UPMC Health Plan has a keen understanding of the link between environmental sustainability and human health. It’s not surprising that clean air, access to clean drinking water, and access to safe recreational green space have a huge impact on the overall health of the community. People who live in polluted areas with little green space are generally less healthy and have more chronic conditions than the general population.
One way that UPMC Health Plan demonstrates its commitment to sustainability is by supporting community organizations that address the social determinants of health as previously mentioned, and many more. A longstanding relationship between UPMC Health Plan and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens led to the creation of Let’s Move Pittsburgh in 2011 – a nonprofit organization that educates families about healthy behaviors with a focus on environmental sustainability and gardening. UPMC Health Plan is a strong supporter of the Greater Washington Food Bank’s initiative to install solar panels which will enable clean energy consumption and create a farm with hydroponic tanks to sustainably source fresh produce year-round. The Westmoreland County Food Bank recently installed a new walk-in freezer with support from UPMC Health Plan; the freezer will last at least 20 years and will significantly reduce the food bank’s energy costs. 412 Food Rescue is working with UPMC Health Plan to eliminate food waste and improve nutrition for senior citizens and families with young children through its Cooking Matters program. Other community partners that have worked with UPMC Health Plan to connect the link between environment and health have included GTECH Strategies, Energy Innovation Center/Pittsburgh Gateways, Grow Pittsburgh, and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy.