

UPMC Pathways to Work: Creating a better quality of life through stable employment

UPMC Pathways to Work is a job navigation program that helps connect unemployed or underemployed adults in the community with sustainable work opportunities and set them on the path toward a rewarding career. It also assists those who have intellectual, physical, or behavioral challenges, which make finding or maintain employment more difficult.

As the largest nongovernmental employer in Pennsylvania, UPMC has hundreds—sometimes thousands—of job openings at any given time. Through our relationships with community organizations, program participants can enroll in workforce development and training programs to help prepare them for a career within or outside of the UPMC system. These programs offer participants the opportunity to develop skills in medical coding, environmental services, food service, trades (such as masonry), and more.

Who is eligible?
Pathways to Work is open to individuals 18 years old or older who:

  • Are unemployed or underemployed.
  • Have barriers to finding and maintaining work (such as intellectual or physical challenges).

Pathways to Work is available to the entire community—you do not need to be a UPMC Health Plan member to participate.

How it works:

  1. Email pathwaystowork@upmc.edu and state your interest in the program.
  2. One of our Pathways to Work recruiters will respond within two business days. They will talk to you about the UPMC and UPMC Health Plan job opportunities available in your area.
  3. You'll receive recruitment support throughout the entire application and interview process.

Learn about more community initiatives at UPMC: