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Connecting Health and Social Care to Improve Community Health


In this interview, News-Medical talks to Adrienne Sherk, Senior Director of the Community-Based Organization Partnerships division at Unite Us, about how Unite Us has created an environment friendly system of care inside communities to enhance well being.

Please are you able to introduce your self and inform us about your profession and the way it has led you to a management place at Unite Us?

Hi, I’m Adrienne Sherk, the Senior Director for Community-Based Organizations Partnership at Unite Us. My profession journey began after I graduated from West Point in 2006. I started as a platoon chief within the U.S. Army, the place I led troopers abroad in fight in Iraq and stateside at Fort Hood, Texas.

As a younger chief, my experiences formed my outlook and perspective on the world and in the end led me to discover impact-driven work within the civilian world. I’ve labored for nonprofit and know-how organizations all through my profession and later discovered that I used to be most enthusiastic about working on the intersection of those two industries.

I joined Unite Us as a result of the mission to join communities to well being and social care providers impressed me. Unite Us created the infrastructure to carry all stakeholders, from healthcare, authorities, and communities, to the identical desk to enhance well being outcomes throughout the nation. I wished to be part of the trouble to assist community-based organizations make the most of our mannequin at scale.

Please inform us about Unite Usobjectives and how its end-to-end answer works?

Unite Us’ mission is to join well being and social care providers. With Unite Us, suppliers throughout sectors can ship and obtain safe digital referrals and report on tangible outcomes throughout a full vary of providers in a centralized, cohesive, and collaborative ecosystem. Unite Us has the one end-to-end answer available in the market.

The previous eight to 9 years have proven us that this work doesn’t have a short-term fast repair. The answer requires a long-term imaginative and prescient. When healthcare investments in social determinants of well being began, it resulted from the shift in the direction of value-based care, and the first focus was on how to ship a referral out to a social care supplier.

Today we all know that it’s so way more than that—sure, you want the core infrastructure connecting suppliers in a collaborative ecosystem. Still, we’d like commonplace knowledge to monitor and observe gaps in service and developments in outcomes. We want instruments that assist care navigators enrolling purchasers in providers. We additionally want to shift funding and investments into the group. Without that, we won’t be able to advance well being for our communities. Our focus is regularly innovating, discovering new options, and bringing companions collectively to clear up giant and complicated issues.

Unite Us’ mission is to join well being and social care providers. Image Credit: Unite Us

Health inequity is a disaster throughout many elements of the world. How does Unite Us try to obtain well being fairness, and what extra have to be finished for a future the place everybody can entry acceptable healthcare? 

Traditionally, efforts to enhance well being within the U.S. have regarded to the healthcare system as the important thing driver of well being and well being outcomes. However, there was elevated recognition that enhancing well being and attaining well being fairness would require broader approaches that handle social, financial, and environmental components that affect well being, often known as social determinants of well being.

Right now, an individual’s zip code determines extra about their well being and longevity than another issue, which has to change.

Adrienne Sherk, Unite Us

Right now, an individual’s zip code determines extra about their well being and longevity than another issue, which has to change. Unite Us is concentrated on making certain that well being fairness is greater than a buzzword however one thing that every one communities have the ability to create.

Starting in March 2020, we noticed over a 287 p.c enhance in digital referrals for a few of our mostly requested service sorts: meals help, revenue assist, and particular person and household providers. In flip, Unite Us impacted 1.5 million lives not directly final 12 months.

COVID ripped off the bandaid and revealed the disparities that existed all alongside—now we have now the possibility to have an effect on systemic, significant change. Leaders in authorities and healthcare have made agency commitments to advance well being fairness and handle social determinants of well being to enhance well being outcomes, and are more and more utilizing regulatory levers to drive systemic change.

As a consequence, the nation is witnessing historic and vital development in funding for social care. However, the dearth of infrastructure to bridge well being and social care continues to problem progress. Unite Us’ know-how is advancing well being fairness throughout the nation by connecting people to the care they want after they want it, no matter circumstances.

What communities have Unite Us partnered with, and what additional partnerships do you anticipate to see because the community grows?

Unite Us is at present lively in 45 states, with plans to broaden in all 50 states by the top of 2022. We are statewide in a number of states together with North Carolina, Virginia, and Delaware, simply to point out a couple of.

Please inform us about the way you combine range, fairness and inclusion into your work at Unite Us?

The Unite Us staff is numerous in each sense of the phrase—gender, race, geography, age, capacity, expertise—the record goes on. Our staff shares a collective dedication to our mission to advance options that allow individuals to stay more healthy, extra fulfilling lives.

As we develop and broaden throughout the nation, we work to be certain that our firm displays the communities we serve, and to construct an atmosphere the place all staff members are supported in well being, profession, and well-being via company-wide insurance policies and practices.

In collaboration with our range, fairness, and inclusion (DEI) staff, our cross-functional DEI committee helps and drives impact-focused initiatives and offers suggestions to uphold our values and foster an equitable and inclusive atmosphere.

The Unite Us staff shares a collective dedication to our mission to advance options that allow individuals to stay more healthy, extra fulfilling lives. Image Credit: Unite Us

Here at News-Medical, we’re purveyors of science communication. How do you suppose science communication matches into the well being and social care networks that Unite Us builds?

While Unite Us is just not particularly within the science communication enterprise, we consider that people and communities ought to pay attention to these components that influence their well being, which might change to enhance well being outcomes.

To that finish, Unite Us aligns well being and social care suppliers round a shared purpose of enhancing group well being outcomes by standardizing the language and course of associated to social care.

Unite Us staff members have written white papers in regards to the impactful work we’re doing in communities throughout the nation, similar to Leveraging Data to Advance Health Equity, Supporting the Shift to Whole-Person Care, and our 2021 impact report, the place we offer a high-level overview of our work with our group companions and how we turned perception into motion. Unite Us additionally hosts webinars on the group and nationwide degree with thought leaders within the business who give their views on how the Unite Us answer successfully drives change throughout the well being and social care area. 

As local weather change accelerates and related well being circumstances and inequities surge, how will Unite Us and the remainder of the well being and social care sectors sustain and discover options?

Although Unite Us doesn’t instantly handle local weather change in our work, we proceed to work in the direction of a future the place everybody has entry to the care they want, no matter the place they stay or their circumstances. We will stay targeted on increasing our coordinated care community, comprised of cross-sector suppliers to work collectively in real-time to assist the complicated wants of native people and households.

The community consists of companions who present a broad vary of providers similar to housing, employment, meals help, behavioral well being, utilities, healthcare entities, academic establishments, United Ways, and different organizations representing a spread of sectors. Unite Us’ mission stays fixed whether or not the problem is financial uncertainty, local weather change or a world pandemic.

Over the previous couple of years, we have now seen how necessary collaboration inside the social and healthcare sectors is for locating options and transferring ahead. How does Unite Us facilitate this collaboration?

Before Unite Us, the healthcare and social care business labored in several silos. Even if that they had the desire, they didn’t essentially have the flexibility to share language and knowledge in a manner that made sense. 

Unite Us is the bridge to join well being and social care suppliers, to allow them to break down obstacles and work throughout sectors to drive systemic, significant change to meet individuals’s wants. We consider there must be no fallacious door for individuals searching for providers, whether or not a person wants assist with meals help, revenue assist, or housing.

As the necessity for group and social care assist will increase, the Unite Us community permits suppliers to join their purchasers to much-needed providers and join them to the assistance they want after they want it, so extra people can pursue their full potential with dignity and group well-being is strengthened.

Last 12 months, Unite Us impacted 1.5 million lives not directly, form, or kind, and the Unite Us community has helped scale back the typical time to referral acceptance from 14 days to two days.

Unite Us

Unite Us is the bridge to join well being and social care suppliers. Image Credit: Unite Us

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the digitalization of well being and social care options, and thus the work of Unite Us?

COVID-19 revealed disparities all of us knew existed and recognized gaps inside a fragmented system, shedding mild on well being inequities—significantly in marginalized communities and communities of colour.

As a mission-driven know-how firm that connects social and healthcare suppliers via coordinated care networks, Unite Us was constructed to reply to a disaster similar to COVID-19.

Unite Us is concentrated on reworking the system to take away these gaps in care. Unite Us know-how, paired with its group specialists working instantly with native companions on the bottom, modifications the standard care supply mannequin to one which goes past making referrals to making certain social wants are met via a safe, closed-loop system.

Community well being and social care suppliers not have to function in fragmented silos. Instead, with complicated permissions programs embedded within the platform to shield privateness rights, they will every observe an individual’s journey via social care organizations to guarantee people’ wants are met, and the required providers are obtained.

COVID-19 revealed disparities all of us knew existed and recognized gaps inside a fragmented system, shedding mild on well being inequities—significantly in marginalized communities and communities of colour.

Adrienne Sherk, Unite Us

What has been the spotlight of your work at Unite Us up to now?

One of probably the most vital facets of my function is collaborating with leaders from nationwide community-based organizations to suppose creatively about cross-sector partnerships.

It is highly effective to hear instantly from the organizations delivering essential providers all through the nation to perceive their objectives, and then work to discover modern methods to make the most of our merchandise to higher serve and assist their constituents at scale.

Have you bought any thrilling upcoming initiatives you possibly can inform us about?

We are within the course of of making some actually modern partnerships with giant, nationwide organizations that can enhance entry to essential providers throughout the nation. We can be in a position to share way more within the close to future—keep tuned!

What do you think about the longer term will appear to be for Unite Us?

If you take a look at what we’re doing in partnership with North Carolina DHHS via the Healthy Opportunities pilot, you will notice that our social care funds answer is uniquely positioned to present the mandatory infrastructure for the state’s Medicaid applications wanting to fund social care. This is just the start.

The Unite Us Social Care Payments answer affords payers the flexibility to associate successfully with social care suppliers, handle applications for effectivity and enhance program influence, and we’ll proceed to be certain that this infrastructure is the brand new business commonplace for social care funding.

Where can readers discover extra data?

For extra data, please go to www.uniteus.com.

About Adrienne Sherk

Adrienne Sherk is the Senior Director of Community-Based Organization Partnerships at Unite Us. In her function, she focuses on constructing strategic relationships with nationwide organizations providing communities essential providers. Before becoming a member of Unite Us, Adrienne frolicked at Salesforce, Team Red, White & Blue, and the U.S. Army, the place she served as a platoon chief and government officer in Iraq and Ft. Hood, TX. Adrienne holds a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and will start the Master of Public Health program at George Washington University within the fall of 2022. Additionally, Adrienne serves as the manager sponsor of the Veteran Employee Resource Group for Unite Us. She resides within the San Francisco Bay Area along with her husband and two youngsters.

Unite Us Media ContactUnite Us
Jaquetta Gooden
[email protected]
(808) 485-9086



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