TUCSON, AZ, July 7, 2023 — Banner – University Family Care (B – UFC) and the American Heart Association (AHA) will join forces to combat nutrition insecurity in the Greater Phoenix Area, Pima and Yuma Counties, Arizona. The Stocking Healthy Pantries program will help residents within these communities identify healthy food staples. AHA and B – UHP will equip food banks with heart healthy education and promotion materials to support heart healthy choices. The program began June 1 and will continue through August.

Sarah Spiekermeier, chief operating officer of Banner – University Health Plans said, “We encourage local food banks to stock items that meet local nutritional needs, including whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, low-sodium and culturally diverse options that promote health to combat food insecurity and chronic disease risk factors.”  

“We are committed to providing access to equitable health and nutritious foods to combat nutrition insecurity,” said Dr. Eric Cornidez, Pain Institute of Southern Arizona, President Elect, AHA Board of Directors. “We are grateful to work with Banner – University Family Care to reach this goal.”

Food insecurity impacts over 15% of Maricopa, Pima and Yuma County residents.

Through social media or other outreach, the AHA and B – UHP will encourage local residents to donate heart healthy items. AHA and B – UHP will implement nutritional nudges in area food banks to help educate residents that rely on the food banks for their nutritional needs. Nutritional nudges are subtle but impactful changes to the food pantry environment that are proven effective at encouraging heart healthy choices. Nudges will include posters highlighting nutritious foods and their health benefits, as well as appetizing displays of the healthiest items.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.  

About Banner – University Health Plans

Banner – University Health Plans (B – UHP) is a locally owned health plan and is a recognized Medicaid managed care leader. Launched in 1985, B – UHP began as a Medicaid contractor and has expanded operations to include Medicaid, Medicare, and integrated behavioral health (BH) services across Arizona. B – UHP owns and operates: Banner – University Family Care/ACC, Banner – University Family Care/ALTCS, and Banner Medicare Advantage and includes more than 340,000 lives in Arizona. Committed to serving vulnerable populations, B – UHP is the only Arizona plan that holds membership in the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, a national trade association for nonprofit Safety Net Health Plans that are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of lower income people and/or people with significant health needs. Parent company, Banner Health, is one of the largest nonprofit health systems in the country, with operations in six states.

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Christopher Calloway: 702-789-4379; Christopher.Calloway@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org