Back to school: UnitedHealth Group invests millions in black colleges

Morehouse College is one of the recipients of the $8.25 million investment.

Morehouse College is one of the recipients of the $8.25 million investment.  /  Image: Creative Commons

A lot of students will have more classes to choose from when they go back to school each fall.

UnitedHealth Group (UHG) is investing $8.25 million in data science programs at historically black colleges and universities over the next five years. Up to now, only two of the more than 100 historically black colleges and universities in the U.S. had a program in data science.

This investment will support the new Data Science Initiative in the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC). The AUCC is the oldest and largest consortium of historically black colleges. It includes Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College, Morehouse School of Medicine, and Spelman College.

The new Data Science Initiative will offer technical classes for students who want to specialize in data science or learn data analysis. This will give them a competitive edge when they look for jobs in their field of study. The partnership will also include UHG internships, guest lectures, and faculty development opportunities.

AUCC’s Data Science Initiative will help solve two problems. One is a shortage of health data scientists in general. The other is an even greater shortage of minority data scientists. The number of job openings for U.S. data professionals is predicted to reach 2.7 million next year.

But the investment is about more than just filling the job gap. Ellen Wilson is the chief HR officer at UHG.  She says, “We need highly trained data and analytics professionals whose cultural awareness is woven into the health solutions they create for a dramatically diversifying U.S. population.”

Data and analytics are critical to providing the right health care to the right patients in the right place at the right time. “The initiative is an investment in some of the nation’s brightest young minds, and it is also an investment in the future of U.S. health care,” says Wilson.

As part of UHG, Optum provides technology-enabled health services. Visit to learn how UHG and Optum are advancing technology to make health care work better for everyone.

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