Friday, November 2, 2012

Being Part of the Community is Part of Our Corporate Culture

What would get me out of my warm bed on a Sunday morning to stand on the steps of the Art Museum as Hurricane Sandy was threatening? Only one thing: the Annual Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Walk to Cure. But, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself here.
I’ve written at length about diabetes, and UnitedHealthcare’s commitment to stemming the rising epidemic of type 2 diabetes by supporting innovative programs working to diagnose, treat and prevent this disease.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are 26 million adults living with diabetes in the U.S. An additional 79 million adults – or one in four Americans – are estimated to have prediabetes, a precursor to Type 2 diabetes.  We continue to build relationships with like-minded partners, such as Comcast and the YMCA, who have the ability to reach and help educate broad numbers of individuals throughout the communities we serve.
We are also committed to another form of diabetes – type 1, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, because it is more commonly, but not exclusively, diagnosed in childhood. Unlike the type 2 form of the disease, which is more related to lifestyle choices and can be prevented or reversed, type 1 cannot – at least for now. In Philadelphia, UnitedHealthcare is working to help change that through its ongoing support of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF)

The JDRF's "Walk to Cure Diabetes" event is a wonderful example of what collaboration for a cause can do.  Proudly sponsored by UnitedHealthcare, this year's event was held last Sunday at two locations: the Philadelphia Museum of Art on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and Bucks County Community College in Newtown.  Despite the looming threat of Hurricane Sandy, the nearly 8,000 participants helped raise almost $2 million to fund treatment, support and research.

But, our involvement in chronic disease prevention and helping individuals and their families lead healthier lives goes even further. From the leadership team to individual employees, we “walk the walk” -- literally, in the case of JDRF, with more than 25 of us coming out to the event. Among them was Scott Johnson, key accounts director for Eastern Pennsylvania, who has been have been involved with JDRF for 15 years, and a member of its board for the past 4, as well as the immediate past chair of the Walk. The Juvenile Diabetes Research Association named Scott Volunteer of the Year in 2010 for his pivotal role in raising more than $4 million on the organization’s behalf.  

Such active volunteer engagement by members of the UnitedHealthcare family is not unusual.  It is at the core of our mission to be more than just a great health insurance company. That’s why we’ve created a special website that offers resources to help make families aware of what can be done to prevent or manage diabetes. It even includes a couple of really cool sweepstakes.  Check it out at

Sue Schick and the dedicated UnitedHealthcare team brave the weather to walk for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation

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