Championing diversity and reducing health disparities in underserved communities is what Chattanooga-based Cempa Community Care (Cempa) is all about. For over a decade, Unum and the organization have joined forces to advance healthier communities through access and education. For Diversity Awareness month, in April, we’re taking a closer look at how this partnership matters.
In 1986, Cempa opened its doors to support those battling HIV and AIDS. Now, they have diversified their healthcare advocacy to include primary care services, preventative health and support services to eliminate healthcarcare access barriers.
The organization leans into its mission of advancing healthier communities by focusing on the LGBTQ+, Latinx, African American and HIV positive populations. This doesn’t come easy because the voices of these demographic groups have gone unheard for too long, creating wider gaps in healthcare and education.
“We listen to community needs and provide ongoing outreach to support people in where we see healthcare disparities. This includes education, prevention, medical services, a pharmacy, a mobile clinic…really anything that can help a person live a healthier, successful life,” said Miles Huff, Cempa’s Advocacy & Development Administrator.
Between 2020 and 2021, Cempa served1,476 people with 6,959 clinic visits and 8,323 case management visits. With community partners like Unum, their medical and education services can reach many more.
“Cempa’s outreach efforts cannot be accomplished without the partnership of key stakeholders like Unum. They believe in supporting social-emotional health and healthier communities so it aligns with who we are and what we do,” said Huff.
Unum continuously supports youth early intervention and education by:
- Providing funding and in-kind support for Cempa community events
- Donating clinic supplies to Cempa’s Future Ready Institute
- Supporting the fight against HIV and AIDS in the Chattanooga community
One of the newest programs Unum backs is Cemple Expressions (CE). CE promotes healthy living for youth through yoga, mental therapy sessions and nutrition education. “At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cempa recognized the need to strengthen the mental well-being of minority youth,” said Huff. “Mental health issues among Tennessee youth are higher than the national average and we set forth to combat that.”
Rachel Hargis, manager of Corporate Social Responsibility for Unum, said, “Funding innovative and action-oriented health and wellbeing programs like Cemple Expressions keeps the ongoing collaboration between Cempa and Unum strong. It increases equity in health and access to essential services that make our community thrive.”
Huff concluded, “Unum plays a vital role in serving as a trusted partner to guide Cempa’s mission and work to address the health inequities among the minority and low-income communities. Together, Unum and Cempa can build healthier communities among those who need it most regardless of race, demographics, or socioeconomic status.”