A health equity award from Univera Healthcare will support the work of the Child Advocacy Center at BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc., the largest community behavioral health provider in Western New York.

Pictured L-R: Dominic Manfredo, Univera Healthcare Account Sales Consultant; Kelly Dumas, Chief Operating Officer at BestSelf; Art Wingerter, Univera Healthcare President; Elizabeth Woike-Ganga, President & CEO BestSelf; Ann Branch, Univera Healthcare Director Retention Sales; Thamil Warmley, Human Resources Assistant at BestSelf; Paul Valley, Univera Healthcare Vice President Sales

The Child Advocacy Center at BestSelf (CAC) is an innovative, comprehensive center offering safety, support, and healing for children and families affected by sexual abuse, violence, and trauma in Erie County. When children are not taken to the CAC, they are questioned in emergency rooms, police stations, schools, and doctor’s offices, and re-traumatized each time they have to repeat their experiences. With this expansion, children will only need to tell their stories once.

“This funding from Univera helps us respond to the needs of these child victims in a way that reduces trauma, promotes accountability, and facilitates healing,” says Elizabeth Woike-Ganga, president, and CEO of BestSelf.

Univera Healthcare invited nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organizations serving Western New York to apply for Health Equity Awards to help fund health and wellness programs that address racial and ethnic health disparities. Health Equity categories included but were not limited to reducing health disparities in racial, ethnic, LGBTQ communities, people with disabilities, people living in rural or urban communities, or other groups that may be at higher health risk for medical issues and conditions (chronic or acute), behavioral health or mental health conditions, and negative outcomes from the above, including death or suicide.

“We were impressed with the award application submitted by BestSelf,” says Univera Healthcare president Art Wingerter. “The Child Advocacy Center is a best practice model that works with law enforcement, medical, mental health, and child protection professionals to help children and their families with a single, child-friendly, coordinated response during and after significant trauma.”

BestSelf Behavioral Health serves children and adults of all ages in Western New York. It provides innovative and evidence-based services, including mental health and substance use disorders treatment and rehabilitation services. Their Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics are part of a new concept in outpatient care designed to improve overall health by caring for the whole person, better integrating behavioral health care with physical health care, and increasing the use of high-quality, evidence-based practices.

BestSelf Behavioral Health also offers a wide range of programs and services to meet the community’s needs including education and vocational supports, mobile mental health and substance use disorder services, homeless outreach and housing, community, and school-based programs. Learn more about BestSelf Behavioral Health, Inc. at https://www.bestselfwny.org

Univera Healthcare is a nonprofit health plan that serves members across the eight counties of Western New York. Univera’s 500+ employees and leadership team is based at the health insurer’s headquarters on Park Club Lane in Williamsville. Learn more about Univera Healthcare at https://www.univerahealthcare.com.