Independence Blue Cross (Independence) recently hosted its second annual in-person and virtual Health Equity Summit. The event focused on the concept of equitable, whole-person health. Independence members who attended the event had the opportunity to hear from health care leaders on this important topic. They also had a chance to share what whole-person health means to them, as well as their experiences with health care services and resources in their communities.
“We were excited to be able to host another Health Equity Summit this year. It means so much to us that we can interact with our members in this way. There is so much we can learn from them by having conversations with them about what health equity and whole-person health means to them,” said Dr. Seun Ross, Independence executive director of Health Equity.
At the event, Independence members heard from health care leaders, including:
- Keynote presenter Sandro Galea, MD, MPH, DrPH, dean and Robert A. Knox professor at Boston University School of Public Health. Dr. Galea’s presentation focused on envisioning a Philadelphia that is oriented “toward whole-person health, for all”.
- Fireside chat participant Kier Gaines, licensed therapist, mental health advocate, and community leader at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Gaines and Dr. Ross discussed what an important part self-care plays in whole-person health.
- Panel participants Heidi Gorniok, RD, director of Nutrition at The Food Trust; Michael Glick, DMD, executive director of the Center for Integrative Global Oral Health and professor of Clinical Restorative Dentistry and Oral Medicine at Penn Dental Medicine; Jerome Shabazz, executive director of Overbrook Environmental Education Center and member of the National Enviornmental Justice Advisory Council; and Rebecca Thurston, PhD, FAMBR, FAPS, Pittsburgh Foundation chair in Women’s Health and Dementia; Professor of Psychiatry, Clinical and Translational Science, Epidemiology and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. The participants talked about the intersections and interdependencies of physical, behavioral, dental, nutritional, and environmental health.
If you’re an Independence member and interested in giving input on the work Independence is doing to address inequities in the communities it serves, please consider becoming a Health Equity Community Advisory Board member. It’s a volunteer group of members that will meet with Independence’s Health Equity department for honest discussions about health equity and disparities. You can register to become a member of the Health Equity Community Advisory Board here.