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Gregory E. Deavens, Independence Blue Cross President & CEO, announces the launch of the Institute for Health Equity. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Gregory E. Deavens, Independence Blue Cross President & CEO, announces the launch of the Institute for Health Equity. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.

Independence Blue Cross Foundation announces launch of new Institute for Health Equity

The program is a result of a $15 million commitment and will focus on specific efforts to reduce and prevent health disparities.

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Another effort to address and improve health inequity challenges many underserved communities face in Philadelphia is being launched.

During a special 10th anniversary celebration at the Kimmel Center on Wednesday, March 30, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation announced the launch of the Institute for Health Equity. 

The new program will serve with the purpose of reducing and preventing health disparities in marginalized communities, and is made possible through a five-year, $15 million commitment.

Gregory E. Deavens, Independence Blue Cross President & CEO, noted that the Independence Blue Cross Foundation set forth a clear vision from the start, “to empower people and organizations to help advance critical community health efforts and also to confront issues locally that also impact our region and our nation,” he said. 

The new Institute for Health Equity has identified three key areas of focus to begin this work:

  • Engaging diverse and underserved communities with digital health resources
  • Increasing cultural competence in medicine
  • Improving maternal health care outcomes

Deavens added that those three areas of focus will serve as the starting points to drive research and influence policy. 

The Independence Blue Cross Foundation was launched in 2012, as an expansion of Independence Blue Cross’ mission to lead sustainable solutions to improve the health and well being of the communities it serves. 

“What makes our Foundation incredibly unique are the great relationships that we’ve cultivated,” said Steve Fera, executive vice president of public affairs at Independence Blue Cross. 

The announcement of the new Institute for Health Equity comes nearly two weeks after the launch of Accelerate Health Equity, a new initiative bred out of an 11-organization partnership to address health inequities and produce measurable positive health outcomes across the region. 

Independence Blue Cross is one of the 11 partnering organizations, along with AmeriHealth Caritas, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the City of Philadelphia, Drexel University, Jefferson Health, Main Line Health, Penn Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Temple University Health System and Trinity Health Mid-Atlantic.

Building on more than 80 years of service to its communities, the new initiative and subsequent program — along with the Foundation — mark a commitment and dedication to improving the quality of life communities that make up our region.

Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall Blake, President & CEO of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, said that the past few years has been among the best of her career with the organization. 

Steve Fera, Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall Blake and Gregory E. Deavens. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News.
Steve Fera, Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall Blake and Gregory E. Deavens. Photo: Jensen Toussaint/AL DÍA News. 

In reaction to the launch of the Institute for Health Equity, Pennsylvania Physician General Dr. Denise Johnson praised the program.

“It signifies the organization's commitment to moving Pennsylvania forward,” she said. 

By the end of 2022, the Foundation will have awarded nearly $70 million in charitable grants since its inception, all to impact the health of local communities. 

“The momentum we’ve created gives us reason to celebrate, but it also provides focus on our purpose and determination to do more,” said Fera. 

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