Ara Ohanian Joins Unite US Team To Serve as Head of Network Development

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NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ara Ohanian—CEO, Entrepreneur, Executive, and Coach— will bring his expertise and experience to the role of Head of Network Development at Unite US, a fast-growing technology company revolutionizing access to healthcare and social services, with the ability to coordinate care, track referrals, and report outcomes between agencies and across communities.

Mr. Ohanian is an expert in building high-margin, global, B2B Cloud & SaaS Businesses. As a senior executive of Infor and CEO of Certpoint, Ohanian led tech solutions powering leading brands including: Toyota, The Cancer Treatment Centers of America, The United Nations, and L’Oreal. He is proud of his role as entrepreneur in residence at New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) and is looking forward to bringing his knowledge and business acumen to Unite US’ growing presence around the country.

“The Unite US founders are amazing visionary thinkers. After serving their country with honor, they created a business to help Veterans and now civilians in need by creating a platform to enable providers to work together more efficiently. It feels great to be part of a company that is truly innovative and making a positive impact on a community’s overall health!” said Mr. Ohanian.

“We are excited to bring Ara’s guidance and capabilities to our growing team. As we continue to shift the industry’s offline and manual referral process to an online coordination of care, we looked for someone who can expand and scale our vision to integrate health and human service delivery. We are encouraged by the significant improvements in client outcomes and gained efficiencies thus far and look forward to Ara’s leadership as we continue to expand.” Co-Founder & CEO, Daniel Brillman of Unite US said.

Mr. Ohanian joins Unite US Co-Founders, Daniel Brillman, Taylor Justice, and Andrew Price at the company’s New York City headquarters.

About Unite US

Unite US is a technology platform reinventing the delivery of health, employment, and human services. The company is disrupting the fragmented health and human services industry by enabling government agencies and community organizations to coordinate and deliver services through networks of providers who together can better meet the comprehensive needs of their constituents.


Original Press Release

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Unite US ranked #4 out of 25 Top Veteran Start-ups in America by Forbes Magazine!
#4. UniteUS


Site: UniteUS.com. Founded 2013.

Location: New York, NY

Founder(s): Dan Brillman, US Air Force, Pilot. Taylor Justice, US Army, Infantry. Andrew Price.

Employees: 30

Description: Unite US revolutionizes the delivery of health, human & social services by designing, building, and deploying best-in-class case management and care coordination technology. The Unite US software empowers public, private, and nonprofit resources within communities across the country to leverage a common platform. From housing, to employment to healthcare, Unite US networks address the social determinants of health by coordinating resources via secure electronic referrals and collaborative case management tools tracking 100% of outcomes.

How the military impacted you as an entrepreneur: “My military service was cut short, Unite US is my chance to serve and solve a problem that all my military/veterans brothers and sisters were experiencing.” — Taylor Justice.


Original article: http://www.forbes.com/sites/marklrockefeller/2016/11/11/the-top-25-veteran-startups-in-america/#357f3839232b


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Launching Nov. 9, NCServes–Coastal is an expansion of the Institute for Veterans and Military Families’ statewide public-private network in North Carolina. It will serve U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Seymour Johnson Air Force Base and Wilmington area service members, veterans and families.

JACKSONVILLE, NC (November 9, 2016) – The largest U.S. Marine Corps base on the East Coast and area communities will now be part of the regional NCServes network connecting Coastal area human service providers across the state to more effectively manage medical, financial, employment, housing and other resource requests from veterans and their families. In addition to U.S. Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the initiative will cover bases at U.S. Marine Corps Air Stations Cherry Point and New River as well as the greater Wilmington area.

This new network affiliate, known locally as NCServes–Coastal, is the third of four launching statewide. It is part of the Institute for Veteran and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University’s national portfolio of AmericaServes programs that has connected thousands of veterans, service members and military families to more than 7,000 types of comprehensive services in less than two years.

NCServes–Coastal will enable local service members, veterans and their families easy access to a comprehensive array of services, resources and care organized specifically around their needs. The initiative is driven by a shared software platform that connects all participating federal, state and non-profit veteran service providers allowing them to make accurate and effective referrals and track their outcomes. This greatly reduces denial of services experienced by service members and veterans due to capacity or eligibility restrictions. By linking local providers, the program is designed to ensure that quality referrals are made throughout the Coastal Plain region spanning Brunswick to Goldsboro, Carteret and beyond.

All software, trainings and licenses are provided at no cost to the North Carolina community thanks to generous support locally by the Foundation for the Carolinas, the Leon Levine Foundation and the Walmart Foundation. The NCServes—Coastal network is locally coordinated by the East Carolina Human Services Agency, Inc. (ECHSA). The ECHSA, in partnership with the United Service Organizations of North Carolina (USO-NC), and the IVMF. The partnership with the USO-NC helps the ECHSA broaden the network’s appeal to the active-duty military in the region.

ECHSA has a 50-year track record delivering services throughout the counties of south eastern North Carolina and is a fixture in the local community. “The ECHSA has been there to meet this community’s needs for more than half a century, and now with this generous grant and support from the IVMF, we can deliver more and better services to veterans and active duty military families in a coordinated way,” said Daphany Hill, Executive Director, ECHSA. “I’m a U.S. Marine Corps wife born and raised locally. Our staff of veterans and spouses know these struggles first-hand so we are excited to join this network and partner with the USO-NC and others in order to raise the bar on service delivery.”

Individuals looking for services can engage the NCServes—Coastal network in four different ways:

By phone at the network’s toll-free number 1-844-435-1838where they can speak with a qualified professional to secure a referral for services and the commitment for follow up,
Online via the NCServes website at NCServes.org,
In person at the NCServes—Coastal participating regional providers,
Via North Carolina’s State resource line: (844) NC4-VETS or NC4Vets.com.
“What started as an ink-blot strategy, a single localized AmericaServes network in Charlotte has steadily grown into a movement that spans multiple states, communities and installations from South Carolina to Virginia,” said retired U.S. Army Col. Jim McDonough, IVMF Managing Director of Programs and Services . “From Fort. Bragg to Camp Lejeune, this work is transforming the landscape of veteran service in a life-saving way: one life at a time.”

In early 2017, NCServes will launch a fifth coordinated care network for Carolina veterans service members and military families in western North Carolina.

# # #

Media Contacts:

IVMF Media Contact: Ilario Pantano, 910.616.9961, igpantan@syr.edu

ECHSA Media Contact: Daphany Hill, 910.347.2151, dhillechsa@earthlink.net

USO-NC: John Falkenbury, 919.840.3000, jfalkenbury@uso-nc.org

About the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University
The IVMF is the first interdisciplinary national institute in higher education focused on the social, economic, education and policy issues impacting veterans and their families post-service. Supported by a world-class advisory board and public and private partners committed to advancing the post-service lives of America’s service members, veterans and their families, the IVMF and its professional staff deliver class-leading programs in career, vocational and entrepreneurship education and training. The IVMF also provides actionable research, policy analysis and program evaluation; coordinates comprehensive collective impact strategies and works with communities and non-profits to enhance service delivery for veterans and their families. Read more at ivmf.syracuse.edu.

About Eastern Carolina Human Services Agency, Inc. (ECHSA) Eastern Carolina Human Services Agency, Inc. (ECHSA, Inc.) is a nonprofit community action agency established in 1964, which provides comprehensive services to low income families, including veterans and our military, in Onslow, Duplin, Pender and New Hanover Counties. ECHSA, Inc. has successfully accomplished its mission for over 52 years by empowering families to become economically and socially self-sufficient. We are excited about the opportunity of being able to broaden our scope of services offered through advocating on behalf of the veterans, their families and the service members of America. ECHSA, Inc., as the resource and referral center for NCServes Coastal market, will continue to provide quality services in meeting the needs of America’s service members, veterans and their families. Read more at echsainc.com.

About the United Service Organizations of North Carolina (USO-NC)
For 75 years, the United Service Organizations of North Carolina has accomplished its mission of keeping America’s service members connected to family, home and the country throughout their service to the nation by delivering innovative programs, morale-boosting services and leveraging key partnerships in the community that demonstrate North Carolina’s appreciation for their service and sacrifice. The original USO formed as a result of a request made by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II for six key community organizations to come together and lift the morale of service members both on the home front and downrange. This heritage of community networks has demonstrated a lasting impact on service members, veterans and their families. For more information, please visit uso-nc.org.

For original article: http://americaserves.org/greater-access-services-care-jacksonville-wilmington-area-veterans/

Greater Pittsburgh PAServes Network Aids Veterans in Finding Help

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Five years after his retirement from the Army, Leonard Strazza moved past a litany of job rejections and found his groove as an entrepreneurial DJ running a budding entertainment company.

Then something happened in April that nearly cost the onetime combat medic his newfound livelihood: The engine failed on his black 2011 GMC Terrain — the SUV he’d relied on to get to weddings and gigs across the Northeast.

AMP Entertainment owner Strazza, 34, of Bethel Park reached out to a new veterans-needs clearinghouse he’d learned about called Greater Pittsburgh PAServes, a coordinated network of public, private and nonprofit groups seeking to overhaul how veterans find and receive services across Western Pennsylvania.

Two weeks later, Strazza received a $1,000 check to offset repair costs and keep his business going. He’s encouraged by what could be a “tremendous help” for local veterans as the PAServes network grows.

“The biggest problem still is and always has been veterans not knowing the organizations that are out there to help them,” said Strazza, who served 13 years in the Army before retiring in 2011 because of combat-related injuries.

PAServes, a network of veterans services providers overseen by the Pittsburgh Mercy Health System, uses an online case management system to collect, track and follow up on a range of requests from veterans and their families, starting with a focus on Allegheny, Butler and Westmore­land counties.

The goal is to make it easier, more efficient and more effective for veterans to navigate what can be an overwhelming and disjointed web of resources available from more than 170 nonprofits in Allegheny County alone.

Since its October launch, PAServes’ 37 providers and three full-time employees have assisted 622 veterans and family members with a wide range of needs, from employment, health care and housing to fitness, mentoring and volunteering. The network has added an average of 180 clients a quarter, with expanding into neighboring counties and reaching post-9/11 vets among its biggest challenges.

“Nine months in, we’re just very excited with the growth,” said Jean Coyne, director of PAServes’ Greater Pittsburgh Coordination Center and director of intervention services for Pittsburgh Mercy. “The biggest challenges are hitting the transitioning veteran, the younger veteran, the female veteran and reaching out to that population. We have to find creative, strategic ways to reach out to them.”

The PAServes region is among eight U.S. markets testing or planning to try the model using guidance and technology from AmericaServes, a project of Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families.

“We’ve got a fantastic opportunity here,” said Jerry G. Beck Jr., deputy adjutant general of the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “The long-term plan is to get the whole state linked up, but it’s going to take some time. We can learn from what we’re doing in Pittsburgh and apply it to Philly and other areas.”

Allegheny County is home to more than 91,000 veterans — almost 10 percent of veterans statewide, Veterans Affairs data show. Westmoreland has about 34,000 veterans, and Butler County has about 15,000.

So far, AmericaServes representatives said, PAServes stands out nationally for cultivating broad support among providers and having the most active local Veterans Affairs office participating in the program. Pittsburgh VA’s office has trained at least 12 employees in the PAServes system and referred 135 cases to the network.

Family support — such as needing furniture or child care — has accounted for a surprisingly sizable one-third of service requests, Coyne said. Housing, employment and financial aid are in high demand.

“I want to cry,” said Antonio Cersosimo, 25, of Brentwood, who served two years in the Marine Corps and used PAServes to connect with the South Side-based Veterans Leadership Program, which helped him, his pregnant girlfriend and 2-year-old daughter find temporary housing. “For years, I haven’t been able to hold a job. … To have this place to raise my kids and be stable just for a little bit, it’s the greatest thing.”

The Heinz Endowments spurred the creation of PAServes with a $50,000 planning grant in 2014 and a $300,000 contract in 2015 awarded to Pittsburgh Mercy. The program operates on a two-year budget of about $850,000.

Natasha Lindstrom is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 412-380-8514 or nlindstrom@tribweb.com.

Original article: http://triblive.com/mobile/10822317-96/veterans-paserves-pittsburgh

Uniting for Good – Columbia Business School’s Interview with CEO of Unite US

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Unite US is a technology platform reinventing the delivery of health, human, and social services. Initially launched in 2013 for veterans and military families, the company is disrupting the fragmented health and human services industry by enabling government agencies and community organizations to coordinate and deliver services through networks of providers who, together, can better meet the comprehensive needs of their constituents.

Co-founders and veterans Dan Brillman ’12, Taylor Justice ’14, and Andrew Price launched the company in 2013, after noticing the siloed and fragmented resource landscape through their own personal experiences and those of close friends and family from the military. Here, Dan Brillman ’12 shares more on the formation of Unite US and the long-term vision for the company.

What inspired you to start Unite US, and how has technology helped you to innovate in this space?
We united on the need for a solution and the dedication and vision to create it. The issue was not a lack of willing community organizations to provide services for military personnel and veterans, but rather, a lack of the tools needed to improve an archaic industry of manual referrals and collaboration around health and social services. The Health and Human services industry is continuing to grow, spending over $574 billion in 2015; yet, the industry focuses on individual services and programs rather than on an individual’s unique needs and how local communities can provide the best results when they are coordinating services together. Healthcare is now focusing on value-based person-centric care, collaboration, and outcomes, so we are innovating and adding that layer of technology at a perfect time. Services can now coordinate and provide comprehensive outcomes at scale through a centralized system that connects the partners they are already working with and, most importantly, trust.

By developing the right software tools, we enable organizations to focus on their core services, while easily helping clients search and connect with complimentary providers. For example, in New York City, we power a centralized portal for the city, allowing veterans to access and request multiple services when they need them. Once a request enters the system, secure HIPAA compliant referrals are created and sent to appropriate organizations throughout the coordinated network of over 300+ caseworkers and practitioners, ensuring 100% of outcomes are tracked.

Our platform continues to evolve and improve as we implement creative and proactive solutions and integrate feedback from thousands of users across many cities and states. Unite US is able to leverage robust data and reporting to understand and educate stake-holders on real-time demands and efficiency of service delivery. For example, our platform identified in Charlotte, NC that 62% of clients receiving healthcare services also needed employment services, while housing remains the number one service request in NYC. Deeper level data we are able to provide can now inform the community around real-time co-occurring needs, trends, and the collaboration needed between agencies; a significant improvement from the status quo before Unite US existed.

What are some of the challenges of launching a startup in the military/ veteran space?
The core challenge is not that we started in the military/veteran space, but that our technology is pioneering how these services are delivered. No one has ever done this before. So we spend a lot of time educating the industry on what is possible, and that technological change can improve their internal processes, but more importantly, their clients’ outcomes. Our first community network took about six months to launch, and we spent a lot of time with government, health organizations, and community partners mapping out a process that is continually refined for every subsequent community.

Every organization and community has its own unique landscape, with a mixture of strengths and weaknesses. We leverage the strengths and enable further improvement by incentivizing providers to change the way they do business. In hindsight, the military/veteran space was the perfect place to start because it is a population that most accurately represents the U.S. population, and from a product perspective, allows us to easily scale to other verticals like education and youth.

How did your experience at Columbia Business School help to shape Unite US?
As a student at Columbia Business School, I began writing about the fragmentation in the veteran services industry, and how technology can enable government and communities to adopt better service delivery systems and build sustainable infrastructure for the future. It was a defining experience, along with classes I took that helped me learn about running a business. My time at CBS has led to many great relationships and opportunities, both professional and personal. Even after I graduated, we were able to present to the Trustees of Columbia alongside leaders like Ben Horowitz, gain insight from Dean Hubbard, and utilize the expertise of great professors. Ultimately, Columbia had a tremendous impact on the creation of Unite US; and it is where I connected with Taylor and Andrew.

What is your long-term vision for Unite US?
To become the leading software tool that all health, human, and social service organizations utilize daily to coordinate care and the tool consumers leverage daily to manage their care across the health and community spectrum. Unite US will be the go-to technology solution for communities to build sustainable infrastructure supporting the ever- changing health and social needs of their constituents.

To see the full article.

Moving ‘Collective Impact’ From Buzzword To Reality

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by: Kelly Seeman, Director of Operations at Unite US

Organizations working together to drive and measure significant social change is a concept most of us can get behind, whether you are familiar with the collective impact initiative or not. For those of us who have supported this concept for years know it is essential to the No Wrong Door philosophy where all entry points for assistance are fully accessible when working collaboratively in our communities.

Collective Impact sounds fancy and difficult but what we have found is when you follow five key steps it can be accomplished. Collective Impact makes it easier to provide services that are being requested In return, your organization, along with your community, can help more people.
According to a 2011 article in the Stanford Innovation Review, collective impact requires five key elements to achieve success:

1. Everyone involved has a common agenda for change: Understanding the problem and agreeing on shared solution.

2. Aggregating data and measuring result: Ensuring alignment and accountability through the aggregation of data and the sharing of results enables the identification of a change or pivot needed by an organization to best serve their community.

3. A plan of action: Outlining the path forward, coordinating with community partners, and sharing the plan with organizations supports the mutual reinforcement of activities needed to be completed for collective impact to be successfully implemented.

4. Open and continuous communication: This is needed consistently between all stakeholders in order to build trust, assure community objectives, and to create common motivation.

5. A backbone organization(s): This concept is not successfully implemented without buy-in from the community, including its staff and service category-specific skillset.


Why Collective Impact is a Buzzword

The collective impact initiative is popular among serving organizations but the actual implementation is only happening in a few communities. For it to work, organizations across a community at every level need to be committed to working together as a team and invested in the same short- and long-term goals. The steps are there and the need is known. So why can’t we start executing this today?
How Technology Changes the Game

One platform that allows organizations to send and receive electronic referrals, collaborate to ensure an individual is receiving the care they need and have requested, and create a community of support and trust has a direct and influential impact on the community at large. With the right technology tools and network design, collective impact can become a reality.

Through technology there is a higher degree of accountability and sharing of ideas. Data insights, both positive, negative and neutral help to identify what is and what is not working; enabling us to become proactive communities of care and identifies how we begin to achieve our collaborative goals.
Collective Impact in Practice

One of our partners, Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) is successfully applying a collective impact approach with itsCommunities of Practice program. The initiative has transformed the way services and resources are delivered to Veterans and Military Families—narrowing in on local communities to create trusted, coordinated networks of care.

IVMF leverages the Unite US platform to align community and government-based resources to drive collaboration between organizations while increasing access to services requested. When communities of organizations are continuously working together the delivery of resources becomes streamlined, making them easier to find and connect to. IVMF (and organizations alike, within a network) can track case progress from the beginning of a request through the final outcome and using that information to advance the social, economic, community and policy for Veterans and Military Families.

A collective impact approach works because every service organization is communicating and fully invested in the process. Realize the trust, adoption and common agenda needed for change and advancement in your community and let the technology that is essential to solidifying trusted partners on a singular platform create a climate of transparency and progression.

Can you do more for the Veterans and Military Families in your community?  Learn how Unite US technology can help.

Person-Centered Care: What It Really Means, And How Providers Can Maximize Their Potential

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By Dylan Levene, Product Manager at Unite US

What is Person-Centered Care?

Person-centered care is a philosophy and approach to the delivery of health and human services that views the person as a true partner in their own care and considers all aspects of their lifestyle, goals, preferences, and values toward developing the most appropriate plan for their unique circumstances. Providers who use a person-centered approach recognize that all aspects of a person’s life are inter-connected and co-dependent, and this approach can help people to have positive control over their life and feel valued and supported by a web of relationships within their communities. (1)

Balancing Important To & Important For

One of the core person-centered skills providers can practice is sorting out what is important to the person being served, and also what is important for them, and then finding the balance between. (2)

We’ve all experienced a time when someone in our lives has a problem, and we can clearly see a solution. Though we may believe it is in their best interests, the person will not embrace and act on a solution if they don’t agree with or value it. Similarly, services delivered in such a way that they only address what is important for a person (e.g. issues of health and safety, or what others see as being important for the person) and ignore what is important to them, will likely be ineffective. These kinds of programs won’t help people to gain and maximize positive control over their lives, or help them in sustainable ways that work for their lifestyle. (3)

It’s an Industry Standard… In Theory

People who work at social services organizations often describe their organization and services as “person-centered,” “client-centered,” or “patient-centric.” They talk about their Individualized Service Plans, and how important it is that a person share in the development of their plan and the goals it contains. We’ve seen that providers actively strive to deliver a person-centered service experience. At the heart of what they do, providers aim to help people lead full and healthy lives, and most understand that a person-centered approach (if practiced diligently) can help the people they’re serving to achieve those outcomes. So in theory, person-centered care is simply a given for anyone in social services who has genuine respect and regard for the people they’re serving. If most of the industry agrees on this, why are so many service providers unable to achieve person-centered care in practice?

Technology, Systems, and Processes Impact the Practice of Person-Centered Care

Even the most well-intentioned providers are using technology, systems, and processes that prevent them from fully realizing their goals of person-centered service delivery. The technology an organization uses to manage caseloads, the systems used to route phone calls and schedule appointments, the way that information flows throughout the organization, and the set of data being collected about the person served – these are all examples of technology, systems, and processes that directly impact the way that services are delivered by an organization.

Many of the tools being used in social services today aren’t inherently bad tools, they just weren’t designed for person-centered care. In many cases, they weren’t designed for care at all! It’s no wonder that providers can’t reach their full potential when the tools that are meant to support their work actually make it more difficult.

Just as technology and processes can hinder person-centered care, they can also promote and reinforce it. A comprehensive solution designed for person-centered care can get an organization much of the way toward achieving their goals and improving the service experience of people in their care. While tools and technology will never replace the human element of providing care, they can optimize and enrich it. The tools an organization chooses to use define and reflect their values, and those values are reinforced with both staff and persons served every time someone interacts with those tools (think: all day, every day!).

Service Providers: If you describe your services as being person-centered, we challenge you to evaluate how your technologies, systems, and processes help or hinder your approach. If they hinder your approach, it may be time to assess tools and technology specifically designed for the person-centered care you aim to deliver.

1-3 This blog post includes person centered concepts, principles and materials used with permission from The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices. Find out more at www.learningcommunity.us