Supporting Grameen America in offering innovative health care services to its members in underserved communities

Grameen America (GA), an affiliate of Grameen Bank, is a microfinance program that has been operating in the United States since 2008 and currently counts 8,000 borrowers in New York City, and 2,000 in Omaha, Indianapolis, and San Francisco. It uses a unique peer-lending structure where highly organized groups of borrowers (largely Hispanic, immigrant women) guarantee one another's loans and jointly determine who is allowed to enter the group, thus controlling behavior in many ways. In Bangladesh and other countries where the Grameen Bank operates, this social network structure has also been used to promote health and manage health care. The goal of this project is to develop and test strategies for providing health access as well as health promotion and disease prevention among GA borrowers in New York City leveraging the peer lending structure. Grameen Research, an affiliate of both Grameen America and the Grameen Bank, will work with North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, UnitedHealth Group, ClickMedix (a mobile health platform), and Assistemed, (a doctor-led registered nurse call service) to develop and offer on a subscription basis, a package of health benefits. Strategies will include the use of community health coaches, shared or regularly scheduled group medical appointments, the use of culturally appropriate information technology to fully involve members in their health promotion and care, doctor-managed nurse call centers and telemedicine, and use of financial incentives and collaborative competitions to encourage adherence to healthy behaviors. Specific deliverables will include: (1) 600 borrowers signed up through UnitedHealth or North Shore with risk assessments completed; (2) a data collection method and evaluation plan; (3) community health coaches hired and integrated into the peer lending structure; (4) one or more packages of health benefits assessed for their actuarial value, priced, and market tested with GA borrowers.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $500,000.00

Awarded on: 11/16/2012

Time frame: 12/1/2012 - 11/30/2013

Grant Number: 70209


Grameen Research, Inc.

1460 Broadway, 8th Floor
New York, 10036-7306


Allison Pritzker Schwartz
Project Director