A recent study conducted by Blue Cross Foundation and Wilder Research reveals shocking statistics about our personal health. Acting with the knowledge that health is directly tied to social determinants such as race, education, income and neighborhood, Blue Cross supports programs to help reduce the health disparities including:
- Preventing Harm Minnesota with the Native American Community Clinic — Funding supports an effort to pass city codes for mandatory inspections of rental housing and increase renters’ awareness of their rights to improve health in the Phillips neighborhood, Minneapolis.
- 500 Under 5 — Funding supports efforts to improve school readiness for 500 young children in the Folwell and Near North neighborhoods in Minneapolis, leading to improved life-long health.
- East Side Neighborhood Development Corporation — Funds are used to educate St. Paul homeowners, renters and child care providers on how to create healthier, safer and more sustainable living environments. The project also connects residents with home repair and improvement programs, and helps families replace lead-painted windows with non-toxic, energy-efficient windows.
- Wilder Foundation — Blue Cross Foundation funds support a project to improve the mental health and social adjustment of Southeast Asian immigrants and refugees in the Payne/Phalen area of St. Paul. Funds have also supported the development of Minnesota Compass, which tracks and analyzes data on many social influences on health statewide.
- Community Giving Garden — Blue Cross employees tend a community giving garden on the company’s Eagan campus that provides hundreds of pounds of fresh produce annually to Lewis House, a Dakota County shelter for victims of domestic violence, and the Eagan food shelf.
- Healthy Eating: Healthy Corner Stores Intervention — The Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) is funded to work with corner stores in selected underserved areas of Minneapolis to increase fresh produce offerings, thereby helping eradicate the city’s “food deserts” (areas lacking healthy food options).
- Healthy Eating: Market Bucks Program — Blue Cross matches funds received by low-income families, giving them more money to buy fresh food at local farmers markets.
- Healthy Eating: NorthPoint Health & Wellness — Funding is helping increase residents’ access to fresh produce through community gardens and other efforts.
Tobacco Control: Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio (CLUES) and Statewide Tobacco Education and Engagement Project (STEEP) — Two Blue Cross-funded efforts to establish tobacco-free policies in apartments in the Latino community and promote culturally appropriate tobacco cessation strategies and collaborate on health and wellness efforts in the Southeast Asian community. “The disparities revealed in this report are unjust and avoidable,” said Geraghty. “We must look at health in a broader way and ensure that education policies, housing policies and economic policies are viewed also as health policies so that no matter where you live, you have an equal opportunity to be healthy.”
For more information on Blue Cross Foundation efforts to reduce health inequities or to view the full report, visit www.bcbsmnfoundation.org.
SOURCE Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation