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Independence Blue Cross Foundation Launches Institute for Health Equity

Thursday, March 31, 2022

Philadelphia, PA - March 30, 2022 -  The Independence Blue Cross Foundation (Foundation), today announced a five-year, $15 million commitment to advance health equity through the creation of a new Foundation program, the Institute for Health Equity (Institute). The Institute is a regional endeavor to address policies and practices that have hindered communities from achieving optimal health. The announcement was made at a special celebration at the Kimmel Center today to recognize the Foundation's 10-year anniversary.

"Health care organizations must invest in inclusive innovation that improves the health of everyone, and that's our goal with the IBC Foundation Institute for Health Equity," said Gregory E. Deavens, president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross. "There are unacceptable disparities in health care access and outcomes, and we can't wait any longer to address these conditions. The impact on people's lives and livelihoods are critically important and require immediate action."

The Institute's initial focus areas include digital health, cultural competence in medicine, and maternal health.

"Health equity is integral to our ongoing philanthropic commitment to improve the health and wellbeing of our community," said Reverend Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake, president of the Foundation. "Through the Institute, we will work collaboratively across sectors to leverage research, expertise, and invest our resources to be a national leader in improving the health of disadvantaged groups."

Today's event featured keynote remarks from Dr. Denise A. Johnson, FACOG, FACHE, PA Physician General. The event also included a panel discussion moderated by Marshall-Blake with Antonia M. Villarruel, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania; Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., Executive Director, American Public Health Association; and Tami D. Benton, M.D., Chief of the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

By the end of 2022, the Foundation will have awarded nearly $70 million in charitable grants to nonprofits and for research to impact the health of communities since its inception. The Foundation's initiatives improve access to primary care and behavioral health in underserved communities, increase educational opportunities in the healthcare workforce, address the stigma of addiction, and support treatment and recovery for individuals with substance use disorder.

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