Independence Blue Cross employees with their Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) shared perspectives on their work, their field, and how their training helped them over the past year for National Public Health Week (April 5 – 11).
Public health has always played a significant role in keeping our communities safe and healthy. Now with the COVID-19 pandemic at play, the importance of its role is being demonstrated more than ever before throughout the country and world.
At Independence, the expertise of the more than 30 employees with a M.P.H. has been invaluable. Throughout the pandemic, they have given educated and thoughtful guidance on health disparities, social determinants of health, race, unconscious bias in health care, and more.
“The pandemic has emphasized the need to invest in our very limited public health infrastructure much more, if only to match a fraction of the fortune we spend on our disease treatment resources. I would categorize what I do — working to improve the health of our members efficiently, effectively, and matched to their needs — as public health practice. I reach back to my public health training when I critically assess causal inference (for example, how can we really assess the impact this program had on a given population independent of other influences on this population’s health?), and to cost-effectiveness tools when assessing how we should prioritize limited resources in a way that maximizes their impact.
Rodrigo Cerda, M.D., VP Clinical Care Transformation, Facilitated Health Networks
“Professionally, this past year has been so significant. The pandemic has provided an opportunity to observe epidemiologists as they tracked COVID-19 cases and developed public health strategies to flatten the curve. This year has also provided an opportunity for those of us engaged in public health and health care to have meaningful conversations around race, health disparities, and unconscious bias within the health care system. I am so proud to be part of a company that not only spoke out publicly against racism and social injustices, but also provided a platform for meaningful dialogue among associates to share experiences and ways to impact change.”
Danielle Parks, M.P.H., Population Health Specialist, Facilitated Health Networks
“Independence has given me the opportunity to work on programs that impact the well-being of large populations and also advance a dialogue about health justice and evidence-based practices. In public health, we are concerned with the well-being of the whole person and community and are always aware of balancing risks, scale of impact, and justice. It’s been encouraging to see the increased awareness of social determinants of health, health disparities, health as a civic duty, and the price of underinvestment in public health infrastructure and planning. Throughout this pandemic, we saw increasing awareness that the health of a community can only be as strong as its most vulnerable members. I hope the experience of this past year gives us a greater sense of responsibility to each other and the will to address how we can change the systems and policies that create and reinforce unequal health risks and outcomes.”
Dare Henry-Moss, M.P.H., Lead Quality Management Analyst, Facilitated Health Networks
“A large function of my role is to partner with our Sales and Marketing departments and present medical trends to our customers with recommendations to improve our members’ health. At Independence, I truly believe that we put the member at the center of everything we do. By providing customer-specific population health metrics, we foster a valued partnership with our customers and improve health outcomes. In the past year, public health professionals adapted their care models and innovated vaccines in a short timeframe. Looking to the future, population health analytics can lead as a foundation to mitigate health risks and improve the public health of our membership.”
Amitoj Chatrath, M.P.H., Customer Information Consultant, Informatics